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Getting Through Heartbreak & Preparing Yourself To Love Again

Dating & Relationships / Women Empowerment / July 23, 2014

I’m about to tell you something you already know: heartbreak is a part of life.  It happens to all of us at some point.  For some of us, it happens fairly regularly.  For others, maybe it only happened once or twice.  But it’s something we all have to endure.

For me, the important part of this discussion is about what happens after the heartbreak.  Specifically, how do we not only move forward with our lives after a heartbreak, but how we get to the point where we’re ready to give love another try?

How do you find the strength to trust again after a heartbreak?  How do you pick up the pieces of your broken life enough to allow someone new to enter it?  How do you open up your heart to the possibility of a new love when your heart seems like it’ll never be whole again?

Getting back on the metaphorical relationship “horse” after a gut-wrenching, life-altering break up is no easy feat.  Whether it’s a divorce or the end of a long-term relationship, finding the strength and the courage to try again is difficult.  Even when the break up is amicable and mutual, moving on ain’t easy.  At times, it can seem damn near impossible!

Some women seem to rebound quickly, jumping right into another relationship.  But I’m convinced their pain is as real and potent as the woman who stays locked in her room for a month, listening to Sade and over-indulging on ice cream and wine.  Instead of extra calories and hangovers, the quick rebounder may end up with another broken heart and/or chlamydia (or worse).  But either way, she’s just as grieved and broken as the rest of us.

So how do you do it?

How do you go from being convinced that you’ll never love again to opening yourself up to someone new after a heartbreak?

First of all, it has to start at the obvious place: self-love.  Whether you dumped him or he dumped you, when a relationship ends, you’re probably not feeling too great about yourself.  Maybe you stand in front of the mirror and pick apart everything that’s wrong with you, wondering how in the world anyone will ever love the complete mess you’ve become.  You despair over how flabby your thighs have gotten and mourn the loss of buoyancy in your breasts like you’ve lost your best friend.  Or you regret your latest haircut.  Anything that can be perceived as a flaw, you’re going to find it, especially in the early days of the break up.

Not all of us react that way, obviously.  Some of us may not pick ourselves apart in the mirror so ruthlessly, but we do engage in some serious self-reflection when a relationship ends.  If not about our appearance, then maybe we re-play past conversations in our heads, wondering if maybe we were too harsh, too critical, not supportive enough.

Don’t get me wrong, ladies.  Self-reflection is important and healthy.  But for God’s sake, don’t beat yourself up over a failed relationship.  No matter how many pounds you gained or how many times you may have nagged him about his lack of ambition on his job, it takes two people to end a relationship.  If he cheated on you, it wasn’t necessarily about you.  The size of your thighs had nothing to do with the fact that he was a chronic liar, lazy, or whatever.




Yes, you need to do an honest examination of whatever role you played in the break up, if only so that you can learn and improve yourself.  But moving on isn’t about laying blame at anyone’s feet.  Blame won’t change the fact that the relationship is done.  Blame won’t help you do the work it will take to move forward with your life.  And blame certainly won’t cuddle up next to you at night.

So, take a little time to do some self-reflection, but make sure you wrap it up in a whole heap of self-love, too.  Those thighs that jiggle a little more than they used to?  Girl, that just means your next man will have more to grab onto!  Those few extra pounds?  That just makes you more full-bodied, like that fine wine you’ve been drinking too much of!  You think you nagged your ex too much?  Chile, please!  Someone out there will appreciate you encouraging him to become a better man.

Let me put it this way: you were hot enough to get the last guy; you’re hot enough to get another one.  Your personality and wit captivated the last guy; you’ll seem even more brilliant and engaging to the next one.


You are a precious jewel!  And just because it didn’t work out with your ex, someone will recognize your shine and value.  All you have to do is see it in yourself, first.  It starts with self-love!

Once you get past the crying-Sade-drinking-too-much-wine phase and begin to remember just how awesome you are, you need to consider the qualities that your ex had that you liked, and those you could definitely do without.  The last thing you want is to fall into the exact same crap you just left!

I always say that if I could take the best parts of every man I’ve ever dated, I could build the perfect man.  I’d take this one’s head for business and that one’s ambition; mix in this one’s abs and shoulders with that one’s thighs; add a little of this one’s poetic worldview and that one’s passion for life; oh and let me not forget that one’s love of books and this one’s romanticism; and finally, throw in that one’s … ahem, man-stuff and I’d be in heaven!


Outside of Dr. Frankenstein’s lab, such an amalgamation isn’t possible.  However, you can certainly put together your own version of what you will and will not tolerate based upon your own experiences.  A dear friend once told me that dating several men has helped her really figure out what she wants and what she doesn’t want.  And that helped her find her current love.

Learning From Your Last Relationship

The best way to avoid another major heartbreak is to make sure you don’t keep getting involved with the same kind of man.  Figure out the parts of your ex that worked for you and pay close attention to the parts that didn’t.  This will help you make better dating choices in the future.

So, you’ve reflected and fallen in love with your fabulous self again.  You’ve taken the time to figure out the kind of man you do want based upon the best qualities of your ex (and determined which qualities to avoid based upon the worst qualities).  So now it’s time for the final step: putting yourself out there again.

Getting Back Out There

I know, I know … this is absolutely the scariest part!  But your next relationship isn’t going to find you if you’re hidden away in your bedroom drinking wine!  You’ve got to spend a little money on a mani/pedi, go through your closet and pull out that outfit that best accentuates your best features, take your hair out of that damned ponytail and get your ass out there!


Let your friends and colleagues know that you’re available again (but be very concise about the type of man you want).  Start accepting those invitations to social events where people mingle.  Get out and do the activities that you enjoy doing so that you can meet people with the same interests.  Even if you don’t meet Mr. Right at that pool party, you might meet his best friend who will say “I know someone who would be perfect for you”!

Be brave and consider online dating!  Just be honest, smart and safe.  Do your due diligence.  In fact, there are sites and blogs out there that give great advice on how to successfully find love online.  Give them a shot.  What have you got to lose?  Not a damn thing!

So there you have it.  It won’t be easy and I can offer no guarantee that you’ll find that next relationship right away.  But no matter how heartbroken you are right now, it will get better.  It’s going to take some work.  It’s going to take some courage.  And you’re gonna have to get up off your ass to do it.  But if you do what you need to do, you will be ready to sashay out of your self-imposed exile and shout to the world “Who Got Next?”

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Janice Fuller-Roberts
Janice Fuller-Roberts is a freelance writer, novelist and blogger living in the metropolitan Detroit area. She has a popular advice column called “Ask Janice” at SuzyKnew a site dedicated to the sexual health and pleasure for women of color, with an emphasis on women from the African diaspora. Janice’s thought-provoking essays on subjects such as domestic violence, depression, mental health awareness, and race have also been featured in The Sexy Single Mommy, For Harriet, emPower Magazine, DAME Magazine, Salon, and Corset. She also writes under a pseudonym with a growing legion of fans.

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on July 23, 2014

I hear what you are saying, but at the mature age of 58 after trying for three years to make a relationship work, I am just not trying to get started again. Yes, it is lonely and sometimes I do miss the companionship but I am overwhelmed with regret for trying so hard for three years only to end up with nothing. And if you think it is hard at 20, 30 or even 40, imagine how difficult it is when you are grey haired and almost 60. Everything is exacerbated by the fact that you just don’t have any patience with the bs anymore.

But this was a pretty uplifting blog considering the subject matter.

    on July 23, 2014

    I hear you, Soulflower. I ain’t no spring chicken, myself, and my patience for BS has never been lower! It’s tough out here for us seasoned ladies. But, I’m still an optimist. I recently met a woman at a party who just found new love at 65! So there’s hope for us yet. Anyway, since you’ve decided you’re not “looking”, someone will probably find you! I just hope the next one is truly worthy of you. Thanks for reading.

on July 24, 2014

It’s great that you get real about the reality of heartbreak but you also keep this post light and positive. We’re excited to share your post next week at!

    on July 25, 2014

    I’m truly honored! Thank you so much!

on February 16, 2015

Great advice!

    on October 3, 2016

    Thank you so much!

on September 30, 2016

Yes heartbreak is not always easy to move past. Eventually we all must though and you have shared great insights on how to get started.

    on October 3, 2016

    Thanks, Tia. Yeah, it’s never easy, but we must get through.

on October 2, 2016

Great post! It’s always important to get back on the horse so to speak. I think we should allow ourselves to mourn the end of a relationship though. That’s important, otherwise it’s on to a rebound relationship and more heartbreak.

    on October 3, 2016

    You are so right, Kemkem! Mourning the relationship is healthy and important! Thanks.

on October 2, 2016

One of things I hated about dating when I was single was dealing with breakups. It’s always so hard when you give your heart to someone and things don’t work out or they hurt you. I think your tip for self love is very important because you have to love yourself before you can love others.

    on October 3, 2016

    Self-Love is so key, isn’t it, Jennifer? It took me way too long to learn that, but now that I know, I won’t ever look back! Thanks for reading and commenting!

on October 2, 2016

Great reminders! A breakup always causes me to do introspection and focus on myself. It’s def time to ensure you’re the best version of yourself.

    on October 3, 2016

    Introspection has saved me from a few “rebound” mistakes! Thanks, Tia.

on October 3, 2016

Breaking up is hard to do. Getting over that break up is even harder. Moving on too soon can exacerbate the pain. I agree that healing should be strongly consider and you’ve offered some great tips for that. But why do we always listen to Sade when we’re sad? LOL

    on October 3, 2016

    LOL! Maybe it’s her soothing voice and mellow music, but Sade is still my go-to when I’m sad! Love her! Thanks, for commenting, Anitra. I appreciate you!

on October 3, 2016

I’m trying to get back out there, but I don’t like online dating AT ALL. It’s annoying. Self reflection is important though. I don’t get how some women jump from guy to guy all the time. Take some time and allow yourself to heal.

    on October 3, 2016

    I know a few women who go from guy to guy, and then they wonder why they end up heartbroken all over again. Maybe they should have taken time to reflect and heal! I hear ya about online dating, Jo. I know some people who have found love, though. It’s working for some people, just not me, either! I miss the days of meeting nice guys through friends, ya know?

on October 3, 2016

Break-ups can be tough! It’s always good when you are open to try and love again. I did the online dating thing one point before I got married. You just never know where you will meet the love of you life! Great post!

    on October 3, 2016

    Thank you so much! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. And yes, being open to try love again is so important!

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