Breakup advice: Understanding Your Broken Heart Is The Key To Healing

breakup advice

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

Being in my 50’s, it would be impossible for me to say I haven’t had my heart broken multiple times in my life. Of course when I got divorced it happened, but other men (and even a couple platonic female friends) have broken my heart. That’s why I feel I can offer solid breakup advice.


A broken heart is one of the worst feelings a person can have. There have been times in my life when I can feel my heart aching, and there’s a hollow kind of emptiness throughout my core. It’s awful. It’s exhausting, frantic, angry, frustrating, and the worst one, it feels hopeless, like you can’t imagine ever being happy again.


So, how does a person get over a broken heart? I wish I had the answer to that one. Of course, time is key. But, what I can share with you is something I’ve realized over the years:

The best breakup advice I can give is, understanding why your heart is broken—being truly honest with yourself about it is helpful in healing your broken heart quicker.

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Ask yourself why your heart is broken. Is it one of these things?


1. You put false expectations on the person, who was unable to meet them.


Many who know me will say that I am particularly susceptible to a broken heart because my expectations of others are too high. For example, if something happens—an argument, perhaps, in my mind I know what I want a man to say to me (the exact verbiage) to make it better.

When he doesn’t (because it would be impossible for him to read my mind and say exactly what I imagined), I’m hurt, disappointed, and ultimately, broken hearted. I will be the first to admit that that mentality is a huge fault of mine, and one that I am constantly working to improve upon. People don’t say what you want them to say or what you think they SHOULD say. They speak from their own heart. If it isn’t what we want or need to hear, we need to either tell them what we wanted to hear (and see if they say it) or walk away.


2. You didn’t want to see signs of trouble that clearly were there.


            Maybe you ignored the red flags because there were so many other wonderful qualities. You turned your head the other way when you knew there was bad behavior. You wanted it to work so badly, so you made this deal with yourself that you would put up with the bad stuff. If this is the case, then you should actually feel relieved and happy that you are out of a bad situation. Breakup advice: your broken heart won’t last as long as you think.


3. You’re tired of being hurt. Exhausted, actually.


I can remember sitting in my therapist’s office several years ago after my latest broken heart, crying and saying, “I can’t take this anymore. I can’t handle anymore broken hearts. It’s too much.” She said, “Yes you can. You have a strong family foundation that showed you love all of your life. You can handle these breakups. Like most people, you will continue to keep bouncing back, and go after love again.



4. You kept expecting him/her to change, which we all know is impossible.


Have you ever tried to see the good in someone over and over and over and over again, and that person just never steps up? Each time that happens, it breaks your heart. You keep seeing these opportunities, expecting him or her to do something extraordinary, and show you that he/she is a really good person, and the person never, ever shows you what you want to see. It’s exhausting, frustrating, sad, depressing, infuriating. And, it breaks your heart every single time. Stop doing that to yourself! He or she is who they are. THEY WILL NEVER CHANGE. Breakup advice: be glad you are rid of a person like this. He/she is not the right fit for you.


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5. You were forcing things to be right, when deep down you knew it wasn’t a good fit.


            I have been here a couple times in my life. I meet someone and I want it to work out so badly that I convince myself that it is in my control. The problem is, it isn’t. That’s when your heart breaks. But, when you finally realize that love is so much bigger than what YOU want, that love is in God’s hands, not yours, your broken heart will heal quickly.


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6. You just really, really, really, really loved him and that’s it.

You can love someone with all your heart, and sometimes it still doesn’t work out. Maybe you loved him or her, but didn’t LIKE him or her. Maybe it felt really right for you, but not for the other person. That scenario is brutal.


Here’s the thing. In numbers 1-5, it sounds like I am placing the blame on you for your broken heart, and that’s not the case at all. But, here’s my best breakup advice:

If you understand what caused your heart to break, it’s easier to see what really happened without romanticizing it or sugar coating it, helping your heart to recover quicker, and preventing further broken hearts in the future.


The thing about a broken heart is, it’s kind of an oxymoron. Why? Because we continue to love again and again, which would be impossible if our heart was broken.


Love is almost magical, in my opinion. Because when true love happens, everything is really, really easy. Of course, everyone has issues in a relationship. I’m not saying it’s going to be perfect. But, when you meet the one who won’t break your heart, the relationship will just flow like a river. The two of you will be on autopilot. And, it will quickly cause you to forget all the times your heart was broken.


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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

2 Responses to “Breakup advice: Understanding Your Broken Heart Is The Key To Healing”

  1. KAREN

    I needed to read this & 3 of your points apply to why I was heartbroken. I realized my Husband was never husband material and it’s not his fault that he wasn’t who or what I needed. He was consistently himself for our entire marriage, we were never incompatible.

  2. Dor

    Key point expecting someone to change
    People don’t change
    U may get comfortable in your marriage and then you accept things and stay
    Yes your heart will heal in time


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