In the United States, lost love is something that nearly everyone experiences at some point in their lives. We aren’t married off when we hit puberty, high school flames fizzle out, college sweethearts turn sour after a few years, and marriages are discarded like disposable diapers. Still, nobody adjusts to the pain of a broken heart. Whether you’ve been heartbroken 1, 5, or 25 times; the pain of lost love cuts like a knife.
Over the past several days, I’ve pondered the right things to say as I watch one of my closest friends suffer the familiar feelings of agony, angst and sorrow that so often accompany lost love. I long to give her the magic potion that eliminates heartache on the spot, but lost love has no quick fix.
I remember experiencing exactly what she’s going through. You know what it’s like, right? You can’t eat, you can’t sleep and you can’t stop thinking about what went wrong. Thoughts of betrayal annihilate your sense of security, thoughts of guilt crush your Soul.
Why is lost love so painful?
Falling in love is like opening a shiny door to what seems like paradise. You settle in, elated to have finally found your place. You feel at home, protected, out of harm’s way. It’s the high of your life until suddenly, you’re pushed, no—forced—outside of your comfort zone.
Lost love means the loss of so much: a trusted confidant, plans you made for the future, relationships with mutual friends and family ties, your safety net, the routine you’d come to expect. In the blink of an eye, your favorite restaurants and songs become painful reminders of someone you’re desperately trying to forget.
Convinced that others can’t possibly understand how much you’re hurting, you feel all alone. Fortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Lost love is not some rare anomaly that just happens to you. In fact, at any given moment, thousands of heartbroken people are crying their eyes out. Oh yes, I’ve been there.
At this point in my life, the one thing that stands out to me about my experiences with lost love is something that I couldn’t even fathom while in the throws of heartache: It doesn’t last. We cry. We hurt. We even suffer. But in the end we get over it and life goes on.
I clearly remember thinking, when the heartache was fresh, that the pain would never end. It drained me of all energy, I thought I’d hurt every day for the rest of my life, I blamed myself, I swore I’d never forgive the evil ex, and I was certain I’d never love again. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Like everything else, including our lives on this Earth, heartache is temporary.
Getting Over Lost Love
As much as I’d like to tell the world about an overnight remedy for lost love, the truth is that you don’t get over a breakup overnight. It happens gradually, like a flower blooming in Spring.
First, you sleep peacefully after one too many nights of lying awake with tears streaming down your face. Next, you sleep through the night without dreams of the person you’re missing. Pretty soon, your appetite returns and you’re ready to face the world. Before long, you smile again…and that smile eventually becomes a laugh. Slowly but surely you heal. You get your life back a little more each day. Then one day, you wake up feeling lighter than you’ve felt in months. Alone time doesn’t feel so lonely, love songs don’t sting like venom and thoughts of that lost love become few and far between.
You slowly get back in touch with who you are as an individual rather than as a part of a couple. You find a new favorite restaurant, you drift away from some mutual friends, you spend more time with old friends and meet new people, you enjoy things you couldn’t enjoy in your past relationship. With a little more time, you open your heart to love again.
So what’s the point here, you may ask. The point is that lost love is not the end of the world, it just feels like it. Even in our darkest moments, we must remember that the human spirit is strong. If you or someone you care about finds yourself dealing with a broken heart, remember that you are 1000 times stronger than you think.
Don’t give up, don’t act out of anger, and don’t forget to take it one day at a time.