"Ask a simple question, get a simple answer"
I've already written about asking clear questions and giving honest answers. This series would be incomplete without a discussion of how to deal with the truth; after all, reality doesn't always square with our hopes. Fortunately, there are positive ways to deal with unpleasant truths. I'll write specifically about dating and breakups, but these ideas are all applicable in a wide variety of contexts.
I find it useful to understand the nature of my feelings as I process them. In some cases, I've missed having someone more than I missed the individual I was dating. Sometimes my discomfort has to do with the unpleasant task of adjusting to life without my former partner. And, of course, I've missed people – both people I've dated and people I knew through them.
Identifying the things I feel badly about allows me to determine what I can do something about and what I can't. If I miss having someone, I can meet new people and deepen friendships I already enjoy. I can plan to make the necessary adjustments. In the case of missing people, I can easily see some of them. As for the rest, I can live with the pain and let it abate with time.
Even the worst sorrows are resolved by faith. Faith doesn't remove all pain immediately; faith adds hope in a future day when "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain" (Rev. 21:4). I believe that this is true for all of us, although we will not see this prophecy fulfilled in this life.
There is the matter of how to react in the moment to unpleasant news. Obviously, it's inappropriate to try to use pain to coerce or punish someone. It is also unwise to hide all emotion. Such concealment is dishonest and can be hurtful, even if its' motivated by a desire to spare someone else pain. Instead of these destructive techniques, I try to understand my feelings and to express them simply. There is always something to appreciate about a person and even about the way that person goes about breaking up. An expression of all of these feelings – positive and negative – shows respect and encourages continued friendship. It also helps the healing process to happen quickly and completely, which opens the door to future happiness and friendships.