2016 was a pretty great year until I had my heart broken into a million pieces by the person I wanted to share my life with. But through the tears and sadness, I’ve found comfort in some quotes I came across this year. If you’ve ever felt amazed, confused, or any intense, natural emotion caused by love, here are six passages to remind you it’s totally OK to feel that way.
Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot wasn’t published in 2016, but I read the book for the first time (and twice more since then) this year. The novel quickly became one of my all-time favourites because of the way it perfectly captures that deep love is comprised of both the good and the bad. Here’s the full passage:
Early love is exciting and exhilarating. It’s light and bubbly. Anyone can love like that. But love after three children, after a separation and a near-divorce, after you’ve hurt each other and forgiven each other, bored each other and surprised each other, after you’ve seen the worst and the best — well, that sort of a love is ineffable. It deserves its own word.
— Alice Love (“What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty)
The above quote helped me to embrace all of love’s ups and downs. One key to overcoming rough patches with someone you love is to get both sides to see conflict — arguments, separation, etc — as growth towards a stronger relationship.
I could not relate any harder to Lorelai Gilmore in this year’s Netflix revival of Gilmore Girls. We both badly wanted a future with the man of our dreams, but learned the feeling was not mutual. I have been and always will be a doer — I go out to get what I want and work for it. That’s why I felt immobilized this year, relegated to the bench for the first time, and watching my friends score the happiness I was chasing. It’s a lonely feeling, but this quote from Lorelai helped me feel a little less alone:
I thought I knew exactly what I wanted, where I was going, what I was doing and why I was doing it, I was so sure. But, lately, I don’t know, things seem hazier. Plus, there’s the clock ticking and the milestones looming and there’s Luke. Suddenly, I feel like I’m standing still. Like the whole world is moving and I’m standing completely still.
— Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life — Episode 4: “Fall”)
Unlike Lorelai, I didn’t get my happy ending, or a heartfelt declaration of love. What did I get? The reason he gave me for wanting to move in together now and maybe getting married later: “It would save a lot of money” and “nobody wants to die alone.” Is it old fashioned of me to yearn for a life together in the name of love instead of convenience? Not saying these are bad reasons, but if you want your partner to feel used and reduced to roommate status, these are the words you should lead with! However, if you want the love of your life to know that you want to live with them because you want to be with them, use Lake Danes’s speech:
This, right here, is all I will ever need. I never thought in my wildest dreams that it would happen, that you and me, that we would happen. But we did. Listen, I know I’m not the easiest guy in the world to build a life with, and to share a house with, but there is no one who will be more here for you than me. I will never leave. I will never think about leaving. I will do whatever it takes to fix what’s wrong … I’ll give you back the entire closet. I only took that half because you insisted I do it. I just figured you would take it back eventually, anyhow … You need the space, and I need you.
— Luke Danes (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life — Episode 4: “Fall”)
After a breakup, it’s normal to doubt yourself and ask, “What made him fall out of love with me?” I certainly looked inwards and asked myself questions like, “Was I too sensitive? Was I too nerdy? Was I too eager? Did I want too much?”
The personal essay “My Touchstone and a Heart of Gold” is a heartwarming reminder that someone out there will love you for you. In Caroline Leavitt’s case, she found someone who celebrated her steadfast love for her pet tortoise, Minnie. On one of their early dates, he even gave Caroline’s tortoise a rubber squid toy. “I thought he’d like it,” Jeff said, wiggling it at Minnie, who lunged toward it.
I first encountered this essay via the Modern Love podcast, and you can listen to a reading of this essay here. Here’s my favourite passage from it:
I didn’t want to be in a relationship again where someone wanted me to pretzel myself into someone I wasn’t. “You’re odd,” my ex had told me. “All you want to do is watch movies, read books and play with Minnie.” He meant it as a rebuke, but I kept thinking: what was wrong with that kind of nirvana? “Don’t worry,” my friend Jane said when I cried that maybe I was too strange, that maybe no one else would ever love me. “Someone’s going to find that so-called oddness your most appealing trait.”
— Caroline Leavitt, My Touchstone and a Heart of Gold
When Lawrence Taylor popped up in one of my Spotify playlists earlier this year, I pictured meeting up with the singer-songwriter for a cup of tea and bonding over unrequited love. I’d tell him about all the times I felt alone in love — like when I was excited to celebrate a milestone anniversary, only to be met with silence and a subject change. Based on the lyrics of his aptly named “Waiting For Your Love”, it sounds like Lawrence could fully relate:
What is this madness?
How did it get into me?
I’m feeling sadness
I’m in a deep blue sea
Just treading water
Until you are next to me
What more can I do?
Both on a difference pace
My heart is open
And darling that won’t change
Your clock is broken
And I’ve been counting the days
So tired waiting for your love
— “Waiting For Your Love” by Lawrence Taylor
I got to acquaint myself more with relationship expert Matthew Hussey this year through his podcast Love Life. I’m usually pretty skeptical about most dating advice, but I appreciate Matthew’s tips because they’re often fair, concrete, and non-patronizing. This led me to find his book Get the Guy: Learn Secrets of the Male Mind to Find the Man You Want and the Love You Deserve. This quote from the book helped me recognize my pain and sort out all its complexities:
What matters most at the moment of heartbreak is the meaning we ascribe to our pain. We may feel devastated because we believe we’ve just lost our soul mate. And that’s often what we do feel in that moment. When we are deep in heartbreak we feel like we have lost the only person in the world for whom we are capable of feeling this level of emotion. We can’t imagine ever loving anyone else. If we invest in this belief, not only will it increase our suffering, it will also make it more difficult for anyone else to come into our life, because we feel like we’ve already lost The One. Nothing else seems to matter. We lose our drive, our ambition, and our ability to take even baby steps forward.
― Matthew Hussey,
I hope some of these passages help you as much as they’ve helped me. What are some of your favourites quotes about love, heartbreak, and healing?