Dating and Relationship Advice – 7 Things To Remember When You’re Trying To Love Despite Feeling Broken

7 Things To Remember When You’re Trying To Love Despite Feeling Broken

Learning to trust and love again after someone has shattered your heart is perhaps one of the most challenging things you do. Once someone violates your trust and disrespects you, it can feel as though it’s impossible for you to recover from heartbreak. But, the good news is that you can.

Here are some immediate steps to help you get there:

You Are Not Alone

1. Realize we are all broken, and you are not alone.

No one is perfect and don’t let them ever make you think you are ‘less-then’ because of the experiences you have had.

Everyone and I mean every single person, brings some baggage to the relationship. Some of us are more loving, charming, funny, or wittier than others. But, even with those kind traits, those same individuals can have some less than desirable characteristics too. Some may struggle or have struggled with past personal challenges which could include emotional, physical abuse, or maybe addiction to drugs, or alcohol. The bottom line is everyone owns an carries some baggage into the relationship.

Broken Heart to Dating Recovery Tip: Find someone who can mesh with who you are and compliment you where you may lack a particular trait. E.g., if you are overly analytical, being with someone who is prone to make quicker decisions or take action can be a good fit. Or if you are an introvert, you could be an excellent fit for an extrovert who needs someone to balance out their need for constant interaction, activities, etc.

Recovery Time is Important

2. Take time to recover and recalibrate.

If you just ended a relationship, I know your natural instinct is to keep it moving. What’s that saying, “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone.” Well, I’m here to tell you that while it seems like this works, people repeatedly hit the wall when they try to rush the process of not allowing themselves to heal from a broken heart before moving on to the next person.

Your heart is on the mend, and a mended heart doesn’t always work so well in heading into the next relationship endeavor. Somehow our emotions are pretty complicated, and if you haven’t had a chance to recover fully, you bring your unsorted emotional issues from one relationship to the next, not getting real traction, because you need time to heal.

Broken Heart to Dating Recovery Tip: Try this instead. Take a break. I wouldn’t put an infinite time on your healing period. But, I would say taking the time you feel you need to be comfortable before entering into the next relationship will help you have a better chance at success in your future relationship.

Communication and Listening Are Equally Important

3. Be open in your communication and also listen.

Yes, you have to communicate. I know it can be a pain when your partner just can’t figure it out. But, here’s the critical part of communication, listening. Remember, your significant other can’t read your mind. You have to be willing to put in the work to help them stay connected to you.

Each person in a relationship has different communication styles. Tell your partner what you like and don’t like. Set some clear boundaries on how you agree to disagree. Spirited discussions between two people who love one another are ok. But, being disrespected during the process is always unacceptable, and one of the reasons communication breaks down.

Broken Heart to Dating Recovery Tip: If you can’t articulate what you want to say, here’s a couple of ideas. Men and Women can communicate in different manners, as women can be more verbose. However, when talking to your man, he often may want you to get to the point.

4. Communication styles vary between men and women.

Use highlights and overviews when conversing with him. Make it succinct and use a couple of examples to back up what you are saying. Then tell them what you want them to do to correct the matter.

And men here’s some advice for you when communicating and listening. I realize when thinking your woman is complaining, talking it out is often her way of venting and getting it out of her head so she can figure it out. But, she isn’t always looking for you to solve her problems.

Broken Heart to Recovery Tip: Get your point out there and be clear about what your expectations are from your partner. Let your partner know up front if you want them to listen, are seeking their advice, or just need to vent. It sets a clear expectation of how they can help you.

5. Know when to walk away.

Every relationship isn’t for you, no matter how much you might want to make it work. It is the hardest part to reconcile because sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants even if that particular person isn’t the right fit for you.

Coming from different backgrounds, family experiences, and having wide and vast communication styles can make it extremely difficult for two people to stay together.

Misunderstanding, not listening to your partner, and not being willing to compromise can be non-starters if you keep reaching an impasse. The key is to know your deal breakers up front. If you’re starting to feel bad more than good around them and no matter how much you communicate with them, you can’t get any resolution, you just might not be compatible.

Broken Heart to Dating Recovery Tip: Sometimes in looking for the right relationship, we fail to look for and focus on attributes that matter more, i.e., transparency in communication, shared expectations, honesty, moral values, consistency, etc. These are some of the qualities that help your relationship stand the test of time. If your partner lacks in the big things that keep a relationship whole, it might be time to move on.

Emotions Can Make Things Foggy

6. Your emotions can obscure your thoughts.

All of us are emotional creatures. When things are going your way, it’s easy to be cool in a relationship. But, the real test always comes when things are off kilter, you’re stressed, and not your best. Same goes for your partner too!

Can you manage through the challenging times or does it seem damn near impossible to function with the other person? Keep this in mind. Everyone is going to experience some difficulties. The key is to have the person in your life who can help you manage the problems and also help you to become better at getting through the complicated stuff.

Broken Heart to Dating Recovery Tip: Every relationship is going to have a moment that makes or break the relationship.

Ask these things before you throw in the towel and decide to give up:

– Can we get through this if we decide to work together and will this matter as much in 3, 5, 10 years?

-Will going through this situation make our relationship stronger?

-Is this thing which you are upset with and want to move on from one of your non-negotiable areas in which you cannot deal with the fallout?

Be Willing to Put In the Work

7. Focus on where you are improving and keep doing the work to get better.

You are a work in progress. It’s easy to get down and focus on where you are failing. Don’t! Shut down that type of mental thinking.

And don’t let someone who has been in your life for a short period do that to you either. Their experience is their experience, and Yours is YOURS! No one has walked in your shoes. And you don’t need their $.02 about everything you need to improve continually.

Keep some aspects of what you consider your more challenging aspects of your personality close to the vest and reveal them only when you feel your partner is ready, willing to be supportive, and accepting.

Broken Heart to Dating Recovery Tip: Some people will take what you tell them about areas in which you want to improve against you to make you feel bad and elevate themselves. But, in the meantime, take the time to be better because that will always benefit you too!

8. Don’t let roadblocks become permanent obstacles.

Every relationship hits a barrier, but it doesn’t have to become a permanent obstacle. In fact, relationships that have some setbacks, in the beginning, can end up being stronger and having more of a solid foundation in the long-run.

There is often a honeymoon period at the beginning of a relationship where things feel so fluid and on point. But, inevitably, as you get to know each other more and you work to try to separate your past relationship experiences from your current one, you will have some disagreements, arguments, and moments where you want to give up.

Broken Heart to Dating Recovery Tip: Focus on the present, and slowly let the person build trust with you. It’s a process that takes time. If someone is in it to be with you, their entire approach will be more patient, loving, and understanding.

They will get that they need to reinforce certain things to you because you have been heartbroken before. One caveat, don’t blame them or immediately ascribe the same characteristics to them because you have experienced the same behavior with someone before them. Instead, give them a fair shot and let them build their relationship with you.

What’s Next?

Being broken-hearted doesn’t signal the end of your ability to love again or be loved by someone else. Lessons learned from being in relationships that weren’t good for you carry you forward and help you appreciate love when you have a connection with someone who is good for you.

Learning how to love when you have had a broken heart offers great lessons on what led you to be in heartbroken in previous relationships. What’s most important is not to allow your broken heart to be the reason you don’t recognize an opportunity for a new love of which you are deserving.


Was this helpful? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject!


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My Young Life: April Wants A Dog – 1978 – Part Two

This piece is dedicated to my middle sister April.

We’re all very upset and don’t know what to do. After pleading our case to dad, my father speaks:

“Let me take her to the shore for a couple of weeks.”

“You think it’ll work, dad?”

“I raised you four kids didn’t I?”

We were all relieved. We hated the idea of giving up on the dog and also happy we were all getting  break from this mad beast.

April was still sad and so was my mom. My mother always had a sweet spot in her heart for children and animals. They were the innocents. She trusted that my father could help.

He put the dog in his car that Sunday, with a bag of chow and her bowls and bedding. He had also checked a few books out of the library about training dogs. My father loved books and they built his entire modern mind. April was crying and my mother was sad as well as he loaded the car.

I watched as my father backed out of the driveway and we all waved and prayed for the best.

We didn’t see him for two weeks. Me at sixteen was relieved because it was just a more peaceful household without my dad and the dog.

My mother, sisters and I went about our normal routines.

I spoke with my father on the phone after the first week. I asked him how it was going. He said he took the dog to the beach early each morning before work. He would run her through short training exercises. He told me that when he was in the army he had a shepherd named Babe. He loved that dog.

He said he would take our dog through her paces each morning. He’d even let her run free and chase the birds on the beach. The dog loved being free on the beach by the sea each day. It must have been a little confusing for the dog initially to be transported to this foreign place with this alpha male she barely knew.

“What happens if she doesn’t come when you call her?”

“When I finally get the leash on her, I have a very tight rein on her and take her straight home. Her little nails are hardly touching the ground.”

This seemed harsh to me, but this was an animal, not a child. I always thought my dad was too hard on me, but he did teach me manners, and to be a disciplined, respectful boy. It’s no different with a dog. Discipline, love, affection and consistency.

Sounds like sound parenting to me.

Two weeks pass. It’s Friday night. Dad’s car rolls into the driveway. We’re all apprehensive. He gets out of his car. I remember how cool he looked in his brown suit and tie. He walks around to the back passenger door on the other side of his car and with leash in hand, brings forth our dog.

We don’t know what to expect.

My father stands before us with our black Lab. She is standing by his side. Her thick, rope-like tail is wagging. We hope she’s happy to see us after we banished her to a two-week stint in the hole with dad.


The dog sits down next to him.


He unhooks the leash. He walks toward my mother and hugs and kisses her. He hugs each of us.

The dog doesn’t move.

“Come on.”

The dog comes forward and joins the family in a hug. We’re all petting her and she’s so excited to see us. Frankly I’m amazed at the transformation.

My father opens the door to our house and tells her to go in. Mom has food and fresh water waiting for her. She goes into the kitchen and digs in.

“What did you do?”

“Love, consistency, discipline, repetition and reward. Just like we raised our kids.”

He smiles and I hug him. Good to see you, dad. Thank you.”

Everyone is happy and tearing up. It was like he brought home a different dog. The dog was chill and obedient and happy. He totally fixed our dog!

But did he? No. The dog was fine. But like any child it needed to be trained. This is my biggest complaints about todays parents, but you’ve all read my laments about that in this blog. (Rob and Laura – Thanksgiving)

I took her out for a walk and she didn’t pull once. She walked peacefully next to me. I would get to the corner and she would automatically sit down. I could have crossed the street and she wouldn’t move. I would have to say a command and she would stand up and cross with me.

After that two weeks with my dad, the dog was a perfect angel. Protector of the family and loyal friend. We all loved her dearly.


A few years later…

We were at the shore house in the summer. I was older and had no curfew. I would come home late, like three in the morning. I’d put my key in the door and go in the house. The dog wouldn’t even stir.

I asked my dad about this.

“She’s great but what kind of guard dog is this?”

“I roll in at all hours and I could be any intruder and she doesn’t even wake up.”

“Son… when you quietly open the gate and come up the driveway. She awakens and hears you. She hears your footfall as you approach the house. No matter what time it is, the moment you open the door she smells your scent and knows it’s you. That’s why she doesn’t get up. You’re family and she knows it.”

I found that all hard to believe but if dogs have more acute senses than we do when it comes to everything, I get it.

One night it was put to the test.

I’m out rockin’ and rollin’ at the clubs in Wildwood as usual. I get home. It’s the middle of the night. Easily well after two in the morning.

Shit. I forgot my key. But I’m seventeen and a lean dude. I put my foot on the back railing and hoist myself up onto the roof of our shower rooms on the back of the house. (My dad built the two outdoor shower rooms so we could all clean up and get the sand off of ourselves when we would return from the beach.)

I climb up on the roof of the showers, and then reach for the railing of the back deck that is just off my bedroom. (I’m doing this drunk mind you… Oh, youth!) I pull myself over to the ledge, and holding onto the railing flip myself over onto the balcony. Genius move!

I know that sliding glass door is usually unlocked because what idiot would ever attempt that move? I grab the handle and begin to slide it open.

I’m about to go in when all I see is this black snout and bared fangs. I hear a low growl that shakes me to my core.

“Hey! It’s me!”

Then I hear the familiar thump of that thick rope-like tail wagging like crazy.

She’s a good guard dog! She heard something different and immediately awakened and went to investigate… and defend the property and it’s occupants. I never forgot that story and have told it to many dog lovers through the years.


As the dog got older, like most large dogs they get some grey whiskers and their hips aren’t what they once were. My mother suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for most of her adult life. But she would take our dog out for a walk daily.

“We have to both go slowly now. We’re like a couple of old girls out for a stroll.”

Our dog was a beloved member of our family for fourteen years. A wonderful member of this family that we’ll never forget.

Oh… I never mentioned what April named the dog.

I did that on purpose.

Her name is the feminine version of the Latin name, Maximus.

April named our dog, MAXINE.

It means, the Greatest, or Bright and Noble.


Well done, April.


Maxine passed in 1991, and my parents are both gone as well.

But we hold them all in our hearts until the day we join them.


Then we’ll all be equal.


I think this sums it up.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

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