I have a group of friends that define the idea of squad goals. In the event that any of us experience a breakup, I know exactly what to expect. There will be shared tears, righteous anger, over-the-top anger, a lot of supportive- and hilarious- memes, advice about how to get under to get over, and endless phone calls and messages of support. They are truly ride or die friends, and I can count on them to show up no matter what.
One such friend made a suggestion that I think is brilliant. In the aftermath of a breakup, she suggested that we needed a support group complete with sponsors. Our sponsors job would be to help us stay straight on the road to recovery from the breakup. We could call them if we were tempted to contact the ex for any reason. Their job would be to talk us down. Instead of drunk dialing or texting our exes, we’d call the sponsor. We would basically allow that person to stand between us and some really bad decisions. They would remind us that we are bad asses, capable of handling life on our own. And if we wavered, they would be there to deliver the necessary reality check.
It’s certainly an idea with merit. Just watch any video by Dua Lipa with the theme of girl power and supporting each other. And while it may not be an original idea, support groups likely exist for this already, it is a great idea to allow our support system to help us when we go through a difficult time in our lives rather than always trying to do it on our own. Sure, we might be able to power through those times of temptation, but it would be nice to be able to lean on a friend, maybe share a laugh, and not feel so alone in the struggle.
Because believe me, everyone has experienced this at some point. There have all been times when we’ve looked back into the past and thought about reaching out to someone who was toxic for us. We all get those moments when we either want to pretty up that past or try to tell ourselves it will be different next time. And of course, it’s never different next time. We want to believe that people can change, and we focus so much on the potential of other humans that we overlook the reality, to our detriment.
Having a relationship sponsor to keep us in check is a great way to grieve the relationship, heal, and eventually move on without tripping ourselves up with those long walks down memory lane. We can move forward because we’ve got someone else who believes in us absolutely and who won’t judge us for feeling conflicted or missing someone who was bad for us.
I know that I went through a breakup where everyone around me hated my ex and wanted to bash him. While I didn’t disagree with any of the commentary, that wasn’t what I needed. And I didn’t need to be judged for having moments when I missed him or stumbled upon a good memory. That’s when I learned that I needed to cultivate the kind of support system who would listen to what I need and give me that, even if what they really wanted to do was rage about the person who broke my heart. A relationship sponsor could give us what we need and help us get back on track with a reality check without judging us for being human or having a tough day.
In fact, these are the essential components for identifying a relationship recovery sponsor:
- Must be non-judgmental (all feelings are totally acceptable)
- Must be willing to put aside their own feelings about the relationship and give us the requested type of support (vent and rage on your own time, darling)
- Must be capable of delivering advice, tissues, a hard reality check, and any other support on an as-needed basis (bitch slap one day, comforting hug the next)
- Must understand that grief is not linear and doesn’t follow any particular timeline (we might waffle back and forth, just be there)
- Must be patient with our nonsense (just one text, please)
- Must be trustworthy when it comes to handling sensitive information (if he/she was bad in bed, it all comes out now)
- Must be able to check us if we try to rewrite the past (no, he wasn’t Prince Charming at the start; let’s count the red flags…)
- Must be willing to confiscate electronic devices temporarily as needed (I promise this is the last text!)
- Must be willing and able to help us delete and block said ex from all social media accounts, as needed (often necessary to check our cyber-stalking tendencies)
- Must be willing to support us, even if we jump back into the relationship they’ve already admitted we dodged a bullet by leaving (hearts are capricious; we want what we want) and be ready to jump back in when said relationship inevitably falls apart again (they won’t say I told you so, and we’ll be grateful for their restraint).
I’m happily single with no plans to jump back into a relationship any time soon, if at all. But I will happily sponsor any of my friends who go through a breakup. I will be the motivational life coach, unrelenting personal trainer, drinking buddy, or arm chair therapist (not practicing actual therapy, of course)- depending on whatever is needed. I will rage or cry with them and take away their phone when the temptation to text becomes irresistible.
And I know that if I’m ever in that dark place again, there will be friends who will step up and do the same for me.