Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Life's Sweet Heartache


"You never give your heart to a stranger
Or tell your secrets to a friend
You’ll put your heart in mortal danger,
They all desert you in the end.
The more you live the more you love."

-Flock of Seagulls

Recently I was sorting through some of my older writing for a few pieces to post, and came across a poem that was darker and more bitter than most. It occurred to me that I've spoken much of the upside of love and passion lately, but little of its heartbreak. I think it's time.

Over the past few days I've had several memorable conversations, some with you who may be reading now, about the difficulty and occasional pain of relationships. In the fifteen years before I met Sandy I'm not sure how many girls/women I took interest in, how many relationships of varying degrees I celebrated and hurt over, but I had my share. During that time it seems there were more lows than highs. Maybe that's not the case and it's just my mind's way of retaining the lessons. Memories have a way of being discoloured by time's mist sometimes.

Along the way I did some embarassing and stupid things, as most of us do when young and where matters of the heart or physical desire are concerned. Some things I learned from immediately, some I had to repeat two or three times before they sunk in. But most did eventually. 

At twenty-one I had a serious relationship with a girl, after a short while she broke it off and I was devastated. I did a fair amount of writing during that time; an example of which follows:

Some Hearts

Some nights are better spent alone
Some lives best lived apart
Some hearts are better left untouched;
Their flames burn brightest at the start.

 Some questions are better left unanswered
Some feelings never chanced
Some tears are better left unshed,
Some dances never danced.

Some walls are better left unbroken
Some love best left ungiven,
Because when all that we think
And feel has been spoken
Some hearts aren't always forgiven.

Some say there are seven stages of grief (disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, acceptance and hope). At the time I wrote this poem it was very much out of anger and bitterness. Those wounds have long-since healed and I've learned from the experience. Do I believe it's always better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? Not necessarily. But I no longer believe what I wrote in my poem; we shouldn't pass up a chance at something great for fear of heartbreak. In my eyes you should say what you need to say and not keep these things to yourself. Life's too short to shelter your heart.
(Recently I had a conversation with a friend who took a chance on someone, and although he didn't feel the same I'm so unbelievably proud of her for putting herself out there. I can't say she loved and lost, I believe she loved and won because she didn't hide behind her uncertainties).

After my relationship ended I dated more casually, just had fun and didn't look for anything too serious. In some ways I feel I did things backwards. I was usually striving for a serious relationship even before the age of twenty. I had girlfriends, but at times when I was single I often ended up being 'that guy', the one who was a shoulder but not a shared heart. Looking back perhaps this experience was part of my life's design. Now that I'm married it's something I'm able to provide Sandy (and have it returned) within a fulfilling marriage, and can more comfortably provide others as any hopes of romance within that role have lifted.

If I could go back and do it all over knowing what I know now, I have no doubt my dating years would have been more 'successful'. But I believe as painful as they are, 'mis-steps' are necessary to help us grow into the person we need to be. We can't go back, all we can do is take what we learn and move forward each day. Experience is what we call our mistakes, and they're only mistakes if we don't learn something from them along the way. Registered & Protected


  1. It's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all... I always believe in that quote.

    And this one too... don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

    Have a great day Barry! xoxo

  2. What a great post. I really appreciated the Some Hearts poem you wrote - not necessarily because it's true but I believe many people can identify with it. It's a v honest view of heartbreak (bitter but more tragic), and I think we all can empathize.

  3. I've always believed that things happen for a reason - relationships included. It maybe just my coping mechanism for all the abuse, but it works. My step-dad and ex's abuse has made me a stronger person - I wouldn't be the same person if it wasn't for them and their crap. My marriage (and its subsequent failure) has also helped shape me and taught me a lot of things - that being alone isn't that bad, that I do know how to stand up for myself, and what I want out of a partner, to name just a few.

    So, yes, I believe that it's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.

  4. who knew flock of seagulls was so deep?

    I'm a pretty firm believer in living without regrets, though I have a few moments where I waiver. The moments between the perceived failure and the understanding of how it should affect your life in the future are the hardest. Now maybe I'm just lucky, but I've yet to meet a heartbreak that wasn't worth the lesson learned in the end.

  5. I like this post. It shows that love is not like that love we watch in films, or read in Sparks' books.
    I think that all your mistakes, the crazy things you did for love, the times you were a shoulder... your "love history" leaded you to Sandy. To the love of your life. To the woman that gives you a Sparks love life.



  6. interesting post.

    you have a way with words barry. intense poem but very well written.

    i'm glad to hear you have learned from your mistakes and use those lessons to make your marriage successful. not many people can do that!

    have a good day - chels

  7. The heart is an amazing organ isn't it? It's the size of your fist, so small compared to the size of your body, and yet it controls everything.... This post makes me smile and gives me great hope. Thank you. :)

  8. Wow..such an amazing way of looking at things.I'm not usually the type that comments(God knows why)But I couldnt help over here.I really like how you presented the points here.I have on my blog The 6 not 7 stages that usually follow a breakup of any kind..feel free to take a look over there!
    Have a great one Barry :)

  9. Very interesting post. I'm trying to think of the right comments for this, as I've written some thoughts recently - and everyone comes at it from their own perspective (which is a good thing!). Because making mistakes is part of life, its learning form them and (for me anyway) more importantly doing something about them that makes the difference! Because that's what makes the difference rather than just accepting them, but accepting that things might need adjusting.

  10. That's a beautiful poem, Barry.
    I'm glad you never gave up, you let your heart heal and you found someone special to spend the rest of your life with!
    All the best to you, enjoy your VDay weekend!

  11. I won't say anything except that it felt great reading this post of yours.God bless you for being so good at expressing your feelings:)))
    (Lucky us!)

  12. This is a good post. Thank you for sharing. Your words are ones I needed to hear tonight....