Too Many Breakups? How to Keep From Getting Cynical

05/11/2015 03:15 pm ET | Updated May 11, 2016

After one too many heartbreaks, how do you keep from getting cynical?

My childhood best friend is getting a divorce after nearly 25 years. I met her husband for the first time on their wedding day -- and have disliked him every second since.

I've been single-again 20+ years. Only a few times have I thought, this is the one.

When things go wrong, it's pretty easy for all of us to slide into generalizations about the opposite gender, generate low self-esteem about ourselves or hear those little voices in our heads that insist, "Everything I did and said was wrong." Women especially tend to blame themselves harshly.

That gets tiring.

On the flip side, it's equally easy to make huge, broad complaints about the lack of qualified potential partners wherever you happen to live. Over the years, people from all over the world have complained to me, "All the men in my city are _______." (Or women!) Ironically, people from every city tend to make these generalizations. Statistically, that just cannot be true now, can it?

That also gets tiring.

It would be easy to switch hurt to anger or bitterness, but that serves no one. Or to announce that we will never date again (imagine placing the back of your hand dramatically cross your troubled brow when you do this!) The truth of the matter is simply this: You were brave enough to risk your heart. Again. Congratulations. Your courage says a lot of good things about your character.

It didn't work. That's too bad. But it doesn't indicate you are fundamentally flawed, nor that everyone of the opposite gender is defective. It simply means that in this instance, things didn't work out.


A lot of the women who comment on my blogs or on my Facebook fan page tell me stories of lost loves. Here's what I have to say to them and you:


"Better to have loved and lost" and all that. No matter how bad it hurts, there was certainly a level of joy, at least at the beginning. So, the price you're paying is sorrow now? OK. The heck with feeling sad. Loving someone is NEVER wrong. Love is the sparkly fairy dust of the Universe. Sometimes, other people love us back. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes, they did but don't anymore. Sometimes we're the ones who quit.

If you're feeling angry, hurt, resentful, rejected, bitter, lonely, cynical or jaded about your romantic life, remember this: You showed courage. You gave your heart. You did the best you could with what you knew then. And you're still breathing. Your heart is still beating. It appears you're likely to live another day. The world is a big place, with lots of interesting people in it. Chances are very high that if you give yourself some time to heal and then permission to look around again, your heart will find someone new to love someday. Stay brave!