On the Other End of Heartbreak: "The Carrie Shoe"

“STOP! Just STOP LYING to me,” I scream on the other end of the line. I’ve completely lost my composure.

“I’m not lying to you. I told you what happened...I’m sorry, babe,” he responds in his soothing voice. But I know better this time; I’m not falling for it.

“You’ve said I’m sorry before,” I tell him. “...I can’t do this. I can’t be in a relationship with someone I can’t trust.”

“I said I was sorry!” he pleads anxiously. “It won’t happen again...”

We’re both silent for a few seconds. My mind is running in a million places.

I let out a chuckle.

“What?” he asks.

“You’re right, it won’t happen again. Definitely not with me. I’m done,” I respond sternly.

“Babe, please! I’ll do anything! Just tell me what you want. I’ll delete her contact info right now and block her if--”

“No, you should have thought about that a while ago,” I interrupt.

Silence again.

“Please, Fran. I messed up...But I’m sorry…” I can hear he’s about to start crying.

I can feel myself starting to cave. “I was really hoping things would work this time around, I really did.”

“And they can! I promise you. Just, please, don’t break up with me!”

I swallow back my tears and muster all the strength within me to respond. “I can’t…” I clear my throat. “I can’t pretend like things are OK between us when I know they aren’t. I love you, but I don’t trust you.”

“If you leave me, this is on you,” he cries.

“I’ll take the blame if that’s what it takes. But I’m not going to stay in a relationship that won’t work.”

I can hear him quietly sobbing on the other line. He finally breaks the silence saying, “You broke my heart.” And hangs up.

I put the phone down on my desk, stare at the wall, and burst into tears.

Whether it was a relationship, a father who walked out, or a loss, we’ve all experienced heartbreak at one point or another. Some of us even find it hard to move on, trust again, or fully embrace life because someone or something along the line broke our heart.

But rarely do we talk about heartbreak from the heartbreaker’s perspective. In most cases, the heartbreaker is the antagonist in the story; the one we are against and to whom we point the shameful finger. Every negative emotion in our body rages against that someone who did the unthinkable to us. How could he? How dare she?

So, now what happens when the script is flipped and you’re on the other end of heartbreak and on the verge of breaking someone’s heart? No one wants to be that person but, sometimes, being the heartbreaker is the right thing to do, especially for ourselves.

Maybe you’re currently in a toxic relationship that you know is going absolutely nowhere, but you’re afraid to end it because you’ve already invested so much of yourself. Maybe you’re in a job situation that is draining you, but because you’ve put in time and been loyal, you refuse to quit out of fear of letting your team down. Maybe you’re struggling with an addiction that is doing you more harm than good, but you can’t stop because the thought of going through a whole day without fulfilling your desire scares you. In all these instances there is a fear of loss, pain, and hurt. We’re afraid of a broken heart...And we’re even more afraid of initiating it.

The beauty in heartbreak is that it does us more good than harm if we let it. Being the heartbreaker requires both vulnerability and strength; empathy and tenacity. You have to be willing to take the heat from those who don’t understand your “why” and strong enough to accept loss and rejection. You also have to be understanding of the other party’s emotions and willing to help them find closure. In the end, if we are doing the “heartbreaking” with good reason, it’s creating an opportunity for us to grow, let go, and move on towards everything life still has to offer us.

Many people think that heartbreakers don’t feel the same level of pain as the person who’s heart was broken. On the contrary, many times the heartbreaker is hurting most because they’re initiating something they know will hurt someone they truly care about. But in the end, they also know it’s the best thing to do for both parties. Staying in something out of fear of initiating a “break up” of any kind only brings frustration and resentment.

Right now, some of us have to evaluate the people and things in our lives. And while breaking up with someone or something may be the hardest thing for you to do, oftentimes, it’s the right thing to do. Don’t be afraid to be on the other end of heartbreak.