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Simply Solo Spotlight: How I Broke My Own Heart On My Birthday

October 11, 2011

Today’s Simply Solo Spotlight is written by Volta from Olé Volta Photography & Expressions. I’m incredibly inspired by the story Volta has shared here. Anyone who has been in a relationship that was not mutually beneficial and respectful knows the feeling of wishing you had the courage to simply choose yourself over the other person. It’s amazing how powerful love for someone else can be – so powerful, that you can lose yourself in it. Once you are done reading and commenting, please be sure to check Volta’s Tumblr page.

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at:

How I Broke My Own Heart On My Birthday

I’ve wanted to write this guest post for a long time. I’ve been following Simply Solo for quite a while and though I was mostly passively reading, I was learning.

I mentioned in the title that I broke my own heart. Actually, I lied. I didn’t break it; I merely tortured it, for my heart is unbreakable. But more on that later.

Like all great love stories, it started with a simple attraction. I became attracted to a man (let’s call him Peter), and this feeling permeated for more than six months. See, because of some societal constraints, I could not pursue him openly, and even if I did, he couldn’t put himself in a position where he could respond. We belonged to an organization where he held a position of leadership, and I was a mere member. So I silently admired and pined over his intellectual persona, which seemed ever so alluring, ever so engaging.

I would spend any opportunity I got, however small, to get to know him better, to show that I was interested in finding out his aspirations. If anything, I wanted to be his friend. I wanted it badly.

Soon after his leadership role ended, I founded myself “cured” of this inexplicable crush. After all, he was much older than me, and besides, I saw him with another woman once, so even the idea of him was absurd. I had given up.

We were still members of the same organization, and actually began working on a project together. I was surprised at my apparent calm in handling our meetings, because initially I would be out of breath and have increased heart palpitations worrying over what I should say or how I should act.

Things were going great in my life. I was soon to leave and move on from that organization and start a new career. The first and only thing that was on my mind was the three week vacation to Europe I was planning to take. There was nothing that would tie me the city I lived in: lease was running out, organization commitments were coming to an end, Europe was waiting. All that was grand and fabulous, until I decided to invite Peter out for a beer …

The professional discussion soon turned into a personal one … and that night marked the beginning of our brief romantic story.

I fell for this guy right away. All those pent up feelings resurfaced at once and he seemed like the one. His brilliance amazed me. His personality attracted me immensely. We had a great connection, especially after realizing that he too had experienced feelings for me ever since he met me.

love heart on crumpled paper

Photo courtesy of Camdiluv

Somehow he seemed to know me immediately. He understood me like no other person ever did. We were very similar in most respects: driven, ambitious, world travelers, culture lovers.

I didn’t want and I didn’t think of the future. For a few weeks, I lived the most intense romantic moments of life. Everything with him was living life to the fullest. That was the biggest lesson I learned from him.

But he knew I had to leave. I knew I had to leave. After all, Europe was waiting. And he didn’t dare ask me to stay, even though, I think for the first time ever, I did want to stay, which was absurd to even consider.

After my illuminating and exciting European adventures, I came back to the city to visit him briefly. At that time I was living in another city, about three hours away from where he was staying. Amid our passionate encounter, he told me that he wasn’t in the least attached to me and that he didn’t see this lasting past the summer. He had clearly taken that time while I was away to distance himself from the possibility of us. To him, it was a summer fling. Nothing more. But of course, we were in the early weeks of summer and he wanted to see how things would develop and then go from there. It hurt to hear all that, but I agreed, swallowing my tears.

The next few days that followed were pure hell. I went from hopeful to hopeless in a matter of hours. I was sick of feeling so much, of being so open with my heart that I decided to drown my feelings in reason. I wanted to detach myself from the relationship, like he did. I was too quick to fall, too vulnerable to engage in such summer flings, too sensitive, and too naive to believe that this was my magical love story of which I’ve always dreamed.

I hurt. You know that pain that sprouts in the chest and the slowly travels throughout your entire body? That pain which you so desperately try to hide, but are unable to because you’ve run out of excuses for yourself? I knew what I had to do, even if it was so unbearable. I had to act because the status quo wasn’t making me any happier.

I tried to draw decision trees; I tried to be logical and cold-blooded, like him. But I was unable to suffer through it any longer. So on my birthday, I gave myself the most painful and liberating gifts of all: self-worth. I chose myself over a slight chance with a man who wasn’t even attached to me. I chose myself because I knew that I deserved a mutual relationship. I knew that I was worthy of equal attention and adoration. I was worthy of being called beautiful, yes, especially when sober.

I don’t blame Peter. I think we were just at different stages in life. I wanted someone who would want to grow with me; to me, you can never stop growing, there’s always room for evolution. He wanted a grown woman, which I was not. I had yet to fulfill my greatest dreams, while he, for the most part, had been already fully fulfilled. And no matter how much pain it brought me thinking it through, I felt much better after having ended it. My unbroken, yet tortured heart led me to a path to self-healing and self-realization.

Yes, I still remember him sometimes, but for the most part, I have grown and I have learned great lessons.

If nothing else, “being” with Peter and not having the mutual reciprocity, makes me that much more appreciate the man I am currently dating.


Copyright 2011. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2011 9:52 am

    Isn’t it bizarre how uncomfortable choosing yourself can be?

  2. October 11, 2011 10:46 am

    One all-too-common relationship scenario is not being on the same page. One partner wanting more, being so sure about the other, while the other is distant, removed, just going along.

    I give you major ups for being able to see him for who he was and the situation for what it was, and to recognize that you wanted and deserved more than the slight possibilty that you might be on the same page one day. I admire you.

    • October 11, 2011 11:47 pm

      Thank you, KD, it means a lot. Yes, it was probably the toughest decision I’ve ever done for my own greater good. Turned out for the best anyway. 🙂

  3. Jes permalink
    October 11, 2011 11:14 am

    My last relationship was short.. but tumultuous. I was soo attracted to him, and I was so blinded as to what was going on because of all the lusty feelings I was consumed by. Somewhere in it I realized that it was bAd… Real bad. And I didn’t know what to do. Looking back, I can Not comprehend how I DIDN’T know what to do. I should of got rid of him the second I knew that it was not a relationship, merely a mentally abusive scenario that he got plenty out of, and I got nothing. I read an article about women who stay in abusive relationships. It talked about how we can be so afraid of the unknown, that sometimes we would prefer to stay in the abusive relationship and Know what is going to happen (even if heartbreak is inevitable), rather than free ourselves from it.
    It took a bit longer than it should of, but i eventually had the guts to say that if my expectations of respect were too high for him, then the relationship was over.
    I think your post was beautiful.
    I completely agree with KD about admiring you for having the guts to choose yourself. It is one thing to recognize that you deserve more, it is another thing to put that recognition into action… which is often painful *at least at first*.
    Thanks for posting on Catherine’s blog, I checked out your site too and I really like it!

    • October 11, 2011 11:53 pm

      Thanks Jes! I had no idea that people would be able to relate to this. I almost wished I hadn’t written it …but I’m glad I shared my experience. I hope to inspire other people to seek the love they truly deserve and never settle just for anything.
      Thank you for your kind words!
      It is is very hard to make that decision for yourself. I was in utter emotional pain but I knew that reasonably, this wasn’t the man for me even if at first I was convinced that we were made for each other. Funny how things work. It was definitely a great lesson for me. And like I said..the little things that my bf is currently doing, mean so much more to me – he really appreciates me as a person in every way and I think everyone deserves just that. Gotta love yourself first before letting someone else love you.

  4. October 11, 2011 12:51 pm

    There’s nothing worse than being told by someone you’re involved with that they don’t feel the same for you as you do for them. (just been there myself) But it takes real strength to accept that and move on and do what’s right for yourself instead of being caught up in the what ifs and maybes of the romance and hanging on “just in case”. Well done for realising that and doing what was right for you. 🙂

    • October 11, 2011 11:54 pm

      Oh yeah..I hear ya. Thank you! Yeah..just in case scenarios don’t work for me because I know my self-worth. Took some time to come to that idea, but the journey and the healing that resulted from it was definitely worth the pain.

  5. October 11, 2011 6:42 pm

    I believe all of our failed relationships are crucial because of what you’ve stated here: they make us better appreciate the person in our lives who was meant to be there all along. Which is why I cling to the philosophy of no regrets: everything happens for a reason, good and bad.

    • October 11, 2011 11:55 pm

      Mark! ME too! That is one of the rules I live by: I never ever regret anything. Everything, even failing, is a lesson. 😀

  6. October 28, 2011 3:57 pm

    I think we’ve all been there, thumbs up for being the one to make us feel less alone with the situation 🙂

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