Heartbreak – Baby’s First Breakup

Originally posted elsewhere on October 1, 2010.

My son is 5 years old, but he’s still my baby. You know what I mean. At 5 years old, isn’t he too young for heartbreak?

Earlier this week, TJ came home and announced that his girlfriend had broken up with him. This was news to me, because I didn’t even know the girl’s name. (Last year in preschool, he proudly told us he had three girlfriends. One was a classmate and the other two were family friends of ours.) So not only did he have a girlfriend, but he hadn’t told us about her. Isn’t this sort of behavior supposed to wait until the teen years?

We had to have a talk about what it means to break up. He understood that she wasn’t going to be his girlfriend anymore, but he thought he was still her boyfriend. (Poor thing!) Apparently they’re not sitting next to each other on the bus anymore; he’s sitting in front of her now.

He asked me what it means to have a girlfriend – after telling me he needed to have a girlfriend. I told him that he wouldn’t really have a girlfriend until he’s 13 or 14, but it was fun to pretend for now… That was a mistake. “But Mommy, she was my real girlfriend!” So I told him that, at this age, being boyfriend and girlfriend means you like each other a whole lot, and that you like spending time with each other. He nodded and told me that these things had applied to his relationship with this little girl who broke his heart.

Then I told him that, when he gets older, having a girlfriend means that they’ll probably be holding hands and kissing. This was when he announced that this girl had been kissing him and calling him pet names! (She called him her cutie patootie!) Who is this girl who goes around kissing my son and then dumping him? How dare she!

One thing I’ve learned from this is not to discount TJ’s feelings. He went on the defensive when I tried telling him that she wasn’t his real girlfriend. The relationship was real to him, even if he didn’t understand what it meant. All he knew was that he had a girlfriend one day, and not the next. And it hurt his feelings.

I hugged him and kissed him, reassuring him that he is loved. He’s nice, he’s smart, and he’s handsome. Of course he’ll find another girlfriend.

…But can it please wait until he’s a teenager?

Christina Gleason (975 Posts)

That’s me: Christina Gleason. I’m a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. My company is called Phenomenal Content. (Hire me!) I'm a multiply disabled autistic woman doing my best in this world built for abled people. I’m a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including Twitch Sings and Plants vs Zombies 2. I hate vegetables. I have an intense phone phobia, so I’ll happily conduct business over email or IM instead.


  1. What is it with kids trying to grow up so quickly? JSL’s been on the hunt for a wife for months now. Seriously. He starts saying he’s going to marry B or me or his grandparents. When we explain why he can’t, he gets upset and then gets sad that he has no one to marry. Shouldn’t depression over being unmarried wait until he’s in his mid 30’s and single? Or, at the very earliest, his late 20’s? Why must he obsess over being married when he’s only 4?!!!
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