For those of you who do not frequently listen to pop stations, the above title might seem a bit naughtier than it actually is. They are lyrics from Avril Levine’s latest single, “What the Hell,” which is clearly a backlash from the end of her married life with Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley. While the song is really not my taste and her sound has changed from grunge-femme-pop to bubbly-commercialized pop, I think the lyrics are something that guys and girls can very much identify with.
While driving home from a friend’s house last night listening to the radio, this song came on and engendered some fodder for the blog. As grating as the song is, I cannot help but think of how many guys and girls alike can identify with those lyrics. I had just watched the most recent episode of Jersey Shore with Ron moping around and crying like a baby over Sam prior to getting in my car; so, of course break-ups were already on my mind. It seems as though there are universal steps in the process of grieving the loss of a relationship to someone, one of which is choosing to relish being single over wallowing in solitude. Shortly following a bad break-up or the end of any long-term relationship, one or both partners hit the town to get drunk and slut it up with their pals. While it seems like a simple fun thing to go out and have meaningless sex with someone new when you have been with the same person for an extended period of time, it is actually far harder than a random hookup while long-term single.
There are two types of daters in the world. There are those who never look for anything serious, date but never commit, and like sex but dislike the strings; and, conversely, there are the relationship lovers who crave the consistent companionship a significant other provides them with and who find comfort in committing to have sex with one person who is exclusive with them. In some rare instances a casual, serial dater can be lured into a relationship by the right girl; yet, the latter type of dater really is not equipped for casual sex. They may say they want to get wasted and go wild but when it comes down to it they either cannot follow-through or they do so and regret it. Both situations typically result in transitioning from the shock and denial phase of the breakup to the next stage of pain and guilt. However, I will save the 7 stages of relationship grief for another day and will focus solely on the first one for now.
When we break-up with someone, be it our choice or theirs, it is never easy. Seriously dating is something so much more than regular sex. A couple is a partnership between friends who share everything with each other including significant life moments and mutual friends. When the relationship ends, all other aspects of life must still go on except we must face them solo rather than as a team. This compounded with the sudden and complete loss of someone who had been so integral to our lives leads to a lot of raw emotionality and strain. It is much easier to “look on the bright side” and focus on all the fun aspects of singledom than grasp the reality at hand. I will admit that the last time I was dumped by someone I really liked my initial reaction was to cry, but an hour later I was making calls and setting plans into motion. A few hours after that I was out with friends wearing the tightest, shortest, lowest cut dress I owned and paired it with sexy black strappy six-inch heels. I am sure I looked somewhat ridiculous but the point is, most often we are not actually going out looking to hook up or get creeped on. I am not entirely sure how guys perceive this step but I can speak for the majority of females when I say that getting dressed-up and looking sexy allows us to take back some control, feel attractive, and reassure ourselves that we are not doomed to be alone. It is not that we are actually looking to engage in risky sexual behaviors, we just want to feel desired and take our mind off of things.
Many girls who are single are envious of their friends’ relationships and strongly desire a boyfriend. However, most girls who are in a committed relationship for a long period of time are secretly jealous of their single friends because they have forgotten just how lonely and unpredictable single life can be. Sure you can have sex with whomever you want and there is a tremendous amount of freedom, but you also do not have the dependability, security, and connection to someone that you have in a boyfriend. Sometimes this selective memory about singledom leads them to become consumed with fear and end the relationship or feel trapped and cheat. Neither of which is a smart idea. However, we cannot help it. Single life seems so carefree and full of endless possibilities until you are riding solo long enough to remember how tiresome it is. A good relationship is hard to find and we should not throw one away because we want to see what else it out there.
When you are the dumpee in the break of a lengthy, serious relationship, a phrase similar to Avril’s lyrics may run through your head…especially if the split was bitter or cheating was involved. If you have spent your adult life being honest, sweet, and mature about dating only to get your heart broken, it may seem not only logical but empowering as well to go out, meet new people, and gain life experience. As long as you are safe and smart about it, then the more power to you. However, before you rush out to jump into bed with someone, make sure you are capable of handling the consequences of your actions. I would suggest waiting because there is so much raw emotionality post-breakup or you may be in denial about your own sensitivity. Ultimately, while getting over the old guy by banging a new guy might seem helpful or fun, the next morning you are still single, you still got dumped, and now you have just upped your number with a complete stranger.
See the follow-up to this article “What the Hell?” Follow Up: “And I Don’t Really Care About If You Love Me, If You Hate Me”