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.