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Be Gentle with Yourself When Dealing with Heartbreak

“Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together.” ~Unknown

I’m sitting in the nail salon near my apartment, perusing Vogue and making small talk with the woman who is cradling my hand and filing my nails. We’re catching up on our lives; I tell her I’ve been in Phoenix for the month. She nods and, in broken English, inquires after him.

I’d like to say my subsequent tears are a rarity, but lately, they seem to have a mind of their own.

I sit across from my best friend and shake my head, unable to squeak out a sound over the lump in my throat. I well up while crossing the street, while waiting in line, and now, in a mortifying turn of events, at the nail salon while this lovely woman across from me pats my hand in a show of support she does not have the words to express.

We had been together for four years (four and a half, if you count early long-distance courtship). We’d both been married before; he wasn’t looking for anything serious. Truthfully, neither was I: I had a thriving business in the fashion industry, a son in high school, and a mother who lived with us back in Phoenix. A relationship with a man in NYC seemed inconvenient, if not impossible.

For anyone who has ever felt the free-fall of love, “inconvenient” and “impossible” suddenly become obstacles you are willing to leap over like an Olympic athlete.

You throw caution to the wind. You are like Wonder Woman, flying into the chasm of love in your invisible jet; armed with a lasso and bracelet cuffs. What could possibly go wrong?

I’ve never been a woman who needs a man. I’m blessed to be very good friends with my ex-husband; our friendship and co-parenting relationship fulfills many aspects of my life. I’ve dated casually and admittedly, I’ve always been the one to leave a relationship. It’s always been on my terms.

Spoiler alert: What you have yet to learn, life will always find a way to teach you.

He and I fell into our relationship. I say “fell” because it wasn’t a conscious decision. We just were.

Two weeks out of the month, I was in Phoenix. I’d come to New York and stay with him, and our weeks would be filled with long walks through the city. He was the most affectionate man I’ve ever been with: always, he held my hand. Always, he held me at night.

Dinners together, brunch with friends—our weeks were stitched together with such “normal” occurrences that it felt like we were building a life together. No one made me laugh like that. No one made my heart feel like this.

I wanted our life together to include a commitment. “I know it sounds silly,” I’d concede to my friends. “But I’ve never felt like this. I want to marry him. I want a life with him.” And I’d ask, “Do you think he’ll ever marry me?”

They answered these questions with a nervous shrug. There were tears. There were agonizing, all-night conversations that resolved nothing, and always, we fell back into it. We fell back into us.

Certainly, we had issues. What couple doesn’t? While I’m a very independent person, his vacillating between affectionate and aloof left me feeling needy in a way I was unaccustomed to feeling. We are both entrepreneurs; we both had our own set of daily stresses.

Still, I hoped. I reasoned, “With a love like this, how could we not end up together?”

As it turns out, hoping and reasoning do not a commitment make—hence, my crying at the nail salon.

It’s been close to two months since he called me in Phoenix to tell me he could not give me the commitment I needed. The life I wanted. It’s been two months since the love of my life walked out of, well, us 

Heartbreak, it turns out, is not just for kids.

It happens to all of us at some point, I’m told, and when it happens to you for the first time in your life at 45, it feels as if you world is being blown to bits by the grenade of rejection.

I have made a study of surviving heartbreak. Always the type-A Capricorn, I have meditated, breathed, done every type of yoga under the sun (salutation). I’ve taken L-Theanine supplements to try and calm me. I’ve walked until I fell into bed, exhausted, only to stare at the ceiling until the sun came up. 

And where has all this yoga, breathing, introspective all-night thinking led me?

I’m still trying to figure that out. Here’s what I know so far: there are (finally!) nights when I’m able to get a few hours of sleep. I’ve started to laugh again. I haven’t cried in the line at Trader Joe’s in a little while.

But most of all, I’m starting to look at our relationship with some perspective.

His “walking away” may have been a lesson I needed to learn. Perhaps everyone needs to experience heartbreak to break their heart open to feel other things. Yes, there is crushing pain, but I’m hopeful that beyond that, there is something else that will nourish my soul in some way. 

The greatest lessons I’ve been able to take away from my heartbreak, though, are these:

I need to love myself enough to not try to put things back together. 

When things break, we all have a tendency to want to fix them. There comes a point, though, when you have to put yourself first. You have to take those first steps toward making your own way, on your own terms. You have to know when to make your own heart the priority.

Trying to change myself to fit the relationship is never going to work. 

We need to be gentle with ourselves, especially during a time of great heartache. Playing the “if only I were better or needed less” game serves no purpose except to make us feel worse.

The fact is, my ex loved me for who I was. Not better me, not less me. Had I been “better” or needed “less,” we probably would have never shared what we did in the first place.

Forgiveness is the hardest part. But it’s also the most rewarding.

Anger is one of the stages of grief, and we all have to move through it to move on. The hardest part of a breakup is forgiveness: forgiving myself for things I did or said along the way. Forgiving him for the same. Once we start to understand that our intentions came from a place of love or fear and not of mal intent, forgiveness begins.

Above all, I’m trying to believe that sometimes, as the Dalai Lama says, not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.

Photo by Javier Amos

Avatar of Kiran Rai

About Kiran Rai

Sir Alistair Rai is the brainchild of designer Kiran Rai. She brings a global perspective to the brand, which celebrates diversity & cultural appreciation. Kiran relies on over 20 years of experience in the fashion & merchandising industries, which includes past positions with GAP, Disney & The Limited Corporation.

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  • Julia

    Thank you for sharing. I myself just recently experienced a painful breakup and like you, I wanted more. I wanted commitment and wants to get married. He told me earlier in the relationship that he is not the marrying kind but we were so in love. Still, I hoped. I reasoned, “With a love like this, how could we not end up together?”

    I held on, I compromised and it turned me to an insecure person craving for his bits of attention. We were happy but we wanted different things. I want a happily married life, while he wants to travel and not have any commitments. When it ended, I am heartbroken and it seems the older we get, the more painful breakups are.

    I blamed myself, if I never pushed him to commit, if I was more gentle, more forgiving more understand. The what if and should have burdened me. I took up yoga, took anti depressants, exercise and try to live. It still hurts but it is getting better. I miss him but know that even if we try to fix it, the cracks left will be too fragile to sustain us.

    Sometimes I wake up and wish it was just a bad nightmare but I know that this shall pass and I will be a better person from this experience.

  • AJ

    I read this post with perfect timing. Sometimes I still feel that rawness, and over the last few days I’ve been feeling particularly raw and exposed. Though, I’m still grateful for the wonderful love that came into my life for what it taught me when it ended. Hard lessons, but ones that I needed to learn. I agree, life always has a way of thing you what you need to learn ;)

    Thank you for sharing your story. Much love to you and your journey xox

    Not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke if luck, keep believing and trust :)

  • Ann Marie

    Kiran I relate so well to what you say here and thank you for it.
    My on-again off-again four year relationship ended in December. I had experienced a broken heart before, but not like this one. 55 and shattered as I had never been before. I forgave him before I left that one last and final time. I knew the Universe had sent him to me as the accelerated version of all I needed to learn (he’s by far the most powerful teacher I’ve had in my life…short of my mother). I know the misery of tears coming to my eyes at the worst and oddest moments. It’s hard at times to feel that it will ever get better.
    And the most important thing I have learned is that some things are best NOT put back together. He is back in my life as a friend now. Where his presence once made me quiver with desire and lust, I now have calmness and a clearer vision. He would like to get back together (in bed). I have told him no because that’s not enough, never was enough, and won’t be enough now. His friendship is worth more to me than all the erotic sensuality we shared. (Never thought I’d say that…but the serenity I feel with that decision helps me know I’ve chosen correctly.)
    It does get better. What would life be without that decision, that choice to know you deserve more…and are worthy of EVERYTHING.

  • bittermoon

    such perfect timing. what a beautiful and thoughtful piece. thank you so, so very much.

  • Leighton

    Amazing! Just what I needed

  • Fin

    Couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you so much. The truth is I’m learning just how I want and deserve to be loved and anything less leads to this pain. Never again!

  • playintheclay

    Lovely piece. I went though this process about a year and 1/2 ago. My 13 year marriage ended abruptly. It takes time, but there is light at the end. Spending a year focusing on MY needs has given me time to realize that I lacked for a long time. It has opened my eyes to ways I neglected my own needs in order to force things to work. Now I’m in a new relationship, with a new perspective on what makes ME happy. By being gentle and patient with myself, I have given myself permission to be angry, sad, relieved, hopeful, whatever feeling I need to have at the time.

  • Always love

    It’s a shame we all seem to want to put relationships in boxes. As long as you are with that person and all is well, why want more and more when it would just ruin what you have? Surely just being with the person you love is enough? You can still grow together and who knows one day you could have that bit extra.. Just my opinion :)

  • me too

    was he Gemini?

    Lovely post, thank you.

  • Nichola

    Thank you, this means so much to be right now, my partner of 6.5 years left me 6 weeks ago, we have lived together for 5 years, been engaged for 2.5 years and he’s now decided he wants to be in his own and still hasn’t given me a reason as to why? This is also the 2nd time he has done this in 18 months, I’m still getting over it but I know I will be ok. From now on I’m just concentrating on making myself happy x
    Nichola, Manchester, England

  • Kami

    Wow. couldn’t have said it better myself. You truly have a knack for writing, but also you are sharing something that I can very much relate to. Especially this part:

    “Not better me, not less me. Had I been “better” or needed “less,” we
    probably would have never shared what we did in the first place.”

    I know I have a tendency to thinking ‘if I was smarter, prettier or what have you—’ things would be different [better] but reading that line, I just realized that sometimes that just isn’t the case.

    Life is about being who we are, and learning to love that person.

    I am sorry you had to go through this heart break to learn this, but I am so very thankful you chose to share your new found wisdom. Best wishes.

  • PSC

    What a wonderful piece, thank you for sharing. I too have recently
    experienced a breakup of a relationship (4.5 years) that was long
    distance then resulted in him moving in. At 51, I was thinking that this
    was it…my wait was over and that I was set in a relationship that
    would last forever. Wrong. However, I am SO GRATEFUL for this man and he
    has by far been the very best teacher in the world to me. I was
    obviously ready to be receptive to the teachings and it just sucks that
    he and I have to get so hurt to “get” the lessons. I have had a very
    long, hard, and tearful summer and am just now beginning to feel as if
    I’m ready to venture out again. Although, I am in no hurry. I have
    learned to enjoy my alone time, learned how to do nothing, letting the
    list of “to do’s” fall by the wayside. More incredible teachers have
    been presented to me, and the lessons are received daily. I can’t tell
    you how many times I have wanted to put it back together. I’ve wanted to
    pick up the phone and ask him to come back. But I have not. Because the
    lessons I have needed to learn are found in the stillness. And as Kiran has said, “I’m learning to put my own heart
    as the priority.” I’m still working on the forgiveness….and mostly
    forgiveness of my own self. This is an ongoing opportunity that goes way
    back. Life does get better after the heartbreak. Just know that others
    are right there with you.

  • SwayBar39

    I needed to read this. I needed to read it today because I am in absolute agony. Thank you so much.

  • karinka

    Thank you for that. I needed to hear it. How often we forget to love ourselves through break ups. And the rejection, ouch! But as hard as it may be to face at first, there is always a lesson or lessons to be learned. And I am definitely at that point. Thank god! Love and support to you. xx

  • Denise

    Kiran, thank you for sharing your journey of heartache, I really needed to read that today. I am in absolute agony as well, 3 months of it actually, After reading your post I realize as with the other readers here, I am NOT alone .. and yes, thank God for unanswered prayers! thanks so much

  • kiran RAI

    Hi Everyone ,

    Thank you for the kindness and thoughts, and all your stories. Its heart warming to hear it helped, and now how you have helped me :)

    Love, Kiran

  • Guest

    I love Tiny Buddah. I signed up because I needed enlightenment and was seeking answers to my situation at the time. I have read this blog and it was as if I had written it. I am 45, live in Phoenix, had a child in high school when I met my exboyfriend – back in 2008 – lasted 4 years in the relationship, it’s barely been a little over 2 months since the breakup, I am also a Capricorn, type-A, and the description of how the relationship happened. It was so weird reading this, all the similarities! The only exception was the reason for the breakup. I broke it off, finally. He was an abuser… So in my case, I don’t remember him fondly at all. Glad that’s over. Great blog! Totally hit home and it just reassured me that I am on the right path.

  • Broken

    Reading this was hard for me but helpful at the same time. Hard because I see so much of myself/my life in your story. Helpful because while I thought that my pain, sadness, confusion, etc. were a unique experience, I see that it–heartbreak–unfortunately happens to everyone, and I was not lucky enough to be spared. I cry at the most inopportune times, one simple reminder, one memory, one feeling and I’m fighting back tears. I want to see the bright side in all of this, want to not be angry that I was given this person that I loved so much, that I felt so happy with (until the ending weeks of our relationship), that I wanted to share my life with, only to have him walk away without looking back, because he couldn’t give me what I wanted. I hope some day to be able to look at this from a more positive vantage point, but right now, all I feel is sadness that it happened, sadness that it’s over and sadness that I’m heartbroken.
    BH

  • DD

    Hi Kiran! I just wanted to congratulate you on the great job you´re doing. Like you said, heartbreak is not just for kids or teenagers. Although I’m not 45, I had to go through the same thing you’re going through about 2 years ago, at 23. And, although it wasn´t a long relationship it left me brokenhearted. I started asking myself what I had done wrong, After all, he blamed me, my family issues and my economical situation at the time for not being able to commit. He said I was just too much too deal with. At the time, I felt devastated and frustrated. How could I not fix this? Was it really my fault? Could I had done something differently? But with time I realized some things: 1. People will be in your life for as long as they want to be, not for as long as you want them to be. 2. THE most important thing you have to learn from this kind of heartbreak is that YOU really come first, and you must love yourself before anything, because it allows you to set up healthy boundaries so that people don´t hurt you. 3. You have to learn to value other things in other men, men that you would never consider dating before the heartbreak, because what you think is important in the relationship (brunches, spending time together, normal daily activities… I was there too, every single day of the week, no exceptions) isn´t as important as having someone you can trust, someone who is mature enough to open himself to you and tell you his feelings before it´s too late, someone who is willing to commit, someone who accepts you as you are. 4. Be the best you can be and don’t settle for less. The guy I was dating was a complete jerk and he would underestimate me in every way he could. Telling me how I had driven him away. Saying I wasn’t good enough. Telling me how he could get someone else and how his exes still had feelings for him. Telling me how, no matter how much I tried, I still couldn’t change the things that were bothering him. But above all, making rude and nasty comments about other girls in front of me. The saddest part isn´t that he did all this, it was that I let him. But the best part is that I’ll never settle for less again and I´d rather be alone than with a jerk again. 5. And finally, although it sounds really cliché, TIME HEALS ALL WOUNDS. And even though it´s hard, I don´t regret feeling all that pain, because like you said, it teaches us so much more than we could have learned any other way. That’s why, in the end, I consider my ex, my teacher, because he ended up opening my eyes to what’s truly important in a relationship.
    So be patient and endure all pain, because this too shall pass. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Cey Cey

    Thank you so much for this Kami…

  • Cey Cey

    “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Oprah… I found this quote to open my eyes to my fantisies of love when they tell me and show me just who they are.

  • GK

    Very WELL said,thanks DD

  • renpic

    Wow, similar situation over here. I can totally relate to the partner vacillating between affection and aloof. I can relate to suddenly falling into this thing and feeling like you were building a life together, to ‘trying’ to fix it. Even now, as my friends totally support the separation as the right thing to do, I still find myself thinking of ways to ‘fix’ it, or wondering if we’ll ever get back together, try again.

    Only, I’ve put my all into it. I’ve given my all. I’m really out of energy and I did not get what I needed. So, trying to put it back together really would hurt, and would not be about me loving me. I’ve done that enough.

    Thank you for bringing me clarity around this issue!! And, hang in there.

  • rerp in SF

    thank you for this. over the past week, i’ve been mucking through the emotional wreckage of a fresh re-connection with the love of my life. we broke up 6 months ago, but i am still totally in love with her.
    i find myself trying (again) to extricate those salient lessons from the pain and the heartbreak: to be patient with myself for however long this healing takes place; to know that we were both coming from a place of love and best self; to appreciate the love we had and also move forward in accepting the reality that we simply do not want the same things.
    painful is an understatement, but it helps to hear others who have had similar experiences, and know that this mess is not unique, and kindness to oneself and patience with our own feelings is the best we can all do amid the mess. this particularly resonated with me: “As it turns out, hoping and reasoning do not a commitment make.” very apt for my situation right now, and a helpful reminder in why i must try to let go.

    good luck to you in your healing and wishing you more and greater love to come…!

  • http://www.greetings4u.net/christmas-greetings-wishes1.php Santa Claus

    Really good one Kiran. Helps a lot.

  • Marissa Sue

    Stumbled upon this quote today, & reminded me of your post.
    So i thought i’d send it your way. :) Enjoy

    “People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone
    wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you
    everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your
    own attention so you can change your life.

    A true soul mate is
    probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear
    down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate
    forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just
    to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.

    A
    soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit,
    show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new
    light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have
    to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…”


    Elizabeth Gilbert,

    Eat, Pray, Love

  • http://www.facebook.com/wclimpson Wendy Climpson

    oh my. so what i needed right now. i can relate to much of what youve written, in particular “While I’m a very independent person, his vacillating between affectionate and aloof left me feeling needy in a way I was unaccustomed to feeling”. I have been married for 7 years, engaged to someone else for 9, and have 4 amazing children. i was with my now ex for only 7 months, and its been only 6 weeks since he ended things, but i have never felt such heart break; i didnt know this could hurt so much at 41. i have been crying less, but i think part of the process is knowing that sometimes you wont get the answers you think you need. thank you. :)

  • Heather

    Take heart. Stop worrying. You are a Capricorn. Cappies are great. You will get through this. My Cappy baby sister thought her world had ended when a snively, sneaky French Libra guy messed her over.

    Skip to a few years later, she is blissfully happy with her fantastic, adoring Leo husband. I cannot imagine a better couple.

    Yours is coming.

    Signed,

    A Libra girl, who is sister of a Capricorn

    (P.S., and yes, I know, telling a Cappy to stop worrying is like telling the sun to stop shining. Stop anyway.) (Hug.)

  • Christopher

    Thanks for this. I am going on 4 1/2 months right now and wow, has it been a process. This has been the most important lesson I’ve ever learned. I try to look at everything with gratitude and thanks amidst the tears, anger, and heartbreak. For the first time in my life I am focusing on me. It is unfortunate that such a painful event is what’s needed to crack open the shells and walls we’ve built around us for supposed survival and afterwards realizing it’s these walls that have kept me from fully living for so many years.

  • Namaste

    Hello everyone,

    I’ve read many posts today and they couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m 25 years old and after reading this post, am beginning to understand that at some point in our lives we all must have our hearts broken.

    I’m currently in a relationship with the love of my life. The past year has been extremely turbulent and equally euphoric. 5 weeks ago, we split up. It was ugly. Since then we have reconciled and for the better. We are different people now and I definitely feel it.

    A few days ago, I stumbled across something to suggest that my partner was cheating on me and some point this year. I was in total shock and it has completely rattled my world, especially since we have made such progress. The past couple of months I have delved further in an introspective journey. I have not yet shared my discovery with my partner, but instead have sought ways for forgiveness. Something that has never come easy to me.

    While it pains me to continue on as normal, I have found it somewhat liberating owning my feelings. The hurt, the betrayal, the questions. Oh, the questions! I will share this with my partner, but for now I have made the decision to explore this alone. I have identified that unconditional love and forgiveness is truly the way for inner peace. While my emotions may overwhelm me, it is important for us to remember not to punish ourselves, to return to the centredness of our Being.

    I truly wish that anybody reading this will try to be gentle with themselves. I am finding it one of the hardest things to do, always being strong and resilient has left me totally out of my comfort zone but embrace it! Even in moments of despair, listen to the tiny voice that says, “I will be ok”. Allow yourself moments of anguish but don’t let them define you. Use them as a transformative tool. You will benefit immensely from it.

    I hope sharing my post will help some of you. I feel so comforted knowing that I am not alone in this struggle, and neither are you.

    Much love and blessings,
    Namaste

  • Cristina :)

    Wow, this is certaintly a validation that we are all alike. Sometimes we think our pain is well only ours but its important to see how much we are alike, it truly reminds me that understanding others as well as ourselves is the key to compassion. I never understood heartbreak until a few months ago. I also learned that we build up the other person in our mind, placing on them expectations that once broken, also break our hearts. Perhaps some of you are already in the phase where you can now see why things did not work out. It is my opinion that we need to learn to really see things as they really are. If your loved one says that marriage aint for them, listen to them. Dont hope it will change, dont place expectations upon them, either accept that reality or find someone who is more tuned to your needs.
    I had an ex who told me about an obssesion, I didnt acknowledge it as one. It then became clear it truly was an obssession, i felt deceieved that he couldnt pursue a true relationship. But then it hit me, he told me I choose not to see and I am responsible

  • Cristina :)

    I have also choosen to think about what I can offer in a relationship, what I need. Getting your heart broken is a wonderful opportunity to be compassionate with yourself, to learn from your mistakes and to redefine your path or to uncover it from all the mental dust that covers it.
    Plus isnt it great to have your heart back in order and see our wit and creativity when we attempt to get back with an ex? Come on guys! Who hasnt done stuff worthy of a hollywood movie :p

  • anagum

    Thank you for this. I am 23 years old and, like you, I have always been the one to end relationships, always on my own terms. For the first time, I´ve had my heart broken and all the bitterness that ensues with feeling rejected. And though lately I´m in darkness and nothing seems to cheer me up, I know that this happened for a reason. Everything happens for a reason. There are lessons that, if this experience hadn´t happened, I probably wouldn´t have learned or it would have been too late.

    I felt so incredibly happy when reading through what you learned, because I had been feeling bad that I was the only ones with these thought patterns (wanting to fix things even though he ended it and probably wouldn´t want me to, feeling absolutely guilty that everything that happened was my fault and that if I hadn´t been this pathetic or weak, etc, things would have worked out, and so on). I know now that it is time for me to be compassionate with myself and put my heart before everything else, and maybe, just maybe, the time for me to say “I have let go” will come sooner than I thought.

  • gracey

    Hi, just read your post……exactly the same happened to me and Im now where you were 4 months ago, just like I had written it myself! Would love to know how you are now…

  • EJ

    Both DD and Kiran, Thank you for the words of wisdom. Exactly what I have been feeling and have been through similar relationships and heartbreak. This has helped a lot.

    Warmest Regards

  • KS

    Unbelievable to find this at this moment in my life. Heartbreak just set in less than two weeks ago, and I can hardly function. My entire being is consumed with the ache in my heart, the tears that cloud my vision, the dreadful loss of weight from no appetite (there’s really no more to lose now), and it all is so new to me only a few years before I hit 50. I know time heals, I’ve spoken those words many times, and I’ve lived it many times. But at the moment it feels impossible to heal this insurmountable level of pain in my heart and soul. Unexpected, sudden, and untimely… and I find myself vacillating between the memories of what was and the dreams of what (I thought) could have been. Pure heartbreak, and it feels like a miracle to think I might even survive this intact and better off… So thank you for your words, as they are somehow greatly comforting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jmgordon Jonathan Gordon

    Dear Kiran,

    I came across your post today via google. I was looking for articles on heartbreak as I am going through the process at the moment.

    I have to say that I really valued reading what you wrote. It was so beautifully written and articulate and encapsulated everything so well. It was also so helpful to read other peoples comments.

    I see that you posted your article a while ago already. I do hope that you are feeling better by now and hope the same for everyone who posted a comment,

    The pain is certainly something to behold. I read an apt quote that said that its awfully simple to fall in love and simply awful to get over it.

    I’d certainly welcome the opportunity to correspond with you, if you’re open to it as your writing showed such depth.

    Jonathan

  • gemini

    ouch haha… a gemini.. I am a 20 year old gemini and have read stuff about us that says we’re hard to pin down. its nothing like that really :) actually, ..I can relate to Kiran’s situation. Ive been crying over these past days when my sorta-not-a relationship with a guy… it really hurt and i still dont know if Ill be able t cope up with this. both of us used to believe in astrology but what it said about us was a far cry from what just happened. so… its not about astrology or prediction stuff. I stumbled here cuz of the same issue. right now, im trying to put myself back together. I know he will never come back, no matter how much faith i put into it. congratulations Kiran fr your testimony :’)

  • Julia

    I just broke up with, what I thought was, the love of my life and I feel devastated and I miss him terribly but reading this made me feel a bit better and gave me some hope that everything will be okay again. So Thank you :-)

  • nomalu

    I wanted u to pick her up early cuz i knew it would all hit me today. I’ve been crying all morning thinking about every thing. Kacey, kaceys college, how she grew up and how hard it was to provide for her. Now it’s even harder cuz I have to provide for two and I feel even worse that kyra has to go through what kacey did. I was certain with every bone in my body u would never do us wrong. Thats why i had kyra. I put my heart,soul,dignity,faith and what ever u could imagine into believing you where Mr Right. Mr.Perfect. A strong
    willed man that would rather die than walk away from his home. I was sure we would die old together and be happy. Never in my dreams would I have thought u would have grown to hate me and do what u did.

  • adultbreakup

    I recently ended my engagement and my way of healing was to freely blog about my healing day-by-day

    http://adultbreakup.com/

  • Helena

    My boyfriend of four years just broke up with me, and reading this article really helped me to realise that I’m not alone and that there will be an end to my sadness. Thank you so much. There is always light at the end of the tunnel!

  • Jay

    Thank you for writing this article.
    This stood out for me:

    Trying to change myself to fit the relationship is never going to work.

    We need to be gentle with ourselves, especially during a time of great heartache. Playing the “if only I were better or needed less” game serves no purpose except to make us feel worse.

    This post may sound scattered or crazy, but I need to share.
    I had the best boyfriend for almost 3 years now. We traveled together. We spoke of marrying when it was legal in our state. We told each other every single day that we loved each other. We were always affectionate and life seemed to be getting better and better when we moved into this larger, beautiful apartment by the water this past July.
    He met a (female) friend earlier this year with whom he seems, to me, to have poor boundaries. For example, she visited our home and he paused a movie we were watching so she could have a conversation with her boyfriend (odd to me that she did not go into the other room). They work together in the travel industry; they spend all their time in each others’ rooms drinking and have conversations with their partners next to each other. I refused to speak to him anymore while he was in the room with her. Private conversations ought to be private. He has told me that he has shown her my texts and e-mails.

    Some people have suggested to me that she has become his safe person. Okay. I wasn’t ready to not be #1 anymore, but: okay.
    However, I don’t like dishonesty in any way. His way is passive: “Oh, I thought I told you that _____ would be spending two nights here because there are no flight available.” This was last Thursday. Today is Monday.
    Last Friday I wrote him an e-mail stating that I was tired of crying (literally) from loneliness because he was away so much. I told him that I didn’t trust him because he was not direct and did not keep me in the loop with his life as of late and that, frankly, he had lied to me.
    He texted me that night that he had picked up an extra shift at work and would work it out with me when he returned. He needed to be alone, away from _______ and me and that he couldn’t deal with this right now.
    Deal with what, I texted back?
    No response.
    I called after work.
    His phone seems to have been shut off.
    So began the weekend of fighting obsession, leaning into sadness, keeping myself busy with friends, and hoping that every text, e-mail, or phone call I received would be from him.
    I was not obsessive with this man for the first few years. Not until it seemed like he was pulling away did I start to feel insecure. I would have talks with him, cognizant of my body language and tone of voice in order to make him feel safe (he’s often afraid; the type of person who lies because he’s afraid of disappointing people).
    I have been beside myself, thinking about what I could have done differently, he must have gotten sick of me, he hates me, he’s cheating on me, he’s a compulsive gambler (don’t know where that one came from) and any other reason that he took off without a reason and has not said a work since.
    As I’m typing this, I’m thinking about what other people might think reading it. He’s not sounding so great in print.
    But I’m not perfect or an angel either. I have been difficult to live with. Was in graduate school while working full-time and dealing with chronic pain since April. I’ve been controlling at times. I appreciated his love and support.
    For the first 2 1/2 years, I had never been with anyone who was so committed to me, who wanted me so much, who accepted me like he did.
    And now: he’s missing.
    I am befuddled.
    I left him alone this weekend as per my spiritual advisor’s suggestion.
    But I e-mailed him twice today asking when he is coming home.
    No response.
    Because he travels and could be on a trip, I hesitate calling his airline job looking for him. Actually, I do not want to call anyone looking for him because I should not have to be chasing the man.
    I am terrified, angry, and completely baffled. This is not him. I mean this: this is bizarre behavior on his part.
    But I am not in control of him. I do not and cannot control him. I can’t make him love me or fix past mistakes on either parts.
    My heart aches – I never would have seen this coming 4 days ago.
    And I just think – damn it, I’m 41, and I’m having to go through a breakup again. Again. Again! I messed up AGAIN.
    Being gentle with myself is not my forte.
    I want someone to tell me what to do and make me feel safe. I know this is my job. I seem to have lost myself recently and I don’t understand why.
    So I appreciate this article.

  • Sad

    I am dealing with this again, for the third time with the same man. Each time he leaves, I try to pull myself together and once I do, he comes back. I never feel strong enough to say “enough” so I reopen my heart and love him with all that I have, and each time that same wound gets cut open again. Now, I fear that this is it, that he may never come back (although I don’t know if I could ever trust he wouldn’t leave me) and I fear that I will never get over this. I am afraid I will never love someone like I do him. I am afraid these tears will never stop flowing, that my dreams will forever be of him, and each morning when I wake up, I will reach for him and feel that pain in my chest when I realize he is gone. It is such a physical pain and it consumes me. I feel so sad, so hurt. How can you love someone so much and give all that you have again and again and it mean nothing? I struggle to see a lesson. I struggle to see anything but pain.

  • Carolina

    We made a dance piece about healing your heart chakra, watch it and maybe get a little bit inspired :)

    https://vimeo.com/81927774

    Born in the shadows of truth. Lost, loved and tumbled by the streams of the dark waters. By breaking the chains of illusion, she suddenly finds herself on the shore of reality. Born again. Supported by the sand and the wind in her hair. She fights the shadows with the fire of her own heart . Breath is a peculiar thing…

  • Jessi29

    I can relate… So many ppl feel just like u do right now… u r not alone…

  • Annie

    Just found you by googling “heartbroken make me feel better”. You certainly did, thank you. Beautifully written. Gave me some peace, some relief that I will hold in my heart today.

    Thank you again.

  • TinyYellowFlower

    Hi Jay,

    I read your story and my heart connects with it. I am going through something similar. I am in my mid-30s and I am experiencing my upteenth heartbreak and wanting to contact the other person and knowing that I shouldn’t but I am in so much pain and I am in so much love and it hurts so much.

    Since it is 3 months ago … I am wondering how you are doing. You may not even read is, but I want you to know that there are people who understand exactly what you are/were going through.

    This: “I want someone to tell me what to do and make me feel safe. I know this is my job. I seem to have lost myself recently and I don’t understand why.”

    So much. Love to you. x

  • Jay

    Hi Honey,

    It got worse.
    I came home one day and he had left the keys at the front desk of the apartment.
    He took both cats we had adopted, all cooking materials I had bought while we were together (I suppose he felt entitled because I would say “I bought these for you”), and a painting I bought in Thailand. The cats and the painting – no excuse.
    I pleaded with him to return one of the cats (“my” cat). “No. The keys are at the front desk.”
    Those are the only words I received about the breakup.
    I sent him an e-mail that night stating that I did not understand what happened. We had always said we would enter counseling before breaking up. We promised that to each other though I never thought it would come to that because of the type of relationship we had.
    So…the three months have been extremely difficult.

    Someone I’ve not spoken to in almost two years called me last week “concerned” about something she saw on Facebook (I do not have a Facebook account). He had changed his status to “in a relationship” and had a photo of him with another man. He stated he was “happy to present my new man to the world.”
    So in two months he has gotten a new man.

    Many questions arise for me and I obsess daily. The pain has been gruesome. Brutal. Relentless. There’s no other way to say it. As I write to you, my stomach is in a knot. (I should say that I’ve been in a bad place recently; it’s not like this 24/7.)
    In a way, I was somewhat relieved to hear that he had a new guy because it confirmed that he’s fucked up. He’s in another relationship after running out on the last one two months ago? Makes me wonder if he was cheating on me or is this person new. In either case, I did nothing wrong. I mean, to me, that’s crazy that he is in a new relationship and POSTING it on Facebook like a teenager. Judgment on my part, yes, but I’ll take it for the time being.

    I’ve looked at myself and where I messed up, where I was mean or controlling or not loving. I’ve made it my fault so many many times.
    I’ve had to have loved ones remind me that no matter what, it was no excuse for his behavior. None. Since I never hit him or cheated on him, there was no excuse. He was not in danger.

    There’s much more to say, my little flower. We’ll see if you read what I have posted.
    This week’s assignment from my spiritual advisor: write down all the things I did in the relationship that I feel bad about. Any things I said or did to him that I am still feeling bad about. I will get them out of my brain, put them on paper, and read them to her. I hope I can let them go. Because, according to her, I have to forgive myself before I can forgive him.
    I’ve been watching/listening to Jack Kornfield speak about forgiveness many times. It’s on YouTube. It helps.

    I don’t know the situation with your guy so I can’t give advice. However, a friend asked me if I would be willing to work on things with him again. No; as much as I love him – still! And that makes me sick! – I could never trust him again. I would always be living in fear. She said that she had done that in the past, knowing that getting back with someone was toxic, but doing it to stop the pain at least temporarily because it was so overwhelming. It never worked out in the end.
    I’ve that experience too. I did that with an ex five years ago. And it never worked out…and I am glad that it didn’t.
    My answer to her question was reassuring. It gave me a bit of freedom because I have a choice. (Not that he would want me back since he has a new man.)

    Love to you, too, honey. I wish I could take your pain away. I don’t see the purpose of this much pain in life.

  • TinyYellowFlower

    Hi Jay :)

    It’s nice to know that there is someone goodness knows where, who is there, also experiencing sad emotions. It makes me feel not so alone.

    I actually have a story similar to yours, which happened to me 10 years ago. This guy I was dating disappeared and was cheating on me. Will share later perhaps? ;) This post is going to be uncontrollably long. ;)

    My story right now is two years in the making and complicated. Although we knew each other in real life, for the most part, my love and I had an email correspondence, which allowed us to express emotions in ways neither of us could have imagined. Like many others here I thought; “With a love like this, how could we not end up together?” Our courting was full of eerie coincidences; it was as if the universe made each person for the other. When we were together, it was electric; I have so many good memories, I play on repeat, on a constant loop, all the time. That is what killing me. I felt the most love for him that I have ever felt for a partner. Although I know that I should, I can’t keep the good in my heart without mourning the grief and the loss of it. I don’t want to let go right now. I just don’t. That is the damn truth.

    (Unlike you, right now my break is very fresh and I am definitely in a place where I still want to be with my guy.)

    We were both reckless and we are both shoulder blame. Long story short, in the end, he was a very confused person and exploited me because of his *own* loneliness. He couldn’t be with me because [caution: bombshell!] he needed to reconcile with his wife purely for the sake of his son, which he knew from the beginning. I sort of knew this from the beginning but I was getting SO many mixed messages. Despite my initial fears, he pressed forward with our relationship anyway. When I wanted more, he couldn’t tell me yes, but he couldn’t tell me no either. I was stuck in a state of limbo, an addict, always waiting for the next email, the next compliment, the next hit. I know he loved me and he didn’t want to let me go either. He was an addict too.

    This week I emailed him and I received this response:

    “Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

    Technical details of permanent failure:
    The email account that you tried to reach does not exist.”

    This hit me like a ton of bricks. Had my 1st panic attack ever.

    He does not have any social media profiles. I know his work address and I could write there, but that would make me crazy. I know he still cares deeply for me, but it doesn’t matter. I never thought that couldn’t matter. I never thought I would pushed to the side like this. I will never see him again.

    The worst part is that I told him I couldn’t do this again, you know? I told him. I told him how many break-ups I’ve been through, all of the pain I’ve experienced. I told him my heart couldn’t go through this again. I begged him not to hurt me, and ……….

    I am back to square 1. I actually had my first panic attack last week in my life.

    I have never had problems sharing my feelings – I see a therapist and a psychiatrist – I have two very close friends that I can feel very open with. But I feel like I have exhausted their time and friendship.

    In order to better understand myself, have been doing a lot of reading on emotional pain and physical pain, and about the chemistry of love. See below for something from one of the articles I found.

    I fear that we are addicts; that I am chemically bound to this individual and to this hurt. If only there was a rehab clinic for broken hearts, I would most definitely sign up.

    It is good you have a spiritual adviser. There must be something out there for a more meaningful life. Like you said, “I don’t see the purpose of this much pain in life.” I know. I hear you. I just want to tell the universe, ‘I GET IT. IT’S HARD. I KNOW.’ Why me? Why again? I am cry myself to sleep, over and over, year after year. I know something needs to change, but every time I have tried in the past, it hasn’t been sustainable. I don’t know what anymore. xxxx

    ———————————————————————
    Article:

    This Is Your Brain on Heartbreak

    By Meghan Laslocky | February 15, 2013

    “Just as love at its best is explained by fMRI scans, so, too, is love at its worst. In 2010 the team who first used fMRI scanning to connect love and the caudate nucleus set out to observe the brain when anger and hurt feelings enter the mix. They gathered a group of individuals who were in the first stages of a breakup, all of whom reported that they thought about their rejecter approximately 85 percent of their waking hours and yearned to reunite with him or her. Moreover, all of these lovelorn reported “signs of lack of emotion control on a regular basis since the initial breakup, occurring regularly for weeks or months. This included inappropriate phoning, writing or e-mailing, pleading for reconciliation, sobbing for hours, drinking too much and/or making dramatic entrances and exits into the rejecter’s home, place of work or social space to express anger, despair or passionate love.” In other words, each of these bereft souls had it bad.

    “Then, with appropriate controls, the researchers passed their subjects through fMRI machines, where they could look at photographs of their beloved (called the “rejecter stimulus”), and simultaneously prompted them to share their feelings and experience, which elicited statements such as “It hurt so much,” and “I hate what he/she did to me.”

    “A few particularly interesting patterns in brain activity emerged:

    As far as the midbrain reward system is concerned, they were still “in love.” Just because the “reward” is delayed in coming (or, more to the point, not coming at all), that doesn’t mean the neurons that are expecting “reward” shut down. They keep going and going, waiting and waiting for a “fix.” Not surprisingly, among the experiment’s subjects, the caudate was still very much in love and reacted in an almost Pavlovian way to the image of the loved one. Even though cognitively they knew that their relationships were over, part of each participant’s brain was still in motivation mode.

  • Jay

    http://tinybuddha.com/members/omseeker/

    or e-mail me

    omseeker@msn.com

    Then I will delete this post.

  • Sk8pro

    Kiran, I am most grateful for your writing above on heartbreak. Similar situation, genders reversed. I wanted commitment, she wanted freedom but led me on, blah, blah…sudden breakup with no warning and no reason. Websurfing tonight and ran across this article. Be advised you probably saved my life tonight. I thank you from the depths of my soul. This was a dark place where no one should be. Yours was the ladder I used to climb out. Sign me – Fellow Buddhist who had stumbled for a while. Thank Kiran

  • http://matchaproblem.wordpress.com/ lisbet

    I just read this now, and I really needed to. It helped me, so thank you. God, I don’t know if you’ll even get comments on it anymore after all this time. My divorce was finalized in January. We were together for 16 years…. suddenly I am alone in our house. I’ve never lived alone before, always lived with my ex (since age 19!). I am grieving all the time- my sleep is a mess, I’m breaking out in pimples for the first time in my life, my hormones are out of wack, I’m too stressed to sleep. I feel like I’m having a nervous breakdown. I am not capable of crying in front of others, but I’ve come awfully close.

    And I’m also a bit afraid because my new boyfriend is far away, in PA, while I am in TX. Like your situation, mine just happened. And my guy sounds remarkably like the guy you were with. I don’t want to be in a long-distance thing. But I’m only in TX for another year and then ??? so I let myself get sucked into it.

    On paper I’m doing everything right to help myself cope.. really taking care of myself, upping my yoga, etc… but I feel like I’m falling apart anyway.

  • Lynda

    I had a huge bust up with my partner and he left me, i was so frustrated and i email Dr. Stanley and he said he could help, I must admit, I was very, very skeptical as didn’t really believe he would be back after all he said, but it was just a few days when he phoned and asked to come over to talk, we talked and talked and the silly misunderstanding was all forgiven and we are back together now for good, all thanks to drstanleyspelltemple@hotmail.com, I would highly recommend his services, they do really, really work. Lynda.

  • Evelyn

    “Sudden breakup, no warning” Ive had the worst 3 months in my life at the age of 25, even though the relationship didnt last that long, my reaction to this has scared the living Hell out of me. I nerver knew how deep involved I was and how much more this person meant to me, i stopped eating, crying and worrying my self so much that I actually started to vomit, and got sick. I couldnt go to work, and when i pulled myself to acutally go, i just sat there at My desk crying My eyes out. I could have handle this better if i knew I would nerver see him again, but since we live so very very close tjats not an option. For 3 months i have been doing My best not to bump into him, until yesterday when i saw his beautiful face just a few steps away…heart attac or whatever that was i felt, i sat on the bus(on My Way to a birthday party) and just couldnt hold My tears back, so I cried, like an idiot on a bus… My god I cant believe that a few months ago, i knew this person, and now i have to let him go and face the fact that one day(sooner that i think)is gonna come where he walks pass me hand in hand with someone else…

    Pleeeease tell me life Will get better, cause im crushed

  • Samantha

    Hey Kiran, as another perspective on this beautiful post (which I loved!), I am 16 and I’ve recently experienced heartbreak of my first love. This post was one I could thoroughly identify with. It may seem silly to someone older then me with more experience in life, and – although it may be on an entirely different level – the heart ache is still there and more powerful then ever. I am known for my happy optimistic view on life, but since the relationship ended it has been a constant battle between my happy “look on the bright side of life” values and the overwhelming feeling of sadness, loss and longing. I never knew something could hurt so much. SO to help myself heal I’ve looked to my long-time addiction to quotes to help my happiness win out (check out my blog which describes it all: http://quotaholicannonymous.wordpress.com/). I have always loved quotes, with their words of wisdom -thus I especially loved the Dalai Lama one at the end of this post, but it is hard to let go and see from that perspective. That’s the thing I’m always wondering about: how can you turn off the love and just let go?

  • Sk8pro

    Evelyn, it will get better. In my case, she broke up with me in a horrible way followed by silence. I sat one night with my gun in my lap for 6 hours while I reviewed every e-mail we had sent each other the past year and went through every conversation trying to find a valid reason for her silence and hate for me. I was going to write that on an apology letter I had already written to her and then take the self-induced eternity. By dawn, I had found nothing. Four hours later, I received an e-mail from her stating she had done a lot of soul-searching and determined we were not compatible and wished me well. OK, I got that. Four hours after that, per chance, I ran into my old high school girlfriend from 40 years ago. A minute earlier or a minute later and I would have missed her. She still has the flame and so do I. We dated, talked, compared notes and found there are COUNTLESS similarities between our stories for the past 40 years. A month later and we are now engaged and both are happier than we have ever been in our lives. I cannot help but think that Spirit selected the one to drag me out of the West and bring me here just to meet my old girlfriend. The timing of the breakup was too much of a coincidence to ignore. The long list of similarities between our respective lives for the past 40 years is too much of a coincidence.
    Sometimes Spirit needs to put us through some sort of hell so that we will understand how good life will be out the other side. Be patient and look for the good, nothing but the good. If you look for it and are ready to accept it, it will find you when you least expect it. Peace…

  • guest

    Well this crap didn’t help at all. I read through all of that just to hear “I’m in the same spot you’re in and I don’t know what to do about it either.” I’m sorry for your loss because I know what it feels like to lose someone you love. But this article did NOTHING to help at all

  • Person

    You’re very strong. Thank you for sharing this and being wonderful and totally present.

    What if you can’t get over it though? I’m in my 20s and just cannot handle heartbreak. Like, I can handle it, but I hate it. Can we just stop dating? Stop falling in love? Is it reasonable? I kind of want to try it.