lessons learned from my heartbreaks

First and foremost: Time heals. It’s so cliche, but it’s so true. When you’re in pain, you think this say is total bull crap. Even though everyone tells you time heals all pain, you just wanna scream, “No it doesn’t! You just don’t get it!” You’re so sure you’ll NEVER feel better. You think people only say that because they have NEVER felt that kind of pain. Your pain is unique.

I’ve had my heart broken quite a number of times. I felt like I’d never get better EVERY TIME, but I always did. I think it’s useful to recap my previous heartbreaks and remedies for future reference.

I had my first so-called heartbreak when I was 17. I wasn’t even in a relationship with that guy. He was 24. He thought I was too young, and he was only in town for a while, so he basically just friendzoned me until he eventually left town. It seems so silly now, but back then I was really heartbroken. It was the first time I fell in love (lust) with a guy. Even though I had expected it, but the day he left I still cried my heart out. I had some adult friends. I particularly remember one telling me I shouldn’t be too upset about it because even though I would never get to have him, I had the memories of him. No matter what happened in the future, no one could take them away. Somehow this romanticized method dawned on my 17-year-old brain. I forgot how long it took me, but I eventually stopped being upset by believing in that notion. I even kept our photo in my wallet for many months later. I believe the photo is still there somewhere in my room. 🙂

Lesson learned: People come and go. Memories live on.

My first real major heartbreak came when I was dump by my first love after college. I never saw it coming. I’d never been in a situation like that, so I reacted by doing the only thing I knew–bugging him. I called, begged, emailed, facebooked, sent real letters/mixed CD. I terrorized him. I even sent him postcards when I was on a business trip to continue to declare my love for him. I cried every night for about two months I guess. I called him all the time, even during work breaks just to be met with cold silence. I was almost suicidal, but I didn’t do it because of my mom. Getting over him was the toughest thing I had to do. I felt okay one moment and missed him like crazy the next. What got me through was an advice given by my friend’s social worker mom. She told me healing a broken heart is much like healing a physical wound. You put a bandaid on it and let it heal on its own. You’re gonna feel the itch or discomfort along the way. If you keep taking the bandaid off and scratching the wound, you’ll only prolong the recovery.

Apparently it also dawned on my 21-year-old brain. I stopped using Facebook for about two months and stopped initiating contacts with him. A few months later he apologized for being a jerk to me. He remained a very good friend of mine for the next few years. We still harboured romantic feelings for each other for a long time and ended every call with “I love you,” but we never got back together because of the distance. We stopped talking after he got engaged except for the occasional “likes” on facebook. Once in a while I’d look at his profile and I still see traces of my presence in his life, little things here and there that mean something to us only. It used to hurt a little bit, but now I feel fine and I’m even semi-glad he has found the one.

Lesson learned: Do your self-esteem a favor. Don’t beg a guy to take you back! He needs to come to his own terms!

No one would believe what a nutcase I was when I tell them about that break up because I’m such a bright and happy person in all my friends’ eyes now. To be honest, there is nothing I regret more in the world than the way I behaved during that ugly break up. It was fortunate we were able to see past that and forgive each other. I swore I’d never lose my dignity over a break up every again.

That explains the breakup with my toxic love. I was constantly unhappy when I was with him. I had never been in a more incompatible relationship, yet I refused to admit it was dead end. When I finally ended it, I could tell he was almost glad it happened. With that being said, I was super devastated because I had invested so much more in that relationship. From my previous experience, I knew no contact was essential in getting over him. After we broke up on the phone, I told him not to call me, not to take my calls and not to give me any hope. I immediately unfriended him on Facebook and told our mutual friends to not to tell me anything about him. It was super painful at first. I knew I’d have gone back to him in a heartbeat if he had tried just a little bit (but he hadn’t). I stalked his twitter like 50 times a day  trying to decipher every tweet and to find confirmation of his love for me. It wasn’t helping. One night, under my cousins’ pressure, I deleted all our text messages. It took a while, and my warm tears just keep dripping down as I watched the bar go from 1% to 100%.

We had no contact for three months until I reached out to “check in” with him. He seemed happy to hear my voice, and I worked up my courage to casually ask him to dinner. He said yes and promised to get back to me. I waited for days and eventually called him again. He didn’t pick up. I thought he was avoiding me. I felt so stupid for believing we still had a chance. I was crying to myself when he called me back a few minutes later. I remember staring at the phone and letting it go to voice mail because I wouldn’t deal with that kind of drama. I couldn’t go back to waiting for him to come around. That was our last contact. I may have missed the chance to rekindle with him, but I don’t regret it. If he wanted me as much as I wanted him, he’d have picked a date right away.

Lesson learned: If a guy truly loves you and wants you back, he’ll take the first bait. 

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About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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One Response to lessons learned from my heartbreaks

  1. Pingback: I made an impact to a teen girl’s life | Half an ABC: Nicky English's blog

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