Clay by Trudy Meehan

It’s difficult when someone breaks your heart, to believe that you will ever be able to trust anyone again. But it’s important to remember that there’s nothing wrong with trusting, the problem is the deception that breaks the trust.

When I was a teenager I had a boyfriend for a short time, let’s pretend his name was Jay. He told me a story about a girl he had dated and how she had broken his heart and made it impossible for him to trust again.  We were teenagers, so now the story seems silly and childish. But apparently this girl knew that Jay hated onion rings, that the smell of them made him wretch and gag.  After a few weeks of dating, it happened that every time she met him she would have just eaten onion rings.  This meant that Jay could not kiss her, so he came to the conclusion that she was trying to break up with him but wasn’t brave enough to say it directly.  Jay really liked this girl and he was deeply hurt by the rejection and her inability to be honest.  He was most upset by her usage of his onion ring kryptonite against him.  Jay told me that he believed he was so hurt by how she treated him that he might never be able to fully love or trust anyone again.  He said “don’t hurt guys, we don’t ever recover from the hurt and we stay broken forever, we don’t bounce back like girls”. Shortly after he told me this story, Jay let me down gently and ended our very short relationship.  In hindsight I wonder if his story about his inability to trust might not have just been part of his ‘letting me down easy’ – he was broken and couldn’t trust and so it wasn’t my fault that he wanted out of the relationship.  If that’s what he was doing, it was actually a very kind thing to do to protect my pride and my young heart from injury.

Whatever his aim in telling me the story, it stayed with me.  I remembered his words and tried NEVER to hurt a guy I was seeing, believing that if I did I would spoil the young man for future women and damage his ability to love and trust.  It didn’t always work as intended.  I once decided to end it with a guy because I met someone else that I liked much more. I did not want the guy to feel rejected or inadequate, so I organised to meet him one last time in pretence that I still liked him.  My plan was to tell him a story that required me to dump him but that did not involve me telling him that I had instead picked someone I thought was much better.  To make a long story short, while out trying to break the news softly to the dumpee, the new guy on the scene found out and was devastated because he thought I was cheating on me.  He never recovered from the betrayal and never believed that I picked him and was not interested in the guy I met to dump.  I was trying to protect the heart of a young man for the sake of the future woman who might find him but ended up hurting another young man instead!

While Jay’s advice was not easy to put into practice in reality, I still think he made a good point. As people we are better off if we try out best not to hurt another person, not to betray them and not to break their heart unnecessarily.  Try not to spoil people you’re in a relationship with by breaking their heart; other people might want to love them in the future.

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