17 answers

R Words of wisdom--Helping Adult Daughter Cope with Long Time Boyfriend Break Up

My daughter is 26 and just was jilted by her boyfriend of 3 years, the past 9 months of which she was sharing apartment with him. She is very fragile emotionally and I am worried about her. She is already in counseling. She cannot find a sustainable job post-4 years graduation from college. She feels like a failure in every way and now with her relationships. She moved back in with me and her father recently and found out that boyfriend already has another girlfriend which totally took her by surprise and she is in shock. How can I console her without smothering her. I just want to take her pain away. This isn't the first time this has happened, she just can't seem to find the right person for her, and is so indecisive about her own life. What should I tell her, other than this hard time will pass in time.

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So What Happened?™

Thank you to everyone and all of the words of wisdom. I have found a lot of advice here that will help me to help her, maybe even give her your messages for her to read. It is amazing how many people are out there that care enough to answer. Glad I found this site. Will let you know how it turn out. She is trying to find a plan for herself, has thought about going back to school to get a degree in social work, her real interest, even talked to financial aid about it--but she has such a heavy loan from the first 4 years of a worthless degree for a job (english-not teaching) and I will not help anymore in that regard. She is on her own in that department now. It is a crying shame the burden these colleges put on kids with their high priced tuition and housing-like they think it is normal to be in debt the rest of their lives! Makes me mad, but it is so the way of the world now. But anyway, that is off the subject. Thank you for all of your support and thoughts :)

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There is nothing you can do, she needs time to heel. There isn't anything you can say or do to take the pain away. She needs to learn that she doesn't need someone to make her happy, she is responsible for her own happiness and if she can find a man to share it with then great but don't settle.

BTW we have the same screen name

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if i could go back and change something and still get the life I have now I would tell myself to travel...take a semester overseas...dont be so hard on myself for having to have a plan for the future or being worried things wont happen on my timeline and instead SEE THE WORLD because one you do have a full time job and place to pay for it's too hard and you cant when you have kids.

I would tell my daughter to be productive, maybe volunteer somewhere for a few months, I would help put up the flight money to get her there...or i would tell her to look into taking a course overseas.
Encourage her to think about the fact she's made her life open to all possibilties now and should take advantage of them=)

also she wont have to pay back school loans if shes in school and can get deferrment or forbearance until shes stable

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I haven't read any other responses, but what I would tell her is it's okay to grieve the loss of the relationship FOR A PERIOD OF TIME. But when that time is over, then it's time to strap on your boots, roll up your sleeves and dive into life. Just take a baby step each day - just one. It won't be hard, because it's baby steps, but before you know it, you'll look back and see how far you've come. Again, just in baby steps. And, as for a lasting relationship, men are attracted to self-assured, responsible, independent women - at least good men. So, take those baby steps, stop looking back, and before you know it you will have made many large strides in your life - both professionally and emotionally!

Good luck to her. It's hard, but I'm sure with your support she will be able to pull herself out of this!

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Taking a break from men for awhile might be a good step for her right now.

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I think you need to accept you cannot take her pain away. I am sure you already know that but I feel like it needed to be said.

Thing with my older daughter was the more I tried to help the more annoyed she got with me so I just sit there and let her vent, let her lead, and consider my words carefully when I answer her questions.

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Oh can I relate... A boyfriend I loved desperately when I was 29 broke up with me "because he never wanted to get married". Not sure now but last I heard he was 44 and still not married so likely some truth but I dind't care at the time. I was devastated. My poor mom had to listen to me cry and cry. I was doing very well professionally at least but it was hard. Looking back now, it was so foolish. He's kind of a loser and would have been a horrible husband and father. Part of what upset me so much though was worryign I was NEVER going to get married and have kids. 29 seemed so old!! So give her lots of examples of women who marry at 35 or 36 and have several children. She has PLENTY of time. She may also benefit from an antidepressant if she's at the point that she just cries so much for quite awhile now. I know it helped me see things more rationally. ie: still lots to live for!! Tell her this is the time to work on HERSELF. Most men long term love a woman who is an individual, who has interests, who has things to offer etc. My husband dated someone who he said had nothing really going on. Nice and all but no idea what to do. He finally had it with her, told her why and he said she upped and I thnk went back to school or took some big trip or did something cool that changed her from just letting life pass her by. He didn't want to get back together with her but it did improve his opinion of her a lot. Sorry she's goign through this. I dread seeing my daughters go through it...

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Ugh, I feel for her. There isn't anything you can do to take away the pain but some things that might be helpful:

-don't say "You'll find someone else. When your heart is broken, you don't want someone else. You want THAT person."
-let her lounge/grieve for a little bit then see if you can get her busy: go for walks (with or w/o you as exercise is a good mood lifter)
-let her be for a bit
-turn on the comedy channel for a bit when she's in the room as though it is for you and you're watching it. Laughter is good medicine.
-try to get her mind off of things by keeping her busy: a new hobbie you do at home (think of something SHE would act but YOU do it & see if she'll join in
-see if you can get someone other than yourself (when we are kids we always think mom doesn't know anything), like a cousin, to ask her about her dream job & see if they can slyly motivate her
-rent some funny movies (nothing w/a love story!!!!)
-turn on the cooking channel. nothing bad happens there. It can just be
mindless tv to fill some time
-do you belong to a gym? See if you can get her to go once with you. That might motivate her to go alone once she feels those endorphins kicking in.

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Aw - I feel sad for her. I'm not sure if there is anything you can tell her right now. She's feeling down and beating herself up and no matter what you say she's going to feel the same about herself. My best advice is to try to keep her busy so her mind isn't just focused on the negative.

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I just read your SWH..
English majors have tons of jobs they can do.. Good Heavens.!

She can work for a publishing company, be a copy writer for an advertising agency.
Publications.. Magazines, local papers.
She can work in a law office.
Medical office.
Work for the school district in administration.

Please, do not assume she has no skills. She obviously can write. She is organized enough to finish college.. That is what people are having such a hard time finding.. People willing to WORK.. So many people want to be paid, but not willing to do the work.. Get her to start a Blog.. That way she can show she has not quit using her writing.

Sure it will not be much in the beginning, but if she is a go getter and stays on task, heck she will move up in no time.

Our daughter was given projects at the non profit that took people weeks or months to complete and got them done in 1 day.. They were dumbfounded. They called her a task master, because she never stopped and worked so quickly, she was making everyone else realize, they were not working fast enough.

Let her have a mourning time. Let her talk. Listen and just comfort her..

Try to just let her know her feeling are normal and real. Let her know this is more about what he needed, not a reflection on her.

Remind her that people change and grow all of the time. Some people grow together and others grow apart.

Then help her make a plan.
Work search online, word of mouth
Volunteering - Our daughter Volunteered at a Non Profit last summer and Now that she graduated.. She is temping for 2 women about to leave for maternity leave.. The nonprofit has already offered 2 different full time positions.

Fair money with lots of opportunities to learn skills and make contacts. She even has a serious job title..

Also this is a political year.. Working on local and national campaigns is an excellent way for her to meet like minded enthusiastic young people. She could start immediately by dropping by and asking how she can help.

Make sure she is getting good exercise.

Ask her everyday, what have you got planned today?
Not to be nosy, but to get her to verbalize what her goals are each day.

Again, many ways to make great contacts..

She could look on craigslists just to see what is available for temp or part time job.. Not so much for the money, but to get her out and about.

here in Austin for instance.. There are TV shows, Movies being made all of the time.. Sometimes, they call for auditions of just "normal" people.. I have friends that have gone, just for fun and gotten small parts, or were part of a crowd scene!

Also people here on MP are always looking for helpers to watch the kids. To drop or pick up their children from school, activities, etc. People may need a house sitter, pet sitter, etc....

Where are her friends? Like the ones from college that she was closest to?
Could you send her on a trip to visit one or 2 of them. They could perk her up and give her some support or suggestions.

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