What does heartbreak feel like?

I feel no searing pain. The pain of heartbreak, which studies have proven feels as real as actual physical pain.

I am not doubled over with grief.

Perhaps it’s because I have Liam this week, work is busy, and two upcoming child-free weekends are going to be filled with girlfriends, but I don’t feel an empty space in my life.

I haven’t cried.

I got close for a brief moment when I thought of how good Fox was to Liam, and how amazingly good to me he was.

I just don’t feel much of anything right now.

I have no immediate desire to get back online and meet new men; the thought just makes me tired. I did tell Jason about the breakup; we had been actively trying to find time for a threesome with Fox. There have been some fleeting thoughts of a man one acquaintance was going to introduce me to, but I don’t put much stock in that; just my brain working through the thought of being single again.

On Sunday, Fox asked whether I thought things could be repaired, and if I wanted to try. He clearly does. I told him I didn’t know, and I needed days, not hours, to think about it. His texts have been very infrequent at this point. He’s told his daughter; she and I are still Facebook friends and I reached out to tell her she could contact me anytime.

I know I will miss all the things he did for me. He treated me better than anyone ever has and possibly ever will. But as I’ve written before – that’s missing how he makes me feel, not who he is.

I admire many things about him. He’s a lovely man.

But I can’t be seduced by how nice it felt to be on a pedestal. I was already struggling with whether he was the right man for me. How he dealt with his increasing frustration (which I can relate to but think was overblown, all things considered) was not healthy.

Could we work on that? Probably. Was it the only issue? Nope. Is it quite possible I’d get back together with him, just to break up with him later? Yes. Is the broken trust on both sides hard to get over? Absolutely.

I need to get back to him on what I want. I can’t help but think my lack of feeling about the whole thing means I’m apathetic about him. Neutral at the very least. And thatย can’t be good.

A few of you asked whether Tony getting in touch is factoring into how I feel and the decision I might make. The truthful answer is not really. There’s been no “I love you” epiphany. Nothing has changed with Tony. My Mom told me her feelings haven’t diminished for “her” Tony. After over thirty years. I guess I’m just fucked on that front.

So I have a decision to make. I suspect I know how this will go down: I don’t get back with Fox. I never find someone as good to me as he was. I never find someone who has the same chemistry I had with Tony. So I have two impossible standards to meet and am continuously disappointed.

And that scenario is what’s giving me pause.

31 thoughts on “What does heartbreak feel like?

  1. Or you find someone who makes you feel both like Tony did and Fox did. And you live happily ever after.
    Ok, I may still be a little overly romantic, but… if you go out there thinking it’s impossible, it’s never going to happen. That’s for sure.
    I understand your quandary. But… wouldn’t that be settling?
    What I’m trying to say is: only do it if, every day, you can choose him. Without ever wondering ‘what if’. Otherwise, simply don’t, you’ll make both of you miserable.
    At least that’s my late night feeling ๐Ÿ™‚

    Oh! And the not feeling anything? That’s denial. Nothing more, nothing less. You can’t judge whether it’s denial or not without giving it much more time than a few days ๐Ÿ™‚

    This said, good night my friend. Good luck!

  2. With my first husband, I learned that two genuine, nice, compassionate, and intelligent people can be great friends and completely wrong as romantic partners. In hindsight I realize young and naive me thought our mutual good person-hood was adequate to make a satisfactory marriage. We were kind to each other most of the time. We did a lot of nice and great things for one another. But it was not enough to bridge our differences or make our inability to communicate, and the only times I cried or felt anything akin to heartbreak was when my kids cried and missed their dad. THEN I felt like the most awful mother walking the earth.

    Life is long, Ann, and there’s a lot of people, a lot of men you don’t know, haven’t met yet. Fox is a good man, but he’s not the good man for you. I’m so, so sorry about the breach in trust; that alone would make it very difficult for me to ever get too close to him again.

    • We’ve since spoken and he’s demonstrating believable remorse at his lack of judgment in breaking my trust. For the last decade, he’s been black and white with relationships (and walked away right away) ultimately because he didn’t love them. He’s realized it’s not the case with me…now I need to think about whether I want HIM.

  3. I think your fatalistic outlook right now about finding the right someone *is* your heartbreak in the wake of the end of you and Fox.

    You never really had the same depth of feeling for Fox that you had for Tony, so it makes sense that you wouldn’t feel a traditional type of heartbreak over the end of this. It may also have something to do with your relationship with Fox overlapping with your being entangled (both physically and emotionally) with Tony.

    Basically you just experienced a consecutive 1-2 punch–the end of the best chemistry you’ve had (Tony) immediately followed by the end of the best treatment you’ve had (Fox). But those descriptions should be qualified with a “thus far”.

    My suggestion is to take some time for yourself to heal on both counts so you can be truly open to new relationship possibilities down the road without the fatalism.

    • Thanks Josh – I am taking time to clear my head. I’m not sure I’m completely done with Fox at this point. We had a pretty good discussion yesterday and I’m impressed with how he handled himself in it (and how he handled me). I definitely need some space to think.

      • Whatever you decide I wish you the best. I would only caution that if you choose to stay with Fox, be sure that it’s not because you’re afraid you’ll never find anyone else who treats you as well–be sure that it’s because you truly want him for him. In other words, if you choose him, make sure you’re choosing him out of love, not fear.

        • Yes, that’s exactly why I want some space. I told him last night I don’t want to just be cavalier and get back with him just to decide it’s not right (in the short term). So yes, I want to clear my head and come back with a YES (or no). Not…this is nice so I’ll keep it going for a while.

  4. You may be right that you never find someone who is as good to you as Fox or with whom you have as good of chemistry as Tony. But, if so, that’s a very good reason to be single. At least if you keep looking for someone who fulfills all your basic needs, the hope remains that you will find him.

    • Yes, that’s quite true. Yet I still need to sort out which things really matter to me. I how how that intense chemistry feels but it hasn’t ever translated into a really positive relationship. Might not be causal, but there’s definitely a correlation.

  5. Okay, so I’m on a reading and commenting roll right now… sorry to bombard you. I once read an article or something about the importance of loving someone just because they are “them.” Not what they do for you, or how they make you feel – the emphasis was on expressing WHAT you love about THEM. Maybe I read this here – I can’t remember. In any case, you’ve said a lot of things about Fox and how good he is to you, to Liam – but can you tell us what you love about him as a human being apart from you?
    I truly believe you CAN have it all. Relationships are work, to be sure, but I really believe that true matches don’t allow devastating things to happen between them.

  6. I believe chemistry is very important–especially in light of how passion inevitably mellows over time. But how well your partner treats you–that speaks to their personal qualities and I don’t think that usually changes. Regardless, I don’t think Fox challenges/interests you enough. Then there’s the blog issue–I can’t imagine getting past that, but I’m biased since my ex husband invaded my privacy and found my blog. In my experience, the damage that is done by someone reading words that weren’t meant for his eyes is too much to overcome. But again, I’m biased.

  7. Pishposh my dear.

    You will find someone. Who is all the things plus the good gut feeling.

    It’s unfortunate that we have to wade through a few laps of the world covered in slimey goopy disgusting messes before we find one that shines out like a beacon of clean good smelling amazingness.

    Hang in there sweetheart.

    And even if you don’t feel now, give yourself the time to process. I think you’ll find that you had so much time leading up to now and you’ve been thinking about it all so much that may, just maybe, you were already at a place where you’re comfortable with how you feel and think and your relationship. You had your shit together on this one love, that’s a good thing. I find when I have my shit together at the end of a break up I don’t feel grief straight away – or if at all. Just sadness that it didn’t work and a little bit of happiness that it’s finally over. I dare say you just need time to work through your own feelings and thoughts. Even if you cry or you don’t.

    If you ever need an “ear” you know my inbox is always open to you.


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