What Inspirational Articles Can’t Tell You About Heartbreak


It’s no secret that I am an absolute sucker for inspirational lists, quotes, and articles. I might even be Thought Catalog’s number one fan. But the problem with these insightful, thought-provoking pieces of writing is that they only come from the perspective of the people writing them.

What I mean is that I have gotten so much amazing advice from so many writers, thinking that their work has prepared me for everything I’ll ever go through in my 20s, yet as soon as I heard the words, “He cheated on you,” there was no article in the world that could describe how I felt. All of the advice, insight and inspiration turned into all that it really ever was – words on a page.

I’ve put a lot of thought into whether or not I should write a post about what I went through — or am going through, I should say — but then I realized that I’m not going to feel any sort of release until I put my thoughts down in front of me. And this is far from a cheater-bashing, man-hating free-for-all, but I think it’s important to get my words out there so that anyone who has/is/will have something like this happen to them can know that every fucked up feeling going through their minds is normal. Yes, it is comforting to read someone else’s encouraging words about surviving heartbreak, but everyone hurts and heals in their own way and no one can honestly tell you how it is going to feel until you truly experience it yourself.

When you’re in a relationship, especially with your first love, you never really think about it ending. You’re in this constant honeymoon phase, blinded by love, tuning out anyone who might think he or she isn’t the one for you. I won’t lie; being in love is the most amazing, rewarding feeling in the world. The problem though is that as soon as something bad happens, your heart is immediately torn in a million directions. Part of you will try to hang on to the way things were, part of you will hate the person for giving into someone else so easily, part of you will absolutely blame yourself, and — the worst part — the rest of you will pick out all of your flaws that might’ve caused your person to desire someone else. Maybe you have a big head. Maybe you’re not 90 pounds. Maybe you don’t flaunt your sexuality for the world to see. Men love that, right? Maybe if you pushed your chest out a little more or put on extra makeup, the person you loved might’ve desired you a little bit more. You might spiral into a pit of self-loathing considering your entire view of love, happiness and confidence has just been shattered after one drunken mistake.

Another thing that these articles don’t tell you is how many different versions of the story you’re going to hear. He cheated on you and hid it from you, so what makes you think that anything coming out of his mouth would be the truth now? The person you loved with all of your heart got into bed with another girl and whatever happened from that point on doesn’t even matter anymore. It happened. Your person forgot about you for one second and look at your life now. Remember though, it takes two to tango. What no one ever prepares you for is the thought of a girl going for someone who is not theirs to have. This girl went for it despite knowing the damage it would cause. The other woman is never the victim, no matter that anyone says, especially if she knew that the guy she was in bed with had a girlfriend. There are consequences for those who go ahead with cheating no matter who’s involved.

There are a million articles that will tell you what to do after a breakup and how to get over being cheated on, but there has never been a piece of writing that has truly explained how to handle the emotions that have been exhausting my heart for over a month now. There are likely images in your head of what could’ve happened that night he cheated, and you will constantly try not to throw up just thinking about it.

The most messed up part though is that I still think about wanting him in my life and I still smile when I see him. That’s what love does — it consumes every part of you and makes you believe that the good will always overpower the bad, making you forget for a moment that you’ve been absolutely destroyed emotionally by this person. You will be hopelessly, heart-wrenchingly in love with them regardless. If you truly think you can move past something so terrible in order to keep your first love in your life, I invite you to try. Despite everything, you might even feel a fucked up sense of comfort just having him around. It’s because you tell yourself that he’s more than the mistakes he’s made, which he is, but I promise that the thought of him with someone else will always be lingering in the back of your mind and that’s not fair to either of you.

The one thing I wish I could say is that this heartbreak goes away easily. Honestly, it feels like it will never stop getting in the way of my life. I’m an emotional mess and I wish there could’ve been some sort of inspirational article to prepare me for such a gut-wrenching feeling. I think the best thing to do is to keep reminding yourself how much more you deserve and that your tears are being wasted on an event that you have no power of changing. Throw yourself into a new hobby, surround yourself with friends… I’ve started running to clear my head and while I catch myself breaking down in the middle of the path, it only gets easier.   

We never think that these kinds of things will happen to us until we’re living through them. There’s no guide that can tell us what to do or how to feel, we just have to do what our hearts tell us to do and learn from what comes of it.

featured image – Hillary Boles