I recently found myself at a coffee shop with a friend, who called me out of the blue and said he wanted to speak to me.
I was not surprised because it was not the first time I had received a call, with the same request, just a different person on the other end. The tone is urgent and a little sad and years of experience have taught me what to expect.
It’s almost always, by default, about a failed relationship that did not live up to the potential it might have. As I prepare to be a patient listener for the next hour or so, I honestly want to interrupt him & tell him this.
“Congratulations! You are now about to experience the joy of heartbreak.”
It might sound ridiculous now, when you are broken, each piece of you bleeding for this person who you believed was made just for you. I know how each new dawn brings with it painful memories, when you wake up, and you’re willing it all to be a bad dream, but nope, it’s true. This person is no longer a part of your life. The door is shut and this time it’s for good (time wise and purpose wise, but you don’t know that yet.)
You’re testing the waters, through incessant messages and calls—is it one of those all-consuming fights after which you can kiss and make up so the relationship can return back to its toxic, happy state or is it really is game over? You have lost a bit of your self-respect when you know you’re pounding on the closed door, but you choose to ignore it.
When you finally realize that there is no person on the other side, listening to your pounding, it finally hits you. It’s over.
And now, you will unleash the sorrow on yourself and the ones around you. Some will understand. Some will avoid eye contact and the tiniest chance of conversation, because they are uncomfortable with your puffy, red eyes and your unkempt hair. In their defense, they just don’t know how to comfort you. So, don’t really mind them.
But for some of us, who are sounding boards, we are okay to let you be, to whine, to sob and to regret the turn of events. And that’s why I am here today.
I know the pointlessness of telling you that it’s all going to be okay. Oh what the heck! In fact, it’s all going to turn out great! I wish I could also tell you about the cycle of feelings that you will be going through and that it is going to be more or less in this pattern of the complex web of human emotions.
The Phase of Disbelief.
Here you find yourself thinking “No, this can’t be happening to me, to us. We were perfect. We are perfect. This can’t be the end.”
The Phase of Desperation.
Now is the time that you are calling & texting incessantly. You are trying everything you possibly can, reminding them of the good times, asking them for another chance to make things work and also cursing them for their indifference and cruelty.
The Phase of Profound Sorrow.
It’s an agonizing, gnawing pain that this phase brings along where you wake up and feel hopeless about your existence and your chance at happiness and love. It’s a low and a pretty deep one at that. You will blame your own self for things going downhill.
The Phase of Humiliation.
When the sorrow is finally trickling on its slow but sure way out, feelings of humiliation surface. Brace yourself for a sudden drop in self-esteem. “Did I just get dumped?” It’s okay my friend, it happens to the best of us and in no way reflects our self-worth, but you can arrive at that realization, only much later in the journey.
The Phase of Red, Hot Anger.
Molten lava like feelings churn in the heart, and is directed at the previously flawless object of affection. Some choose to let it ferment in their head, some choose to vent it out to the world, and sometimes, straight to the object of newly placed anger. Some also fall for generalizations, placing the blame in a general context.
The Phase of Acceptance.
Forced singlehood brings with it a quiet maturity. This is the time most of the reflections happen, of seeing things just the way they are without the drama of emotions. This is the phase when you will finally accept that you survived the storm and you emerged, a little broken but otherwise intact.
The Phase of Indifference.
This is the golden phase, the light at the end of the tunnel. If you reach here, you have truly survived, my dear heartbroken friend. The whole experience is a faded memory and when there is the odd reminder, you examine it and toss it at the back of your head, in a tiny corner of your mind. You don’t feel happiness or grief or anger, you feel…nothing.
This nothingness eventually leads you to the final state of the joy of heartbreak.
Looking back, you will know that it made you a better person, you will have a fresh new perspective toward relationships, there will be a shift in emotions and vulnerability and you will gain control over the choices you make. The choice could be of a new relationship or of enjoying your solitude, but you will be the one holding the rheostat. The naiveté will be replaced by intelligence. You will know that if things go wrong, this too shall pass. It always does.
And when it does pass, there will be no whining, neediness or insecurities. A new confidence confers an edge to your persona. You can have the privilege of being simply you, and that can attract a real person into your life, the friend, the companion and your soul mate, “the” one who is actually meant for you, if there is someone like that.
Wouldn’t you want that for yourself? So absorb the heart break and let it wreak havoc on your system for now. Live it with every cell of your body and don’t let fear hold you back. You will soar soon, but not until you stumble and fall.
A heart break is a must. It deserves to be a landmark item on the checklist of everybody’s life.
When It’s Over: Reflecting on Heartbreak.
Relephant bonus (when your heart’s broken):
Author: Mansi Jaysal
Editor: Catherine Monkman
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