Sunday, October 22, 2006

On Heartbreak

A friend said that he has been heartbroken so many times that he can no longer reconstruct from the broken pieces and then there are fragments that others have held on to, never returning them to their owner. He got me thinking about my relationship with and response to heartbreak. I wrote to him:

For me its not so much the broken heart itself but my inability to react at any level to heartbreak. My resilience has grown to the point where I feel nothing at all. The end of a relationship was once the end of my life the way I knew it - today its like tossing away an empty cup of coffee. If the coffee was good, the taste stays with you for a while, the aroma reminds you of it - but that's about all. You don't pine over the cup you put in the trash - life goes on. There is a surfeit of both disposable cups and coffee in the world. I think I have grown blasé about loss of love.

I think my defense mechanisms to cope with pain and anguish have dehumanized me. I don't know what's worse - to not be capable of heartbreak any more or to be so emotionally numbed that no pain can touch me again. I don't glorify pain and God knows I don't seek anymore - I have like they say done my time. However "feeling" is key to being alive and to that extent I must be less than alive.

Yet, the fact that I am looking for "the one" is probably indicative of residual hope, residual ability to dream. Whether in my emotionally benumbed state I would even recognize him is entirely questionable.

His response though entirely unexpected in the context, brought levity into the discussion:

Hey, we've all been through pain and suffering and come out the better or worse for it. The last thing you want to do is to become Garrison Keillor's woman brooding by the fireside over merlot talking "relationship". Chill, enjoy and peace out - and here is the Keillor reference.

Women get broody sometimes and want to sit in front of a fire with a glass of merlot and discuss The Relationship, which is never a good idea. You know this. If you were captured by Unitarian terrorists and sat on by a fat lady and told that you absolutely must discuss your relationship, you should say no, no, no.

Never use the word "relationship." You can say "marriage" or "romance" or "partnership" or "living arrangement" or "hubba hubba ding dong," but the word" relationship" is like the hissing of vipers. If the romance or marriage needs help, the answer almost always is Have More Fun. Drop your list of grievances and go ride a roller coaster. Take a brisk walk.Dance. Take a trip to Duluth. Read Dickens. There is almost no marital problem that can't be helped enormously by taking off your clothes.


Anonymous said...

My 2 cents on heartbreak - its age which actually helps you to deal with heartbreak in a more wiser manner and also children bring lot of prespective into your life and when your heartbreaks you know that probably it was not meant to be. I am pretty sure when the right person comes along you will be able to recognize him. And yes never stop dreaming.

Anonymous said...

The anonymous comment was mine...forgot to write my name.


SFGary said...

I mostly agree with Anon, it gets easier when you get older.

But waiting for the right one is a crapshoot if you take a hard look at the number of hours, or rather minutes a week one actually spends time looking for the right person actively. On the other hand if one waits for the knight in shining armor he and his white horse probably got run over on the freeway...

Heartcrossings said...

Al - The thing with incurable dreamers is that they'll kick themselves each time they get mixed up with the wrong person and go back on dreaming :)

SFG - The recovery time definitely gets shorter with age. I think there is not one single "the one". It just describes a certain set of attributes and several thousand people (if not more) could fit the bill.