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Advice for a heartbroken brother...


My 18-year-old brother has been having a tough year. Our parents decided to split (after 25 years) back in November and I think it made him re-evalute his relationship with his then girlfriend.

He and his girlfriend had been dating for more than 2 years. They had the same group of friends and they did pretty much every extra-curricular activity together. Although my family didn't have anything against her (she was very sweet and super adorable sometimes) she just wasn't right for him. They were just like friends - I hardly saw any flirting or  anything really "relatinship-esque" if that makes sense. He didn't light up when he was with her or even talk about her when she wasn't around. She was also always the one to initiate dates between them and she would buy him the "just because gifts". All of this led most of my family to believe he really wasnt that into her. We assumed he was with her out of convenience and just as a simple highschool relationship.

So in December when he announced that he would be breaking up with her we were surprised (because we thought he would stay with her until at least the summer - before they went off to university) but we weren't surprised because we didn't think they would really turn into anything. He had a bit of a hard time for a couple days because I think he felt guilty for making her cry and obviously losing a connection with someone. But I really thought he was better for it (and to be honest I thought she would be too - every girl deserves to have a guy that lights up around her and wants to show her off). Anyways now she has a new boyfriend (a guy in the same circle of friends and a guy my brother is not-so-fond of). My brother is having a hard time with my parents’ divorce (the house is selling in a couple weeks and my mom is finally moving out this week).
I think he is feeling really lonely. I just found out that he asked this girl out again a little while ago (before she started dating this other guy) and she said they "would never date again" and apparently my brother is feeling like he might have made a mistake breaking up with her in the first place.

I need some advice with how to help him or what to say. I feel like he is just having a hard time understanding relationships (aren't we all) and he's finishing up some big stages in his life so he's just getting emotional and sad.

What would you guys say to him?

Mar 28, 2011 @ 11:39 am

4 Replies

Ali de Bold

Been in exactly the same situation

Like, exactly the same. Same age, same situation with divorce, same amount of time in the relationship, etc.

I suspect he broke up with her prematurely because he didn't want to end up like your parents. That was the big motivator in my case.

Unfortunately if he was in love with her, he is probably going to experience a lot of regret for a long time over this.

The only thing I can suggest for him is to believe that if it is meant to be, it will be. It's so cliche but it is true. Her relationship with the other guy is most likely rebound and her response to him about never dating him again comes from hurt. I doubt she really means that.

He can tell her he regrets ending the relationship, but needs to give her the space she needs to get over the hurt. If he leaves her alone she will have time to think about this and if she really loves him, the good memories will replace the hurt from the breakup.

In my case it didn't work out that way. I didn't give him the space and kept trying to get him to take me back. It was pathetic, really. I think it made him stronger in turning me down. It may have been different had I not chased him, but then again maybe it didn't make a difference. Either way I'm really happy with my life now and the one I ended up marrying and so is he. Win win!

Big hugs for your brother. I know how much this sucks.
Mar 28, 2011 @ 01:34 pm

poor child!!!

What a horrible situation to go through! From what you described, it didn't sound like he was into her, and I completely agree with you, every girl needs a guy who's totally into her so in a way its a good thing for both of them that he broke it off. I'm sort of proud of the girlfriend that she refused to come back (how many of us would jump to get back with our ex's especially so soon after a breakup, and if they were going through a hard time?).

You sound like such a supportive sister! This is just one of those situations that will get better with time. I know my brother would be super defensive, push me away and turn a deaf ear to any advise I gave him if he was in this situation (I would do the same at his age too). Actually, if I got preachy on him, it'd alienate us that much quicker. I think you should just spend time with him, try to be as normal and keep the situation as normal as possible. Hang out together, don't let him feel too lonely. Casually talk about your relationship missteps so he might figure out that what he's going through isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of life.

This too shall pass, and once it does I'm sure he'll look back on it and thank God that his ex and him didn't end up back together again, as a second-time breakup is always messier and nastier. Not to mention its not fair on either of them.

It seems to me that he's feeling very lonely and looking for companionship. I think the genuine forever love you have between siblings is just what he needs to heal from this situation.

Big hugs for you and your brother ...
Mar 28, 2011 @ 03:23 pm

Good point you guys!

@ali- I agree completely with you, there is a lot going on here, so issues and feelings can get muddied together pretty easily and it's hard to figure out what he's really upset about or even if it's a combination.

@becky - you're right second break ups are that much worse because you are feeling like you made the mistake twice and you go through regret as well as sadness.
Mar 28, 2011 @ 03:31 pm

Thanks you guys

I guess I'll just keep being as supportive as I can. It's all about family stickin together.

Mar 28, 2011 @ 05:03 pm

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