It broke my heart to watch your heart break last Monday night. I know the feelings all too well, and although my breakup didn’t appear on national TV in front of millions of viewers, what I do know is that despite our own unique breakup situations, we all go through a common human experience. You are not alone.
We drink a little too much wine, or see the bottom of an ice-cream container more times than we like to admit, as we move through the stages of breakup grief of shock, bargaining, anger, depression and eventually acceptance. We waste our emotional energy ruminating about what went wrong, hoping to uncover pieces of breakup evidence, and questioning if we are flawed in some way.
We wonder why we weren’t good enough, if we’re unworthy of reciprocal love, and if we’re in fact, unlovable. We mourn the loss of the future we envisioned with the person we loved most. In the aftermath of a soul-crushing split, we miss our emotional home, our sense of connection and belonging in this world. The person we trusted the most to protect our heart and keep us safe crushed us and validated our worst fears.
We were all rooting for you to win Arie’s heart and it majorly sucks when the person you thought you would spend the rest of your life with decides he has a change of heart. Arie pulled a dick move and should have communicated with you clearly about the extent of his confusion and feelings for two women, in private. He should have never gotten down on one knee, and I’m so sorry he robbed you of that one-time proposal experience.
But as a licensed counselor and breakup coach, I must say, I’ve never seen someone handle their breakup with such grace, composure, and respect for their partner.
Even your recent tweet that “I knew” shows your awesome sense of humor in handling such a difficult situation. Your strong base of friends and family, your groundedness, and your ability to handle the pressure of being on a nationally televised dating show, shows that you’re a woman who is confident and knows what she wants. And I think the producers of the show agree with me, now that you’ve been announced as the new Bachelorette!
Though I know you were in shock and likely embarrassed by the cameras that caught your big breakup, I must say, you still rock girl!
You taught women around the country that rather than questioning their own worth, to acknowledge that you’re two great people who are simply not meant for each other.
I know we saw a fast-forwarded version of your breakup bounce back journey, but it appears that rather than feel flawed and not good enough, you’ve taken this pain and found the silver lining of your heartbreak, which is that you get a fresh chance at love with a more ideal match.
No, not every person has a national platform and thirty dashingly handsome men hand-delivered to their mansion doorstep, but every newly single dater can employ a mindset of abundance and hope that there are many eligible bachelors out there for them to love wholeheartedly and who will love them back fiercely.
This is opposed to approaching love with a mindset of scarcity and fear that there are no good men out there and that you’ll never fall in love again.
Thank you for modeling to the millions of young, impressionable viewers that when you fall down, you get back up on your horse and you do the damn than thing all over again!
Your journey led you to this point right now to be a smarter, more intentional dater.
Before hopping into something new, you must take time to process and reflect on your love lessons, which are the insights you take away from every relationship so you can rule out dating duds, game players, and emotionally unavailable partners more quickly in the dating process.
It’s essential to get crystal clear on your core values, which are your beliefs and goals that define who you are and how you want to live your life. You should never compromise on your core values, otherwise you’ll frequently find yourself in conflict and resentful.
Whether it’s living a healthy lifestyle, having children, or the religion you practice, it’s your responsibility to know yourself so that you can recognize an ideal match that will fit comfortably into your life. The right relationship feels easy.
This also means knowing your deal breakers and walking away when you come across partners with qualities and behaviors that conflict with your core values, no matter how sexy they are. Given your confidence and inner-strength, I know you have the self-assurance to do this.
You should also know about your attachment style, which is your desire for and comfort with closeness and intimacy.
If you have a secure attachment style, you can easily communicate about your feelings, you let your partner know what page you’re on, and you feel confident in your partner’s feelings for you.
If you have an avoidant style, you shut down during conflict, struggle to communicate about relationship issues, and withhold affection emotionally and physically from your partner. This is in contrast to an anxious attachment style, in which you desperately want to be loved, but fear your partner will leave you, and you struggle with feelings of worthiness.
Basically, being on an emotional roller coaster, like Carrie and Big’s push and pull drama (or Juan Pablo + any contestant) signals you’re not in a healthy, secure-functioning relationship.
It was clear from The Bachelor that you have a secure attachment style. You let Arie know your feelings and you were confident in his feelings for you, despite very human moments of doubt and his mixed messages. I’m sorry you were blindsided, but you did absolutely nothing wrong.
In true secure fashion, it appears you foundationally expect to be treated with dignity, love and respect, and you believe there are many good catches out there.
Onto bigger and better things, Becca! Set the standards for how you want to be treated, listen to your intuition, and date from a place of worthiness, authenticity, and vulnerability. You’ll have a final rose and ring on your finger in no time!
Bachelor nation has your back.
Samantha Burns, M.A., LMHC
The Millennial Love Expert and author of Breaking Up & Bouncing Back: Moving on to Create the Love Life You Deserve