Heartbreak — one of the saddest words in the English language. All of us know what it is: often glorified through prose, poetry, art and cinema. A lot of us have been through it, have taken a beating and have emerged stronger. Those of us who couldn’t emerge stronger have definitely come out wiser.
Despite all this, I wouldn’t wish heartbreak upon my worst enemy. That is because heartbreaks (rare or frequent) may hinder your ability to give all interpersonal relationships — not just romantic ones — the chance and effort they deserve.
My heart goes out to anybody going through the same while reading this article. You are enough and you possess the strength to go through this.
Cause and effect
Perhaps, the key differentiator about Gen-Z is that it often finds itself amidst a repeat of heartbreaks. One of the most powerful ways in which repeated heartbreaks affect you negatively is their ability to instil self-doubt and self-depreciation.
Why? Because you may attribute the initial ones to either misfortune or the person you were associated with. But a series of them makes you feel like you are the problem— which is far from the truth.
The second most prominent repercussion is a feeling of emptiness. You feel like you didn’t just lose the person you loved but also a part of yourself. The resistance you feel while trying to do things you used to do — usually, things which made you who you are — is immense. That leads you to think that something went terribly wrong. But you can get past it by rediscovering yourself (more on that later). I won’t say that doing so comes easily but is usually worth the effort.
Some people also form a gargantuan belief that they will never ever be in a fulfilling relationship. This belief is your mind tricking you into closing doors on people who could actually be good for you. It is wise to be careful but please, do not be so harsh on yourself.
The after-effects of heartbreak are never positive. There is no possible way of determining how it affects people. The only certain fact is that it does affect you deeply. Prevention is better than cure, so take a look at what you can do to avoid fallouts in the next section.
The time and age we are in, there are a lot of complex social structures around us. They no longer fall into one or more categories. Modern relationships are no exception. They are complicated, dynamic and each one is distinctly different.
Sadly, the only common links between most relationships nowadays remain two: most of them either crash and burn (causing a major heartbreak) or they turn unhealthy (due to frequent fallouts).
Why can’t most of us seem to make them work?
Before highlighting the reasons as to why our romantic adventures fail. It makes sense to ask one particular question: Is the chaos avoidable? Majorly, yes.
Although they seem to be an exception to the norm of heartbreaks, most of us know of people in happy and fulfilling relationships. It is worthy to mention that they do things differently than the people who fail. The major reasons which I have observed for fallouts and/or heartbreaks are listed below:
Expecting every form of companionship from just one person: Understand that the person you are associated with cannot be the mentor, the confidant, the friend and the romantic partner. Such diverse and complicated roles are usually not meant to be played by the same person. It is challenging enough to fulfil one role with aplomb and grace. It is normal to have expectations from your partner, just keep them realistic and make them amply clear.
The belief that your happiness is someone’s responsibility or vice-versa: You and you alone, are responsible for your happiness. People are ever-changing and dynamic; tying your happiness to them is being naïve. I am not denying that people can add to your happiness. No one can be the reason for your happiness and it is unhealthy to think so.
The person you are with is not under a contract to make you happy.
You can just expect them to be considerate of it. Find your happiness but do not even consider finding it in a person. Find a hobby, find a purpose, that will make you happy.
Forgetting that a relationship is part of your life and not your entire life: You have a life apart from your relationships. An analogy would help me in explaining this to you. “You are my world”, is a phrase overused in romantic novels and texts. The real world is far from it. Imagine this, your life is a solar system with your purpose being the sun. Your loved ones, friends, family are several planets in the neat cosmic arrangement. Your romantic partner is but one such planet and not the entire solar system.
Choosing someone who has a considerably different temperament (psychologically speaking): We do not choose who we get attracted to. However, we do choose who we get close to. If you do not know about the Big Five personality traits; here is an article you can check out. But the nitty-gritty can be narrowed down to the fact that differences of opinion are even more so inevitable when you have incredibly contrasting personality types.
For example: if you are highly extroverted and your partner isn’t, both of you have contrasting ideas of a good time. You can never agree and conflict is bound to happen.
Choosing a partner should be a conscious as well as an objective decision.
Not reflecting over the last heartbreak (if there ever was one): You need to accept responsibility so that you can grow. This needs to be done to take ownership and to reflect. Replace, “I will never be in a fulfilling relationship, I am the problem” with “I understand that I made a mistake. It is time to reflect on it so that I don’t make the same mistake again.” You will be surprised by the results. Even if you made a mistake in a relationship or chose the wrong person it doesn’t make you the problem, it makes you human.
Learn from it all.
Having unresolved and unattended trauma: if you don’t recover from the people who cut you, you will bleed on people who didn’t even touch you. Take your own sweet time recovering from heartbreaks and the trauma involved with them. But ensure that you are truly ready for a relationship when you begin one. Unresolved and unattended trauma can make for unrequited bitterness in a perfectly healthy relationship.
Not having a healthy relationship with yourself: if you don’t have a healthy relationship with yourself, it will be increasingly difficult to have one with anybody else. Be very mindful of what you think about when you look in the mirror. Even if you are magically paired with the best, most considerate and compatible partner, that won’t change your relationship with yourself. If you don’t enjoy your own company, if you are not at peace with who you are; it will take a toll on all of your interpersonal relationships.
Heartbreaks affect everyone deeply but differently. By all means, use the coping mechanism which keeps you afloat. Just ensure that you don’t lose touch with yourself.
And never forget:
"Even time needs time."
Modern relationships are incredibly complex but not impossible to stay in. Entering one with the right mindset and with someone compatible exponentially increases your chances of making it work.
I will conclude this article with the following paragraph:
“Life is tough enough to manoeuvre through as it is. It is long and comes with a lot of suffering. Not having a partner who has your best interests at heart is not going to make it any easier. All of us deserve to be in wonderful, fulfilling and healthy relationships. We deserve love and to be loved. But none of this is sustainable without effort. The efforts you put in yourself and your intimate relationships are equally important.”