Advice for the heartbroken

Sans toi, les émotions d’aujourd’hui ne seraient que la peau morte des émotions d’autrefois. — Hippolito

A long time ago someone asked me what my goal was with my art and my music. I said: to make girls cry. She asked why. I said: because so many times, girls have made me cry..

I consider myself an expert on heart break. Recently someone asked me how often I had been heartbroken and I said, jokingly, 31 times. Then I started counting. The number was actually quite accurate. In 31 cases, my being in love resulted in a negative result.

This includes the girls I was in love with but never told. Or the girls I was in love with but who had a boyfriend. But also girls who did not have the same feelings for me as I had for them. And relationships that ended.

For a long time I was either heart broken or in love. It was my main source of inspiration, in my art and my music.

I remember practicing this song, the “Frühlingstraum” from the Winterreise cycle by Schubert. I remember that each time when tried singing the following sentence at singing lesson, I would choke up:

“Wann grünt ihr Blätter am Fenster, wann halt ich mein Liebchen im Arm..”

But I learned a lot from this. The good news is that there is a solution for heartbreak: time.

Time will heal all heartbreak. It is a matter of patience. It might take three months, or a year, but it will heal eventually.

There are some things that can help with the healing, like a healthy lifestyle, meditation, exercise, doing the things you love doing, meeting with wonderful people. But heartbreak is like every injury, like every trauma: it takes time to heal.

Some times the healing takes more time, and sometimes the pain becomes so overwhelming. Unbearable. There are times that it takes effort to keep breathing. And you need to do things to manage this. Sometimes you need to get drunk or high for days. Dance like crazy. Or sleep 20 hours a day. Or go out every night. Or cry all day. Or scream. Or indulge in junkfood, or sad movies and music.

But in the end, time is the only thing that helps.

If it is only heartbreak you are dealing with.

But when you experience heartbreak again and again, things will become a lot harder. Because your current heartbreak is not just about the last failed relationship or crush. It is not about this person you were in love with. It is also about loosing your faith in relationships and love in general. Especially if your relationships follow the same pattern again and again, as it did in my case: a girl would be infatuated with me, and then suddenly, after some time, she would loose her interest in me. You will be thinking of the past all the time (all my previous relationships were failures) and of the possible future (all my future relationships will be failures). You will enter any future relationships with this in the back of your mind, and when the relationships fails, it will be a confirmation of this idea.

You will become very needy in your relationships. And there is oneitis, when all your happiness depends on this one person.

I remember a beautiful summer evening in Montecatini in Italy, on tour with my orchestra. It had been a few months after my last breakup and I was talking to a good friend about relationships and how I should just go for one night stands. She then asked me if I didn’t just want a relationship with a special someone. I said, while choking up, that I would like that, but that I had a very hard time believing that this was possible.

But the problems can get even worse. After all those failures, not only are you doubting about love and relationship, but you start doubting about yourself. What am I doing wrong? Is there something wrong with me? Am I unlovable? Am I not good enough?

This feeling of not good enough then starts to spread to other areas. Your work, your studies, your friendships, and all the other things that are important for you. And the failure of a relationship becomes a confirmation of your not being good enough.

And that, is a depression.

There you have it. It is quite normal to be sad when you are heartbroken. But if this grieve takes control of all the aspects of your life, then it is no longer about the last person you were in love with. It is about you.

This is how it was for me. But I got out of it. I did many things that helped me somewhat, including therapy (cbt, mbct, metacognitive therapy), training, exercise, supplements, hallucinogenics, suspension, meditation, friends etc etc. It worked. I can not tell you how you should resolve your depression (although I will write a book about that), but you have to resolve this first before you can successfully start your next relationship.

So I overcame my depression. Became aware of my qualities, my beauty, my attractiveness. The next stage was to be able to bielieve in love again.

And again I did a lot of things to resolve this, including the Grinberg method and ayahuasca.

I had my breakthrough on ayahuasca.

This is what happened. I took the ayahuasca at a ritual organised by this group of wonderful people. A girl was there singing songs. At that time I was severely heartbroken because of a Spanish girl.

I heard a Spanish love song and I became ovewhelmed by sadness, seeing in my mind the way things could have been between this girl and me and I cried. But with each moment, I felt the sadness being drained from me.

I then saw the face of the girl I was in love with before me.. and suddenly I saw the faces of many, many girls who had been somewhat interested in me, who looked at me, who flirted with me and I suddenly realised that there where many. And between all those faces I saw her face, just one face among many. And at that moment I was cured: I realised that there were many wonderful girls, and that my happiness did not depend on just this one girl.

After the trip, I told about my experience. I also told about an encounter I had at a club where a girl saw me, gave me a bottle of water and said: “here, because you are so beautiful”. And all I could think at that moment was: maybe I am beautiful, but apparently not beautiful enough, and not good enough for the girl with whom I was in love with. And as I spoke these words, I realised that it was bullshit. And at that moment, I got rid of this feeling of not being good enough.

For me this story has a happy ending. Not the fairy tale happy ending where I found the love of my life etc. I am still single, but in general, I am very happy, very content with who I am and the people I meet. I don’t feel lonely when I am alone. I found it easier to get into contact with girls.

Of course there are some things I do miss from a relationship. I miss the cuddling. I miss having sex with someone I have some emotional connection with. I miss having someone who is the default person you do things with and ahng out with. With whom you spend your lazy Sundays. I also miss being inspired by heartbreak or being in love, or the way heartbreak moves me to make important changes in my life. And I sometimes miss being in love.

There are many works of art, of music, movies, that move me in a very emotional way, that move me to tears. I always wondered why it felt like that. And now I realised why: because it felt like being in love, in both the euphoria, and the agony.

But in the end, the things I miss I can also do with friends. And maybe the love of my life is not just one person.

It is quite probable that I will experience heartbreak again in my life. And it will hurt. But I will be able to deal with it, and it will not overwhelm me anymore, of that I am convinced.

And now I walk through life with a lighter step, with a new found happiness.

This is my story of heartbreak and how I overcame my chronical heartbreak. I am sure your situation is different, but maybe you recognise some of it in my story. I don’t know how you should deal with it, but I do advice you to at least consider the possibility that your debilitating heartbreak is not just about the person you were in love with. And with that realisation lies the solution.