A valentine for broken hearts

This is for you, who woke up today looking through swollen eyes at an empty bed. Once more, you wished through your two hours of sleep that it was just a bad dream, and that the one you loved would be right there beside you in the morning. 

But she wasn't, so you cried again, hoping your sobs would fill the space that's now been replaced with a vacuum of silence that makes an explosion out of each stir. You don't pause when you weep, because when you do, you hear a despair that sounds so foreign to you in your years together, because you actually believed you were happy.

This is for you as well, who walked away from your best friend because you knew you no longer belonged together. You knew it was better to hurt him now with brutal honesty than to fill him with resentment when you find a new love later on. You cry sometimes out of longing, out of craving the familiar. You're tempted to enter the same cycle that has been second nature in your relationship. It was so routine that it made the two of you believe your relationship could actually last.

Instead you took a few more steps away because it is important to move forward, to love him by sparing him the sadness of wearing out a good thing with lies. To stay would be like forcing yourself to wear a sock you've outgrown until you poke enough holes in it and it can't even cover a toe.

This is for you, too, who just found out that your spouse has been with someone else. Even if he denies it or says the affair is over, you know that what's really over is the time when love was so innocent and trust was given out so mindlessly that the mention of that cheesy word now sounds so lame and so useless. The task of repairing the damage feels like trying to undo the dropping of ink in water – a futile attempt that is only helped by the passage of time.

Our love-blinded nature 

We always say that we should have seen it coming, but it's in our hopeful, love-blinded nature not to heed the signs. Anyone who's been in a long-term relationship will tell you that there are good days and bad days, and for the most part we just wait for the bad times to pass. 

Yet breakups are almost always a surprise. There are some warnings, but eventually the silence builds up and things explode in an exchange of assumptions where one thought the other did or didn't or won't or wouldn't, but nobody really asked. Then it became too late to be asking, and instead one or both parties just wanted out.

So here you are now with the sheets that are still creased by the body that used to occupy that empty side. Here you are waiting for that spouse you know has been spending time in another person's arms. There you are in evenings that seem longer when you're not supposed to be thinking whether your ex has eaten, has slept, or is tired.

An abundance of hearts

The two of you never celebrated Valentine's Day. You said that love was for everyday and not just for the one day that people professed their love. Now that you are single, the love songs torment you, the red hearts antagonize you, and the proclamations of love just make you tired.

How did you get here? How did you get blindsided? You were supposed to be spared this drama. Your relationship was supposed to be one of the solid ones. Now you would give anything to share a meal again, if only for the tiny chance he or she might remember that you're still the same person they loved from the start.

Everyone suddenly has some advice for you to not be such a nagger or a pushover, a workaholic or a martyr. They drop lines like "Love yourself first," "Communication is important," or "If you love someone, set them free," as if there were a set of rules that guarantee a relationship's success.

In reality, no one really knows what goes on in relationships they're not part of. Even if each party has an idea from the life they lived together, each one has their own version that changes as days and feelings pass. Anyone looking in only sees the story they want to see, and only listens to the reasons they want to hear.

Those who have loved well and deeply know that Valentine's Days are for new loves. Relationships are daily endeavors that are rarely a box of chocolates or a bunch of heart-shaped balloons soaring overhead and bobbing with joy. Love is not an immortal bouquet of flowers which never wilt or turn brown. In fact, it is often the case that when they’re no longer fragrant or pleasing to the eye, they are simply thrown away.

Yet we seek love over and over regardless of our failures and heartaches because of the one truth that the commercialized occasion did get right: that the color of love is red, in that it's as essential as blood to our bodies and hearts. - Rappler.com  

Shakira Sison

Shakira Andrea Sison is a two-time Palanca-winning essayist. She currently works in finance and spends her non-working hours writing stories in subway trains. She is a veterinarian by education and was managing a retail corporation in Manila before relocating to New York in 2002....