Coping with a broken heart

broken heart

Heartbreak: what is it exactly? And how do you best cope with a broken heart? Journalist Mariska Jansen looks for answers from experts.

How do you cope with a broken heart? In Dag Liefde, Kom Je Ooit Nog Eens Terug? (‘Hello Love, Will You Ever Return?’) authors Esmée van Doorn and Carien Karsten write that you need to take good care of yourself, eat well, exercise, avoid contact with your ex and seek the company of your friends. “Meet with your friends often and get your feelings off your chest,” they suggest. “Arrange to meet someone after work for dinner and then go out and do something.”

It’s important to make a fresh start after a period of sadness and to let the pain take its time to find its way out. “Think about the things that make life worthwhile for you, what you enjoy, what you want to do with all the free time you have now.” According to German philosopher Wilhelm Schmid, what’s important when relationships end is to make sure you are being fair. Starting a relationship is something you do together, and ending it should be, too.

“Fairness means that when love ends, you should tell the other one about what you’re thinking as soon as possible,” Schmid writes in Die Liebe neu erfinden (Inventing New Love), “so that he or she has time to adjust to this new reality, and maybe even still has a chance to object. When the end is inevitable, it is fair to jointly propose dissolving the relationship.” Schmid says that the end of love doesn’t have to be the end. “The end of love doesn’t mean all value of a relationship between two people is gone,” he writes. You could decide to stay together for the children, for example, or to maintain the comfort of your lives together, or because there are many other things you still share together.

  • The complete story ‘A broken heart’ can be found in Issue 10.

Text Mariska Jansen