Opening Ourselves Up for Heartbreak…Again


There’s almost nothing harder than watching someone you love get hurt. If you’re a parent, you know that it’s absolutely heart wrenching when your kids are in pain and there’s absolutely nothing you can do. That feeling of helplessness is one of the worst there is. We would stop at nothing to keep it from happening again. And, yet, it does…especially in relationships.

We, because we’re humans who just want to be loved, open ourselves up to someone and leave our hearts vulnerable to the unbelievable pain that can sometimes come with that. We take the risk because the pay off is greater than that risk. It’s nothing ventured, nothing gained to the nth degree. Yet, we continue to take it. Sometimes we even go where we’ve gone before and take the risk with someone who has been the cause of that great pain. Why? Because, again, we’re human and most of us like to believe not only that people change but that we can’t have been that wrong about someone.

For those watching from the sidelines, it’s a little like watching the instant replay of that train wreck on TV that we can’t seem to look away from. We know that our loved one is playing with fire and opening themselves up to devastation, part deux. We, because we don’t want to watch them go through it again, become the cynics. Mantras like “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” and “Once a cheater, always a cheater” are on the tips of our tongues. And everyone gets it. They agree we are justified in our cynicism.

Sometimes we bite our tongues knowing we might as well be talking to a brick wall. Other times, we voice our concerns. Because, for us, it’s cut and dried. He hurt you once, he’ll hurt you again. Makes sense. No one can fault us for being skeptical. Or can they? I mean, certainly our intentions are good. We want to keep our loved one from being hurt again.

At the same time, we have to put ourselves in their shoes for a minute. After all, what we know may be based in part of what we’ve seen but, more likely than not, what we’ve been told.

The Other Perspective

Let’s face it, when we’re hurting because of a break up, we spout out all of the bad things our ex has ever done. Our hurt causes our words to be intensified. It’s painfully obvious we’re devastated. We rarely extol our ex’s good traits or remember the times we shared that made us feel so loved. That doesn’t translate into post break-up conversations. Only the devastation comes across.

Because our loved ones love us, they may not hold us accountable in every way. We may not have been the one who cheated or behaved so badly. We aren’t necessarily to blame. Yet, we all know it takes two to tango or to facilitate a break up. Part of growing and healing is holding ourselves accountable. We ourselves see things from a different perspective. We are acutely aware of our own part in the demise of the relationship. We alone know the ache of missing him we’ve felt all this time. Only we know that if we don’t give it another chance, we’ll always wonder “what if. ” We are, in all probability, more aware of the risks than the people who care about us.

We, the ‘misguided’ ones taking back the ex, understand. We know you don’t want us to be hurt. We know it’s a risk of epic proportions. But we also know that people change, and grow, and learn from their mistakes. We get that people screw up on the heels of traumatic events and stress and that they deserve forgiveness as much as we do for our own screw ups. We are a little like a child who’s just learned Santa isn’t real. We want to believe. We have to believe. Why? Because the alternative is horribly bleak.

So we ask you to try to understand. We ask that you give us a little credit. We ask that you walk a mile in our shoes. We ask you to remember the time you took your ex back or took a risk others didn’t quite get. We ask you to be there…whether it falls apart or it doesn’t.

It’s not easy we know. We were there when it was you.