A Deviant’s Guide to Heartbreak

Everything you need to know if you’ve had your heart broken.

Demitri Wylde
12 min readNov 20, 2023

I thought that you were someone who would do me right,

until you played with my emotions and you made me cry.

What’d you do to me?

We’ve all been there: you are lying on your bed, curled up into a fetal position. Your pillow is probably soaking wet, saturated in a combination of both tears and snot. You are probably listening to “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt over and over again, ad nauseam. The last picture you and your ex took together is probably clenched in your fist while you ask yourself:

“Why me?”

Heartbreak is a very human experience, and it can happen in a multitude of ways. But have you ever stopped to think about what actually is heartbreak? What happens to us when we experience this type of pain? Can we actually die from it? What can I do to help myself get over a broken heart?

What is Heartbreak?

Heartbreak is a painful experience that many people go through at some point in their lives. It can leave you feeling sad, confused, and even physically hurt. It is a common experience that can occur as a result of various life events, such as the end of a romantic relationship, the loss of a loved one, or the failure to achieve a desired goal.

Heartbreak is a complex emotional state that can be characterized by feelings of sadness, grief, and intense pain. It can manifest as physical symptoms, such as fatigue, loss of appetite, and difficulty sleeping. It is a deeply personal and subjective experience that can be difficult to describe, and it can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health and well-being. But despite its universality, heartbreak can be an incredibly isolating experience, leaving individuals feeling alone and vulnerable.

How does Heartbreak feel?

Maybe you have been one of the lucky ones who hasn’t had their heart broken yet. Or maybe you are a sociopath and you are physically incapable of having emotions. Either way, you are probably curious about what heartbreak really feels like. I’ll be the first to tell you: it isn’t pleasant.

According to Meghan Laslocky for Greater Good Magazine, “Some people describe [heartbreak] as a dull ache, others as piercing, while still others experience it as a crushing sensation. The pain can last for a few seconds and then subside, or it can be chronic, hanging over your days and depleting you like just like the pain, say, of a back injury or a migraine.”

Heartbreak is an intense emotional pain that one experiences when a relationship comes to an end. It’s a feeling of overwhelming sadness, despair, and loss that can be difficult to bear. When you’re heartbroken, you may feel like your world has come crashing down around you, and that everything you once believed in no longer exists. Your heart may physically ache, and you may have trouble sleeping, eating, or concentrating on anything other than your pain. You may feel like you’re in a constant state of mourning, mourning the loss of the relationship, the person you loved, and the future you had envisioned together. Heartbreak can be a traumatic experience, and it may take time and effort to heal from it.

Heartbreak can also cause physical symptoms, such as chest pain, fatigue, and headaches. It can make you feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself and can leave you questioning your self-worth and abilities. You may feel like you’re in a state of limbo, unable to move forward or backward, and unsure of what the future holds. Heartbreak is a painful reminder that love can bring both joy and sorrow, and that relationships can be both beautiful and fragile.

However, with time, patience, and self-care, it’s possible to heal from heartbreak and emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before.

Can Heartbreak kill you?

Technically, yes. But it is very rare.

Broken Heart Syndrome, is a condition that can cause symptoms similar to a heart attack, such as chest pain and shortness of breath. It is typically triggered by an extremely stressful or emotional event, such as the death of a loved one or a breakup. While broken heart syndrome can be serious, it is rarely fatal. However, there are rare cases where heartbreak can lead to a potentially life-threatening complication known as ventricular fibrillation, which can cause the heart to stop beating altogether. In general, though, the risk of death from heartbreak is low, and most people recover fully with appropriate medical care.

Potential Broken Heart Syndrome stories

Mary Tamm was a British actress known for her role as Romana I in the BBC’s science fiction television series Doctor Who. In 2012, she died of cancer. According to several articles, including this one from The Guardian, just hours after delivering the eulogy at his wife’s funeral, her husband, Marcus Ringrose, himself died while sitting at his computer. He is believed to have died of a heart attack while he had been replying to well-wishers who wrote to him after his wife’s death, when he collapsed.

Another heartbreaking story involved legendary country singers Johnny Cash and June Carter. The pair met at the Grand Ole Opry in 1956, while at the time, Carter was singing backup for Elvis Presley, who had introduced her to Cash. Cash had grown up listening to June perform with her family and reportedly told her that he had always wanted to meet her. They were both married when they first met, but they fell in love despite the circumstances.

“I’ve always wanted to meet you,” Cash, who had grown up listening to June perform with her family, reportedly told her.

“I feel like I know you already” Carter allegedly responded. Famously, Cash proposed several times before Carter finally accepted, and they were married in 1968.

June Carter Cash, tragically died on May 15, 2003, at the age of 73. The cause of her death was complications from heart surgery. Johnny and their family were all by her side. Just a mere four months after June’s passing, nearly to the day, Johnny passed away as well. While his official cause of death was complications from diabetes, family members and friends all say he had stopped taking care of himself after June’s passing, which could have attributed to his quick deterioration.

It is important to note that heartbreak can have a significant impact on mental health as well as physical health. Experiencing intense emotional distress can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions, which can in turn affect overall well-being. Seeking support from loved ones, a therapist, or other mental health professionals can be an important part of the healing process after heartbreak or any other major life event. Taking care of oneself physically and mentally can help reduce the risk of complications and promote recovery.

Can you experience Heartbreak without dating someone?

Yes, it is completely possible to experience heartbreak even without dating someone. The experience of heartbreak refers to the intense emotional pain or suffering one feels when they have lost someone or something that is important to them. This can happen in many different contexts, including friendships, family relationships, and even unrequited love.

For example, someone might experience heartbreak after developing feelings for a close friend who does not reciprocate those feelings. They may feel a sense of loss and grief, as well as the pain of rejection. Similarly, someone might experience heartbreak after a falling out with a family member or the end of a cherished friendship. These types of losses can be just as devastating as the end of a romantic relationship and can lead to feelings of sadness, loneliness, and despair.

Have you and a friend every had a falling out? I call these “friend breakups” and they can hurt just as bad, if not worse than a relationship breakup. Heartbreak can be experienced in many different contexts and is not limited to romantic relationships. It is a painful and difficult emotion to process, and those who experience it should seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional to help them cope and heal.

Have you and a friend every had a falling out? I call these “friend breakups” and they can hurt just as bad, if not worse than a relationship breakup.

Can you hookup without heartbreak?

There is no such thing as “safe sex.” No, I’m not talking about just wearing condoms. Every sexual relationship comes with a certain level of emotional risk. Someone may become emotionally attached during the course of the sexual relationship. Or perhaps someone might become attached to the sex itself. Ladies, I know you know what I’m talking about there. You may have accidentally gave your 100% during a session and your partner all of a sudden can’t get enough of it. These situations, although uncommon, can lead to some pretty serious emotional consequences.

There is no such thing as “safe sex.”

Maintaining a hookup without getting emotionally attached can be challenging, but it is possible. Firstly, it’s important to set clear boundaries and expectations with your partner from the beginning. Be honest about what you want and what you don’t want, and make sure you are both on the same page. This can help prevent any misunderstandings or hurt feelings down the line. Additionally, try to avoid engaging in too much non-sexual intimacy, such as cuddling or deep conversations, as these can lead to emotional attachment. Keep things light and fun, and focus on enjoying the physical aspect of the relationship without getting too involved emotionally.

Secondly, it’s important to keep your own emotions in check. Recognize that a hookup is just that — a casual, physical relationship — and don’t let yourself get too invested or attached. Avoid trying to change or control the situation, and instead focus on enjoying the moment. If you find yourself starting to develop feelings for your hookup, it may be time to reevaluate whether this type of relationship is truly what you want.

Ultimately, maintaining a hookup without getting emotionally attached requires clear communication, self-awareness, and a willingness to stay focused on the physical aspect of the relationship. Don’t give 100% to these types of relationships. Save that for bae when they eventually come along.

Why heartbreak is good

Can heartbreak be good for you? Absolutely it can!

Heartbreak is a painful experience, but it can also be a valuable learning opportunity. Going through a heartbreak teaches us important lessons about ourselves, relationships, and life in general. For example: it can help us to identify patterns in our behavior and thought processes that may be unhealthy or unproductive, and to make positive changes accordingly. Heartbreak can also inspire us to be more compassionate and empathetic towards others who may be going through similar experiences, and to develop a deeper understanding of the complexities of human relationships.

Heartbreak can also be a catalyst for personal growth and self-discovery. When we experience a breakup or a rejection, we are forced to confront our vulnerabilities and insecurities, and to confront difficult questions about who we are and what we want from life. This process of introspection and self-reflection can lead to increased self-awareness, confidence, and resilience, as we learn to navigate life’s challenges with greater wisdom and emotional maturity. Ultimately, while heartbreak may be painful in the moment, it can ultimately lead to greater happiness and fulfillment in the long run.

[Heartbreak] can help us to identify patterns in our behavior and thought processes that may be unhealthy or unproductive.

Heartbreak is never easy, but it can also have some very positive outcomes as well. It can help you grow as a person, provide opportunities for new experiences, strengthen your friendships, increase your independence, and help you appreciate future relationships even more. Just remember to take care of yourself and seek support when you need it, and know that you can come out of heartbreak stronger and more resilient.

Tips on Dealing with Heartbreak

One of the best ways to deal with heartbreak is by learning how to reframe the thoughts in your head about it. Reframing heartbreak in your head can be a powerful way to move forward and find healing after a difficult experience. Instead of focusing on the pain and negative emotions associated with heartbreak, reframing can help shift your perspective and allow you to see the situation in a different light.

One way to reframe heartbreak is to view it as an opportunity for growth and self-reflection. By examining what went wrong and what you can learn from the experience, you can gain valuable insights into yourself and your relationships. Another way to reframe heartbreak is to recognize that it is a natural part of the human experience and that everyone goes through it at some point in their lives. This can help you feel less alone and more connected to others.

Other examples of reframing heartbreak:

  • This feeling will not last forever. Pain is only temporary.
  • The situation probably has nothing to do with you. People just have things they do that we will never be able to understand.
  • Focusing on the positive aspects of your life, such as your support system, your hobbies, and your goals for the future.

By focusing on reframing your thoughts surrounding the heartbreak, you can shift from a place of hurt and anguish and eventually create a sense of hope and optimism.

What are some practical things you can do to deal with heartbreak?

Okay, I, personally know a thing or two about heartbreak. I’ve had mine broken many times over. I have even been the heartbreaker in some cases. Since I have so much experience on this topic, I’ve come up with my top tips for things you can do to help you deal with heartbreak.

  • Write it out

When we are dealing with heartbreak, we tend to play the same thoughts over and over again in our heads, like a record. (For some, it may be an actual record — remember “Don’t Speak?”) I can’t express enough how much it helps to write out your thoughts. You can even simply make a list. Writing things out or making a list is a great way to aleviate the stress, get something out of your head, or simply just weigh the pros and cons.

  • Get perspective

If you’re looking at something so intensely, it’s hard to get the bigger picture. The best way to get the bigger picture is to get other opinions or perspectives. Ask your friends their honest opinion, what did they like or didn’t like? Your friends can offer some different insights than just the ones you can come up with, and help offer a different perspective on the situation.

  • Get your mind off of it

Find something to take your mind off of things for a while — it can be anything from exercise to gardening, or even video games. Pick something that will take up your focus for a bit. Once you’ve taken some time to step away from the thoughts for a little while, it’s easier to come back to it. You don’t have to have it all figured it right now.

  • Get closure

This one’s probably the hardest thing to do, but it can potentially be the best. There is a caveat, though. This only is good advice if the relationship was not toxic. Meaning, if the relationship hadn’t soured long before the breakup, and there were no threats, controlling behavior, or physical violence. Both parties need to be emotionally ready to have that conversation and be open and receptive to receiving criticism.

Some final thoughts:

  1. Give yourself time to grieve
  2. Cut off contact
  3. Take care of yourself
  4. Spend time with friends and family
  5. Focus on yourself
  6. Seek professional help

Recovering from heartbreak takes time, patience, and self-care. Remember that you are not alone, and it’s okay to ask for help. Be kind to yourself, and know that with time, you will heal and move on.

A Deviant’s Guide to Heartbreak ( Official Playlist)

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Demitri Wylde

Sex educator on a mission to help you understand topics around sex, dating, and relationships. linktr.ee/demitriwylde