Lessons From a Broken Heart

Ever since I was cheated on, I knew this article had to be written. But it’s taken me almost 2 months to pluck up the courage and share all my thoughts with Her Campus. Before I go into it all, I thought it would be appropriate to give all the readers some key contextual background knowledge, if my politics essays have taught me nothing else then it’s simply that.

‘It was the post-exam fun week at the end of second year. My then boyfriend and I were at our respective end of season dinners. Afterwards, I went home to bed whilst he did the business with someone else. That someone else, was someone he’d had relations with prior to us meeting and had never left my radar throughout our relationship.’


1. Time is a healer

This is the one phrase that my nearest and dearest have persistently advocated throughout these past six weeks and I’m starting to believe them. When I found out about the situation, deep down all I wanted to do was cry into my pillow for days on end and not emerge from my room until the pain was over, but if I’d done that I’d still be in my bed right now. Instead the same day I found out, I went to my friends for a movie and pizza night where I watched Louis Theroux’s Jimmy Saville documentary, I wanted to watch something so painful that I wouldn’t wallow in self-pity.  Also less than 48 hours in, I forced myself to host a radio show with my best friend where we talked for an hour about our future,whilst I still couldn’t even process the present. I did that radio show in full view of the best friend of the someone else (she doesn’t deserve to be named – and yes, I do hold grudges) my ex cheated on me with. I still don’t know how I composed myself and didn’t cry whilst I sang along to Taylor Swifts ‘We are never ever getting back together’. But I guess that’s as I was running on adrenaline and I wanted to believe it was just a bad dream.

For the 10 days I remained in Exeter post-situation (whilst he ran home away from his problems and guilty conscience), I said yes to every social event and did as much as possible to end my year on a high. Having to say goodbye to friends I wouldn’t see for over a year whilst they ventured on years abroad, as well as trying to live up to the hype of post-exam vibes, meant I didn’t have or arguably give myself time to just process it all. I still went to EGB, I still went on nights out, I remained composed throughout every social situation, I didn’t want to be that friend who cried for hours and ruined everyone’s night. I wish I could go back and just give myself a hug, as not enough people did. I don’t regret throwing myself into everything but I do regret not just taking five and having a little cry, it would’ve done me the world of good. But basically, my point is to not distract yourself to the point that you are delaying the inevitable, as it will catch up with you weeks later and you’ll be questioning why you are still so upset (aka me). Just let time do its thing, yes it will be painful but it’s a process that must be done, something I’m still learning.


2. Always listen to your emotions

This was something I realised very early on, I’ve let my emotions rule every step of my broken heart, I’ve always remained true to myself and never allowed myself to be persuaded otherwise. Arguably this has led to some very questionable decisions but I when I feel myself getting angry at previous actions, I respect the emotional state I was in at the time and how it was the best thing to do in that moment. People always said you’ll regret that later on and I’m somewhat surprised and proud that I don’t regret any of my heartbroken actions. Some of my actions may not have been the best idea, and allies of the devils (yes I do hold awful grudges) said I was embarrassing myself, but I haven’t, nor will I ever feel embarrassed.

All I would say is refrain from doing anything which will provoke a reaction and consequently worsen your pain. However it’s definitely easier said than done. On a daily basis I look back in time and wonder if I’d been more vocal in my opposition to the devil’s so called 'friendship' and really voiced my concerns about the devil, would I be in this situation right now? But I must respect the decisions I made then, as difficult that is to do.


3. Accept this new chapter in your life

Learning to accept that it’s happened and this is your new life, is something I’ve found incredibly difficult to deal with and put off for an awful long time. As when you let go of the hope that it will go back to normal and forget that someone else (the one that deserves no name) destroyed your relationship, you know there’s no going back.  I held onto my previous chapter until I came back home from volunteering solo at Glastonbury, something my ex and I had planned to do together, it was the last thing we’d organised and when I came back home, it really hit me that it was all over. There was nothing else to hold onto. I felt like I was at a crossroads, where I finally could let go of the pain and start to embrace summer or run back into his arms. I wept for two days solid panicking about what to do, but I came to the conclusion I need to start respecting my own self-worth and be strong on my own. And for a girl who’s been in relationships pretty much since the end of first term in first year, the prospect was absolutely terrifying.


4. Remain in control

This was something I tried my upmost ability to do from the offset, I didn’t want any nasty surprises on social media or anything that would push me into emotional turbulence. So the day after the situation emerged, I unfriended and unfollowed everything and everyone that would remind me of the devils and the situation. As from a previous heartbreak, I knew that insta-stalking had done me no favours and had prolonged my pain, how I do wish everyone’s Instagram was private. I also told all my friends via voice notes about what had happened (I couldn’t face the agony of typing it out repeatedly), I didn’t want anyone to catch me off guard and ask me about how I was or how things were with him. I told all my friends and family I didn’t want to talk about it, I basically splurged emotional messages into my friend’s inbox’s and left it there, looking back they must have been so confused.

However as I’d been so persistent about not wanting to talk about it, people stopped asking and I felt incredibly isolated and alone. It came to a head a few weeks ago where I was with close friends for a day out and it came to about 4pm and no one had mentioned it, I was becoming quite upset as I just wanted to let all my emotions out. When I brought up how no one had mentioned it, they said you were so persistent in your messages that I wouldn’t dare bring it up. I had truly shot myself in the foot, I’d come to the realisation of the detrimental consequences of my determination to be in control. So if you have a friend who’s going through a tough time don’t be afraid to ask them how they are, it never does anyone any harm.


5. You are stronger than you know

This is by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through and I do feel slightly pathetic aged twenty saying that my uni boyfriend cheating on me is the hardest thing I’ve been through, when people have been through so much worse but you can’t help how you feel. I’d been fortunate enough to never have any issues with my mental health and I thought I’d cared for my mind in this heartbreak too. But it came to a head less than a month ago when I was having a really bad morning at work, my mind was reliving the night on repeat for around six hours when out the blue I felt really unwell and went to the toilet and threw up. I stared at my sick whilst crying into the toilet, thinking why has this happened? Why am I crying? Did I eat something dodgy this morning? It wasn’t until I went home and sunk into the sofa with a box of chocolates that I realised my anxiety had got too much for my mind to process, consequently provoking a strong physical reaction. I felt incredibly shook and it was then I realised I hadn’t given myself a day to think or process it all in the three weeks since it happened. I’d been too focused on keeping myself busy with spending time with my friends and starting a full-time job, that I’d neglected number one. In the week gearing up to Glastonbury, I tried to get myself into a healthy emotional state for my exciting solo adventure. But looking back, inviting friends over pretty much constantly didn’t really achieve that.

But the moment I knew I was really strong was when I got to the front row for my idol Lewis Capaldi for his set at Glastonbury, his debut album had been go-to for all provoked crying needs (top tip - if you want to make me tear up play Forever by Lewis Caplaldi, or if you wanna see me ball my eyes out play The Love You Left Behind by Micheal Schlute). On the one hand I was really scared about being seen crying at Glastonbury and knew listening to Lewis Capaldi would bring it all back up, but my inner fan girl was so so so excited. However the next moment genuinely couldn’t be made up. It was a mutual friend of the devils and I, literally stood right next to me, honestly what are the chances. How I composed my emotions throughout the whole performance bewilders me. If someone had told me six weeks ago I’d manage that situation with my head held high, I’d have laughed at them, but here I am saying I did it. I’m so proud of myself for going to Glastonbury alone, I’m so much stronger than I ever thought I was.


6. The future

When this situation arose, I was absolutely terrified of what my future would look like, when you are madly in love you just think it will last forever and when that’s over, I genuinely believe it’s a similar experience to grief. I was worried there would be a massive void in my life, I saw him almost every day and didn’t know how I’d cope. I didn’t know how I’d manage without my best friend an 8-minute walk away. I didn’t know how I’d manage without having someone I had infinite trust in and could confined in about absolutely anything. I didn’t know how I’d manage without someone who was my absolute world. But if I’ve done it for 6 weeks, I can do it for 6 weeks more. And if I can find love in a small student city in Devon, I will certainly find it again.

But this time I will find someone who treats me how I deserve to be treated. I will find someone who won’t sleep with someone else, and when that someone else confesses their 'love' for them as they are flying to Paris the next day for a year away, and couldn’t go without saying so (oh give me a break), my someone will call me rather than sleep with the devil. I will find someone who won’t dismiss me as a psychopath when raising concerns about female ‘friends’ whom they have history with. I will find someone who always respects me. It would be fair to say this betrayal has put me off men for a while, I remain excited to find the one but I’m even more excited to find myself on life’s journey. As Kelly Clarkson would say ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and I couldn’t agree more.