Broken Hearts and Relationships: When the Psychologist Needs a Cardiologist

Broken hearts are like labor pains.  We forget how badly they hurt because if we remembered we would never have a second child, and we would never take another chance.

My heart was broken today. 

 I am smart, circumspect, use data to inform my decisions, and yet here I was again. How did I fall into the clutches of such a situation?

In case you forgot the symptoms of a broken heart – they are as follows:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tearfulness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Pains in the chest
  • Headache
  • Rage and bitterness

It’s a bit like having a heart attack, depression and a stroke all in the same day.

He didn’t love me.  I loved him.  In the end, benign neglect killed it.  It’s like having a plant or a fish.  Life gets too busy and you forget to water or feed it – it’s not because you are out to destroy the thing, it just isn’t on your radar and other things take precedence.  So the plant or the fish dies.  Is it more courageous to just take the plant or the fish and heave it against the wall and kill it quick? Sometimes I wish he just kicked me to the curb.  But I was convenient, and he overplayed his hand.

Today I had to pull the plug – one of the braver things I have ever done.  I could have maintained the status quo, but I was slowly dying.  He just forgot about me and would come around when it suited him.  That’s my fault – I allowed it to happen because I didn’t value myself enough to ask for more.  My belief was that asking for more would have led him to leave me – well karma’s a bitch, and the story ended that way anyhow. At least if I told him the truth, and didn’t try play guerilla warfare by withholding my feelings, I could have respected myself.   To all those women out there playing hard to get – give it up – be honest, and if he dumps you, at least you cut your losses early.

Dropping him means I was finally loving me instead of settling for bad treatment.  But yet it still hurts because I still love him.  What do we fall in love with?  He wasn’t kind to me, he took me for granted, he pointed out my flaws regularly.  In my case, I fell in love with his indifference.  Because of my history, I believed love is something to be earned, rather than something that simply is.  Maybe now that I am stronger and braver – if I ever meet someone new, he too will be stronger and treat me better.  

I’m the doctor – I should know the cure.  I am guessing distraction, rest, exercise, LOTS of housecleaning, clean the sock drawer, DVDs, friends, tears.  Any other suggestions?

I am angry at myself for letting this happen, and proud of myself for taking the leap.  Loving another human being is the most human of experiences – even our brains are in on the trick by releasing dopamine and other rewarding stuff the same way cocaine makes people high.  So do we choose cocaine or love?  I guess it depends on whether you want rehab or a broken heart on the back end.

Broken hearts mend.  I know – mine has in the past – now that I am in the worst of it, I remember how much those past losses hurt. I forgot how this feels.  I also don’t remember what labor feels like- I know it hurt, but when I look at my children – I don’t remember those pains, instead I am overwhelmed with an unfathomable gratitude. In the weeks to come perhaps I too will feel gratitude that I once loved this person.

Right now the idea of loving someone seems impossible and taking the leap again will be a little harder. Each time, I build up a little scar tissue, hairline fractures that render me a little more vulnerable – but paradoxically, a little stronger. 

I shall write his name on a slip of paper and toss it into the wind of the setting sun – a final goodbye.  I will try and eat a little dinner, I will fold the laundry, I will work,  I will sleep, and I will wake up and I will keep walking – one step at a time.   And someday I will take that glorious leap again, and I will get my heart broken again.

But for now, I’m popping the top off a second box of Kleenex.

Cheers.

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This entry was posted on Friday, October 8th, 2010 at 8:01 pm and is filed under Relationships and Sex. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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