Every time I feel like a boy has been mean to me and I cry as though my world has come to a swift and somewhat brutal end, my mum asks me the same question: ‘Is it your heart that is broken, or is it your ego that is bruised?’
Megan from Wonderful You posted a piece about heartbreak recently. As I read it, I could feel the pain in every word that she had written and it made me think about my own bouts of heartache. Now, I have had pretty much everything possible happen to me in a relationship. I have been dumped, humiliated, lied to and now, cheated on but I don’t feel hard done by. I just feel experienced. And as a result of this, I am able to offer Megan some (potentially) quite good advice.
When you see someone you love move on with someone else, I think you’ll agree that it can hurt more than the break up itself. Even if you were the one to finish things once and for all, jealousy can still strike. But when it does, be sure to ask yourself: is my heart still broken or is it just my ego that’s a little bruised?
The way to work out the answer to this is to note down the thoughts that are popping into your head as you scroll through photos of them on Facebook or as you listen to tales about them from mutual friends. If you can’t believe that he bought her that super expensive Christmas present or you can’t fathom why he would be with someone so vanilla when you’re so god damn chocolate chip, then I think you’ll find that your ego is bruised. This can be cured with a night out or a spot of speed dating. Basically, distractions.
If, however, you’re wondering how he could cuddle her at night, whether he calls her that pet name and if he slots his foot into the crease of hers in the same way you did when you were spooning, then it’s most definitely your heart that’s broken, and I’m afraid, that one’s a lot harder to fix.
But what is some practical advice to get over it?
Talk. Talk to your girlfriends until you’re sure they’ve phased out and are now contemplating whether gorgeous Charlie will ever make a return to Girls. Talk to your mum until even she is wondering whether gorgeous Charlie will make a return to Girls. If you write, write it all down. If you don’t write, write it all down. It doesn’t have to sound like a best seller but the act of writing can be some form of therapy (which is why you sometimes probably think I overshare). Finally, don’t taunt yourself. As curious as you are about where they’re headed on their summer holiday together or what she does for a living, just don’t go there. Who cares what she does? If your heart is still aching, then his is too; men just tend to mend things a lot quicker than we do. Nothing will change the time you spent together, so allow yourself to bask in the happy memories but don’t get bogged down in them. Chances are, she’s probably feeling pretty insecure about what you both had too.
Figuring out whether it’s your heart or your ego, much like a diagnosis from your doctor, will allow you to work out how best to treat your injury. A broken arm takes around six weeks to heal in a cast, a bruise tends to fade by itself over a week; see what I’m getting at? If you’ve worked out that your heart is broken, then the only way to take action is to wrap it up in cotton wool and hold it together as tightly as you can. If this means that you have to lie in bed for a few days, or dance the night away every weekend for a month, then do just that. There’s no prescription for a broken heart I’m afraid, just sound advice from someone else who has experienced it.
I broke my wrist around ten years ago now, and whenever it gets a little bit cold outside or I sleep on it funny, I get a twinge of pain; a reminder of my broken arm. The same goes for your heart: even after it has been mended, and you are happy with someone else, you’ll always wonder what might have been and you might still even feel a momentary ache. But don’t worry, it’s just a little reminder of how you strong you are.
Just give your heart some time. But whatever you do in that time, be kind to yourself.