We’ve all had our share of heartache, including singlehood consultant Sara-Jayne Mcleod. The important thing, she says, is to not let those negative dating experiences define who you are and sabotage your chances of finding true love.
By Sara-Jayne Mcleod
Heartbreak, in itself, is recognised as a medical condition. Science helps us to understand that the brain actually perceives rejection as physical pain. Stress can cause high cortisol levels, disturb sleep patterns, and even lower our immune systems. Yes, I am saying that it can physically weaken you to the point where you also struggle to fight off a cold, let alone the challenges you face in everyday life.
I felt I had to coin a term to describe the emotional state I felt each time a ‘situation-ship’ (i.e. not even an official relationship) blew up in my face. Many situations can break your heart, but this is the term I coined to describe a spiritual low caused by a romantic disaster. Those failed expectations of a relationship go beyond ‘HEARTbreak’ to ‘HOPEbrokeness’.
I reckon that there is a stage beyond reactive sadness or disappointment that is hard to come back from. It is when you stop crying, but that aspiration, joy, and optimism in your life is permanently muted. Deep down, because you are depressed about your singleness, you develop an ambivalent attitude to life. You are not necessarily overtly bitter, but you have accepted things the way they are and have no desire to change it. It is the apathetic state where you believe healthy marriages are attainable, but not for you. That is no way to live, my friend! The good news is that I recovered from HOPEbrokeness, and you can too!
As a Christian, I drew a lot on my faith in God to help me restore my self-esteem. The way I saw myself was too heavily influenced by how men treated me, which was not healthy. Irrespective of your own religious beliefs, you might be able to relate to me in this. So, the first thing to do is to accept that you are a fantastic person who did not deserve to be hurt. Even if you made mistakes, you are worthy of love—flaws and all. You may have been rejected or mistreated, but that person did not change your value. Your destiny is never attached to anyone who walks away so look forward to a better man coming into your life when you are ready.
Every woman can recover from a broken heart and move on to better things, if they allow themselves to do so, says singlehood consultant Sara-Jayne Mcleod.
Forgiveness is not about the other person; it is totally about you. When you choose to forgive someone that hurt you, it allows you to claim your peace back. It takes much more energy to carry resentment and anger. You need your heart to be healed and prepared for the genuine love that you desire. If thinking about that guy who ‘ghosted’ you triggers negative emotions, then they still have power over you. Take your power and time back from that situation. You will always retain the wisdom you acquired, but the details of the heartbreak should be thrown away. Choose to release the negativity before dating again. Dating before you have adequately processed and recovered from heartbreak could adversely impact future relationships. Forgiveness does not belittle your experience; it prevents you from being held back by it.
I am content in singlehood. I have a life I do not need to be rescued from, yet I am intentional about socialising because I do want to get married. This is a balancing act that did not come easy. I did not think I would ever regain my confidence after so much rejection while dating in my 20s, but I did. I enjoy dating more now because I have learnt to love my life. I appreciate what is going well. It is so easy to overlook the small things. We take things like our ability to smell flowers or cook a wicked Thai red curry for granted. Tally up all the positive things like family, an enjoyable job, good weather, and supportive friends in a journal entry. This exercise helps put negative thoughts into perspective. True love will come. Do not allow dreams about tomorrow to rob you of the joy you can experience today.
I empathise with you. You have had some unfortunate experiences ‘getting out there.’ Being ‘ghosted’ by a man you saw a future with can bruise the ego and burden the heart. However, you did not fail. Some experiences shape your character for the better. You are more resilient then you think you are.
Once you are ready, try dating again. You will find yourself becoming more selective in whom you choose to spend time with, but do try again. Life has a funny way of rewarding people who do not give up. I advise you to treat yourself to a spa day, get the extensions you always wanted, put on those killer heels and believe in your beauty. Take the pressure off yourself by not focusing on finding ‘the one’. Just enjoy your date, learn as much as you can and see what happens next. Good things can happen when we least expect it.
I still have moments of doubt that I will find true love, but they are precisely that… moments. I will not let them rule me. The feelings come and go because I know that not all men are the same. There are amazing men that we have yet to meet who have the ability and intention to love us beyond our expectations.