They say that being grown-up means you have survived at least three disasters and one apocalypse. Quite often, that apocalypse involves a broken heart.
There are very few women venturing into love the second (or third or fourth…) time around who don’t have deep emotional scars. They are a paradox of strength and vulnerability. But they can be difficult to love.
This is how to love a broken-hearted woman.
Keep Your Promises
If you say you are going to call, then call. If you say you are going to drop in on the way to the hardware store, then drop in. If you don’t, she will imagine all sorts of terrible scenarios — that you have been in an accident, that you have had a fatal heart attack, that you’ve run off with your secretary.
To her, silence doesn’t mean you are busy or something unexpected has come up, it means she is in the middle of another tragedy.
Give Her a Safe Space to Speak
There are plenty of places where she can’t express how to feels because she will upset or shock people. Be the person who lets her say whatever she wants without judgement.
Laugh at her black humour, soothe her lingering sadness, hold her while she rages against the gods and fate. Let her name her demons and watch them shrivel to nothing in the light.
Don’t be Threatened by the Past
She might have immortalised the memory of her lost love, or be trying hard to forget him, but either way her past will resurface at the most unexpected moments.
When she says, “that reminds me of him”, gently redirect her attention to how you are different. Pull her back to the present when she gets stuck in the past. Pass your hand through her ghosts so she sees they aren’t real.
A broken-hearted woman no longer trusts her instincts. She thought she knew her last partner, but it turns out she didn’t have a clue. Even if she loves you desperately, she will be reluctant to rush into commitment. If she was wrong before, who is to say she won’t be again. Remember she is doubting herself, not you.
Don’t Let Her Run
In the initial stages of a new relationship, she may want to end it all — not because things are bad, but because they are too good. She will instinctively want to retreat to protect her heart from future pain. Remind her that love is worth the risk and shutting down is not a healthy option. When she says you deserve better, convince her she is wrong.
Point Out Her Beauty
A broken-hearted woman sometimes forgets who she was before she was broken. Tell her how beautiful, smart, resilient, and emotionally intelligent she is. Tell her often.
Tell her when she is sobbing at three o’clock in the morning for no reason, tell her when she is bloated and hormonal, and tell her when she takes your breath away when she wears a black dress and a pair of red heels. Don’t stop telling her, ever. Broken-hearted women have amnesia.
Don’t Try to Fix Her
A broken-heart takes a long time to mend. When you lose someone you love, they leave a hole in your heart like the imprint of a body in the sand. It is impossible for anyone else to fill that void because they are the wrong shape.
But you are not here to try to fill up the empty space in your lover’s heart — you are here to make sure her heart keeps beating and swelling and growing so that eventually the space will close over on its own.
Only the most courageous of men can love a broken-hearted woman. They are brave men who are good and kind and patient and wonderful.
And we love you more than you will ever know.
58 thoughts on “How to Love a Broken-Hearted Woman”
Now if I could just find me one of those ..
There are some out there, you just have to keep believing.
I concur! And I was so far from believing….
Hi Katie, I”ve found myself in a “friendship” with a wonderful woman, that has for years been betrayed and feels badly broken. just wanted to thank you for your blog, it helps me tremendously while softly navigating threw this with her.
I’m hoping to be one of those men.
Just weeks after meeting the love of my life, and vise versa, her brother passes away. She’s buried her entire family in the past 5 years, all from natural causes.
I sent my hail Mary letter last night after being unconditionally pushed away (emotionally) for 5 days. I’m hoping that it brings awareness to her that she is worthy of receiving love regardless of how she feels about herself. Before his death, she reiterated that I was in her life for a reason. I suggested that helping her heal might just be it.
My heart is still full of joy for her. I only hope that she gives herself a chance.
You had me at squeamish 🙂
Thanks darling x
this applies to women damaged from all sorts of other situations too Katie – it scares me how many of them I can tick off (probably from growing up with dysfunctional family relationships!) The men who get to love us have to work a little bit harder – but we’re worth it 🙂
Yes, our hearts can break for all sorts of reasons, and need tender care when it comes to loving again.
Awwww. So sweet and true. Thanks.
Thank you for reading and commenting.
This was – and sometimes still is – me. Great post! I came across your blog on Pinterest and got lost reading the posts about loss/suicide. I really connected with those as well, having lost my dad when I was 17. I dealt with survivor’s guilt for a long time. Thank you for writing such insightful and creatively well-written posts. 🙂
I’m happy you found me Lyn, and welcome.
I’m so sorry about your dad.
Thank you for taking the time to explore and leave a comment.
So many wonderful points and so true. I said to someone tonight that when I think of being in a relationship what saddens me the most is that I feel that I have nothing to give in a relationship right now. The broken hearted seems encompassing at times. Yet the broken hearted is what also brings me the ability to love fiercely and for that I am thankful. As I am travelling the path of being the mother of daughter who is caring for my granddaughter with a life-limiting illness, writing and sharing with others, hearing their experiences is in part what helps make my day a little brighter….thank you
Maybe sometimes we have to receive before we can give. Maybe that’s one of the hardest parts?
All true – Thank you for saying it so well. Just listening to him breathe beside me in the night and for once not feeling alone is a minor miracle.
A great and mysterious blessing that he simply and steadfastly refused to let me push him away.
“Pass your hand through her ghosts so she sees they aren’t real.” My favorite line…just brilliant (as is the entire post).
Thank you lovely Kelly x
Hi Katie! In many ways I feel that your suggestions apply to just about anyone who has friends or family–not just love relationships. We’ve all got bumps and bruises, some certainly worse than others, and it is so very important for others to keep their promises, to let us feel safe in their presence, to allow us to speak, and give us the space we need to grow. None of us need to be fixed but the best of friends/lovers/friends help us to become our best selves no matter what. I hope you and everyone else has this kind of support. ~Kathy
Thank you for your insightful comment, Kathy. Yes, we can get broken in all sorts of ways.
Another powerful post, Katie. And right on the money.
Thank you Roxanne.
It’s amazing what a great relationship you can have with a good, kind man.
It’s one of the best things in the whole wide world!
This is beautiful, Katie. I wish I still believed in love. xoxoxo
You might have misplaced your belief temporarily — I hope you find it again x
An excellent read, brilliant points. Sometimes a tattered heart just needs some extra love to make it beat well again. Thank you Katie, for reminding people that broken doesn’t mean lost forever. 🙂
Popped over from Elena’s #BlogShareLearn and I’m doing all 3. 😉
Hope this weekend treats you kindly. 🙂
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, Donna.
You just described my husband, and he is very courageous – a man that is “good and kind and patient and wonderful” and I do love more than he could ever know. ~Paula R. 🙂 #BlogShareLearn
Thank you for stopping by, Paula. You are blessed to have found a good man.
This is beautiful! I found you via #BlogShareLearn and so glad I did. Some of these things resonate for me, especially when I think of what I was like post-divorce after a long, sexless, and passion-free marriage. I’m in a stronger place now but there are still many things I yearn for after years of damage.
Hi Ann, I checked out your blog and I love it. I tried to find you on Facebook, but I couldn’t – but I suspect it’s because you’re blogging under a pen name. I’d love to be friends. Send me a friend request and I promise not to reveal your true identity ♥
Hi, Katie… I read this one the other day but was too un-with-it to comment at the time. Hopping over today from #blogsharelearn, and after reading again I think what stood out most for me was “Keep your promises”. I was married (first time round) for 18 years to a compulsive-liar-promise-breaker…and my second husband (though we’ve worked our way through it now…with scarring) let me down terribly a few years ago. Broken people (personal experience) do a good job of imagining the worst when there is nothing to worry about… if trust is broken, whether intentionally, or not, it’s incredibly hard to mend.
My first husband was never doing any of the things I imagined him to be doing (other than gambling…but we both had issues with that), but because he was often not where he was supposed to be, or late, or out all night with no way of contacting him, and then lied through his teeth once home… eventually I accused him ALL the time…his truths became meaningless. And, I lost count of the amount of times I sat up all night imagining him dead, or in bed with someone else.
I think I’m rambling a bit now… I’m discombobulated ATM and comments aren’t coming easy to me… so I’ll end on…great post! Because it is 🙂
Thank you for sharing your experience, Kimmie. Our relationships sometimes put us through the wringer, don’t they? I hope your healing brings comfort and relief.
This is so freaking spot on.
Thank you ♥
Another beautiful post, Katie. I love how you write such practical stuff but make it so magical to read. It’s a gift!
I’m so blessed that my husband knows how to treat me, despite me being completely broken when we connected. It takes guts to love a woman with ghosts, but he does.
Thank you Corinne. It’s so lovely to hear you talk about the gorgeous man in your life.
“Pass your hand through her ghosts so she sees they aren’t real.” <-JUST THIS!!!!
Thank you Tracy x
This is truly insightful and should be required reading for men who partner with women who are healing from past traumas in their lives. Thank you for highlighting some of the most important points.
I like all this tutorials cause they will make woman see that this man is good, patient and faithful. She has to get to know that you can be her wall that will protect her from all problems.
You have expressed what I have been unable to say. Thank you.
You’re welcome. Thank you for the comment x
A beautiful post for those trying to find their way back to each other after the unthinkable as well. Thank you.
There are some of us guys out here that know how to treat a lady, and would love with all our hearts, give with all our soul, and care for, treasure and respect you, Always………….just look beyond, look into my eyes and see forever.
Just saying. X
As a man who is in love with a broken girl, I love this article. The girl I’m seeing is going through a divorce. Her husband left her after 10 years together. We met 6 months after he left and some days are good and some are bad. She will get in these moods where she misses him and doesn’t know if she can give her heart to me completely. She tells me I am to good of a guy and I derserve someone better. I will be there for her every step of the way and I’m not going anywhere . I will listen and wipe her tears away. I really love this women.
Having gone through the prerequisite of 3 disasters and one apocalypse, I am happy to report I have found that guy and have been lucky enough to be married 11 years. So many of the things in this post ring true and thank you so much for writing.
I’m a guy trying to fix (not to fix actually) a broken girl. Requires patience. I love her.
But at times I get a bit annoyed by the residue of the past. please advice
The greatest insight I’ve gotten yet! Exactly what I needed. Speaks to my soul and gives me courage and hope I felt fading out slowly.
I found this to be a good read, I myself have been broken and hurt by many past relationships. Like the old saying nice guys finish last, well how true that was. And after each one it felt like a piece of me died and it changed me for a long time, but the one thing that stayed the same is i could still love, idk if it was an addiction to the falling in love feeling or what but now that i am older and i have a son i learned what true love really is. Recently i started a new relationship with a woman who is a year or so older then myself and shes been open about being damaged or broken. As i was as well. But its insane because for once i dont have a fear of falling in love i know how it feels to be broken so i treat her how i would want to be treated, i know the pain and the hurt and the feelings that she feels. I swear its like my life has changed in a way i cant explain but for the better, she has breathed new life into me, like some old flame that was almost extinguished has be set ablaze once again… now the fun part is ive seen the tips on blogs and websites ect… but one thing i struggle with is my own pain and hurt like i can see and feel her trying to push me away she gets an attitude and can get nasty, and it hurts i let her know how i feel and try to work around it, but she says she loves me i can feel it, its like one of them once in a lifetime deals, and she is kind sweet loving caring and all around amazing. any suggestions on how to one, deal with my own trust issues cause the first sign of a change in how she talks or texts i go to that dark place in m head like shes out with someone or talking to someone else behind my back and that scares me cause i know how i can get if i allow them thoughts to win. and also i believe in letting my actions speak for themselves and following thru on the things i say and words i use and what i tell her… i do my best to show her how special she is and slowly she is coming around but what do i do when she reverts to her pushing me away mode… I have never felt love like this besides for my son and i can for the first time in a long time actually picture a future with her… any suggestions on how to help me not let these things affect me and ruin something so special to me? thanks for your time billd
Thank you for this it will help me a lot with my crush
I think this also applies to broken hearted men. My husband came out of a very dramatic and painful relationship when I met him and I knew to be patient around the exact same points. He has healed a lot of those wounds, but I still call him gorgeous and sweet all the time 🙂
I came across this today. Reading it was a soothing balm to my soul and my broken heart. I ve been through a divorce and found , after that, my twin flame. I thought the man was the one. But he seldom did what you say in your article. I have Faith that someone better suited for me will come. For now I will keep walking my wonderful life path with my beautiful 3 kids.
I do not have FB anymore. But I would like to keep on reading you and what you have to say.
Blessings and have a wonderful end of year. Xoxo
first of all I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. and a better new year
thanks for these good tips
I’ve been seeing this girl in the university. we became fast friends almost in no time connected in some level but she has been heart broken for six month now, and from a three year relationship and when I told her I want to be in a relationship with her. she first completely ignored me at first I was patient with her and then I pushed just a little and she opened up a little. she told her life everything. things that she had never told anyone or couldn’t trust to tell even family and friends. but she tells almost nonstop that I am too good of a guy and I deserve someone better. we see each other 3 days a week in classes and after that just the two of us or sometimes with friends we go out. we walk and talk lots of times. even plan to have the same classes in the coming semester. she even told me this “being with me right now is hurting you and don’t thing if we start to date it’s gonna be easy cuz it’s only the start and from there it’s gonna be even harder”
our major is the same. so we will see each other for at least another couple of years. I’m 24 and she is 22 years old.
I want her to be more, much much more. but I’m patient. I just don’t know what to do. your tips is going to help but I may be a slow learner cuz I have never been in love out of the fear nut now im completely better and want to try. also never been in a good relationship. had hard life like her minus the heartbreak, though I has my moments.
can you please direct me to good book or something I don’t know but please I would be glad if you could help me? (of course after the holidays)
cuz I know I either want her or want to be alone with her thoughts forever.
After 13 years of marriage, I made the worst mistake of my life and divorced my wife to chase after a woman 10 years my junior. We were divorced about 6 months. When I told her I wanted to come home I knew it would be difficult since I had to try to mend the heart I had thoughtlessly shattered. It took years but I managed to put right what I had torn asunder.
In the early years she said I only came back because the other woman didn’t pan out.
My wife had issues with her back for almost a year which required using a walker. I took care of her and comforted her as best I could. After many trips for spinal adjustments, she found relief and got back to normal walking. One night she looked at me and out of the blue and said,”You never have to tell me you love me again, because I know from how you have taken care of me!”. After all the hurt I did to this woman who has loved me now for 35 years, she allowed me the privilege of being a forgiven husband with a healed heart.
My name is Barrett. I am currently in a relationship with a woman who has been broken. In the beginning everything was great then one day she started to feel stressed and after about a week she has stopped talking altogether. I don’t know why. But how do I get her to start talking again without pushing to hard. As of right now and as far as I know we are still together plus she hasn’t told me we are not split up. Any help or advice would help appreciated
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