The Challenges of Staying Soft After Heartbreak

For the past 6 years, I’ve had about 6 men enter my life and tease love only to back away when it became too real. Six relationships that I gave a part of myself to only to get disappointed in the reality that not many men can hold me. Six relationships that I couldn’t really call relationships because they never let it get that far, but the emotional investment was all the same. Six relationships that left me feeling robbed, questioning what I’m doing wrong or why I continue to find myself in the same situation.

It’s exhausting to say the least.

For a long time, I would just cry and wonder what’s wrong with me? Why wouldn’t anyone stay?

I’m not bad to look at, I’m funny, I’m smart, I can talk to you about damn-near anything and I can be the support system you need to become a better man. I never asked for much, but they always made me feel like I wanted too much.

It took me a long time to realize that it almost always had nothing to do with me. Some people can’t handle the weight of me. Some people are just intrigued by me that they come close enough just to experience my energy without ever having the intention to build love with me. But they sure know how to pretend they do.

I’m a strong woman and I have worked tirelessly to fill the void of love these men leave on my own, but I am also human. Being strong doesn’t mean I’m impervious to pain, I just don’t let it define me. It wasn’t easy six years ago. It’s not much easier now.

Still, I’m a woman who refuses to let the broken promises of her past make her heart hard, and sometimes I feel like I suffer more for it. I may be able to look past the superficial reasoning and acknowledge the depth of the situation when dealing with a failed relationship, but pain is pain and it hurts me all the same, no matter how many times I get back up again. There are nights I cry myself to sleep, whether it’s because I’m mourning the loss of someone I never really had or because the stinging disappointment in feeling like my growth is just a sham overwhelms me. And that has nothing to do with not recognizing my worth. Even a strong heart succumbs to the beatings it has endured when the night gets quiet.

Because of that, I sometimes wish I could become cold. So cold that no one would even dare try to crack these walls because they know they won’t get far. So cold that no one would try to love me, and then I wouldn’t have to worry about them leaving. There’s no heartbreak when there’s no heart to break.

But I can’t. If for nothing else, this blog holds me accountable and I know that reverting to that behavior only goes against everything I preach, and I’ve never been OK with being a hypocrite.

So I continue to love as if I’ve never been hurt, even when the past creeps up on me, I do my best to silence it. I tell myself that each man is new and therefore he deserves a blank slate and shouldn’t be punished for the recklessness of the person before him. I let go without letting go of myself, reminding myself that most people are unfit to stay here and that’s OK, because I just need one who realizes there’s a beautiful foundation of which we can build upon. It’s a tireless journey, but I still believe it’s worth it. Even in my darkest moments, I still believe it’s worth it.

I’m proud of myself for remaining soft, and being able to give genuine love that many don’t know how to accept anymore because it’s become so foreign. But even then, this trait of mine often makes me feel like a sacrificial lamb, putting myself through the wringer so many times, that it almost seems like self-mutilation. The tricky part is it never seems like such a gamble in the beginning. He always enters with what seems like the purest intentions, like every heartbreak led me to him, because this one is different. But it hardly ever is, and before I know it, I’m back in the same maze, struggling to find my way out again.

And just when I think of giving up, I wonder…

Maybe, just maybe, these men will look back and realize there are still women who can love you without hurting you. And maybe, just maybe, that will help rid the fear in them, so they don’t have to be so afraid of loving again.

And maybe, just maybe, their newfound strength in opening up their heart won’t be shared with me, but at least I helped their future lover experience the best parts of them, because I didn’t let my pain ruin the people closest to me.

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  • It’s 12:39am and I’m here reading your article and thanking you from the bottom of my heart for writing the feelings and thoughts I’m not brave enough to say out loud.

    The pain, anguish and confusion that comes with blindly and openly making yourself vulnerable and accepting of a possible happily ever after, even if the one before didn’t work out.

    At least we’re all not alone in this tough, tough maze.

  • I like your blogs you write and the points you make have so much truths behind them. It feels like this generation just uses sex like it’s nothing and moves on to the next person. Personally not having sex is one of the best decisions i think ive made so far, im in the military so at the start of my journey i was in boot camp when i decided to stop giving myself to anyone, yes im much older than most of the guys here but they understand why i do it. Its about finding, loving and respecting yourself and if along the journey you’re lucky enough for someone to come into your life and have the same goals and dreams and is willing to give their hearts and minds and not just their body and respects you for you then its worth it. Thank you Bruna you’re an inspiration to me.

  • Your blog I stumbled upon is a big sigh of relief. I always thought the same things and I always wondere if I was the only one in this world who felt this way. I’m so glad there’s people who relate because sometime even the closest to me don’t seem to understand.

  • Bruna I saw your essay on Snapchat and felt like I was reading an entry from my brain!!! I feel the same way– was in denial about my last relationship and now I’m just taking a nice long break from the male species.

  • Bruna, Cosmipolitan posted one of your blogs on snapchat. I read the entire story of how you abstained for a year. I am a guy and I understand what you mean by guys acting that way. I will tell you one thing though. If a guy is offered sex very fast in a relationship that is all the relationship is about for them because that’s how you portray yourself. What you need to do is find a guy you like and really get to know them. If a relationship starts with sex it can turn a nice guy into a guy who only thinks about sex with you. You need to definitely make a guy get to know you tell them some really personal feelings you have. Never start a relationship off with sex get to know them, and don’t just go for that guy who is damn-he-so-hot, maybe go for a more average guy. I just really wanted to see if I could help you with a perspective of someone of the opposite gender.

  • Im glad I found someone that feels the same To be honest I’ve been trying to this myself stay single not have sex unless it’s with someone I love and loves me back honestly it’s not easy but we have to learn to love ourselves before we can love someone else because if we can’t love ourselves how can we love someone else and we have to just stop looking and just let it happen..

  • Bruna I’ve been reading ur blog since u started it n the growth in writing is beautiful n inspiring. I feel like I’ve been a part of ur journey of self love n self discovery. Continue doing what u do…u truly help n inspire others. Much love.

  • I’m glad I discovered your blog. Talk about resonating… this cracks the very core of who I am and what I’ve been through. I do think there is beauty in hope and being able to get up after every hurt, every disappointment, to try, and try again. I trust that we will be rewarded somehow, someday. 🙂

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