“It will shock you how much it never happened” – Don Draper
As I watch television with my father, I ponder how he felt after his 27 years of marriage with my mother ended. If he ever thinks about the days when he first met my mother, or looks back to their catalogue of arguments and regrets the decisions he made. When I speak to my mother about her relationship with my father, she quickly summarizes their relationship as him being distant and removed. I don’t remember a time when I heard my dad speak the 3 words “I love you.” And he continues those traits into his relationship with me. You see, growing up I was never given an example of what a relationship constitutes of. My parents were not affectionate and they lived together solely as a survival function to raise a family.
The result of their broken marriage forced me to learn my ideas of love and heartbreak through literature, film and music. As I sit beside my father I am completely absorbed by my own thoughts as I recently broke up with my girlfriend. Fearful to bring up the topic with my father, I am what somebody would call heartsick. My heart and insides feel empty, hollow and aching. My father quietly stares at the television set and I’m left wondering how he dealt with moments like these – especially after the divorce. By the time the divorce papers were finalized he was in his mid-50s. I will never know how he felt during the divorce, how he experienced heartbreak or how he values romantic relationships in his life. However, in his quietness lays wisdom and knowledge that I imagine he has learned over the years. To compensate, here are lessons that I imagine my father would have recited to me if our relationship pushed that far.
“The saddest thing about love, Joe, is that not only the love cannot last forever, but even the heartbreak is soon forgotten.” ― William Faulkner
Reinvent Heartbreak: The emotion you feel is a case study to analyze yourself under intense heartbreak. Take a look at who you are after love has back-stabbed you. Use this as a guide to understand oneself – and everyone else around you. Recite to yourself: “This is you heartbroken. This is you after you’ve been betrayed. Who am I when I’m like this? Why am I suffering? I wonder if my friends felt similar to me after their breakups. Is this the part of the film where I drastically change my life around?”
Heartbreak is a privilege earned: This thing, this feeling, is not something anyone can teach you. The experience of heartbreak is lesson you must learn on your own. Before you are sad that it ended, be thankful that it started. You put yourself out there, giving somebody else the permission to love or hurt you. In moments of love, carry your heart like a suitcase – always be ready to travel.
Heartbreak is a yearning for acceptance again: We are all intelligent and aware of the insanity the idea of love is. However, that awareness has never saved anyone from the disease. The fear of being single stems from the idea that we do not really exist until there is someone there to see us existing. Love offers you the ability to speak with someone who can understand what you are saying in essence. We are not wholly alive until we are loved. Everyone loves to showcase their strengths – but do you love me enough that I may be weak with you? That is the real test and our relationship failed it. Remember that everyone returns us to a different sense of ourselves, for we become a little of who they think we are.
Heartbreak is Heartbreak: Do not intensify or sulk in your depression. The relationship you had ended similar to your peers around you. Less is less. Hurt is hurt. You don’t measure these things. Rather, you must first accept the most difficult aspect of moving on is accepting that the other person already did.