How to have your heart broken…

They say that the break-up of your first relationship after your marriage hurts the most, and they are right…


A few months ago I had my heart broken. I’ve healed now, but the anguish I felt at the time I wrote about in my journal, to process the hurt, and these were my thoughts:

I feel in physical pain, my heart actually aches and my mind keeps replaying memories of last summer over and over, loop after loop. My head feels as though a band is tightening around it. I was warned, of course, not to get involved with this guy. The alarm bells had been ringing in my head for so long they’d given me tinnitus.  But I jumped in head and heart first anyway. They say that the end of your first post-divorce relationship hurts more than the loss of the marriage and the all-knowing ‘they’ are right. I hurt. Badly. I’m anguished. I want to cry cathartic tears, but I can’t. They stay stubbornly in my head, but I know that feeling them wash down my face amid streaks of black mascara would help. Yet they remain unshed.

Last night I woke up in the witching hour. Happy. Until that is I remembered the break-up chat of the previous day. The tears, the recriminations. The crash of thoughts came trampling across the landscape of my mind. Thud. Thud. The pain came flooding back in stabbing, destructive waves. The ‘I’ll contact you in a few days’ parting shot, which materialised today in a ‘it’s not you, it’s me letter’ that finally pulled the plug. I knew he was no good for me, but he looked at me as though I was magic and held me like no one has ever held me in a big, strong embrace. After a long marriage of feeling like nothing but an irritant to my husband, being cherished felt nice. More than nice. It became a hedonistic nectar that I couldn’t get enough of. I was like a love-sick teenager throwing caution to the wind.

We spent the summer together in a collection of warm nights sitting outside drinking cider followed by bike rides home when I was dizzy with the thrill of it all. He joked about me being his ‘summer girl’. I always knew I’d never make it through winter. Yet, I continued to be dizzy with the thrill of this guy whose gaze made come alive, made me tingle. But fast forward a few months, when the hard reality of starting a new life from the ashes of my marriage meant that I was crying more than I was laughing, weighed down by the Sisyphean task of pushing the boulder of my new life uphill, had made me needy, requiring of someone to share the burden of the boulder, and predictably, the chimera disappeared. As I always knew it would. Instinct you see. Instinct told me from the get-go that when the going got tough he would disappear like some willo-the-wisp, to where the going was less tough, less requiring of emotional effort. But I ignored that small voice of calm. Just as I ignored the warning signs at the start of my relationship with my husband. I pushed them down, ignored them, sat on them, muffled them. But they wouldn’t be silenced, and ultimately the unheeded warning signs would years later be the reason I moved out and moved on. I’m learning that not listening to your little inner voice is A Bad Thing.

And the warning signs I ignored with this guy, the ones I drowned out with cider and hedonism, the ones I just couldn’t ignore for much longer would have strangled this relationship at some stage. I’m just annoyed that he was the one to make the move to end it. Now I feel cheated, rejected, and grieving. Mourning for a lost summer of bliss, fun, sparkle, chilled cider, sand in my shoes and warm breezes. Now I’m left with the cold, pavement-grey reality of the end of a relationship that gave me the strength to bring about the end of my marriage. But now I have to learn to live without that beacon of light at the end of the rocks and navigate the stormy seas of single life as a separated woman knowing that, like too much sugar, this relationship was harmful and bad for me, but also that it made life just a little bit sweeter, tastier, and gave me a rush. Now it’s time for the comedown.

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