In an age governed by all things instagrammable, the social image matters. As much as we may try to keep our romantic relations away from the public realm its always easier said than done. And even if we succeed, nobody likes to experience rejection and humiliation, even behind closed doors. Unless you are a inclined to be a social recluse who’d much rather remain in the confines of their cosy boudoir, we are all bound to encounter a few not-so-nice episodes when it comes to the pursuit of happily ever after. But then there is always that Facebook ‘friend’ who you know is going through some drama when you start seeing memes about how much they hate the opposite sex or inspirational quotes about being a strong, independent woman….bla bla bla. It gets tiring. Surely, noone can expect the public to sympathise when they seem to change boyfriends/husbands more often than the average person changes their socks. Hmmm..so pray tell. How. in an age governed by public image, do we differentiate actual heartbreak from a mere bruised ego? Here are some thoughts on the matter.
How much investment was in the relationship?
Millenials, they say, are a fickle generation. We upgrade our perfectly functional iPhones every year. We quit jobs after 3 days when it gainful employment no longer works around our yoga schedules. And when we hit a rough patch in our relationship we all know our next ‘love’ is just a swipe away.
However, as we get older and experience more and more failed relationships we learn that nobody is perfect and quitting isn’t always the best course of action. Those of us who don’t believe we are god’s gift to the rest of mankind will probably do some level of self-reflection and work on things we can do better. So hopefully, before we make any rash decisions sleep on things and give the situation some real thought.
That said, there are also times where you’ve tried your utmost to make some reasonable requests and some changes to the dynamics without losing your identity, and after crying yourself to sleep every night for what feels like an eternity, you bite the bullet, realise he isn’t going to leave his ‘wife’ as he has been saying for the past 2 years and call time on the relationship.
Of course, it’s not always about how long you’ve held on to things by a thread but generally speaking, there is a difference between a relationship that was all for the pleasure of your instagram followers come to an end and having to give up on something you worked so hard for. Sure, facing a certain degree of humiliation amongst your acquaintances and social networks is a bit of dent on the ol’ego but it doesn’t really equate to the crippling heartbreak associated with losing someone you actually planned on having a future with.
How ‘real’ were the reasons behind the termination of the encounter?
I’ve reiterated the importance of knowing your deal breakers time and time again. However, superficial or silly these non-negotiables may seem to the world at large. I believe as that as long as a person is open about their deal breakers from the get-go, as not to waste another person’s time (aka precious childbearing years for some!), then they are entitled to make certain demands to the universe about what they seek in a potential partner. Yes, when it comes to your personal dating life, a person can be as racist, sexist and able-ist as they want. It might not get them very far in life but they can do as they please.
That said, being rejected because you are unable to live up to a partner’s lofty ideals isn’t likely to be the most fun experience. Learning that someone just dated you for the sex, your money, or because they needed a bed for the night or a plus one for their best friends wedding will certainly be a knock to one’s self-confidence. In such cases, you eventually realize it was their loss, put it down to experience and move on to better things. Be thankful you dodged that bullet.
On the flipside, you have relationships where you’ve been through the wars and stuck together but still, manage to find some issue that you can’t compromise on. It’s all well an good setting your deal-breakers at the start, but the fact is we have relationships with human beings, not inanimate objects. Humans are open to change and so 1, 2 or 10 years down the line you might find that you are no longer dating that carefree young chick you met in a bar ever-so-long ago. It’s when you’ve worked and worked on something and finally admitted defeat that things get sad. At some stage, you realise its no longer worth fighting this losing battle so you cut ties. You won’t necessarily hate the other person, in fact, you may still love them enough to take a bullet for them but you just come to terms with the heartbreaking reality that things weren’t meant to be.
And in the end, what’s worse? A broken heart or a bruised ego?
Turns out the jury’s still out on this one. It would be easy to say that heartbreak being more entrenched is going to be worse. However, from experience, I find that sometimes the impact of a continuous knocks can not just bruise an ego but do more long term irreparable damage to a person’s confidence.
Think of it this way, when you experience real heartbreak its the result of having had a real relationship which involved real feelings. Sure, it’s sad when something that was once so good comes to an end. But at least you walk away with a few good memories. On the other hand, when your ego gets knocked around its often seems more superficial but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lasting impact.
Regardless, of whether the encounter last 1 month or 1 year, it was unlikely to be based on any solid foundations. Once you are at a stage where you can look back at things objectively (and if you find you can’t do this, find a friend to help you out!), you’ll likely see that any ‘good memories’ you thought you had weren’t all the ‘good’ after all. All those nice meals you guys used to have, well the food probably doesn’t taste so sweet when you remind yourself of how the nights ended with him calling you Fatty McFatty! And all those sweet nothings he used to whisper, well those aren’t so melodious when you realise he said what he needed to say to get his leg over. With these sort of ‘waste of time’ experiences, you are often left doubting your judgment and often hating the opposite sex. And this has the impact to tarnish future relationships.
I guess part it depends on the way your built though. As much as its easy to dish out platitudes like ‘time heals’ and ‘there are plenty more fish in the sea’. Both heartbreaks and bruised egos suck albeit in slightly different ways. Hearts do mend and often after the dust settles you can have fond memories of those encounters. If there is something good you can take away from the experience, you can live somewhat hopefully that another more positive experience could potentially be just around the corner. Egos tend to be a bit more fragile. Coming to terms that something ended because you weren’t pretty enough, smart enough , or simply too naive to see through his cunning ways… (all factors you don’t necessarily have any control over) well that can leave you scarred for life.
Anyway Rinsers, as the title of this post state there is a fine line between a broken heart and brusied ago. Both suck. Both are part of life and the quest for happily ever after. So give me your thoughts. How do you spot the difference ? And which one is worse ? Go wild in the comments below.