If you are human, you have experienced some sort of heartbreak in your life. I have asked people around me to share their stories with you, and I found more compelling stories than I ever thought I would read.
“My Lover, the Coward"
The story goes that I was with a woman for about a year in 2015 who had a borderline personality disorder. The highs were highs and the lows were very low. The moments of genuine affection and intimacy quickly became increasingly rare as time went on.
It became this arduous process of powering through all the moments of blatant cold-shouldering and distancing to latch onto the brief moments of affection. I became selfishly obsessed with this idea of being starved for affection.
I tortured myself for weeks towards the end, obsessing on what I was doing that could be making her incapable of being affectionate toward me ever. I mean, she said she loved me and wanted to be with me in the tiny windows where she would open up.
The relationship ended when she lashed out at me in explosive anger and simply disappeared after that. Just, nothing. At that point, I began writing the song "My Lover, The Coward" as an attempt to sort out my resentment towards her.
I mean, I gave everything I could and sacrificed so many things to help her out during her roughest moments, only to deny me of feeling like she gave a shit? To just ghost me like she did?
How cowardly...so I thought. But the further I got into writing the song, I realized that I was being horribly selfish through all of this. In my self-obsession, my empathy died.
I expected her to love me a certain way, but the truth is she came from an abused background and was dealing with a brutal mental illness on a daily basis. As time went on during the relationship, I became more and more focused on how her closing up and pushing me away made ME feel, rather than trying to imagine what SHE was going through.
So, the song became a revealing moment. My lover was not a coward. I was the coward. And the song explains it all.
"I wish to find a way for you to come into my skin. To be your church, your body Christ to purge all your sins. I wish my arms were the blankets to warm your bones. But you speak, so softly 'Baby, keep them closed. don't you know that I don't love that way?' I wish to write the songs to change your mind. 'Baby please sing no more, you're already mine.' I wish my fingers could climb right into your mouth; maybe then they'd find the words to finally pull out. Yes, I know, you don't love that way. But heavy is the crown upon my weary head and lonely is the kingdom that is my empty bed. Oh no, not again. Heavy is the crown upon my weary head, lonely is the kingdom that is my empty bed. Oh no, she said: 'Oh my king, I keep you here, but you don't know how hard it is to love again when all you've known is fear'. Yes, I know. Now I know this fear."
“Building a Wall”
My story of why I end up hurting everyone around me.
It started back when I was 18, I met a beautiful young woman in high school. We never really talked in school, but a year later I found out she really liked me. We hung out a few times, used to party together, and one thing led to another (young and dumb), we always stayed friends. She moved on, got a boyfriend, and they ended up breaking it off a few years later.
Fast forward to 2013. She messaged me, we started talking again, and we hung out that summer. December of 2013, I asked her out and she said yes. I was super stoked!
Every day was better and better as I spent time with her. We even got a place together! As all relationships go, ours got tough because of work and not seeing each other as often as we'd like, even though we did live together.
Now it's June of 2014. Her birthday was the 8th and I surprised her with two plane tickets to go to California for 10 days so we could spend some much needed time together. She was ecstatic about it, I've never seen her smile so big in my life and it was an amazing feeling seeing her so happy again.
So, we take the trip and, blah blah blah, the trip went great. We get back home, I noticed she started getting distant with me. I asked her if there's anything she wanted to talk about, and she just said no she's fine. But obviously being with someone you can tell when they're not fine.
A month passes, and she drops this on me, "I can't do this anymore, Ryan, I heard you cheated on me!"
Now obviously I didn't, I would never do that. I'm so against cheating and she knew that. I say, "What are you talking about? I've never cheated on you! I don't even have the time to do that working six days, 10-hour shifts."
Now she's going off on me, and then switches it to, "You work too much and I'm just not happy anymore."
I try reasoning with her and telling her I'll get more days off, we can work through this, and I don't want to lose you. She just keeps making up more and more excuses and at this point, I'm thinking, “What is really going on?” I get home that day and all my personal belongings are on the porch of our house.
I go in, she's crying, and she yells at me to get out. She never wanted to see me again or speak to me. At this point, I'm in tears myself because I have no clue what is going on. All I know is the girl I truly loved does not love me back anymore. I did everything in my power to talk to her, but at that point, I was making it worse.
So, I grabbed my belongings and left. I sat at my mom's house drowning in tears wondering what I did for so long. She didn't ever give me closure, she wouldn't talk to me, and I felt so alone.
I got so depressed from all this, I stopped caring about everything in life. I was f*cking up my job by just missing days, not eating, and just crying every day in a dark basement. I didn’t move. Come to find out, a month later she had a new boyfriend just like that. It straight killed me.
Her friends contacted me and finally told me that she left because she cheated on me with the guy she was with. Nothing ever prepares you to hear those words. It crushed me even more. I contemplated suicide multiple times. I kept telling myself that's selfish of me to do, but the pain she gave me was just so unbearable I really didn't want to live anymore.
I was 25 when she left me. I'm 29 now, and still just to bring it up pains me. She was the one girl I honestly could say I wanted for the rest of my life, no other girl that has come into my life made me feel that spark the way she did.
Now, with being cheated on, it's hard for me to let my walls down. I put on such a tough guy act in person because I don't want to be hurt again no matter how hard I try to tell myself, “She isn't going to hurt you, [redacted], just try it.”
I'm so scared to let down my walls, fall that hard for a person again, and get crushed all over again. I don't ever want to go through that pain again, so I tend to build up such a high wall that I lose all feelings for someone and I end up hurting them. I feel terrible about it, but I just can't seem to get out of it...
My story starts back in high school. Victoria and I met in band and sparked right off from the start. We dated all through high school and carried out throughout our young adult life for a total of six years. We faced hardships and struggles but always made it through the other side together to grow even stronger.
Back in November of 2017, I decided it was time we moved past dating and I bought a ring for her. The next week, however, she ended up meeting up with another guy from her past and cheated on me with him. She then called me about it and told me what had happened explaining everything.
It sucks because she wants to be friends and still talk. I still love her for some reason. She tells me what she’s up to, how she loves “f*ck bois” now, and just wants to party. That stuff hurts so much, plus never getting any real closure kind of leaves me in this ebb and flow of not getting over her.
“My Stupid Mistake”
At the beginning of my senior year in high school, my stepdad was picking me up from school. It was really weird because there was a box in the front seat where I was going to sit. He told me to open the box and inside was a tiny little tabby cat who was meowing up at me. I cried and held him the whole way home.
His previous owners had named him Peter, and even though we didn’t know if Pete was a boy or a girl, we still called him Pete. He had really bad fleas, and we kept him outside in the garage so he wouldn’t run away or get taken. Since it was the end of summer, that was fine.
A month or two later, I was going to spend the night with my friend and was hanging out with Pete in my room because I loved playing with him. On my way out, I was in a hurry, so I lightly tossed him in the garage and quickly pulled the door behind me, kind of knowing that it didn’t really close.
I had a sinking feeling in my stomach about doing this, especially after getting to my friend’s house, but figured someone in my family would shut the garage door when they saw it open. When I got home, I got the news that Pete got out of the garage (which had never been shut in the first place) and must’ve run away and/or gotten taken by a wild animal.
After I got this news, I would go outside every day for at least half an hour and cry and call for my kitten. On particularly sad days, I would sit out there for a while crying and my mom would come out and hug me.
I loved this cat with my whole heart and can’t believe that my stupid mistake led to his tiny life possibly ending so soon. I’m crying as I type this because it’s hard never getting to know what happened to him and not getting any closure. I would say this is probably the closest I’ve ever gotten to heartbreak.
“There Is More Than One Kind Of Heartbreak”
I think a lot of people think about heartbreak in a way that only pertains to partner relationships. But there are a lot of different types of heartbreak -- even friendship “break-ups” which, in my opinion, have been significantly more difficult than a break-up with a partner.
Honestly, the worst heartbreak I’ve ever experienced was with the loss of my dad. It’s worse than a heartbreak. It’s a kind of emptiness that you can’t explain and feel like you can’t talk about because everyone else has moved on.
There comes a point in time when you discuss how you feel and others stop listening because it’s been half a year and it “shouldn’t” hurt anymore. But through the pain, I feel like I remember so much of the love that my dad expressed towards everyone. When you lose someone like that, you can’t help but be reminded of their existence in every aspect.
There are times when something great, or horrible, happens and I just want to share it with him. At times I even have to remind myself that he’s dead. The cycle continues, I have flashbacks to the day that he was lying on the floor because a nurse sent him home with a pulled muscle when he was actually having a heart attack.
Throughout this entire experience, however, I can’t help but share how wonderful my dad was and I try so hard to live like him. He was the type of guy that would sleep less than 4 hours and would jump on the opportunity to go interact with anyone no matter how exhausted. He literally used to say, “I can sleep when I’m dead.”
If you haven’t contacted a parent or loved one recently, do it. Ask them how their day was, have them tell you a story about their past, learn all you can before it’s too late because I barely knew my dad and I really regret not listening more.