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Getting over a broken heart:
“How can I help my son get over being dumped?”

Dear Annie,

What do I say to my 15 year old son after his first serious girlfriend broke up with him? He is being very stoic, but I can tell he is crushed. Apparently she broke up in a nice way by saying, "I don't feel he same way you do." I know at this age that kids change boyfriends/girlfriends a lot -- yet it is still hard to come up with comfort words for my son... any ideas?

Stoic's Mom

Dear Stoic's Mom,

I know how painful it must be to see your son suffering. He definitely can use some TLC from Mom at this time (just don't go overboard or he'll get the feeling that you don't believe he can handle this... he CAN and he needs to learn how to sort things out on his own).

If he's willing to talk about what happened that would be helpful. You might let him know that emotions (romantic attractions in particular) are not something we choose nor are they things we can particularly control. So the girl is not wrong (or bad or evil) for telling him the truth about her feelings. She feels what she feels. You might indicate to your son that it's a lot better (and more honest and compassionate) for someone to tell a boyfriend "I don't feel the same way you do." than if she had gone on pretending otherwise. You might ask him if there is anything he'd like to communicate to her (often a broken heart will mend more quickly when there are no unexpressed emotions keeping the hurt 'stuck' in place). If he can write in a journal or an imaginary letter to her (NOT TO SEND) so that he might express those feelings, it might help to start the healing process.

Bottom line is for you to let him know that he is lovable and that the right girl for him will feel exactly the same way he does for her. If this girl didn't feel that way, then she wasn't the right girl. But, the right girl is definitely out there and they will find each other.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,

Annie

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