“He broke my heart”. Phrases like this are thrown around a little too casually. I’m guilty of it. When commenting on T’s ’30 before 30′ bucket list article, I mentioned having my heart busted wide open by 3 people.
When it comes to matters of the heart, i.e. Relationships. Love. Trust: These are the words that are commonly linked. When you’re in love you should be able to trust the person you’re in a relationship with to be honest with you. To not betray you by sleeping with your friend. To have the decency to not violate your body and mind with abuse that renders you ‘heart-broken’.
My track record is not superb; oh, my cynical tone didn’t give it away? I haven’t always been blameless, though I’ve never cheated or lied, been abusive or lowered myself to blackmail. But I will admit to taking baggage into relationships that didn’t belong there and, for that, I must be responsible.
I’ve listened to The Cure’s album ‘Wish’ so much I had to buy the CD 3 times. I wore it out. ‘Tidal’ by Fiona Apple got the same treatment. I have wallowed in self-pity and built a wall of suspicion with a pinch of cynicism around me. I refuse to watch ‘chick flicks’ because they lead you to believe that the average girl next door can find herself a Ryan Gosling who doesn’t care that she’s a ball of neurosis. I’m not buying it. Yes, I’m jaded. Has my heart been broken? I thought so. But maybe, maybe it’s just been damaged. Scarred.
I have 5 friends under the age of 40 who are widows. 2 of these women have children. Only one widow knew her husband had limited time on this earth and was able to prepare herself as best she could for what was coming. The other 4 lost husbands in freak medical situations, car/bike/drowning accidents, and such tragic circumstances.
When they got married, they gave their hearts to each other and became ONE. I nearly got married once and when I called it off, I spent months trying to deal with the pain of what felt like losing a limb and the ‘phantom pain’ that went with it. But my heart? It didn’t break. It was stretched, torn, twisted, put through the proverbial wringer. But did it break? No.
The 5 widows I mentioned didn’t lose their partners because their partners treated them badly. They didn’t lose them by choice. No, these women were robbed of the other half of their heart. When you say, “I do”, you also say “till death do us part.” I just don’t think these women ever expected that death would come so swiftly and so stealthily.
That is what I class as ‘heartbreak’. My painful relationships should be described as heartache. Can you imagine being widowed before you turn 30? It’s unthinkable.
So from now on, when people ask about my relationships and what I think, I will be using the term ‘heartache’ when I explain the feelings that I was left with. ‘Heart break’ applies to those who grieve the loss of a loved one, whether it be a spouse, a child, a sibling. I choose to reserve something as intense as ‘heartbreak’ for situations where I genuinely believe that the heart may break in little pieces due to the heaviness of grief and the burden of burying the man you planned on growing old with or the baby that only took a few breaths. I think I may be guilty of being flippant with the term and overly dramatic. My heart is bruised: not broken.
Do you think there needs to be clarification between the terms ‘heartache’ and ‘heartbreak’? Should they be used more carefully?