I have never had the cutting boy-man-heartbreaks that so many other women have experienced. Glad for that, for sure. But before you stop reading because I ‘just wouldn’t understand a broken heart’, give me a minute or two to give a different perspective on this.
Heartbreak is about love. For sure.
But it’s also about pain.
And it looks different for everyone.
Some heartbreak comes from things outside our control. A cheating spouse, the death of a loved one, a friend’s rejection, the victims of child pornography. All make our heart just ache. Rightfully so. And God says he is faithful to help us through all of it.
Heartbreak is about anything that breaks you open inside, leaves you in a different place. And sometimes we are the perpetrator of the heartbreak, and we need to be willing to own up to that.
I will use a teenage heartbreak to illustrate this different perspective.
At 16, I was popular, but only as that girl who could make you laugh, full of jolly, a bit of a troublemaker. Bigger than the normal size 10 girl, huge boobs, sweaty armpits (really, embarrassingly so!), everyone’s “sister”, no one’s girlfriend. Each month there was a dance at the high school (which was literally two blocks from my house, on the top of a hill). I would spend that evening sitting in my dark bedroom looking up at my high school, all bright and glittery, watching the cars stream in and out.
Back then, there were no ‘stag’ girl groups to hang with, and no girl went solo. You had a date, or you stayed home. And since no one ever asked me to go with them, I stayed home. In the dark. Wondering if I would ever have someone who wanted me, who wanted to dance with me, kiss me good night. (My faith started its wee-growth-stage during those nights, so there was a serendipity from this aloneness.) For you see, I was not only never asked to the dance, I was never asked on a date. At all.
Until my junior year. My first date. A college boy, a brother of a high school friend. He was tall, dark, handsome (no, really, he was!). Chiseled features. A real catch. Donny Caparelli (name only slightly changed so I can rightfully relive the swoon!).
And he wanted a date. With me. Not with my best friend (as most boys did), not with the cheerleader, not with the homecoming queen. Me. Moi.
The first date was sweet. Dinner, ice cream cones, home by 9, light kiss at the door. Swoon-y. And a request to see me again the next week. OMG! Heaven sent.
Saturday came. He picked me up, we went to a movie, shared (swoon-y!) a chocolate shake at Burger King, and then…we drove to The Lane, the notoriously infamous make-out haven, dead end road of steamy windows and looooovvve. You know the place – every high school has one. Or used to, although I am a bit (make that, a lot!) out of touch with today’s trends!
I had never been to The Lane, knowing of it by reputation alone. As we turned onto The Lane, I could hear my heartbeat in my ears, the adrenaline flooding every cell of my body.
He ever-so-sweetly suggested getting in the back seat, so we each crawled through the bucket seats of the mustang (oh, did I forget to tell you that he drove a green mustang!). As we settled into ‘place’ I giggled as he groped, and I suddenly realized, as so many girls before and since, that there was no way I wanted to be doing this. So, I said no.
SIDE NOTE: It was the 60’s, the beginning of the Sexual Revolution. The lines that defined a ‘good girl’ were still intact, although definitely beginning to blur. And at that moment, I wanted to stay the ‘good girl.’
Perhaps ‘no’ wouldn’t have stopped every young man in this situation. But it stopped Donny. He crawled back into the driver’s seat, and started the car. I crawled back into my seat, and without a word he drove me home. When we pulled up in front of my house, he leaned over me, opened my door, and then put his hands back on the wheel. I got out, closed the door, and he zoomed off.
I said no, and we never spoke another word. Ever.
I will never forget how heartbroken I was. Consumed with disappointment, embarrassment, and sadness.
There’s much we could chat about with this scenario, isn’t there? If we knew then what we knew now, right (like WTF did I have to be embarrassed about!!!?)?
But I digress…
I could say that Donny was the cause of this, my first broken heart, but I really think, looking back many ten’s ago, that he was not. I was. And not because I nixed the grope-fest he had planned. That was right. No question.
Heartbreak all too often happens because of our expectations. We hope that our wildest imaginations will turn into our wildest reality. We cross a line somewhere between the two when we move those imaginations, into assumptions that lead to unrealistic and unwise expectations.
I assumed Donny really, really liked me. I never considered that he liked just my boobs. I assumed because his brother was a friend that he would be one of the good guys. I assumed that his year in college hadn’t blurred any lines for him.
I assumed wrongly. And that is what broke my heart.
You see, for me, Donny took on a huge role that he never asked for, that he never would have agreed to. I expected him to save me from my loneliness. I expected him to be the fulfillment of all the fantasies I had of being desired. I wanted to be able to show him off, and thumb my nose at all of the rejectors as I rode into the sunset next to him in his hot car. I wanted him to fix what was already broken inside me.
And it turned out he was not a fixer. He wasn’t even a heart-breaker. He was just a 19-year old boy wanting to get lucky with a big-boobed high school girl. That was it.
He who leans on, trusts in, and is confident of his own mind and heart is a [self-confident] fool, but he who walks in skillful and godly Wisdom shall be delivered. Proverbs 28: 26
I was, as Proverbs so aptly puts it, a self-confident fool. Smart enough to say ‘no’, but not wise enough to keep from getting hurt by my own brokenness.
I had to step back and take responsibility for my own lapse of realism, for my own overblown expectations. For my lack of wisdom and discernment.
A broken heart hurts. Self-inflicted or otherwise. It can hurt deeply.
But, before we can heal we have to – we must – be sure that our brokenness was not there before we got our ‘heart broken.’
Then, and only then, can healing begin.
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Believe.com is so happy to have Diane writing with us. Diane is a writer and blogger and has authored Losing the Mask: Overcoming the Fear of Failure. She lives with her husband in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has two adult children, both married, and one incredibly cute and loveable granddaughter.