** Warning Season 3 Spoilers**
I am a big Ted Lasso fan. In a sea of content on the plethora of streaming platforms we now have access to, Ted Lasso’s characters, story lines and heart feel like a breath of fresh air. The show promotes kindness, compassion, empathy and hope that just is not found in a lot of shows. Importantly, the show does not limit itself to story lines that would expect a positive outcome. Instead, Ted Lasso tackles important issues of anxiety, cultural differences, and relationships in a way that represents true struggles we all face every day. In my opinion, the show succeeds in providing excellent examples of how we can navigate these difficult times in our lives with compassion and grace, and it highlights the right support system of family and friends can help us get through it all. If we just Believe.
Season 3 of Ted Lasso premiered on March 15, and did not hesitate to dive into some complicated issues. One of these issues involves the breakup of two of our favorite characters, Keeley, and Roy Kent. In the midst of this heartbreaking revelation, Roy and Keeley sit down with Roy’s niece, Phoebe, to explain the situation to her at the same time. The show highlights the struggle the parties are going through with Keeley saying they are “going on a break” while Roy says they “broke up”.
Star and executive producer Jason Sudeikis have conducted several interviews since the premiere, and his response to the breakup and confusion surrounding it is that it is purposeful because many relationships fall apart with one or both parties confused and wondering what went wrong. “I feel like in various relationships, sometimes people don’t know why they’ve made a choice, or why someone has made that choice,” Sudeikis says. “And they take the opportunity to investigate oneself more than to just put the fault or accountability on one person.”
Many couples can learn a valuable lesson by watching Roy and Keeley discuss the breakup with Roy’s niece. Although she is not their child, Roy is a father figure in Phoebe’s life, and she has a strong bond with both Roy and Keeley.
After breaking the news to Phoebe, Keeley and Roy immediately reassure her that the breakup is not about her, and that she will have the ability to spend time with Keeley whenever she wants to. Phoebe then asks, “Why are you breaking up?”, to which neither Roy nor Keeley can give a clear answer.
However, instead of brushing off her questions they discuss the situation with Phoebe, and they even ensure she has discussed everything to her satisfaction by outright asking her if she wants to continue the discussion. Instead of allowing the hurt feelings and heartbreak control the conversation, they understand their relationship and breakup effects Roy’s niece, and they put her needs and emotions before their own. Although the situation was clearly incredibly difficult for both Roy and Keeley, they put away their own feelings and needs to help Phoebe navigate her feelings on the situation. They made the conversation about the child and what she needed in that moment and put their own needs, wants and feelings to the side.
Phoebe ends the conversation by saying she is glad she and Keeley get to remain to be friends. One simple sentence demonstrated Phoebe’s feelings of safety in the situation and her appreciation in knowing that although these important adults in her life’s relationship was changing, her relationship with each of them individually did not have to. For a scene that lasts only a few moments, we see so much heartache, courage, love and responsibility in Roy and Keeley’s actions that positively impacts the child in their lives.
Navigating a breakup with children involved is incredibly difficult because your breakup affects your children just as much, if not more, than it affects you. While you may be trying to figure out what went wrong, or perhaps simply dealing with the grieving process of a relationship you may have thought would last forever, your children see your suffering and are suffering in their own way. Having these open and honest conversations with them (within situational reason of course) is a great start to providing your child the safety and stability of knowing that although their lives are changing, it is going to be okay, and you and hopefully your ex-partner will be there for them no matter what happens.