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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra Nguyen

Lessons of a Broken Heart

Updated: Jan 29, 2023

Background: I wrote this after a few of weeks getting my heart broken (2017) from being in an international relationship for a little over two years. Here is simply some introspection of my thoughts and feelings. I share some of my experiences in hopes that someone, anyone, can take something away from it.

At the end of the blog, I share about where I am today in the pursuit of love.

If you love them, set them free.

Being in an international relationship was always incredibly difficult. Since day one, we never knew what to expect. The odds were always against us. We have had to make sacrifices for each other so early and too soon in our relationship. But we fell in love. So deeply in love. A love that was unexpected. A bond that was so strong. Or so I thought. Sometimes, the hard times can get the best of people.

That being said, there comes a time when you need to let them go - when communication ceases to exist. If they cannot communicate or if they don’t want to fight for you, then there is a point when you shouldn’t fight back anymore. If they cared, they would listen...not just hear you. If someone truly loved you, they would overcome any fear and uncertainty to see the bigger picture of being together. Maybe that's being naive or maybe I am a hopeless romantic.

However, once someone has made up their mind about something, no one can change it besides themselves. You cannot control their thoughts or feelings and need to accept that you cannot change things you cannot control. All you can do is try your best to help them understand your perspective while still respecting theirs. If you love them and this is what they want, let them go. Perhaps you will understand their perspective one day. Respect yourself. Know your worth. You deserve better than that.

Remember: one person should not be more committed than the other. Find someone who makes you feel like you’re worth it and not a burden in their lives no matter what obstacles you have to go through. A person who will fight for you and never give up on you. When times get tough, they will stick it out with you and not run the other direction. The relationship relies on both partners. Not just one.

I know, there's always a glimmer of hope deep down in your gut that wishes that they will come back when they are ready. Maybe that will be in a year, maybe five, or who knows even ten years. No one knows what the future holds. However, there's a time and place for everything and maybe when they are ready, you might not be. And that’s okay. Don’t wait for them. This is the time to love yourself.

Love is pain.

Instagram had always been a highlight reel of our lives. You see photos of us traveling together, smiling as we take selfies, posting cute captions. People always told me that we have been #relationshipgoals and they feel as if they know my (now-ex) significant other without even meeting him just from my posts. However, behind the facade are real people with real true love but also pain. No relationship goes through without hardships and turmoil.

Promises are broken. People are stubborn. There's always a lack of communication and a gap of expectation. Anger. Insecurity. The list goes on. However, a real honest relationship is measured by how you both work together to overcome it. True love is the greatest force on earth. Together, you can get past anything. However, if one person loses this hope and you have tried everything in your power to tell them that it will work out, there's nothing you can do but move on. “If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t you will see obstacles.” It is all about perspective and if they can’t see that, then let go. It will be painful but the best decision for yourself.

Breakups are never easy.

As an Asian American, we were taught to show no emotion - so dealing with emotion is a difficult task because I have never been taught how to control it. As a daughter of a divorced and widowed mother, I have been taught to suck it up, be strong, and brave through all of the hardships. But what if I don't want to be strong anymore? I think that is okay. It is okay to grieve. To feel. Wholesomely and wholeheartedly. It’s okay to feel pain. Scream if you need to. Sob until there are no tears. Eat your heart out. Release the emotion. Don't bottle it up.

I want you to know that it is okay to feel angry, rejected, disappointed, and hurt. It’s normal. For a while, you’ll feel overwhelming sadness. Absolutely and utterly empty. Don’t let these feelings consume you. Always remember that you aren’t worthless. Someone out there loves you and cares about you. They are rooting for you.

Time heals all wounds

Sometimes, good things must come to an end and it's time to start a new chapter, or perhaps even a new book. Turn the page to never forget what has happened in the past but only continue to move forward and learn from your mistakes. Live with no regrets. However, always cherish the memories you have shared together but move on.

You must actively tell yourself that you are never broken. Wounded, of course, but those wounds will heal. With time. Those scars will teach you lessons on how to proceed for the next relationship whenever that may be. Kintsugi, a Japanese art form, is when ceramics are repaired with gold. All the cracks. All the chips. All of the imperfections. Filled in with beautiful gold. This teaches us that "broken objects are not something to hide but to display with pride." And we with time, we find our own nuggets of gold that make us feel whole again. Love yourself. And remember: you are loved and will always be loved.

Don't ever stop loving

After a tough break up, it is so easy to think that you'll never find anyone else like them. That understands you like they did or love you as they have. Or vice versa. But if they truly felt this way, they wouldn’t have given up on you in the first place. Sometimes, it's easy to give up on love because love hurts and you feel as though you can’t trust another person again. Know that you deserve better! And someone who cares about you wouldn’t hurt you this way. There are people who are out there that would not do this to you. Trust me. “One day someone will love you the way you deserve to be loved and you won’t have to fight for it.” Don't ever give up.

Learn to love yourself again

You’ll feel an overwhelming sensation of rejection now that they are gone. But you can’t forget to take care of yourself. Do things that you love. Focus on your goals. Think positive. Surround yourself with your support system. Meditate. Exercise. Feel your soul. Love yourself. Love others. Spread your joy. True love will come to you when you least expect it. When you are ready.


The Road to Recovery & Kintsugi

Fast-forward to the present day. It's been over two years. Yes! I survived. I didn't die from a broken heart! (I can be so dramatic lmao but honestly, it really felt that way for a while.) The road to recovery took me a solid year to feel free. To feel like the total badass that I am.

"We shouldn’t throw away broken objects. When an object breaks, it doesn’t mean that it is no more useful. Its breakages can become valuable. We should try to repair things because sometimes in doing so we obtain more valuable objects. This is the essence of resilience. Each of us should look for a way to cope with traumatic events in a positive way, learn from negative experiences, take the best from them and convince ourselves that exactly these experiences make each person unique, precious."

The first year, I learned how to pick up the broken pieces and heal. To love myself again and truly understand the meaning of Kintsugi. The second-year meant focusing on my own future - where I want to be. This meant a lot of personal sacrifices but it helped me get to where I am today. The woman I am today.

I spent time reflecting on how I can grow from past relationship failures to be a better partner for the next human and I have learned many lessons about what I value in a relationship. This makes it easier for me to know what I am looking for in a partner and my own boundaries.

I am lucky to say, I do not have any residual pain from any of my past relationships. This one, in particular, I can look back with a positive lens - not tainted with any pain. Though, I never received any closure I wanted - I have made the closure with myself by understanding both sides of the story. Closing this chapter makes it easier for me to start a new chapter. With a new relationship. A new love story.

A woman who knows what she brings to the table is not afraid to eat alone.

That being said, I have not had a long-term relationship since then - only short stints here and there. A friend's parents told him to have high standards to avoid unnecessary heartbreak. +1 I obviously don't want to get my heartbroken. I mean, who does? Especially for a third time, I don't think my heart can take any more lmao.

Dating is hard.

  1. I hate wasting valuable time. I don't care about playing silly games and trying to figure out where I stand with the other person. Small talk is the bane of my existence but I know it takes time to get to know someone and understand their vulnerabilities but the process is painful - teach me something, tell me what keeps you up at night. I am an empath and that means I am an emotions slut. Tell me your passions and what drives you.

  2. No, I am not looking for marriage. I am looking to build something strong. Stability. Communication. Commonality. Companionship. Compromise. Intimacy. Playful passion. Maturity with humor. To grow and challenge one another. To enjoy the little things.

  3. I am a woman who knows exactly what she wants and I am not afraid to call men out on their bullshit, as long as they call me out on mine. Boys can find me quite intimidating but fortunately, I am looking for a man (~OH SNAP~).

Alex's Pursuit of Love

Anyways, after this pandemic, if we manage to survive, I am taking boyfriend applications. Because I know that tru luv is out there and I see him bringing me donuts (drools).

Falling in love is a different story. "To love, you need courage" and I hope I have the balls for it but I am willing to try again.

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