Sad reading after an amicable break-up
May 31, 2017 7:11 AM   Subscribe

I recently learned first-hand that an amicable break-up can hurt much, much more than an emotionally fraught break-up. I'm taking some time for myself right now, and would like your best suggestions for sad reading to help me process everything.

Basically, the amazing guy I was seeing was extremely unhappy in his job, and is taking (an indeterminate amount of) time to travel, work in his desired field, and grow. I'm really, really happy for him, but of course also very sad. (That said, the timing isn't awful. I need to get my anxiety under control and I think I'll be better able to do so if I'm single.) The truth is, neither of us will make good long-term partners (to one another or to other people) until we do these things.

I'm looking for sad stories (fiction or non-fiction) about having the right thing at the wrong time. Please no self-help books or anything of that ilk. Books preferred, but short stories, poems, movies, and TV shows are okay too. I just want to take some time to really embrace my feelings instead of cramming them down and pretending they don't exist.
posted by schroedingersgirl to Human Relations (10 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
House of Sand and Fog.
posted by travellingincognito at 7:30 AM on May 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

I know you asked for text, but this is basically at the heart of the movie "La La Land".

The female protagonist of the movie could have written your question :) Probably you already know that, but still.
posted by amtho at 8:37 AM on May 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

How I Met Your Mother has a few plot lines that deal with this. The first round of the Victoria story line (S1E12 - about S1E17) deals with a relationship cut short by an overseas job opportunity, and the episodes where Lily left Marshall to go find herself (S1E22 - S2E6ish) both kind of touch on these themes.

I'm sorry. Even if it's a good idea for both of you on paper, in practice, that truly does suck. Best of luck.
posted by helloimjennsco at 8:38 AM on May 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

Atticus Lish's debut novel, Preparation for the Next Life, may be the most heartbreakingly sad book I've ever read. Put it this way: I'm not a crier, but, um, the final few pages of my copy must have gotten some water on them after I got some dust in my eye.
posted by scratch at 9:23 AM on May 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's an old movie with subtitles, but La Strada with Anthony Quinn. Also, on a more dry note, Not A Good Girl, a short story by Perri Klass. Neither are *quite* what you're looking for, but are close, and may offer some interesting perspective.
posted by Crystal Fox at 10:08 AM on May 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

I loved this movie I just watched on Netflix recently called Blue Jay. I'm still processing its emotional impact, and so I'm not sure if I can completely relate the nuances of affectation I felt – but that right there speaks to the strength of this movie, though, truly. Briefly, the gravity of sadness was couched in the earliest feelings of acceptance, which I found heartrending, but just beautiful.

I am very, very secure in saying it was powerful for me with regards to there having been an amazing, wonderful thing in life and knowing it wouldn't be quite right to resume it right then (or really ever.) The circumstances are different; the feeling's the same.
posted by a good beginning at 10:11 AM on May 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think what you're doing is perfect-- sometimes letting yourself be sad is the best thing.

I love Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan and Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.

The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama was given to me at a tough time; it's about loss and beauty and healing.
posted by BibiRose at 10:28 AM on May 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

This might be heavier than what you're looking for, but I sometimes revisit works written as the queer community was coming to grips with HIV/AIDS when I need to calibrate my sadness. There's so, so much "right people, wrong time" material in there, but also acceptance and coping and triumph, and it's something I find helpful to revisit. Angels in America and Longtime Companion spring to mind.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 10:43 AM on May 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

Brokeback Mountain
posted by kapers at 11:07 AM on May 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

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