While perusing Instagram the other day, I came across a photo of a man I knew with his new girlfriend and my heart stopped for a split second. It had been years since I experienced that twinge of anxiety in the pit of my stomach, yet it felt just as vividly excruciating as I remember.
Why did I even feel like this? I never dated this man, I barely knew him. We didn’t exchange kisses, or funny faces we made for only each other, or inside jokes, or memories. Yet, I felt that feeling. That “But that’s my hand your holding/Wonder if he’ll treat her better than me/I have to get over you/Why didn’t we work out/I remember when you used to post photos of us/I wish I never saw this/Dammit, why is her profile private/My heart is aching/Fuck them” feeling.
Most of all, I felt for his ex, my friend, another girl with a broken heart. Woman to woman, friend to friend, I wanted to reach out to her but never did. I don’t know why. Instead, I waited. I waited for Instagram quotes. I waited for a new hobby. A haircut. Maybe a tattoo. A flight.
I felt silly. I have no idea what actually happened between the two of them. For all I know, she broke up with him. She been over him. She cheated on him. I really don’t know. What I do know is I saw a photo of a man and his girlfriend – who wasn’t my friend. I also know I ‘m not the only one who felt these sympathy sads.
That’s the power of a broken heart. Despite being in a happy, fulfilling relationship, you never truly forget how the pain feels … and I kinda don’t mind that. It allows you to really appreciate what you have as well as what you’ve let go. It’s gut wrenching to see a friend going through a setback so bad it wakes up your own demons, but the silver lining is you’ll experience the beauty of their bounce back too.