Heartbreak Is Critical

This is just one of those critical life experiences, like how no one can truly appreciate eating in a restaurant until they’ve waited tables or manned the line back in the kitchen. You simply can’t appreciate love until it’s been taken from you against your will.

Getting dumped — I mean a big one, getting your heart ripped out of your chest — is sickly character building. Soul-aching loss, begging and pleading, total despondence, sudden destruction of personal identity… this stuff, after making you feel like walking into traffic, eventually makes you a stronger, more independent person that knows how delicate and deserving of attention love actually is. Even better, heartbreak is a sure-fire path to garnering a real sense of empathy for others in all matters of sadness and loss.

Once you have been utterly destroyed by a breakup, when the next love comes along, and it’s good, it is just indescribably satisfying. I’ve never gone days without water, but it can’t be far from that… this rush of excitement and satiation when you have a real gut feeling about someone new. Can’t beat it.

So imagine having a meaningful relationship with some selfish commitment-phobe who has felt none of these things. No thanks. If you find yourself dating someone who has pulled the trigger on every relationship they’ve ever been in… keep your guard up. They’re suspect.

Taking all this one step further, I would avoid being associated with anyone who claims to have never experienced serious personal failure. Like getting dumped (a personal failure in its own way), everyone needs to feel this roller coaster of emotion — the high of taking a big risk and the low of falling flat on your face — before officially graduating into adulthood. Never losing is for spoiled little kids.

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© 2012, Ian Mathias