Don’t Run From Me: Dating After Heartbreak

“It hurts when you have to smile and you don’t want to smile, but the best thing to do is to smile.”
— Mary J. Blige

The night sweats, the loss of appetite, the days that fly by that you can’t remember because you spent the entire day in a daze… heartbreak is traumatic. The immediate effects of it seem so critical that you almost feel like you’re dying slowly. Days, weeks, even months go by and you can’t get the person or the pain off of your mind. Eventually, you build up enough resolve to get through your days without spending hours replaying every conversation. You eventually stop being haunted hourly by who else could have been in the picture, what you could’ve done better, and if the person ever had your best interest at heart in the first place. I know, because I’ve been there. After you get past the can’t eat / can’t sleep period, your ego gives you an allusion of confidence back. You get in shape, get a new job, or just get a new person of interest and suddenly you’re feeling yourself more. In that process you start believing that you’re over it and healed, but most times that’s not completely true. You may get over the person but not what they put you through. That lingers, unfortunately, and the hardest thing to do is loving a person that’s been really hurt before.

The broken woman. The flower so beautiful it could take your breath away, also has thorns so sharp it it could puncture your lungs. I’ve met so many broken women. Lord willing, not permanently, but it’s a painful sighting and experience nonetheless. We all can see it, from the outside looking in, when a woman is recently single from a bad breakup. How she’s carrying it gives you an indication of how long she’s been getting over it. Let’s be clear though, a woman leaving you is normally a “90 day process”, don’t laugh because it’s true. The first 30 days she’s deeply mourning the decision while still looking at you with disappointment in her eyes. The second 30 days she’s resenting the fact that you didn’t notice her first 30. The Mary J. Blige and Toni Braxton records are playing. Beyonce’s “Resentment” and “Listen” are somewhere on the playlist. And depending on age, Summer Walker and H.E.R. might be closing it out but this is her angry zone. The last 30 she’s so unbothered but the man’s finally noticing; but nothing is changing her mind at this point. She’s just waiting on the lease to be up. She’s already texting the group chat or the new distraction nightly while in bed with you or while ignoring your messages for 47 minutes each “by mistake”. She’s back on the town in her most provocative dresses, taking her most provocative pictures, doing all the things she stopped doing to try to respect the relationship. The wolves are now on notice too. Again, everyone can see it. Most people are even championing it; fueling her ego. But even that is just a period of time. Normally around the 6 month mark, that gets old. She notices that the field is trash and the distractions are annoying and she starts to remember love. Even in that last relationship, that ended for whatever reason, there was love at some point. But the pain attached to it gives fear a clear path to step in. This is why it’s so hard to love a woman that’s been hurt before. Especially hurt in her mid to late 20’s. The dream of having life perfectly figured out and smooth sailing by now was sold for so long, the disappointment just adds more walls around her empty house. The walls have barbed wire on top too because she’s not about to let anybody else sell her dreams. Now enters a man, or even a couple of men, that look promising… but they look too good to be true. What is she to do? Running is the normal answer because after seeing and feeling so much pain, there’s no trust in anything and anyone left.

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The broken man. The toughest being on the map; or at least it appears that way. The broken man is the indifferent man. Not to be confused with the outwardly emotional man because he at least still believes in feelings. Not to be confused, although very commonly, with the nonchalant man because he’s just a “never let them see you sweat type” but he cares. The broken man believes in himself, and himself only. He’s given up on dreams of love, marriage, and partnership; he just wants to get money and have a good time. But that indifference is attractive. If he’s figured out how to get money, he’s even more attractive. The indifference, as much as women want you to outwardly care about them, is attractive because it gives off an energy of strength. He’s unmoved and unimpressed and women love nothing more than to be the only thing that moves the unmoved man. If he’s actually physically attractive, that’s the trifecta. Let’s put it in perspective: here’s a not easily impressed or gullible yet attractive man with money. Sounds like a dream for most women. But he’s soul-less. You can’t reach him because he can no longer open up. He’s more scared of love than he’s scared of dying because that pierces his armor. That ruins his indifference. That strips him naked. That puts him in a position where he’s no longer in control which also makes him the worst thing, human. That makes him JUST like everybody else, in his mind. A love struck fool that can’t focus on anything except being with people who won’t do right anyway. Plus, why would he just want one? He’s figured out the universal attractive traits and can have a carousel of women if he wants to. His last relationship was great… until it wasn’t. He had a beautiful woman who loved everything about him, until she loved him. Now everything he did became an argument. If he liked going out with friends or joking /harmlessly flirting online or even playing his Xbox, it was a problem now. Everything he did that didn’t involve his girl became a point of contention so in turn, she became a point of contention. He worked too much but she loved the gifts, she loved the trips, she loved to post all of both to brag to her followers… but he worked too much. Once he had enough, he started looking somewhere else for peace and appreciation. Enter every woman who wanted access the whole time. Whether he did anything physically with them or not, going to them for an outlet or for peace was just as bad. He started to feel like life was more peaceful and he got more praise from women he didn’t actually commit to and that became his new model. After their breakup he began a full time job of denouncing relationships and being as loud as possible with his criticisms of women in relationships who didn’t “appreciate a good man”. So now, when the right woman, or even the potentially right few women, cross his path what is he to do? Avoid engaging normally. He’ll run from her emotionally while keeping his feet firmly in her vicinity because he knows she could be great for him, but he has no trust in anything or anybody now. He’d rather keep her at arm’s distance until she leaves or he finds enough flaws to leave than to risk going through that heartbreak again.

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“The understanding, compassion, and support we’ve found is a powerful testament to the healing that comes when we choose love.” – Alicia Keys

Love Again. Finding the right partner will never be easy. It’s not supposed to be. It gets even harder when you have this deep pain that materializes to fear that you won’t let go; to be happy. Your eyes become astigmatized and you start only seeing the worst in people or situations. You start to believe the most negative outlooks on life and love but the human’s nature is to need companionship. So you’ll “date” with restrictions. You’ll date the people that will confirm your suspicions of others instead of dating emotionally healthy people and putting yourself in good situations to receive the love that has evaded you. Hurt people, hurt people. Unfortunately, that will always be true. Hurt people also seek out hurt people. Even people that have gone through some sort of healing will seek out hurt people because they want to save them. Or save their optimism. They want to show that ALL women / men aren’t bad. Show that ALL women don’t just care about money and ALL men don’t just want to have sex with you. I’m supremely guilty of this. I think all selfless people have a hero complex to some extent but it’s just natural if you hold being a good person in high regard personally, you’ll want to be a person that people know for being a good person. You’ll want to spread your character around. That doesn’t mean you’re a perfect person, it just means you at least try to do the right thing in most cases. That can also hurt people. This thing we call life is just tricky in that way. But even I had to learn to love fearlessly. Which was a Rubik’s cube for me because outside of love, I always lived fearlessly with everything else. It wasn’t until I went through a couple can’t eat / can’t sleep phases myself that I knew what fear was. I never want(ed) to experience that again so I developed some of these similar “safeguards” but it was to my detriment. It wasn’t saving me, it was ruining me, it was exhausting me, it was… devaluing me. Because if indifference is attractive, I needed to have that indifference to fear itself in whatever form it came to me in except love. I had to learn to invest a lot of time in a person I saw potential in, even knowing it still might not work because nothing is guaranteed. I had to accept that I didn’t get to determine that “my next relationship is going to be my last”. That wasn’t my call to make. I learned to live with that. I learned that learning a partner takes a lifetime and the best thing I could do is want to learn a person and see what happens after. Fear still knocks on the door and I act like I’m not home. Heartbreak is still around the corner and I drive by her daily on my way to work on me. There’s still a few broken pieces of me under the couch or that slid out in the hallway that I haven’t exactly repaired but I know that the puzzle only comes back together if I’m not scared to pick those sharp pieces back up… even though they might cut me. I believe I’m a good man and I work to be better for the woman that fits my life needs. Don’t run from me.

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Meet Travis Cochran. The founder of Inspire You University and its lead writer. A fearless and provocative approach to his writing and discussions is what “Trav” prides himself on. Don’t hate him if you disagree with him, he’d much rather you challenge his points, learn together. Connect with him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.

  • Ashleigh K.
    Posted at 23:54h, 14 March Reply

    I love everything about this piece. It definitely described me, since I’m nurturing my bruised heart. Great read.

  • M
    Posted at 19:10h, 23 February Reply

    I always loved the way you thought.

  • Jawan Muldrow
    Posted at 14:39h, 12 February Reply

    Skipped straight to the Broken Man topic just to see if I met the criteria. Yep! For about 6 years I was crumbled! I’m glad to have come from that. Great perspective bro!

  • Rob Morrison
    Posted at 15:23h, 08 February Reply

    You a bad boy bro. One of my favorite pieces.

  • Kennyatta Collins
    Posted at 14:33h, 08 February Reply

    This piece is sobering. A clear reminder that the pursuit of a healthy love takes a lot more courage and willingness to risk the pain in order to receive the prize we’re pursuing. Especially if we’ve been hurt before.

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