on breaking/broken hearts

totally up there with the opening montage from “up” with poignant, nonverbal storytelling.  also has fun french music!


i don’t think there is anything that draws quite as much of a universal sense of empathy as heartbreak.  rite of passage that almost everyone goes through.  unless you are beautiful or heartless or (okay, fine, a lot of other categories),

worst time my heart was broken: jared, then howl
worst time i broke someone’s heart: peter

the question. i can’t believe i didn’t hear this until after school. but: “would you rather have your heart broken or would you rather break someone’s heart?’”

i, overall, usually find these hypothetical questions to be similar to “intellectual masturbation”, as they say (“would you rather have a penis on your forehead or buttcheeks as a chin”, really?!?!?!), because you never actually have a choice if/when you ever face this situation, and both situations are terrible.  (not to mention heartbreak/heartbreaking is such a spectrum; difficult to compare) i can’t really do it in a really dramatic, heartwrenching, universal way the way that it’s done on TC, but to add my thoughts to the collective mass:

breaking hearts: it’s weird having all the power in your hands, holding their heart right before you’re about crush it like a tomato.  but you don’t want to be with them “in the end” for whatever reason, and you know that they won’t understand.  knowing that you could easily ruin this person’s day/week/month/year or “break” them, that they’ll probably hate you or resent you or have permanently weird feelings about you.  you’re not an asshole and you don’t want someone to be upset on your account, but you honestly can’t continue living this lie, pretending to have feelings that aren’t there.  a lot of guilt.  dread.  you are now responsible for whatever happens to him. 

howl: “james, we really did not have that much fun together.  you’re just being nostalgic!  i think you are a terrific guy and you will find someone who you’ll get along with much more.”

heartbroken: you don’t believe them when they say that it wouldn’t work out.  how can they be such an idiot?!  why won’t they believe you, that you guys would be awesome together?!  that you’re a catch!? you run through every interaction, especially the end, wondering where you went wrong, what you could have done differently.  questioning every single move.  so. much.  regret.  nobody will be as good for you as this person; you will never love someone as much.  does he not realize you would do anything and everything for him?!?  …maybe you and him will get back together?….

have been doing a lot of thinking about both sides of the coin this weekend.  always nice to break someone’s heart and have your heart broken in the same 24 hour period (both terms used somewhat trivially, but still some serious emotional swirlings going on).  it’s been great.  as much as you want every breakup to be clean and mutual and wonderful and transition into friendship…. i guess it’s pretty rare?

coming of age.  everyone should have their hearts broken, everyone should break someone’s heart.  i mean, this is up there with “everyone should work a minimum wage job” and “everyone should ask out a stranger in a bar” or whatnot, dubious quintessential life experiences.  but i don’t think you really know the full spectrum of your emotions (and your craziness) until a really bad heartbreak.  and i think you’re able to be way more empathetic when your heart is broken if you’ve broken someone’s heart.  and you learn that you cannot, cannot fall in love with someone at the drop of a hat. 

pacing/first loves.

kevin is of the opinion that the first time in your dating career that you find someone you REALLY LIKE that you’ll go too hard and too fast and spoil it. and it’s a tough lesson to learn

think we’ve all been there.  peter and i discussed pacing A LOT afterward. though i ultimately told peter that i didn’t think that pacing was that important, it was very clear that i went too fast with jared.  pacing doesn’t matter as long as both people are on the same page, which i think just points to how important it is to be cognizant of how other people are behaving. 

met up with howl, and he was saying that he wasn’t even dating this guy, they were at that (gay) step right before dating, and dude brought howl to howl’s favorite restaurant.  they were having a pretty normal conversation, and dude goes “we should have our engagement party here!”

howl went off on him (“he was 34, he should have know better!!!!!!!”) and stopped seeing him soon thereafter. 

my moment with max and confessions.  we were sort of making out, and max had just made me this awesome dinner, but afterward, he made these confessions about how excited he was to meet me, etc.  he mentioned this one moment during paranormal activity in particular.  and i kept replaying him telling me this and how it made me feel scared/worried that it was going to fast/that i was not as into the relationship, and how i did THE SAME THING TO JARED, confessed how i fell in love with him during “since u been gone”.  and how i must have freaked jared out and singlehanded ruined us by confessing that i was head over heels in love with him.  was so distracted by this that i rushed out and left. 

(didn’t see max again after that night)

power dynamics.  didn’t hear this until relatively recently, but the one who is less invested in the relationship has more of the power. not fun to be on either side of an imbalanced power dynamic.

some of my favorite thought catalog pieces about broken hearts.  there must be a trillion.  a few: (almost all posted in the blog already)

The Conversation You Would Like To Have With The Person Who Broke Your Heart – really clever premise for an essay.  really evocative even though it is almost about nothing.  classic confusing ending. 

Your Ex: Do you still think about me a lot?
You: No. I don’t.
Your Ex: That’s not true. Look where we are now.
You: I mean, I do. But not really. Weird things will trigger it. Like when I pass that McDonalds on Orange Grove. Remember when we spent six hours there one day just hanging out?
Your Ex: I think so.
You: Fuck you. I’m already getting angry.
Your Ex: Why?
You: Because now I feel stupid for even mentioning it. It’s clear that you’ve forgotten it. So why the hell do I still remember it? Why do I turn into a deer in headlights when I pass a fast food restaurant when you can barely recall the memory? I want to be you in this situation. I want to not remember McDonalds.
Your Ex: You sound crazy right now.
You: Yeah, well it’s because I am. You make me crazy. You make me psychotic.

Why People Fall Out Of Love With Each Other – on the other side of the coin. 

I took you to the doctors because you weren’t feeling well and I felt like such a good person when I was in that waiting room. I wanted to scream at the coughing 80-year-old woman, “Excuse me! I’m waiting for my significant other right now. Because I am a really good partner, the best really. So you can shut up? You’re depressing and I’m happy!” And then somehow, I no longer wanted to wait for you in a doctor’s office. It seemed like the worst activity on planet Earth actually. Maybe this was because I hate hospitals, hate old people, or maybe it’s because I started to hate you. I mean, I’m at a loss, honey! I just knew I could no longer love you.

Upon Realizing You No Longer Love Your Ex – we will all be okay.  sort of.

When this happens, you can be doing anything at all: waiting in line for a latte, jamming your feet into office-appropriate pumps, waking up still hazy-drunk next to your one night stand. Literally anything. You can be doing whatever normal, everyday thing you’re doing, and suddenly you realize, with an urgent nervousness, you haven’t thought about your ex in days. You’re shocked and surprised — how the hell? They used to be on repeat in your brain every day for the past five months. But now that you’ve realized you haven’t been thinking about them, you start to think about them.

on getting over broken hearts.  had a really, really nice conversation with howl about his ex.  howl has, quasi jokingly, a pantheon of 4 ex’s (which immediately set up this scott pilgrim dynamic).  and while howl was pretty open about almost all the ex’s, he does have this “secret boyfriend” that he was never particularly open about.  and i never ever really saw howl at all be particularly sensitive or vulnerable, but he basically was telling me this story about how secret boyfriend drove him crazy, how howl was heartbroken over him for years afterward, how howl still regretted the way things went down with him to this day.  how for years afterward, howl would cry over this dude. 

the moment howl got over said boyfriend was this one time when secret boyfriend was crying because he was really sad about a breakup (with another guy), and howl goes “aww, why are you so upset?  you’ll find someone else.” and secret boyfriend goes “….but i loved him.” fuck. 

hmm, hearing howl talk about a guy he had seen since dating me was productive, i suppose. 

time is always the best cure, right?  jared ended up going permanently radio silent with me, which sort of sucked and was a jerk thing to do, but he was probably doing so just to help me/protect me. 


the bottom line. in the end, we owe it to ourselves to be selfish.  such a james thing to say right now, i can’t wait to read this in a couple years and see what a dipshit i was. 

we need to look after ourselves.  we need to make the best decision for us when it comes to picking a significant other, and shouldn’t make the decision based on what other people tell us, be it someone who’s had their heart broken, your parents, friends, etc.  pity/confusion is never what drives love; self-interest is what drives love. 

i always think about one of my college friends, al; he was with this girl since high school, and they went through great herculean efforts to maintain a berkeley/stanford relationship.  big sacrifices in both of their social lives to make it work.  totally cute, made it through college, totally thought they would work out.  and then al went to grad school (okay, not entirely sure the details of this story) and met a girl (also seriously seeing someone else at the time) and they hit it off way better than their current SO’s.  two messy breakups and a lot of drama later…. they’re engaged!  very happy for al.  but you do what you gotta do.  and if you gotta leave someone crying on a sidewalk, then you gotta leave someone crying on a sidewalk.

you’re the worst
goodbye, james

that’s fine, but i don’t have time to waste on someone who doesn’t think i’m amazing, so i’ll keep looking.

always one of my biggest fears: being in a serious, many-years relationship only to meet someone who you “know” that you have a significantly better connection with.  what do you do?


“so……. i hear the hunger games movie is coming out. :)”
–howl breaking the ice after a mildly intense moment

love the entry title.  who are you, james?!?!  i think it is another reason why english is such a tough language/why natural language processing by computers is so difficult.


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