Heart Broke

Question:

I’ve been in love with a man since childhood. My facebook links is linked to my email. There were pictures the first thing this morning of him with another female. This really hurts my heart!

Signed,

Hurt


Answer:

Dear Hurt:

We’re not a personal relationship site, but I can give you some thoughts that would apply to almost any relationship, work or otherwise. The trouble is that while you’re hurting your mind won’t be able to focus on anything but the pain. Maybe though, you can come back to the advice when things have calmed down a bit.

First, the fact that someone has their photo taken with someone doesn’t mean much nowadays. Facebook is full of photos of people kissing, hugging and looking like great friends or lovers and you find out it was just a fun way to pose or whatever. So, no matter how the photo looked, it doesn’t mean he is lost to you forever or that he is feeling love toward the woman in the photo.

Also, even if he is involved with her now, relationships often don’t last. A week from now it could be over, if it ever really got started.

The third thing that sometimes helps to remember is that when someone said to him, “Hey you guys, let me get your picture” he wasn’t thinking of it being a message to you or that you’d have any reaction to it. It was just a photo to show he’s having fun and here is who he’s having fun with. Maybe the last thing in the world he’d want to do is make you feel badly and he’d say, “It was just a picture, there’s no point in getting all upset over it!” He’s probably had his picture taken with other women, you just didn’t know about it at the time–just as you’ve been at parties or clubs and there were guys around and photos may have been taken.

All of that is to say that there could be much less to it that you think. Sometimes when you think you’ve investigated and have figured out what’s going on, you find out you were very wrong.

A more sad thought…but a realistic one, is this: Let’s say that this person, who you’ve loved for years, isn’t involved with the person in the photo. That still doesn’t mean he is involved with you, except as a friend.

I guess the toughest thing any of us have to face is the reality that someone doesn’t love us as much as we love them or in the same way we love them. For most of us there is the thought, “How could he NOT love me, when I love him so much and I could make him happy?”

There are many times when, with a willing and loving woman right in front of him, a man will do just what women do in similar situations–they become attracted to someone else, usually someone new to them who fascinates them. (There have probably been boys and men in your life who have wondered why YOU didn’t love THEM in just such a situation.)

What really is bad is that you can hang around for weeks or months waiting for them to break up and when they do, the guy you’ve waited for gets involved with someone else again, so things aren’t any better than before!

It seems the only thing that stops the heartache is for the heartbroken person to get attracted to someone else. When that happens, suddenly the long-time love starts fading into memory. Self-esteem is restored, confidence is rebuilt and often that person can even shake her head at how she could have been attracted to someone who she now realizes is so messed up! Or, she can say she will always love him but she’s IN love with someone else.

But, when the hurt is happening it doesn’t help to know that one day it will go away. I also hate it when people give advice like, “Show him what he’s missing”. Often it’s just a matter of the other person not thinking of the one who loves him, as anything but a sister, friend, pal, or whatever. Even if there was once a romantic relationship, once it’s over the person becomes just another friend. In fact, there is nothing that takes away the male-female awareness like having once been VERY aware of it, but it went away.

The one thing a person has to watch is to not let their personal life interfere with work, which I’m sure you are aware of and won’t do. Work is the foundation. I often say, no matter how messed up everything else is, we need to keep work stable.

For right now, put your focus on your work, your appearance, your health, your entertaining, or anything else that not only takes your mind off things but that can be a positive influence in your life anyway. If you’re really feeling saintly you can use now as a time to reach out to others who may also be hurting.

Until you know the full story, hold on. If the full story is what you thought or worse, well, at least you’ve had time to gain some strength to deal with it.

Avoid obsessively talking about it, since that is just upsetting–and it always wears on your friends after awhile. Of course, you’ll probably share a bit of your feelings. Just monitor yourself so that’s not all you talk about.

Let the world turn around for a few more days and get ready to deal with it then, unless you are forced to before then. When you write to him or see him or hear from him, you will be much more able to communicate without questions that might make him irritated and resentful.

I wish there was a magical way to deal with this so it would work out right for you. But, that may happen anyway! Good luck to you right now and in the future–and best wishes.

Tina Lewis Rowe