What separates the "never-recover-from-this-breakup/shell of my former self" people from the ones who bounce back and love again?

[note: I've experienced something similar and wanted to give a different perspective. The overall tone is meant to be hopeful, and empathic. I'd also like to give another recommendation for mindfulness meditation, which has been extremely rewarding and helpful for me.]

There's a saying, I'm sure you've heard it, there but for the grace of God, go I. It's a first person statement, but it's easy to overlook that it's directed at another person who is having their own first person experiences too. As a statement of empathy (or even solidarity), it fails in a number of ways once examined, but at the very least it does demonstrate how empathy requires someone with whom to empathize.

What I'm getting at is, you might be the second person--you will be, some point in your life. There are people who experience what you've experienced, and don't come out better for it. Who struggle the rest of their lives, try, fail, try and fail again. It's at least possible that all the platitudes and stock responses offered here and in your life won't amount to any wisdom regarding your real situation or future. Time, despite the other common saying, doesn't heal all wounds. Time promises only that, in the fullness of it, these wounds will become irrelevant--as all things will.

There are people who despite support from family, friends, their religious community; good fortune and health; an abundance of time and things to fill it; all deployed with sincere and sustained effort, still never recover and find love again. You have to at least open yourself to the possibility you might be one of them. You could come through a better person, with more perspective, a deeper sense of compassion, more nuance, to prepare you to again find love, and then be successful in finding it; or you could wake up every day missing who you have lost, and suffering for it. I've been exceedingly blessed with tools to overcome the latter, yet that has been my experience these last years, these last eight years. If time could heal, it would have done so by now.

Happiness for me is the daily overcoming of this situation. I am on most days very successful. I have grown as a person too, and achieved many things for which I am proud, but some threads of life are lost to me, and will not again be taken up. Time will not heal this if healing is taken to mean, as is usually implied, a restoration. It's not fair that I will miss some of the most basic and fundamental parts of the human experience. It's not fair that I won't have a family, someone to grow old with, further sexual intimacy, children, grandchildren. If it happens to you, it won't be fair either. Many things in life aren't fair. Some people go their whole lives without experiencing, even for a short time, the things you and I had. I see them, read their stories, and I can't help but feeling anger and sadness at the unfairness. And I'm reminded,

There but for the grace of God, go I.

As for time, no, it doesn't promise healing. But maybe we can salvage the adage. Healing could be, perhaps, growth in a new direction, and the freedom to choose that direction. Time still does not promise this, but it does allow for it. That, at least, is open to you and I.

/r/relationships Thread