Overcoming heartbreak


For as many love songs as there are out there, there seem to be just as many about heartbreak. Getting up, getting over, and getting on. Some artists have made their careers singing about breakups. Someone somewhere has an entire playlist of these all set up, ready for a large glass of wine and a good cry.

Try not to think about what might have been, cause that was then, and we’ve taken different roads.

The other day, on an evening out with friends, I ran into an ex unexpectedly. One of those guys that I never should have fallen for at the time, and yet it happened, unbidden. We made eye contact a few times in the crowd and I kept my attention divided, my head full of all kinds of thoughts.

The scars of your love remind me of us, they keep me thinking that we almost had it all. 

I remembered how things had just kind of happened magically between us, unplanned and unbidden. We had seemed to connect on every level. Great chemistry, great conversation, similar visions of the future. I hadn’t been looking for anything at the time, and had found myself sitting back in awe, wondering if maybe something good was coming my way. I introduced him to my friends, we checked in throughout the day, we spent a lot of time together but still had differing interests and activities. It had been wonderful.

I don’t want to talk about things we’ve gone through. Though it’s hurting me, now it’s history. 

And then, suddenly, it was over. Finished and done. He had respectfully talked to me one night and let me know that although it had been going well, his heart just wasn’t in it. I had completely understood. And yet, against my better judgment, had become a bit of a basketcase, going through all the stages of grief in just hours. He had wanted to stay friends, but I couldn’t have it both ways. And so months had gone by. And now here he was.

Un-break my heart, say you’ll love me again, undo this hurt you caused when you walked out the door and walked out of my life. 

I found myself going into a petty space in my brain, something all of us are capable of in moments of surprise, and a place I don’t go very often. I hoped he noticed what better shape I’m in now, wondered if he knew what he was missing out on, and thought I would impress him with my conversational skills, my easy laugh with friends, my confidence.

Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead.

But he isn’t like that. And truthfully, neither am I. I’m not a game player or a trap layer. And so, to break the tension, I crossed the room and said hello. How are you. How have you been. How is your family. How is your job. Easy and awkward questions about the basics of life with someone I once shared a lot more with. How are your kids, I miss them, he said, and I got a titch of bitterness in my gullet. I’ve been raising my kids on my own (well, with my ex-wife) for a long time now.

Why does love always feel like a battlefield, a battlefield, a battlefield.

He hinted that he is dating someone else now, and smiled at how well it is going. They met online, he said. They are taking trips together and taking it slow, he said. And though my heart hurt for me, only briefly, my brain kicked in quick and reminded me it just hadn’t be right. I told him I was happy for him, and I meant it.

I want you to know that I’m happy for you. I wish nothing but the best for you both. 

I reminded myself how much I admired him for breaking things off when he did, how he did. Although it had been painful at the time, it was right, and I was glad it hadn’t been drawn out.

Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t. You can’t make your heart feel something that it won’t. 

We parted peacefully, with no promises. And I had a moment of enlightenment, that I’m glad to be in a place in my life where my heart can be broken. Life before coming out was stunted. To be capable of love and heartbreak now, even after all these years, feels refreshing. I’ve had my heart broken a few times. And I’ve broken a few hearts. I mean, this is what adults, straight or gay, go through.

Set me free, leave me be, I don’t want to fall another moment into your gravity.

My mind turned to the changing person I am, and how I’ve fallen in love with a few people in a few different places in my life. I’ve yet to find a partner. The future remains elusive, as it should. And who knows who I’ll end up with, if anyone. This last time, it went really good for a while. Maybe it will again.

And can I sail through the changing ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life?

I turned back to my friends, feeling better already, and watched him leave. I was okay before, and I’m okay now.










Lyrics quoted from “What Might Have Been” by Little Texas, Rollin’ in the Deep by Adele, “The Winner Takes It All” by ABBA, “Unbreak My Heart” by Toni Braxton, “Someone Like You” by Adele, “Battlefield” by Jordin Sparks, “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette, “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt, “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles, and “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac

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