A broken heart can be devastating. Trust me – I know all about it.
I’ve had my heart trampled on, torn to shreds, and put through the wringer more times than I’d like to admit.
I also hate to admit that I’ve broken a heart or two as well.
Legendary singer/songwriter Paul Simon once wrote that
“Losing love is like a window in your heart / Everybody sees you’re blown apart / Everybody feels the wind blow.”
..and I know exactly what he means.
Real heartbreak changes your life. But sometimes, you can pick up the pieces and build yourself into a stronger and wiser person.
So, how do you know when you’re through the worst of the pain and suffering?
I’m sorry, hun – but if you display these ten behaviors, you’re still recovering from a broken heart, and it’s gonna take some more time and chocolate to make things right again.
1) Tears come out of nowhere.
You’re out somewhere with friends and feeling pretty darned good for a change.
You’re even having fun.
And then you notice hot salty drops starting to fall – but from where?
You touch your eyes and are surprised to find it’s you who’s crying.
But that doesn’t make sense. You’re over it already, aren’t you?
It doesn’t look like it.
The pain of a broken heart can run so deep that it takes a lot longer than you might think.
I’ve heard that it takes a day for every week you were together. So, a year-long relationship of 52 weeks is going to take 52 days or almost two months to get over.
In my experience, it can even take longer than that.
So don’t be surprised if your eyes still leak once in a while, my dear. The more you cared, the longer it’ll take to get over it.
2) You’re eating too little or too much.
“It’s easier to drink on an empty stomach than eat on a broken heart” is a weird song title from the experimental Chicago band Joan of Arc.
But it’s also a pretty accurate statement on how I’ve tended to deal with heartbreak.
For me, it becomes almost impossible to eat anything. Nothing tastes good, and the idea of eating just doesn’t appeal to me.
I kind of like the feeling of my body gnawing away itself – it takes my mind off the pain in my chest.
But maybe it’s the opposite for you.
I have friends who feed their heartache like they’re trying to satisfy it and make it go away.
They’ll curl up with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s or a massive bag of chips and just eat and cry their way through the whole thing.
Either way, if your eating habits don’t return to normal, especially if you’re not eating as healthy as you normally do, there’s still a lot of pain there to deal with.
3) You’re drinking or using drugs.
It is easier to drink on an empty stomach and get totally wasted than to deal with that hole in your heart.
Or maybe you’re staying high all the time to keep someone off your mind like Tove Lo.
Either way, if you’re self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, this is a pretty clear sign that you’re still recovering from a broken heart.
This behavior is usually a mixture of trying to numb the pain and self-abuse, and you have to know that it’s not healthy if it starts to become a real habit.
4) You’re not sleeping.
Tossing and turning?
Waking up in the middle of the night, or not even getting any sleep at all?
Problems with your sleep can indicate emotional turmoil, even if you think things are OK.
When the lights go out, the screens are turned off, and it’s just you left there in the dark, the truth is much harder to escape.
You’ve had your heart broken, and you’re still dealing with the fallout.
This happens to most of us, and it will get better. Just give it time.
5) You’re quick to anger.
When your heart gets smashed to smithereens, don’t you feel overwhelming sadness?
So why is it then that you find yourself snapping at colleagues and biting the heads off your friends and family for no apparent reason?
Where is all this anger coming from?
Just like the death of someone you care about, grief is a natural result of heartbreak.
And anger is one of the products of dealing with grief for many people.
This anger comes from your brain wrestling with what happened and trying to make sense of it. It’s anger at the change and your powerlessness to prevent it.
And while it’s natural to have bursts of anger, try to recognize them when they happen and don’t let them control you.
6) You’re having meaningless sex.
I’m not trying to shame you here, but if you’ve been getting around a bit, it’s probably because you’re still recovering from your broken heart.
I did the same thing after my last big break-up.
I was so deep into that relationship that when it ended, I felt like I wasn’t a whole person.
It was like I’d lost the better half of me, the part that was worth anything.
So, I think the one-night stands were about trying to recapture some of that self-worth. I was trying to prove to myself that I could have some value, at least as a lover.
I was also trying to bring some fun back into my life.
And I definitely wasn’t ready to let myself catch any feelings, so I compartmentalized my emotions and allowed myself to have only physical intimacy.
All that combined made me pursue purely physical relationships for a while, which was thankfully pretty short.
7) No one catches your eye.
Instead of chasing after hook-ups, it might be that absolutely no one interests you at all, not in that way, anyway.
You might find yourself completely turned off by the idea of romance or of connecting with anyone else.
If that’s the case, it’s probably because you’re still mourning the loss of that other person from your life.
I think there’s always a period after a heartbreak where you simply can’t imagine ever being with anyone else ever again.
And that’s good because it tells you that your relationships have meaning and aren’t just trivial or superficial.
8) You’re stuck on sad.
Heartbreak makes you sad inside and out, but why does it make you attracted to sad songs, tear-jerking movies, and stories of sorrow?
Wouldn’t it make sense to try to take in positive, happy, funny things to try to cheer yourself up?
It doesn’t seem to work that way.
When it comes to things like movies and music, we tend to choose things that mirror our moods. I guess we want to relate our feelings to those of others, even if they’re fictional.
Maybe through this empathetic connection, we get a feeling of sharing our feelings and the burden they create..?
9) You can’t stop thinking about what happened.
Do you find yourself trapped in circles of thought like a tape loop playing over and over again?
It’s normal to reflect on what went wrong and the painful results when your heart gets broken.
But if you’re obsessively thinking about this and little else, that’s called rumination, and it can be very hard to get away from.
Day and night, your every thought leads back to the trauma of losing love, and your mind just can’t stop thinking about it.
If this is happening to you, it means you’re still processing what happened, and there’s still a lot to get over.
It can help to force yourself to do new activities to interrupt your routines and break you out of this cyclical thinking.
10) You get sick easily.
I don’t mean lovesick, which is actually the opposite of having a broken heart, I guess.
I’m talking about getting physically sick and feeling rotten.
What does this have to do with having your heart broken?
The emotional pain you’re suffering and the disruptions to how you’re sleeping and eating can cause you stress.
And this stress can cause chronic inflammation in the body, leading to lots of different health problems, especially auto-immune disorders. At the same time, stress lowers the number of your white blood cells, which protect you from pathogens, allowing you to pick up infections more easily.
So you can actually get sick from a broken heart.
If you’ve been struggling with health problems since yours was shattered, you still have some recovery to do.
If you display any of these ten behaviors, you’re probably still recovering from a broken heart.
And that’s OK.
It can take a whole lot of time and boxes of tissues, but you’re going to get there eventually.
And one day, you might even realize how lucky you are to have had a few really good heartbreaks.