Like battle weary veterans, she and I would exchange love stories. Bruised and scarred by love’s many encounters, we would tell tales of how we endured in times of disappointment and heartache. These were often intriguing conversations that would sometimes spiral into bizarre but profound observations and epiphanies. Because you see, for every kiss, there is a broken heart and for every “I’ll never let you down,” there is a broken promise. It’s easy to fall in love, but harder to stop the tears from falling once our companion has fallen out of love. The lucky few find love and the promise of forever, but for the rest of us, heartbreak and heartache ensue. And if the agony of lost or unrequited love is indeed inevitable, then we might as well heed the lessons those encounters taught us and then perhaps, our pain will not be in vain.
“He treated me like I was his possession,” she lamented. “And do you know what the sad thing is? For a while I liked it; I loved the idea of belonging to him—it was sexy to me. But it slowly became overbearing, and by the time I realized it was a product of his insecurities and paranoia, rather than his love and affection for me, it was too late. He had removed any sense of self I once possessed: self-determination, self-reliance, self-awareness, and most of all, self-worth. He made me feel ugly. He made me feel stupid. He made me feel inadequate. He made me feel powerless. Suffice it to say, the only empowering thing I ever did in that relationship was break up with him and muster the strength never to look back.”
Love can leave you maimed, dazed and confused. However, even though it hurts, time has always proven that hearts heal, and when they do, we stand ready to put the past behind us and dare to love again. At that moment, the only important question is, with every scab and scar left behind from the previous heartbreak and every lesson learned, are you one situation stronger, and one relationship wiser?
“But I guess in some weird way, I’m glad it happened, but happier now that it’s over,” she reflected. “It took a bad situation for me to grow up—and out—of those flawed ideas of love and relationships I had. Before that unfortunate relationship, if you had asked me what I look for in a man, I would have told you, ‘good looks, a steady job, and a good personality with bad boy tendencies.’ You ask me that same question today, and I will tell you, ‘maturity, compassion, patience, and a kind heart.’—the things I never experienced in the men I dated in my past. I’m not saying things such as looks and a job don’t matter to me anymore, but I’m just saying I don’t put as much value in them as I used to.”
We all find things we regret in the aftermath of our bad relationships. Those who haven’t matured and grown through those bad encounters are prone to repeat them, but the smart ones quickly realize there is a lesson to be learned and a mistake to be noted so it’s never repeated. The only thing more unfortunate than dealing with a broken heart and a bad relationship is never learning the lessons that experience and journey taught you. So, be glad it happened, even though you have every right and reason to be happy that it is over. The lessons you learn and the wisdom they carry will better prepare you for your next relationship and encounter with love.
Sincerely, Kwapi Vengesayi
From Kwapi Vengesayi‘s book, Men Cheat More, Women Cheat Better: Stories and Conversations About Love, Life and Everything in Between (2017) Available on Amazon