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At some point in our lifetime, we will be fortunate enough to experience falling in love at least once. Unfortunately, this could also mean experiencing heartbreak for the first time. Black women share their stories of recovery after experiencing devastating heartbreak:
My first heartbreak happened when I was about 15 years old and unfortunately happened a few more times as we embarked on a 20 year relationship. After many rumors I learned that he was in fact being unfaithful. As a teenager this devastated me to my core. I fell in love with him when I was 12 years old and loved him well into my adulthood. Call it true love, a soul tie, being naive or anything else. My truth is we had a life long roller coaster relationship which ended when I finally chose me once and for all, embraced forgiveness, released both he and I,and moved on. I know the years of pain and heartbreak contributed to the force of a woman I am today.
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When the relationship ended, I spent a significant amount of time lost in my insecurities and wondering if I was destined for a life filled with rejection. The world has a way of signaling to black women that we are unwanted, which often left me feeling defeated. The relationship was on and off for almost 8 years, and three years post-break up I can confidently say I’m okay. There were a lot of tears (and I mean a lot, I’m a Cancer), questioning of the value I brought to the world, and an overwhelming sense I would never be desired again. The first step to moving on was ceasing all communication with the ex, then shutting out the noise that ‘black women are not enough.’ Eventually the realization came that I had more to offer than just being someone’s partner. With that revelation, the need to fall in love with myself became apparent. It sounds cheesy, but the truth is, love is knowing your worth, and in a weird way heartbreak taught me my worth.
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A few years ago you couldn’t tell me my heart would ever heal after what I experienced. Dealing with heartbreak while also studying for finals, trying to have a social life and being mentally stable made me the most unstable person I knew. The hardest part wasn’t the heartbreak itself, it was the aftermath of what it did to me. Trying to find ME again was my main priority.
Thankfully, my support system wasn’t having that! Looking back, I am 100% sure I couldn’t have gotten through that period in my life without them. That same heartbreak led me to the most amazing joy and freedom I have today.
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There’s nothing like being heartbroken by the person you imagined spending your whole life with. It’s even worse when the person was your best friend and even worse when you had to find out through a third party. The deceit was so deep that to this day, I’m still triggered by a lot of things. However, I’ve learned to trust my gut instincts and I’ve learned to love myself, but ultimately I’ve learned that there is not a man in this world worth losing myself for.
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It’s the lonely moments when heartbreak decides to make itself known and present itself to me again. We battle, that’s for sure. It’s as if heartbreak wants to make sure I remain down and out. But In those moments I am reminded of my strength; not only my own but the strength of loved ones- that tells me that I am greater than letting someone else’s love (or lack there of) break me down. I allow myself to feel the feels and learn from them. At this point in life- in my greatness in rising- I will not let my heartbreak determine my fate. You do you boo…because what I do know is, no matter this outcome, i am destined for my greatness. Best believe my heart will feel full again.
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Heartbreak can come in many forms and from many people—including your family.
I grew up with a mostly absent father. As a six-year-old with cancer, he never attended a doctor’s appointment, stayed overnight in the hospital, or paid a medical bill. In middle school, he never attended a piano recital, theatrical production, or parent-teacher conference. In high school and college, he didn’t call or come to see me once. And today, at thirty years old, I only hear from him when he wants something.
The pain you feel from the intentional absence of a parent can be crippling—and it’s easy to believe that it’s somehow your fault. But I have learned that the pain and heartache are temporary and often provide more lessons than losses.
If someone doesn’t want you, shame on them— My dad being an absent father and having no genuine interest in my life says more about him than it does about me. If anyone has ever abandoned you, cheated on you, lied to you, ghosted you—don’t take it personally. Just know that they aren’t meant to be part of your life and be glad you got free of them when you did.
Appreciate the people who do matter — If you’re going through heartbreak, look to the people who do love and care for you. I am blessed to have an amazing mother who has never let me down, a caring grandmother who always makes me laugh, and a loving boyfriend who is consistently there for me.
Be on guard, but not too guarded — It’s easy to let past heartbreak negatively impact future relationships. Because of my relationship with my father, fear of abandonment, commitment issues, and a general mistrust of men followed me for years. But I have learned that while it’s important to protect your heart, you can’t close yourself off to amazing people and experiences—if you do, the only person who loses is you.
Heartbreak is necessary — Once you’re on the other side of heartbreak, you’ll realize it was a valuable experience. Heartbreak can teach you about yourself, show you how strong you are, and help you discover what you deserve. Sometimes we try so hard to avoid heartbreak that we miss the vital lessons that come from it.
At the end of the day, pain doesn’t last forever. So take the lessons from it, move on, and live your best life.
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My first relationship was my longest relationship and easily my biggest heartbreak. We were together for 6 years. When it ended I was so lost. I had no idea who I was. I lost the love of my life but the most tragic part of it was I lost myself as well. In the years after him, I taught myself what it meant to be alone. How to take comfort in myself. I learn the value of intentionally being single. Doing things as a party of one and enjoying it. I taught myself how to love myself without it being filtered through someone else’s eyes. I saw my own happiness, my own beauty, my own worth, without outside validation. That heartbreak was my greatest pain, but it also brought me to my greatest joy. Me.
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I usually take pride in saying I haven’t had my heart broken. It’s like a badge of honor almost to claim you’ve never been taken advantage of. Even as I began to write this, I really had to take stock of my heartbreak.
I remember dating someone years ago. It was young puppy love but impactful to this day. Being young I remember being very jealous of the female company he kept. It was intense and consistent with women always wanting his attention. After many fights and requests to ‘manage the pack’, he and I got to a place where the trust wasn’t there and subsequently neither was the relationship. Ironically, we went on a trip to see African burial grounds. It was an AMAZING experience and he and I spent the weekend in a great place. So much so I said “maybe this will actually work”.
When we got back home, he gently said goodbye. And from there we never dated or interacted again. I was heartbroken on so many levels but mainly because that last trip/experience was so intentionally good. No fights. No distrust. Just us really enjoying each other’s company.