Your Heart Got Smashed. Here are Your Options. |
Flashback to that one time I got played by a fella.
I was romantically swindled. Heart-wrecked. Ugly crying in ways you wouldn't want to imagine.
Here I was thinking we were months into something serious, and in one casual phone call he revealed that he had no interest in pursuing anything that even smelled like a relationship with me, and never did. And then he made me feel silly for even imagining that as a possibility.
“Amy, did you honestly this could be long-term? I don’t understand how you could think that.”
UMMMM BECAUSE WE DID ALL THE THINGS RELATIONSHIP PEOPLE DO AND YOU TOLD ME THINGS YOU KNEW WOULD MAKE ME THINK THAT AND JUST BECAUSE YOU TAKE IT ALL BACK NOW DOESN’T MEAN IT DIDN’T HAPPEN, DOUCHEBOX.
I was very angry and very sad. I mean, it’s pretty painful to sit back and realize, “Holy shit, I’m pretty sure you just led me on/used/manipulated/game'd me…and I think I kinda let you do it…?”
I got off the phone and replayed the conversation in my head amidst a pile of soggy kleenex. What the fuck had just happened? Had I completely misread signals and misinterpreted behavior? Am I a dumb woman? WHAT DA EFFING EFF THIS ISN’T HOW THIS IS SUPPOSED TO GO!
And yet sometimes? That’s exactly how it’s supposed to go.
Sometimes you need to land face-first in a pile of your own naivety. Sometimes you need to learn that you are not infallible, you are not without blind spots, and you are not above being hoodwinked by a charming, good-looking guy who made you believe he was super into you.
We are all susceptible to blatantly ignoring red flags, hearing only what we want to hear, and listening to our heart when we should have heard our head screaming, “BACK THE FUCK AWAY!”
This isn’t necessarily a reflection of our own stupidity or lack of awareness; sometimes bad men happen to good women. (And vice versa.)
Sometimes bad men aren’t even bad men, they’re just confused, selfish, or don’t know how relationships work. They carelessly waltz around entwining hearts (and checking into vaginas), and then need to get the hell outta dodge as soon as feelings enter the picture. Confused, selfish gents tend to not do well with feelings…or accountability…or serious come-to-Jesus conversations. Sometimes we fall for these guys, or worse, think we can change them.
And often we are shown that we are very, very wrong.
Cause hey, our judgement is questionable. We are only human, and we will only ever be human, and if we’re lucky, our hearts will get incorrectly entwined once in awhile to continually remind us of this. Because these humbling moments of betrayal and heartache present two opportunities. After you get hurt, you can either…
1) Get bitter. Get angry. Lose faith.
2) Get up. Get smarter. Keep going.
Many default to Option One. Bitterness and anger are knee-jerk reactions to finding out that someone is not who you hoped they were. It goes without saying that you will get angry and probably want to get even. You will relish in resentment. You will be deeply, inconsolably sad. You will question love. You might momentarily lose faith in the opposite sex and unfortunately, yourself.
And if you don’t fight it, this knee-jerk response can really stick to your bones. Any semblance of future romantic possibility will raise alarms of, “REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME,” and “YOU CAN’T TRUST HIM OR YOURSELF.”
You’ll find yourself inventing reasons to run away. Pinpointing problems before they even show up. Vacating into a world of crabby self-imposed solitude and drunk-scoffing at weddings.
Hopefully at some point you’ll decide that this sadness and snark doesn’t have to shape your whole world. And so enters Option Two.
Get up, mama. You need to look in the mirror and own that you (just like everyone else) are flawed and vulnerable. You need to give yourself the gift of process; that all of life exists on a gigantic learning curve and all we can do is grow and try and gather new data.
You need to decide that against all evidence indicating otherwise, you will continue to believe in love, because you are unique and gifted and deeply lovable. Just because one person doesn’t treasure your magic doesn’t mean another isn’t dying to catch a glimpse of it. Yes - even in the shadow of recent rejection and painful, face-numbing heartbreak you can choose that this one experience will not dictate the lens through which your future forms.
Because the rest of your life, the rest of your love, is still waiting for you. This one person, this one mistake, this one notch in the bedpost of “PAINFUL LEARNING EXPERIENCES” can serve to springboard you towards better, happier, healthier, heart-swelling adventures if you choose to see it that way.
You must rise above. You must crest the wave. You must not wallflower your way to some imagined spinster-hood. You have to speak gently to your heart and say, “I know that things didn’t go as planned…we’ll try to do better next time…”
Give yourself that gift. Continue to learn. Love smarter. Protect your heart. Remember that at the end of the day, the ones who succeed in love (and everywhere else) are the ones who don’t give up on or give in. They don’t fall in the face of stinging heartache and whimper, “YOU WIN!” They stand tall and declare, “YOU WON’T TAKE ME ALIVE!” and run in the opposite direction towards a better-feeling future.
Because trust me, hope always feels better than apathetic withdrawal. Do not cast yourself aside, or abandon your worthiness in the face of pain, shame, or romantic embarrassment. Give up on "getting it right"; invest in your own screwy humanity. And remind yourself every day that it's never to late for Option two. So get up and dust yourself off. Look for the learning. Emrace it. And please, keep going.