HOW DO YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART?

So how do you?

Like anything that’s broke, it’s important how you go about mending it again. It’s like a broken leg; it has to be set straight or you end up the rest of your life crippled or with a limp.

Let it heal crooked and it’s likely we will never trust again, or promise ourselves we won’t ever let anyone close again. You probably know someone like that. You may have even met them in the mirror at some stage.

Personally, I don’t want to become a male version of Miss Havisham. The prospect is not attractive. I look like crap in one shoe and a white dress.

So how do you mend a broken heart if you have one? Bourbon, of course, is great in the short term. But it’s an anesthetic, not a therapeutic.

Long term? Some take refuge in anger. But really, what does that serve? It’s just another band-aid. We feel angry so that we don’t feel the hurt. I’ve tried that but I can’t ever keep it up anyway, so I crossed that off my list. Besides, there’s always two sides to every story.

Jim Carrey messed with forgetting. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotlkess Mind he figured that if he could forget the past, he could get over it. He paid a medi-tech company to do it for him.

That seems great – but without memory how can we count the missteps?

What was interesting about Eternal Sunshine was that after the procedure Jim meets his former lover again (after she has also had her memory erased), and they feel an instant connection, though neither of them remembers they are colliding for the second time.

So really, does forgetting help? If we forget, we lose the one connection that may give us insight into what went wrong so we don’t do it again. Sometimes life can seem a long repetition of the same circumstance; but though I would dearly love to blame others , when I look for the common denominator in all my missteps there’s only one person showed up and had a hand in all of them. Coulda been me.

For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation – Rainer Maria Rilke

I still believe in good things that last; I know more than a few who have done it. But in movies and books soul mates see each other and live happily ever after. I wonder if it works that way. Perhaps – and it’s true of the success stories I’ve known – you have to walk through the fire before you get to the good stuff.

Only in a relationship can you know yourself; not in abstraction and certainly not in isolation. – J. Krishnamurti.

So I won’t be going to the memory erasure clinic any time soon. My remedy: one – try and learn something from it all. Two – keep believing. And three – don’t ever give up.

Ever.

Because you know, one day I might just get it right.

About colinfalconer

author of bestselling historical novels like Anastasia, When We Were Gods, Aztec and Harem. My books have been published in the UK, US and ANZ and translated into seventeen languages.
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26 Responses to HOW DO YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART?

  1. susielindau says:

    You will! I have been married for almost 25 years and we still have a blast together. He is my best friend and totally supportive. I think the key for us is having a great sense of humor. Neither of us are vindictive people and we have a mutual love for life and adventure so it works for us.
    As far as friendships, I am still learning the hard way since my loyalty runs deep and I am way too forgiving. It’s in my nature.

  2. “Let it heal crooked and it’s likely we’ll never trust again.” Poignant and true. My heart has broken and healed many times, and I value every scar. 🙂 Sometimes we need breaking before we can reinvent or reconnect with ourselves, which is vital before sharing it with another. I agree with Susie—you will get it right.

  3. Jennette Marie Powell says:

    I’ve tried anger, and all it did was make things worse. What did help was to move on – and yes, all those people who told me I’d find someone when I stopped looking were right! Just live life and enjoy time with friends, family, and things you love to do, and you might be surprised.

    • Thanks Jennette – and you’re right about anger. It does no one any good. And I can never keep it up anyway – I just end up wishing I’d never got mad in the first place.

  4. CC MacKenzie says:

    Hmm, when you truly love someone you want what’s best for them in order for them to be happy. My grandmother told me on the eve of my wedding to never go to bed without resolving an argument and we’ve followed the advice. Of course that’s meant more than a few nights of not going to bed at all or at 3.00am especially in the early days. We’ve been together over twenty five years and trust me, I don’t love him all the time and the same’s certainly true for him.

    But we have a laugh every single day. That’s not to say we haven’t had our challenges because we have but in the end it’s strengthened the relationship. Heartbreak is a unique burn. It’s mix of anger, grief and a deep deep hurt which leaves the organ bloodied and bruised.

    They say time’s a great healer but if it was me I’d just want to punch anyone who said that. However, it’s true. Be kind to you. Talk to friends and take it easy. One day you’ll look back and think ‘Yep, that’s why that happened’ because you’ll be in a better place perhaps with a person who truly loves you and wants what’s best for you in order for you to be happy.

    • Thanks CC. I think every relationship goes through challenges, has to – it depends I suppose if you’re able to meet them. I like the idea of not going to bed without resolving an argument – grandma’s have all the best lines, don’t they?

  5. Debra Kristi says:

    You’ve already got some great advice and I’d just be repeating it. Time is a healer, unfortunately it is time. Sigh. And I also live by the philosophy of not going to bed angry, and so I spend some days extremely tired. : -| But if the love is truly there, it is worth working out and there should be a way to find that middle ground. I have only been married to my husband for fifteen years, but we have been a part of each other’s lives for twenty five years. Relationships take work. Sometimes, seriously hard and painful work. But if you really love one another at the core, it’s worth it and you can learn to trust again. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Find a place where you can relax your mind and let yourself unwind. Hopefully your answers will come to you.

    • I think ‘only’ fifteen years is something to be proud of. To be honest, I’ve been overwhelmed by the comments I’ve had on this post, and a lottle embarrassed, I guess. But a friend said to me I was too private in my posts and that I should let people know where I was at. Relationships are hard – and it’s been good to hear other people’s stories and take encouragement from that. Thanks Debra.

  6. Karen McFarland says:

    Boy oh boy have I been gone for a while. I was very sick you know.

    A broken heart? Being tenderhearted and a sensitive person, I believe there’s a lot of subtext here. First of all, you’ve received some great advice from some really special people. There’s not a whole lot more that I can add to it. I consider myself spoiled in the relationship department. I’ve known my husband for forty years. OMG, that’s just crazy, isn’t it? Oh how time flies when your having fun! LOL! Well, not always. But the basis of our relationship has been a deeply rooted friendship. We were friends first before an attraction developed. We both came from strong marriages. There are no divorces in our background. Which is very rare indeed. So I’m not normal. But you already knew that. LOL!

    By the way, I like your new blog-site! Keep smiling and writing Colin! 🙂

    • I knew you were missing, didn’t know you were sick, Karen. Thought you were just busy with other stuff. Hope you’re OK now … and thank you for this. Forty years! That’s amazing – and also very encouraging. I love to hear how people still love each other after so long together. It’s a great way not to be ‘normal’!

  7. Colin, this resonates so deeply with me. Some days, I feel like I am still mending my first fracture, which was deep and jagged and so very sad (There were problem I thought we could fix, I sorta imagined we were going to get married, but it ended). Thankfully, I’ve moved past the anger. I agree with August, though, about how the healing process can be a very valuable time for renewing our ties and connections with our inner selves. There is so much we can learn in our solo time, and I think it makes us stronger, healthier, more whole human beings. 😀

    • Thanks for that, Lena. I agree on this one – I’ve taken the time out to spend some time alone to think things through. You’re right, it’s important. Some pennies have dropped for me in that time. We need to know ourselves better before anyone can know us, yes?

  8. Kim Rendfeld says:

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’m going to echo what the others have said about time. As cliched as it sounds, it is a healer. I also think it is OK to let yourself grieve. After almost 19 years of marriage, I still believe in love, more now than I did when I was in my 20s. Hang in there, and you will get it right.

  9. I’m hesitant to jump in because you’ve received such great advice already from people who’ve been married far longer than me. What I can speak to is that I used every past heartache as a learning experience. It doesn’t take away the pain, but as you said, it gives us a place to grow from. While I kept my blinders on, I walked back into heartache after heartache. The situations were eerily similar. It was when I started learning from the past heartaches that I found my husband, who is also my very best friend.

  10. I’m pretty jaded when it comes to relationships so I won’t even try to offer any advice. I will say that I’m sorry you’re going through this and offer you a cyber hug.

    Interesting concept in the movie clip. I might have to check it out. Never realized what a wonderful actor Jim Carrey could be until I saw him in The Majestic.

    • Well just on the movie – it was the first time I’d seen Jim Carrey act and not do his usual schtick. I was impressed. And Kate Winslet showed there was life after Titanic and hogging that two person door all for herself.

      • In all fairness, I think they did show Jack trying to get on the door, too, but it kept flipping them both off. He should have held Rose’s head under the water and saved himself. LOL…just kidding. Maybe.

        If you’ve never seen The Majestic…it’s a fantastic movie! Well worth watching. I hadn’t really believed Jim Carrey could act until I saw it.

      • I don’t know that movie. I’ll definitely look out for it!

  11. I LOVE Rilke! Unless we learn from our prior relationships and what our part was in the demise, we will keep repeating the same patterns. So I have learned to take time to myself, have fun being on my own, grow on my own, and trust that through my self-discovery and growth, my next relationship will be a major improvement from the last. But never expect perfection because by nature, we are all imperfect!

    • That’s spot on, Ingrid. I’ve noticed a few patterns in my life so I’m taking some time out right now to have another look at those. And thanks to everyone who wrote in on this post – I appreciate your thoughts a whole lot.

  12. Thank you Krystal. I’m glad you like my stuff. I know it’s the Internet but it just amazes me how these things zip around the world.

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