The Truth About Heartbreaks

The flavor of my life as of late has been annoyed or frustrated. With everything. Even after talking to a dear friend of mine and knowing she was trying to help, I was for some reason even more agitated.

I know she meant well. She reminded me of how it takes 1-2 years to acclimate somewhere and that I should get in touch with people to reconnect in this community here.

However it was probably the lie I told her that has me frustrated the most. With myself.

When I told her it has been hard being back here, in Austin, because everything reminds me of my ex, she very innocently asked “But I thought you didn’t move there for him.” And my answer was that “I didn’t”.

Which is true, in a way. He was not the primary reason. I have fantasized about living here for a year or two. However, he was a BIG part of the decision to move. I wanted to set roots down, but WITH a partner. I envisioned HIM being that partner.

Breaking up with my ex burst a large bubble in my life. 

To be completely transparent, I never saw being in Austin alone. When I first started fantasizing about moving here, I always felt I would find my guy here, my life partner, and we would build roots here, together.

Being single in this city inevitably makes it hard to be here, since I imagined living here being with someone. Not only did my relationship ‘die’, so did that dream.

We loved each other (still do) and I was committed to making it work no matter what, yet it takes two to tango. I was willing to push through the rocky parts because I believe in what is available on the other side.

I fully admit it: I don’t want to do this, life, alone anymore.

Regardless of how much you ‘know’ this is the ‘right thing to do’ when going through a breakup (or a major life transition), it is still hard. Your head and heart always seem to be at odds. I forget that. Every time.

There is this deep sadness and loss swirling all around and within you. It also comes in waves, when you least expect it, so you never know when it will take you down. Pretty classic stages of grief actually.

In this case, the first stage, which is Denial, feels more like Amnesia. I often forget what happened. I avoid the reality. I don’t want to think about it, at all.

It feels easier to go on with life and pretend you were never in a relationship to begin with.

But being back in Austin has made being oblivious to this first stage damn near impossible.

So much of this city reminds me of him. This is where we first met. This is where he went to school and lived for a good chunk of his life. This is where I moved to be closer to him. This is where I envisioned us ultimately settling down together and building a life, our life.

It is excruciatingly real, and painful, that I am single again.

All I want to do is curl up into a ball because Denial is no longer an option.

According to the ‘Seven Stages of Grief’ now begins the next three stages, which actually feels more like one big ball of suffering to me as they are all ping ponging around in my heart.

These next phases are Pain and Guilt (Stage Two), Anger and Bargaining (Stage Three) and Depression, Reflection and Loneliness (Stage Four).

It’s challenging to be here, not just in this location but in this moment, because of the myriad of emotions fighting for attention.

I alternate between being pissed off at him for leading me to believe he was ready to be in a relationship again when he was not, sad that I am unable to see him, feel him, be held by him, and remorseful for planning huge decisions in my life with the hope of him being in it.

I also know that what is around the corner is freedom and possibility. I am confident I will find the partner that wants to build a life with me as much as I want to build it with him. I trust that it will be even better than I ever imagined.

Yet in THIS moment, all my heart wants to say is “Fuck You!” Fuck you to my ex, to the world and even to myself for ‘falling’ for this shit ‘again’. 

This is definitely not my first rodeo in the breakup department. Trust me when I say my heart has been broken many times before. It will get stronger. I will love again. Even more ferociously than before. This I am sure of.

But maybe the lesson here is not to rush through this bruised and battered period.

We do everything we can to avoid pain usually. For me, it is the anger piece that is most unbearable. I tend to ignore my rage or make it wrong.

Instead of putting a band-aid over the wound or letting it get infected, what would it be like to tend to it with compassion and presence?

How different would it be to allow for it to heal in a mindful and loving way?

Not sure what that looks like exactly, but I would venture to guess that it means crying when overtaken by sadness, screaming when called to let out  frustration or nurturing self when needing some tender loving care.

If nothing else, I am learning that this is all okay. There is nothing bad about feeling sad or angry or hurt. There is no rush to feel ‘better’ or ‘get over it’.

Time does heal and maybe trusting also means allowing time to do its thing, at its own pace, and having faith that is all perfect, even in the mess and the imperfection.


CS Photoshoot II


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4 Responses to The Truth About Heartbreaks

  1. James October 2, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    Hi Natalie

    (I commented on your post in good men project, was just looking at your blog now)

    Having just been through the end of a 10 year marriage I feel for you. That anger takes time. I still had to live with my ex-wife during that period (seems so long ago but was only in april/may) and to be honest I think only time works. I was lucky in one respect I had to drive an hour each way for work which gave me a nice little chill time at the start and end of each day before I had to come home and bite my tongue for the sake of the kids.

    All I can say is (and this advice is very hard to follow) is start looking at your future – the good parts, try and start dreaming again of what can be, not what you wanted two years ago. Also try and remember the person you were before the relationship. We all change to accomodate that other person and sometimes important bits of yourself get burried in this accomodation, the bits that make you most look forward to new things, new adventures and new friends.

    The other thing I might suggest is reach out and start meeting new people. It doesn’t matter if it is as simple as posting on someone’s blog (like me now 🙂 ) or saying hi to your neighbors, connecting a little better with those you work with or just simply saying hi to old friends you haven’t spoken to for a while. When you are in a relationship you tend to just have friends compatible with the relationship. You need other friends now that are there for different reasons. It was strange for me coming out of a 10 year marriage and looking around and not having a friend who is single who I could spend a night out on the town with.

    Anyway best of luck. You will get there, but in the mean time it just sucks, sucks, sucks, sucks.

  2. Natalie October 7, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    Thank you for your thoughts and taking the time to comment on the blog 🙂

    I am one of those people that is single more than in relationship so my group of friends is pretty solid. I think for me it is reconnecting to the vision for my life and how regardless of status of relationship that vision gets to stay priority.

    It is a balancing act and luckily I learned a lot in this situation. I did not lose focus of my career and passions (which was my big win) and I stayed connected to friends. It is a recalibration period for sure … I am ready to be in a relationship (the long haul guy), yet I am appreciating my life with the ups and downs.

    I do love the reminder to start dreaming again of what can be and not what I wanted two years ago. I have done my relationship autopsy and updated my love wish lists and am ready for whatever is next!!

    Good luck to you as well James!

    • James October 8, 2013 at 12:41 am #


      You have come out better then I did then. All my good friends (I mean really solid friends) are in another state now and I lost custody of our local friends, which kind of realy hurt a lot. You sort of get sick of hearing “I’m sorry to hear that” yet none of them called or stoped to check in to see how I was doing. Not to mention you have no idea how hard it is to clean and do up a house and sell it by yourself then have to move house by yourself, a hand every now and again would have really helped. Anyway, I don’t have a lot of time for those sort of freindships now, I believe friendships should be backed up with actions and not just words.

      When I did my autopsy I found I was DOA and had been for about 4 years. Luckily I found the guy I was in my 20’s though and he’s still there and still keen on living life, seeing whats over the next hill and up for meeting new people. I missed him but he is back now.

      • Natalie October 8, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

        Glad to hear he is back James. Sounds like you have learned a lot and are ready for what is next. Kudos!!

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