As written for and published in I AM WOMAN Magazine 27 November 2014
L.O.V.E- love! A word that brings with it so many wonderful feelings, memories and dreams. And yet a word that can also create so much pain. Falling in love is beautiful, magical and for some, like a fairy tale. It is the stuff we dream about, think about and wish for.
As a teenage girl I spent many hours dreaming of falling in love- movies, TV and books told me just how amazing it would be. I am a bit of an old school romantic- think Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (and yes that lake scene!). I believed in the idea that a deep love that grows over time. That was until I reached my twenties! Then I realised that ‘love’ can mean so many different things! It can happen quickly or slowly and often not at all. I also learned that what is ‘love’ is often different for all of us. But there is one thing we all have in common when it comes to falling ‘in’ or even ‘out’ of love-it is something we just can’t control- the heart wants what it wants and we have so little control of it!
I was reminded of this only yesterday, driving around with the radio on and hearing Selena Gomez sing “The heart wants what it wants”. She is right (even if I do question a little her love for Justin Beiber!). When we are falling in or out of love our heart takes over. It interferes with our usual ability to make rational decisions and instead we become emotional beings that are anything but rational!
As a divorce lawyer I work with heart break every day. My clients are often irrational, emotional beings who wish that their hearts wanted something very different to the feelings that have taken hold. Those falling ‘out of love’ with a long term partner are often feeling guilty, wishing they could still feel love for their partner while those who have been left, wish every day that their hearts would stop loving the person that has hurt them so much.
The point I guess is that we can’t help who we fall in love with and sometimes we can’t help who we fall ‘out of love’ with.
But here in lies the difficulty – love, when it is not reciprocated is heart wrenching. And just like those feelings when falling into a deep love that cannot be controlled, neither can the deep hurt and pain that is felt when love comes to an end.
Thanks to Hollywood, there is no end of information to help us with how to fall ‘in love’ but when it comes to falling ‘out of love’ we are left to our own resources! Save for a few scenes of scorned lovers enacting revenge, how to fall out of love with dignity and grace doesn’t tend to make it to the big screen.
So what do you do when your heart is breaking?
On this I certainly don’t have all the answers but what I do know is that time, patience and forgiveness can heal almost any broken heart. Remember that it will get easier, so focus on each day as it comes and don’t try and look too far into the future.
You can make it ‘easier’ on yourself by being kind to yourself and allowing your head to start to take over your heart. If you can remain rational even in the face of deep hurt, chances are you will move through your heart break with more speed.
A wiser person than me once said that we don’t get over a broken heart, we just get through it so here are three things that I think can help you get through it faster!
- Remember it is ok to feel sad! If you feel the need to lie in bed, doona over your head for a day or two, this is entirely ok! If it lasts more than a week it might be time to seek some help, but a day or two here or there is a good thing! Heartbreak like any loss means grief. Grief takes time to move through and allowing yourself to move through is the key. Don’t expect to wake up tomorrow and feel amazing but do expect to feel a bit better than today. It may seem like two steps forward, one step back for a little while, but this is normal. Remember it took you months, sometimes years to fall ‘in love’ so expect it to take some time to fall ‘out of love’ too.
- Let go of the negative thinking and be positive! Maintaining a sense of optimism in the face of adversity is anything but easy. But if you can focus on the silver linings you will give yourself the best chance of moving through your grief quickly. A key here is to forgive. Let go of blame of blame and anger and focus on learning from your experience. Forgiveness is something that is not done for the other person, but is essential to enable us to move on.
- Talk to someone! Having someone to talk to at all hours of the day and night will be an essential support you will need at this time. Friends and family are a great support during heartbreak. If you don’t have anyone close by, there are so many great online supports- from counselling groups, to forums particularly for woman. Jump online, seek support when you need it and talk about how you feel, it will help you move through your grief.
As they say, falling in love is hard to do. And then there is falling out of love. It is anything but beautiful and certainly not magical. But what would life be without love? I for one am willing to risk heartbreak for all the beauty that can come from love.
This post was originally written by Clarissa for IAMWOMAN Magazine and was published in November 2014.
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