Achy-Breaky Hearts | On Moving On


I snatched my phone off the bedtime table, silenced the alarm, and slinked back under the covers. I don’t want to be human today. I don’t want to function. I can’t function.

My boyfriend Jacob and I broke up the week before and the ending of our relationship made my heart hurt in places I’d never felt before. We had such a great relationship on so many levels. We made each other laugh. We had similar passions. And we had talked about marriage. So the next two years of my life that I had planned, came crashing down. I wasn’t going to be planning a wedding come the fall. I wasn’t going to be changing my name, or moving cities, & nothing about my relational life was going to turn out the way I (and we) planned. So I just wanted to stay in bed.

It felt like I was signing myself up for a life of cats and singleness. It felt like the end of the world. It was nearly impossible for me to imagine I would find someone else. I wanted to scream at myself—because I was the one who ended the relationship. And to make it much worse, I didn’t break up with him over anything more than a feeling.

There I was under the covers not wanting to breathe. I simply couldn’t face my decision. I recalled my discussion with my mentor and how she thought I made a mistake. She looked at me and said, “You know there aren’t many great men these days. . . you found one and I think you should hang onto him.” Her words were with me every minute. Had I made a horrible mistake?

Why did I end a healthy, good relationship with a great guy? Because I had a feeling. A feeling that while Jacob was a great guy, he wasn’t my guy.  That he was going to make a great husband for another girl—but God had someone else for me. I didn’t have any concrete reasons to say goodbye, but that is exactly what I believe God asked me to do.

It wasn’t pretty. It was very messy and far from a clean break. He came to visit me. We considered getting back together. I wrote him a letter and said I’d made a horrible mistake and I wanted to get back together. We prayed and cried and tried to date other people.

There, in my bed under the covers, our breakup felt like the world came crashing down on my chest, making it difficult to breathe. Have you been there? Most of us have. I wish I could pull the covers off 22-year-old Ruthie’s head and say,

“This is not the end. I promise. You did the right thing, the good thing, the thing you will look back on and be so thankful for!  You are going to be ok. You will find someone amazing, even more perfect for you. You are going to move to China and change from the inside out and watch God change women’s lives for eternity. A man will call you on August 11, 2009 and make all your dreams of marriage and family will come true.  A little ice cream never hurt anyone, but that entire carton is going to make you hate yourself:)  Breath,  get out of bed, drink coffee, and take small steps. Small steps, to deal with the hurt. Small steps towards hope. Small steps towards loving again.”

Breakups can change everything in your life in the blink of an eye. They are hard, messy, confusing, and painful. The only way to patch your heart together is to take small steps and cling to hope for the future. God isn’t limited by the lack of men or your age or geographic location. He is in the business of miracles, remember? This is not the end!

Can any of you relate? What would you say to your post-breakup self? What helped you make it through a breakup? Please share your stories below!

This week we are talking about breakups. My friend Ashley will share her story on Wednesday and how she learned to move on, but I’d love to hear one of your stories on Friday! Contact me with your post title and a brief summary of your story at dean(dot)Ruthie(at)gmail(dot)com. And I’m continuing to accept guest posts through August, so send me your ideas.

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5 Responses to “Achy-Breaky Hearts | On Moving On”
  1. Micaela says:

    Ruthie, I’ve literally been in your shoes and it was only last September. We were engaged, I ended it, and to this day I’ve struggled with the decision. I’m still not over it. But I am so getting there, and trusting that ‘feeling’. I hope to be in your shoes again, but your happily married shoes next time :) thanks for the post! So helpful.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Ah sister, I hate that for you. It’s painful, rough, and only time can heal. You WILL be in my married shoes one day! He is SO good. Would you want to share your story as a guest post? I know you are not alone!

  2. Ruth says: good. thanks for writing this. needed it.

  3. Ally says:

    I had this same “feeling” earlier this year with a boy- it is NO fun because in those moments that you are forced to see each other (we have the same friends), it’s hard to go home and remember that feeling because all you remember is how wonderful he was/is. Thank you so much for this post!

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