Wake Up: Your Broken Heart is in Your Head

As we get older and relationships take on increased significance, the demise of one gets more difficult to handle, especially for the one who gets broken up with. The reality is, however, in some cases that “broken heart” may in fact be nothing more than a figment of your imagination.

In Matters of the Heart, Our Mind Can Deceive Us
On the opposite end of the broken heart spectrum is thinking you’ve fallen in love. When evaluating a relationship in retrospect, countless YPs reflect and realize they were not actually in love with their former significant other and may in the process question whether he or she has ever even been in love in the first place. It is easy to confuse being in love with infatuation, lust or even comfort. Then there is the mistaken broken heart; a concept constructed by you post-breakup, with the label “broken heart” used to disguise other issues, or an excuse for your heightened sadness.

If You Were Really Heartbroken, You’d Know It
It is almost inevitable to feel hurt and upset from a break up. However, an actual broken heart is unmistakable. It may cause physical pain in your chest or heart and induce spontaneous tears in public places and office bathrooms alike. It can feel like the other person no longer exists and in turn results in an entire grieving process, which, in some extreme situations, can last a full year – once one goes through all of the seasons without the other. It can preoccupy one’s mind so that he or she is unable to live in the moment or enjoy other aspects of life. 

You may boldly claim you are heartbroken, however, only to be met with amusement on the other end of the phone when friends exclaim that there is no way that he or she or that situation could have broken your heart. You insist they are wrong and feel that you will never be able to get over the breakup. They know best; wait a month.

What It Could Be Instead
So many times with fellow YPs, that “broken heart” is actually a blow to the ego, and they are more upset about the loss of self-esteem than the loss of love or the relationship. This is especially true for the fortunate YP who has never had a problem with securing make out sessions, dates and relationships alike. The bruised ego can inspire questions like, “why wasn’t I good enough?” or the entitled attitude that develops when hurt manifests to “I can’t believe he/she broke up with me.” And, “I didn’t even like him in the beginning.”

A breakup and the emotional turmoil it causes can also be a catalyst for other issues and insecurities to surface that have nothing to do with the other person. It may provide an opportunity to process unresolved grief or past misdoings that had never been confronted – things that can go back to past relationships or even your youth as you reflect upon what went wrong. The breakup could also be the straw that breaks your back when other elements in life are less than ideal.

Finally, you may confuse the broken heart with being plain bummed out, which can be especially heightened if you’re blindsided by the breakup. After all, the break up means you have to start over, experience moments of loneliness and the annoying feeling of becoming that token single person among your group of friends.   

The Cure
Remove the heartbreaker from your life and avoid run-ins at all costs. Maybe one day you’ll be friends – not now. Cut out your barrage of emails, texts and other attempts for contact and, under no circumstance, sleep together. In the meantime, don’t spend countless hours thinking of what went wrong and how you can fix it; don’t try to find out if he or she is dating anyone new and don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to.

Focus on yourself. If there is ever merit to any cliché, it is this one. Hit the gym, take a break from alcohol, or treat yourself to that spa day or golf club you’ve had your eye on. Become comfortable with being alone again and make the most of this time. Once you are comfortable, confident and looking and feeling your best again, you will attract the attention of others without even trying. Instead of seeing it as a curse, marvel in your new single life (your happily married friends will live vicariously through your stories).

You’ll Know When The Switch Flicks
When we say “the switch,” we are referring to that moment of clarity when you remarkably snap out of it, a phenomenon that will happen sooner than imagined, sometimes literally overnight. The flipping of the switch is the true sign that your heart was never “shattered.” Once it happens, you “see the light” and realize how right your friends were that your heart was not really broken, along with all the shortcomings of your heartbreaker and the relationship.

Your Heartbreaker Did You a Favour
You will emerge more seasoned from your “broken heart” to know exactly how to avoid it again. The anxious butterflies post-breakup will turn into the good, exciting kind when you begin to notice the prospects that have seemingly emerged from the woodwork. Perhaps soon you’ll fall in love….and not mistake it for anything else this time.