The Most Painful Part Of A Breakup That Most People Completely Miss

Why is nobody talking about this excruciating aspect of breaking up?

Woman sadly looking out window Evgeny Hmur | Shutterstock

"I’m pretty sure that if you put a wig and googly eyes on a traffic cone, they’ll talk to it as much as they talked to me at the last rave," I told my husband.

"It’s not like they’re much better with me," he said. "They constantly talk about me behind my back."

"Yeah, but you’re a DJ. I don’t do anything but write about shows, and apparently, that don’t matter much to them," I said. "They don’t even try to talk to me."


"They’re not my friends."

"They made it clear they aren’t mine, either. I’m done, dude. I’m really, really done. I’m tired of trying to bend over backward for them. I don’t want to see them ever again."

It was 8 p.m. last night, and I’ve not been having a good week. Neither of us has. One of our closest friends died and due to unforeseen circumstances, we needed a ride to the funeral and couldn’t attend the Irish funeral part of it after.


We were unable to get the ride we needed.

This is just one of a long, long series of moments where our so-called friends dropped the ball when I really needed them. Before that, it was the book. Before that, it was the notoriously botched weddings. The only time they seem to come through is if it involves drugs.

It doesn’t help that the person who is helping dish out the funeral information thinks it’s funny that my husband got scammed recently. Or that they’ve been making fun of him behind his back. Or the fact that I invite them over just for them to patently ignore me while I cook for them.

I keep saying it’s the final straw, but this was actually the final straw for me. I don’t want these people in my house. I don’t want them on my phone. I don’t want them near me. I’ve known most of these people for five to 20 years, and now, I’m breaking up with them.


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There are a lot of things that people talk about when it comes to breakups, including friend breakups.

People always talk about the things you miss about the dumper or the dumped. We always talk about how it can feel weird to go to a favorite restaurant without them. We talk about how you may end up missing who you used to be with them.

I’m feeling that so hard. I’ve been feeling it. A large part of my identity was wrapped up in this music scene that has grown increasingly toxic to me and my spouse. And we talk about it, a lot. We talk about how sad we are that it turned into this.


Honestly, if I saw these ex-friends face to face, I’d probably either ignore them or call them out on their crap.

But recently, I found myself saying something that I usually only say when I’m going through a really bad, ugly breakup…

"I want them to know how much they hurt me."

Does anyone else feel this way? Does anyone else wish that they could wave a magic wand and get the person on the other end of the breakup to truly listen and internalize how awful they’ve been to you?

In the past, I’d try to explain using every phrase, and every word in the dictionary to try to get them to understand. There’s this weird impulse I have to explain to people that they’re upsetting me in hopes they’d do better.


Like, some part of my brain expects them to suddenly go, "Oh, I didn’t realize that I hurt you. I’m sorry. Let’s fix this."

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This time, though, I recognized the issue with telling people that they hurt you.

There’s a certain point in life where you have to stop trying to explain yourself to people — a point where you realize that explaining yourself to people who have no interest in understanding you is not going to do any good. That’s the stage of the breakup I’m at.

But the absolute, hands-down, hardest part of a breakup that no one talks about is realizing that, yes, they do know they are hurting you and they do not care. You can never force people to care.


If people care that they are hurting you, they’ll notice that you’re angry with them. They’d try to make things right, especially if you’ve openly mentioned that you’re upset and want them to stop dropping the ball.

The truth is that nothing I could do can make these people be decent toward me. Nothing I can say is going to make them become the friends that actually show up when you need them. That’s not been reciprocal for years.

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There are few things that hurt as much as realizing that the person who you thought cared about you may have never existed.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I always had a hard time believing that people could care so little about others — even when I have seen the worst of people.


This part of the breakup makes me wonder if they ever even wanted to be my friend. Were they using me? Do they even care a little, or have I been badgering them into behaving like decent people because they felt sorry for me?

Was I just a random person to them? Do they just not realize that they’re being messed up about major things? Do they just not want to have me as a friend at all? Was I just being rejected and too stupid to realize it?

I have to stop asking myself these questions. If you’re at that point of the breakup, you need to stop asking, too. Oh, and you need to stop explaining to disinterested people that you’re hurting. I assure you, they know.

How do I know that they know? Simple: I ask myself if I’d ever treat a friend that way. The answer is a clear no. If I can see the toxicity and wouldn’t tolerate it, they can, too. Besides, I told them plenty of times over.


At the end of the day, the questions don’t matter. The only thing that I (or anyone else) can do is try to move forward and make a more beautiful future with those who do care.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others.