Remember when you were 22 and a breakup seemed like the end of the world for about a week, but then in two days, you were out with your girlfriends scamming on dudes in the bar? And you felt like if you didn’t meet anyone interesting for a few months, it kinda sucked, but it was like whatever? Well, I remember that. I remember how I felt awful for about 48 hours, then I was golden.
You know what doesn’t feel like that? Breaking up in your 30s. Here’s why:
1. There’s So Much Expectation
Dating in your 30s is already so loaded. Everyone has baggage, and most people have kids and probably a divorce or the end of a long-term relationship under their belt. It makes it so much more difficult. Every relationship is like a bad Pinterest quote about how you will either end up devastatingly apart, or married. And then, if you made a mistake marrying someone and you happen upon the person you really want to be with—someone you can see yourself growing old with—and then that ends, it’s ten times more devastating than you ever imagined at 22 when all you had to do to make yourself feel better was get a mani-pedi with your squad and take shots of Everclear.
2. You have to explain it to your kids.
Breaking up in your 30s involves so much more, too. If both you and your ex have kids and they’ve already met each other, the kids will wonder why they can’t play with each other anymore. Or your kids will ask why Mr. So-and-So is no longer around. How do you explain that? You can’t even introduce people to your kids right away because you don’t want people flitting in and out of their lives (at least I don’t). Then when they do the flit, you have to explain to your kids that this person doesn’t like their mommy anymore, which is really fucking awkward, for the record. Also, answering with “because they’re an asshole, sweetie” is probably frowned upon.
3. It hurts more.
You would think that you’d be used to dudes sucking by the time you hit your 30s, but they never fail to surprise you with just how much they can suck. And it doesn’t help that, inexplicably, guys get better looking as they get older. Bastards. You go into it thinking it might be a bit of fun, and then you get attached and you think this is the person who Disney was talking about. This is the soulmate you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with. And when they bugger off, it hurts even more. And by the way, Disney fucks people up for real. The relationships they teach us to expect as little girls are bullshit, and I have never met a bird who wouldn’t rather shit on my car than help me do laundry.
4. It’s terrifying.
You might be okay with not getting married (again), or being alone with just you and your kids, but most likely you don’t want to die alone in a house smelling strongly of urine and overrun with cats. I sure don’t. You’d like to have someone to grow old with and go on winter trips to Florida with when you’re 85. And it’s awkward as hell when you’re the only one without a plus-one at things like parties and weddings and get-togethers involving football. I can’t quite shake the image of myself all old and not cute anymore, falling and dying and not being found for weeks.
The only real option to not have to deal with this is staying single, and that usually works until your ex tries to weasel their way back in after another breakup, or until you see a really cute guy when you’re out with friends, and then the whole cycle begins anew. If I were smart, I wouldn’t participate in such shenanigans. I blame Disney.