Every woman who has been there remembers the symptoms: the hurt, the possible appetite loss, the self-torture thoughts that you’re up having and he’s…well…probably not. Maybe you reread some text exchanges; flip through old pictures; stay awake with seething anger with responses you SHOULD’VE had in the moment, but didn’t; feel the pinch on smelling his cologne on a strangers or seeing someone who looks like him. When great love ends, it leaves its indelible mark.
Funnier still, it doesn’t matter how long the love lasted or whether you were married or just in a relationship, living together or apart – heartbreak gives no fucks about status or time spent. “I shouldn’t be this hurt! It was only…” That’s the human brain’s department: trying to rationalize a very irrational thing. Pain is pain.
Who’s to say how deep a love is compared to the time we spent in it? A two year affair can hurt more than a ten year love sometimes. Each heart is different as to how much they put in, but when they suffer…ohhhh the suffering is great. You can’t tell hurt when to stop hurting, even as you try to steel yourself against it.
My greatest heartbreak was not a marriage, was not a decades long affair, and we had no children together. I had been innocent and naive when we began; I felt cheated that the experience stole that away. I knew I would love again…once I could. But it clung to me until I made my mind up to uncloak myself. It’s the greatest pain I’ve ever known. Looking back, I did the inevitable: I wallowed where people would let me, and I’m so thankful to those who DIDN’T let me. You can’t heal when you’re busy ripping off your own scabs. I did some ripping, kids. Ohhh, did I rip. And I lashed out if you stopped me. Thankfully, no one stopped stopping me.
WTF! Does NO ONE respect my gangsta?!?!
A dear girlfriend is a widow of only a few years after 30+ years of marriage. She said to me once, “I didn’t understand what you meant when you told me that it felt like ::ex’s name redacted:: died; I couldn’t understand because I had never felt heartbreak like that. Now, I do. I’m doing the things you did. I get it now.” She compared her husband’s death to the mourning I felt over a relationship. That…is deep pain. I didn’t see my valley from the outside that way, but I came through it. And she’s slowly coming through hers.
I say all this to say, be kind to yourself in heartbreak. Don’t rip your scabs. Don’t go out of your way to be miserable. “I’m not happy till I’m miserable!” is another girlfriend’s favourite saying. Sometimes it’s true.
You’ll live again; you’ll love again. Know how I know? I’ve been there.
See, heartbreak is universal.