On healing a broken heart.

by mssinglemama on December 11, 2011

The auditorium is full. We have all been called here for a special event, an hour assembly featuring a guest speaker.

A woman walked onto the stage with a man. The two were here to tell us about sex, or I should say – to tell us why we shouldn’t have sex. After the man showed us a photo of an aborted fetus the woman took another tact. She wanted to talk about what sex does to your heart.

“Let me tell you about a girl named Sally,” she said. “This here in my hands,” she holds up a giant red heart cut out of construction paper, “this is Sally’s heart. And one day Sally decides to have sex with Dave  and then a piece of her heart is ripped and broken.”

She rips off a piece of the heart.

She keeps going through Sally’s sexual history until there is nothing left except for a tiny scrap of paper in her hands.

“And after all of them, this is all Sally had left. Because every time you have sex with someone, they take a piece of your heart and you will never have it back.”

We all filed out of the auditorium to our respective classrooms where we were then expected to then concentrate on our teacher and our classwork.

The woman’s illustration has never left me. And every time another relationship of mine ended I thought of her, up on the stage, laughing at me – pointing and saying, “I told you so.”

And for years I thought she was right. But now I’ve realized that she was only partially right.

Yes, my heart has been broken apart into a million pieces. Shattered entirely in fact. And not just once, but several times in my life. Most recently, last Christmas. It’s been coming back in waves, memories hitting me. The shock afterwards, the days when I couldn’t even stand without shaking. Everything was perfectly fine and then it wasn’t. He was there and then he wasn’t.

But afterwards my heart started healing.

That’s the part the woman on the stage didn’t tell us that day. That we each have the power within to heal ourselves and our hearts. And eventually, even the scars begin to fade away.

It’s hard to carry. It is. The baggage of past relationships come with you into the new. But fortunately, I can talk about it all with him. Every detail, every hurt. He does the same and by talking about it we are honest with each other and what we are bringing with us. In that way, we can help each other to heal.

And right now, my heart is beaming.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Hillary December 11, 2011 at 10:05 am

Beautiful post.


Gigi December 11, 2011 at 10:09 am

I just blogged about being broken in my blog! This is very timely for me. I don’t know if you still remember me – I bought one of your leaf necklaces last year. I am from the Philippines.

Thank you for this one. I believe that we do get broken every time – but we heal eventually – and we become stronger.

Please continue sharing your thoughts with us 🙂 You help without even knowing it!


Anna December 11, 2011 at 11:43 am

Through healing, we learn. And every time our heart gets broken, we have an opportunity to remind ourselves how much we know and love our own true self. And how much we deserve to be loved for who we are. Lovely post.


Erica December 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Thank you. Needed this today. My baby girl will be born any day now…and her father calls to ask how she is doing but he has no idea what he has done to me. I know my heart will heal again but it takes time and work and I didnt think I would ever be in this place again…but all we can do is look at the bright side and recognize that only change is certain. I am thankful that you shared how you are still haunted by the broken relqtionship with John…becauae I thought I had moved on from my broken enagagement too but awoke this mornibg to a flood of emotion. And here, your post. I am grateful for your honesty and persistance.


Sharon December 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Thank you for this. I needed this today. I am so glad things are working out so beautifully for you!


wow December 11, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I’m deeply disturbed by that assembly. That school’s selection of a guest speaker = complete fail. Unless they were going for not changing any behavior and only making women feel worse about themselves. Glad you overcame that.


Heather December 11, 2011 at 8:59 pm

I agree… totally disturbing! And, I would have been livid if my daughter or son had come home telling me about this type of fear-mongering in her/his school.


mssinglemama December 11, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I know! It was a Catholic school and I absolutely hated the place… once we moved back to public schools, I never set foot in a church again and completely walked away from religion (not a higher power, but organized religion). They traumatized me in so many ways.


Tess December 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm

We had the exact same assembly at out Roman Catholic HS! I didn’t buy it though. I was already savvy to their guilt inducing tricks. They really didn’t want you to think for yourself.


Lisa January 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm

haha. I, too, was disturbed, and my very first thought was, “Was this Catholic school?!” And I’m not even Catholic.

Also … while I agree with the imagery to a point, in retrospect I have almost entirely good memories of all those …. pieces. Reading your post, I remember the pain, the agony of the dissolution of the two most recent relationships I’ve had with crystal clarity. But when I compare that agony with the joy I took from each, I wouldn’t give them up. Not for a little piece of my heart being permanently altered. Because most of what my heart experienced was a very good thing.


Heather December 11, 2011 at 8:57 pm

The greatest moments of growth and amazing life change in my life have ALL been at the result of a broken heart. A broken heart has been the impetus for me to do things I never imagined I would do.

“The heart that is broken has been broken open. When my heart was broken, it changed my life.” Susan Piver’s The Wisdom of a Broken Heart.


mssinglemama December 11, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I absolutely love this. Thank you for sharing.


AnneMarie December 12, 2011 at 11:13 am

Here’s the thing. You’re never really happy until you find peace within your OWN heart. Baggage, relationships, dating….you’re always gonna be in limbo and NOT getting what you want until you learn to LOVE yourself. Why do you insist on men to make everything in your life good, or okay? You never seem to be happy or fulfilled unless you’re in a relationship. No matter how dysfunctional it is. And again, you’re in what we call the “lust, honey moon period” we’ll see how this one works out in a year or two. It seems to me that your whole mood is dependent on the man in your life….when things are good within your relationships you tend to be more fulfilled, happy, and its smooth sailing within every aspect of your life; when its bad, your whole life is turned up side down. You also seem to fall in love very easily —


mssinglemama December 12, 2011 at 11:26 am

AnneMarie – I feel exactly as content and happy as I did before I met him. I have written for years about loving yourself first and achieved that even before I met John. In fact, being single after John – this year – was a wonderful, awesome time for me. I was incredibly fulfilled and happy, as you can clearly read in my blog posts.

And my relationship with John was not dysfunctional, it just wasn’t the right fit. I haven’t had a dysfunctional relationships since the one with my ex-husband – and am proud of that fact. That I haven’t succumbed to another one.


Heather December 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I wouldn’t worry about justifying the way you are living your life or the choices you are making. People project their “stuff” onto others and it honestly has very little, if anything, to do with you.


Michelle December 12, 2011 at 2:50 pm

AnneMarie, from your negative comment I think it would be safe to say that you are not only unhappy but also the one without peace in your heart.


Martie December 12, 2011 at 11:13 pm

I really needed this today. I am dealing with a broken heart and don’t know how I will ever get through this. One day we went from being a family and planning our future together to him turning his back on us. I don’t trust or love easily and I did with him. Right now I don’t feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel but you have given me hope that one day my heart will heal and I will one day be happy again. My son is my rock and the reason I keep going. I feel like I have failed him as a mother by bringing this man into our lives. All I can do is take it day by day and hope that time will heal my heart.


KQ December 14, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I’m right where you are Martie. This post was so timely!

I was told last night “sometimes things don’t work out.” Well…Duh! But that doesn’t make them hurt any less. It doesn’t make me feel any less broken. And to be told that by someone who gave up on us so easily after making sooo many promises, when I was being so careful with my heart before he came along…and expects me to still be friends. I don’t know how. Months later, I still don’t know how.

But that’ll heal, in some way, too.


Jean December 15, 2011 at 3:08 am

What a powerful post. I teared up while reading it. I have been on again and off again for the last year with my former fiance of 7 years. We finally ended it not long ago and it is so hard to get over at times. Even when you’re doing good and think you’ve moved on, waves of memories and emotions hit. It’s good to work through it though so you can really heal and move on 🙂


Sarah December 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm

You have such a beautiful heart! Thank you for sharing it with us. It helps more than you realize.


Jaime December 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Thanks for this post. My husband and I were married for 11 years and together almost 15 years. After moving from Florida to California in July for his job, he came home 6 weeks ago to tell me he was leaving. He has been cheating on me for years, stolen money from our accounts, and is currently “dating” a hooker. We have a son who is 6 and a daughter who is 19 months. Total Jerry Springer, I know. Your post, though, helps me see the future. That I will find a man worthy of loving me, even if my heart feels like its been put through the blender right now. I hope you and your little guy have a great Christmas. I plan on wrapping some of my “baggage” up and giving it away! 🙂


ltk December 16, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are.

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.

Louis De Bernieres

THought you might enjoy this quote and also it sort of explains some people’s concern when you first declared your feelings on your blog regarding your new relationship.


Beverly Diana December 29, 2011 at 4:22 pm

This was so perfect. I am not a single mama – and in fact am an older, and I do hope wiser mama – and could not agree more with this quote. Love is the long haul, the shared experience of life, the knowledge that you are not the center of the universe. thank you SO much for sharing what I know to be the ‘truth’. You are a gem. Happy New Year!


loveisin December 19, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Many times my heart was hurt and many times over my heart has healed. Each time I enter a relationship I go into it with a better understanding of what I want and what I don’t. Learning each step of the way how I grow from each. I have seen the darkness and I have seen the light. The weird thing is…there were times I desire a bad boy only to find out it was a reflection of who I once was and never wanted too be again. Romance is not dead it is alive deep within all of us for we all have the capacity to love. If we all believe we are incapable of loving the world would be empty and dark. The fact that the sun still rises and the moon still shines bright and full is proof the world still turns and love still exists. I understand the importance of protecting ones heart but I also know when to let someone in. This was not something that happened over night. It happened when I was willing to hurt sometimes, cry sometimes, and be willing to let these feelings be felt and at times enveloped. Once I understood this..I began to learn who too let in and who to walk away from. We are humans right and if you remind yourself of this the hurt will always make sense and if only it would make sense to remind us what we need in life and what we don’t. Then and only then will you make room for “true” love.


Notsureitsworthsayin December 19, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Look, my thought here is that it’s AWESOME you have a new relationship with someone you feel is AWESOME.

I think what I don’t get, is why, so VERY early into these relationships that you have, that you include Benjamin. I had a therapist tell my ex-husband once that you should wait at least six months before introducing any children to your significant other, because in the first six months you’ll learn if you want for their to be another six months. I mean, we know he had an attachment to JohnBear, and then that was off/on/off/on. It’s got to be hard on him too, I would think.

I just hope you’ll address why you can’t have a relationship that goes for a few months before immediately bringing your son into it. Because even at a few months, that’s still pretty immediate.

All in all, I do hope this is the guy that sticks.


Sarah December 20, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Couldn’t agree more. She’s selfish and focuses on her happiness, her heart, her healing, blah blah blah. Doesn’t anyone else notice that this blog isn’t about single parenthood at ALL???? Its about MSM’s warped view of dating reality.


mamalotsoftots December 19, 2011 at 2:18 pm



Abbie December 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Seriously. Love this. Love a healing heart that is now beaming. Mine too.


SSS December 21, 2011 at 10:41 am

what is really disturbing is that videos of that speaker are still floating aroung Catholic schools EVERYWHERE! I remember being completely mortified when one of my colleagues showed it to her class. Is this really what we want to teach young women??


susan December 22, 2011 at 6:15 am

I think there is truth that a little piece of your heart remains with each person you give it to – whether than includes sex or not is kind of irrelevant. on the other hand, each time we give ourselves ”that way” i do also think it can’t be taken back.
but scars heal, until all that is left is the silvery line. and it does us good to hold those – they are part of what makes us who we are.
with each little broken bit we learn a little more…about the person we want to be, and occasionally the person we don’t


Kara December 26, 2011 at 7:26 pm

There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving love. It feels good! Once we survive one breakup, we hopefully have learned we can do it again. We can love, lose & love again. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m happy for you & all others out there living with fulfillment, happiness and love.


Amber December 28, 2011 at 11:32 am

Your last Christmas is my this Christmas. I needed to hear this. It’s hard to believe I’ll ever be over my husband, that I ever won’t think of him as my husband and ache with missing him, and I need to hear that it’s possible. Thank you.


Chris R December 29, 2011 at 12:12 am

Very beautiful post. Love is a funny thing we are attracted to it, open up to it, share it our secrets and joy and in the end it will be there for us with open arms or can leave us crying at night wondering why…
I guess thats just why its one of our deepest mysteries…


AnneMarie January 7, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Soooo Dramatic. Deal with your baggage before you get into a relationship, not while your in it.


Chicago Matchmaking January 12, 2012 at 4:03 am

Great story!! TO give time to a relationship always helps to get deeper into the feelings of your partner and both understand each other well.


Debi January 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Thank you for such an encouraging post.


vendate.com February 7, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Great story, the lady should have told you that broken hearts do mend you were so right there.


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