Upheaval: A Pop Quiz - Christine Kane

This is a multiple-choice question.

You’ve been dating someone in your town for quite some time. This person has a work obligation in Singapore for a year, and so you begin a long-distance relationship. (If you live in Singapore, change it to New York City.) This had been in the works since you first started dating. The plan all along was that you’d take time off and visit during the year.

You get your tickets and fly to Singapore to spend three weeks with your sweetie.

It is not the exciting passionate reunion you were expecting. In fact, the love of your life actually breaks up with you. Right there in the airport.

(Game over.)

Now, let’s go out beyond the initial shock and “what-do-I-do-now-that-I’m-in-Singapore?” decisions.

How do you deal with this situation?

Do you:

A] Spend the rest of your life hating this person, rallying your friends around you in a collective anti-fan club and spewing verbal vitriol at him at every gathering, party, and phone conversation?

B] See yourself as the hapless victim of a horrible person. Ask yourself over and over again, “Why did this happen? Why me?” And spend the next three years unable to answer that question?

C] In spite of the heartbreak and hurt pride, begin to reflect on your own role in this situation, and spend time uncovering the lessons you can learn from it. In spite of occasional tears and anger, begin to see the perfection of this particular event in your life.

D] Visit GoDaddy.com and buy the domain name “[NameofEx]Sucks.com.” Start a blog and write daily about all the ways in which your ex does, in fact, suck.

The next post will be for those who might waffle between A and B – but would ultimately like to choose C – even if D sounds sort of fun…

  • Elli Jane

    If you have been dumped at the airport please take heart from my story!
    I live in the UK and some years ago had a long distance fling with a man i met on holiday. He invited me to his home in San Francisco, but when i arrived at the airport he wasn’t there and there was a message on his v-mail saying he wouldn’t be coming. It was a shock – i was confused and upset. It did occur to me to go straight home but i thought, no, i’m in a fabulous town for a week, why not stay, i can get over being upset about him! so i checked into a hotel, and phoned the only person i knew (another holiday contact) in SF. She was an amazing lady, picked me up and took me to her home – i had no idea she lived on a boat!
    To cut a long story short, this experience was life changing. As a result I met her friends, got introduced to life on the ocean, had a sudden new perspective on the world (everyone in SF seems so massively happy and positive – they say it’s because of their micro climate!) and i wasn’t the same person when i went home. Immediately when i got back I did some yachting courses, moved to Greece for the summer and ended up sailing and working on boats for the next few years, visiting beautiful places and having many adventures and wonderful experiences. I’m back in the UK now and look back on those days with such joy. they made me what i am today. it may sound corny but that guy not turning up at the airport was probably the best thing that ever happened to me!

  • stacey l

    I would definitely go through A and B and seriously contemplate D, enjoy my 3 weeks in Singapore traveling and seeing the country (hey why waste an expensive plane ticket) and then finally eventually get to C…ho hum!

  • MindFul MiMi

    My answer would be: none of the above. I would of course try to analyse the situation abit, but I would just up and enjoy Singapore on my own πŸ™‚

  • Danny

    To answer honestly, I woudl wallow in B for a while. Even if those aren’t the emotions that woudl be viewed by all those relationship experts and such as “healthy”, I truly believe that those things need to be felt in order to provide the contrast to find what I want (Thank you, Abraham-Hicks!). I would own that.

    Over the next few days, I would be repeatedly reaching for that next better emotion and pulling myself together, while exploring the sights of Singapore. Upon my return home, I would be able to tell people what a great time I had in Singapore–and mean it. πŸ™‚

  • NancyCz

    I thought he left you in Africa! ;o)

  • Imelda/GreenishLady

    Official answer: C

    Honest answer: Mostly B with flashes of A during the first year; Then 2 or 3 years mostly B with occasional inklings of C-type thinking and feelings; and finally, by year 5, a C-state, with rare and brief moments of B or A. D features as fantasy only.

  • Stan Stamerson

    If he pays for the plane ticket and wasted time then cut your losses, otherwise they owe. They let you fly all the way to Singapore to find out? Horrifically insulting. Thats what the phone is for. They knew you would visit and they didn’t warn you until you got there. The desire for revenge would be great. $789.00 cheapest round trip ticket I can find. Nothing hurts more than humiliation and a little money loss. Of course Singapore is quite a cool place to visit. I suppose a break up is better than if they just pretend the whole time that nothing is wrong. Now you can actually enjoy it.

  • Diane

    I liked that we didn’t know the gender of the dumper and dumpee! But since I’m a woman I was reminded of that Forester Sisters song “Men…Can’t live with them and you just can’t shoot em.” My boyfriend and I recently broke up after almost 18 months together. We care about each other but we are older (been through marriages and divorces) and our relationship was far from perfect. The thing that helped us both was the fact that there are 6 billion people on the planet! Why do we get so hung up on one person?! Like they are the only one on the planet we can ever love? I guess letting go is just plain hard. Thank you Christine for taking the time to write so often on your blog.

  • Christine Kane

    kathy – did he REALLY refer to flashdance??? that’s a BIG alarm going off right there! Did he want you to tear up your sweatshirts and go get a job as a welder? I’m REALLY stuck on that one line! And I’m glad you found David – who apparently loves you even though you don’t weld! Hooray for C!

    thanks lainie! I hope the next two posts will help in this one too. I do know that it can’t be about “trying to be gracious.” It’s deeper than that. If I had tried to be gracious, I would’ve grown fangs. I think it’s about turning inward and filling that void with your own love…

  • Lainie

    This is a tough situation. I look forward to your next post! I guess I’ve been there too in a way. Time has not healed much, though I try to be gracious and wish him well. He recently married his sixth wife — I know, I know. But for me, the door closed and the window never opened, and that’s the hardest thing for me to understand. I hate to admit it, but B is the place I usually end up. Your last post was quite illuminating, actually, about the way I must have been asking to learn about love and opening my heart, but it came in a very hard package. I look forward to hearing your story of getting to C. Thanks always!

  • Kathy

    C but it takes a long time to get there. it was kentucky, not singapore, and I had just arrived for two weeks of blissful togetherness – intending to move the relationship ahead before I headed off to Omaha for 4 years with the USAF. The trip was my parent’s graduation present to me and all I wanted. In the parking lot at the airport he broke the news that he just couldn’t do it anymore – that I wasn’t like what’s her name in flashdance who would sacrifice everything to get what she wanted. I still don’t know what that means or where that came from. Do you get on the plane and go back home? Or do you stay for two weeks of torture hoping he’ll change his mind when he sees how great you really are? Yup I stayed. But the second week of it we were both volunteer counselor’s at christian camps for kids – he was at a guys camp, I was at a girl’s camp where the other counselors were friends of his. I don’t know if was stubbornness or what but I wouldn’t go home. The camp counselor thing turned out to be very healing for me – the other female counselors were great and supportive and loving showing me there was life outside of my relationship with Steve. We were all contributing our efforts towards giving underprivileged kids a week they’d remember the rest of their lives. There was a good few years after that where I “hated him” and commiserated with friends who’s bad mouth him with me….but without him I’d never have had that broadening experience with the kids setting me up for the rest of my life in such a profound way. And without that kick in the pants I might never have held on tight to my independence until the right one – my wonderful David – dropped in out of the universe. So C is it for sure!!

  • Christine Kane

    these are entertaining – as well as touching. and joh – this wasn’t a trick question, i swear! Love is defintely a part of the equation – but also the opportunity to learn about the true meaning of it as well!

    and yes, I do think we should all meet in singapore now.

  • Lisa

    I’d probably think: Gee, why did it take a guy to get me to Singapore? Now…let’s party!

  • Joh

    If I really loved him, I would retreat, take good care of myself (whatever form that took) and then attempt to work out what happened when I wasn’t feeling so hurt and confused. The last thing I would do in the initial stages is make it all too public. That is like slamming a door shut.
    But that’s just me.
    If it was just a potential love, still in the getting to know you stage. I would have a good laugh about it with my closest friends. Breathe a sigh of relief that it ended before it caused pain.Perhaps write a funny story about it online, without disclosing the persons identity.
    I notice you didn’t mention love in your post, just plans and expectations.

  • Michelle

    I like Mary’s answer……I would like to think I would choose “C” as long as I got to stay in Sinapore and travel on my own for 3 weeks – ultimately harassing the ex to pay for my hotel…its the least he could do right.

  • Mother Earth

    yikes this describes my marriage, and recent divorce – it’s funny in the first 4 months i couldn’t get past sending karmic daggers to stab him in the heart,hiring fairies to claw his eyes out and evil i hope he gets run over by a truck thoughts, yet on the other side of it… and this is currently happening – i am beginning to get an inkling of life without him, be personally expressed more than ever before and best yet the definition of freedom without the “i was screwed” attached and dreaming of a wholeness I never thought possible – sortof like a wondering that says I gave up my life for that schmuck?? I can’t say that I haven’t had my misery along the way, that i don’t miss the tenderness between us that was sometimes indescribable and that the idea of being friends with him makes me feel wiser than my years — you mean we could be friends AND I can send karmic daggars to stab your heart out?? Obviously I have some work to do.

    My point is there is certainly a process. Choice being which process leaves you with a sense of dignity.

    Mother Earth aka Karen Hanrahan

  • Elaine

    I agree… gotta enjoy 3 weeks in Singapore first! πŸ™‚ Can’t wait for the next post!

  • Cate

    I’ve actually had option D done to me after a fashion. Still reeling. C has to be the best choice. Do we always choose what’s best though? I hope Singapore was wonderful – you know, besides the heartbreak.

  • Mary

    How about going through A,B,C and D, acknowledging you’re indeed human and not a guru but do it while exploring Singapore and having a wonderful time and perhaps a mad,passionate fling with a handsome, beautiful,wonderful, smart, witty and engaging person you just happen to meet while….looking in the mirror!

  • Caren

    I was stuck on A & B for a very, very long time, with flashes of C here and there. Ummmm… if you substitute West Virginia for Singapore. *Can* you substitute WV for Singapore? Very, very different cultures. As is WV in general.

    Well, not really A & B – I didn’t trash him to my friends. Much. The phrase “rest of your life” makes it ring false to me. And I don’t see myself as a victim. Much.

    It still hurts too much for me to have much perspective – I’m still hurt and angry. I have a friend who reminds me that one day I’ll see the gift. At least I’m not wallowing, or curled up on the floor. I know I’m not *stuck*, even though I’m not moving forward very quickly. All in the fullness of time. (a phrase I got from a James Taylor concert, when folks were yelling out their requests. He’d calmly say “All in the fullness of time.” I like it.)

    I did do the Byron Katie work on it once. It was SO powerful. My original statement was “He should love me”, which would probably be turned around to “I should love myself” in a lot of cases, but for me, when I turned it around to “I should love him”, I got that rush of energy and stomach-clench which let me know I was onto something. I should love him – for *who he was*, not the fantasy person I ended up falling for.

    Oy – it’s been a while since I’ve even looked at “the situation”. So, you forgot AB 1/2 – sweep it under the rug mostly, except for those moments you’re willing to look at it. Move on. Sweep. Look. Move on. Etc., etc.

  • Christine Kane

    i’m not sure what you mean, colin. the next post will be about the details of this stuff. but i’m pretty sure you’re asking this from a more personal standpoint. and yes, i’ll get to that too!

  • Colin

    Do you still sometimes wonder if you have dealt with everything in the scenario?

  • Christine Kane

    Well, now I just think we should all meet each other in Singapore – given that everyone seems up for an adventure! Joy, I liked what you wrote — very beautifully described. and mags – yes, a “good wallow” is a fine game plan too!

  • Joy Gardner

    Yep, been there. Honestly, humanly, I would probably run the gamut in all three of these arenas. I would humanly, honestly, have to get it out of my system. I have to own pain and embrace it, before I can heal from it, much as I’d like to “raise shields” and deflect it. I operate in a deeper compassion than that, and so tend to feel things deeply…the love, and the pain. Ultimately, though, a greater wisdom always rises up in me (it’s really a gift) and I would heal, I could carry on, and I would sieze the moment and enjoy Singapore, bittersweet though it may be.

  • Christi

    What Laine said. πŸ˜€ Save the processing for the trip home and think, “Well, I’m in Singapore for three weeks – might as well have a good time.” (That’s assuming that finances permitted, of course.)

  • Laine

    C. But first I’d have an awesome time for the next 3 weeks in Singapore.

  • Mags

    Yeah, I’d go for C – I tend to reflect on stuff. But I’d probably have a good ol’ wallow first πŸ™‚ Then I’d decide that a bunch of soggy tissues looked kinda boring in comparison to the new country I was in, and I’d go explore (but I’d take the rest of the box of tissues along for occasional melt-downs!).

  • Pippa

    Yup, been there! I had a wonderful long distance relationship and it shattered after 18 months even though we were strongly moving towards marriage and emigration (me to him). The break-up was a shock and I am still getting used to it. But there is beauty and learning opportunities in what happened, and I do strongly believe EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A PURPOSE.

    I do hope this is not you, Christine ~ I would not wish such a learning curve on anyone. Breaking up in an airport? Ouch! I guess it happens to those who need it in some way, corny as it sounds.

    Can’t wait for the next instalment! And of course, Option C is by far, far, far the best!

  • Nic Wise

    Personally, I’d find a big snake to play with…..


    (except, my sweetie DIDN’T break up with me – it’s our 6th wedding aniversary in 2 weeks πŸ™‚ )