Behind Closed Doors: Heartbreak(er) Hotel

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It is not often that we as humans are given the privilege of being able to break someone’s heart; it is not often that someone else finds that they have that connection with us that is so strong that all they want to do is be with us and love us.

So I think you’ll understand me when I say that sometimes it’s easy to confuse the love they feel as something that you feel as well, it’s so easy and so blissful to get caught up in the way they look at you, the way they always seem to be around when you need them and the way they’ll always put you first, that it’s also incredibly easy to think you love them too.

But then, more often than not, we realise that it isn’t quite right, that something doesn’t quite fit. And then we realise that we’ve been leading them on. And that’s when you know that it’s time to call the Heartbreaker Hotel, because you’re going to need an all-inclusive vacation.

The one element to this convoluted phenomenon that I can never seem to figure out is, why? Why do we lead them on? Why do we enjoy the chase? And why is it that the right person at the right time seems to be such a valued and exclusive commodity.

Life often feels like no one will ever fall in love with you, and then someone does, sometimes that’s perfect, it’s the right time, the right person and it’s a mutual adoration. But quite often something isn’t quite right.

I honestly believe that one of the worst things is loving someone and not being loved back, it’s the kind of thing that when you finally realise it you feel totally numb, the only thing that sounds appealing is the comforting, enveloping darkness of having your head buried under the sheets and not coming out until that person has fallen off the face of the earth or you’ve stopped caring, whichever comes first. When you first realise you love someone and you realise they don’t love you back, you kind of have two options:

1.                  You can realise the connection you feel isn’t reciprocated and take time to deal with it.

2.                  You can delude yourself into believing that they love you as much as you love them anyway and carry on as you were.

I usually go for the second option.

So, when the tables are turned and someone has fallen in love with you and you don’t feel the same way, sometimes the most practical thing to do is to break their heart, as soon as possible. Undeniably, one of the best feelings is being loved and I don’t blame anyone that leads someone on purely for that reason, I’ve done it and I bet at some point in their lives most of the people who read this will have. But eventually there comes a point when you have to stop. You realise that what you see in their eyes is hope when they look at you and you know that if you were to hold a mirror to your face what you’d find is a façade. Using someone has to be a short term thing, one night, one week, or even one month at a push but it is not a real relationship, it isn’t healthy for you or the other person involved and it can’t go on forever. So then you realise you have to break their heart.

As a starting point, there is no nice way of doing this. I’m being serious here, you can try but either way it’s going to crush them. But what you have to remember here is that there are nicer ways of putting someone straight. A lot of the time this newfound infatuation this person has for you will have stemmed from a relationship that was already there, this genuinely does not in any way make things easier, because there is always that cliché worry of ‘ruining our friendship’. Trust me, right now; nothing will ruin a friendship quite like lying about your feelings. I promise.

Be honest, be blunt, but try to be thoughtful. If you have led someone on they’re likely to believe that you’re calling to confess your feelings or invite them out or just for a chat. It’s vital to take care but make sure you’ve got your message across. This is definitely that hardest part and it’s impossible to give a suggestion on what to say because the right words for me probably won’t be the right ones for you.

Once you’re over the highest hurdle it’s easy to believe that it’ll be plain sailing from here on out and that you’ll be able to return to your usual friendship, but in reality what you’re entering into is the marathon, the full 26.2 miles. You’re going to have no choice but to accept that they’ll need time to sort through the harsh truth you’ve just dealt them, but telling them is the best option, you could in theory leave their texts un-replied and ignore their calls and generally make them feel like an idiot but that’s no way to build a lasting (platonic) relationship. And chances are, even when they think they’re ready to go back to being your friend a little bit of that anger or even a bit of that love might come back, you are not responsible for dealing with this. Trust me, you’ve done your part and the rest is up to them.

That brings me to my final point, however much you would like to blame yourself for being a hot-ass-bitch it really isn’t your fault, they fell in love with you and yeah, maybe you led them on, but then you did something about it. You made it right and the actual ‘problem’ of them wanting to be with you is not your fault.

Don’t beat yourself up, it will be alright in the end, sometimes your stay in the Heartbreaker Hotel can feel like the penthouse suite at its neighbour The Heartbreak Hotel. But it’s just a holiday and pretty soon you’ll be back to reality.

Categories: Behind Closed Doors, Family, Friends and Relationships, Life Experience, Wise Women
7 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Anon
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Something about this makes me uneasy. I read it earlier today and have read it again twice. I understand the sentiment and think most of it makes sense and would help someone else in this situation.

    The difficulty’s in sense that reading this makes me feel like the writer has implied they’ve had the experience many times. Which leads me to wonder why. And if may be she might not want to address why they keep getting in that situation too.

    I think the choice of image doesn’t help. Heartbreaker Hotel gives a sense, may be unintentionally, of a frequent heart breaker.

  2. Posted June 26, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I have not experienced these feelings as I have been with the same person since I was 15 and now I am 27. That is not to say it has all been rainbows and candyfloss for those years, we’ve had our fair share of highs and lows. One thing I must say I am lucky not to have experienced though is the feeling that either I, or my husband, have loved the other more or less.

    However, this writing gives me an insight into what other peoples relationships might be like.

    Like Anon above, I do feel the writer has made me feel uneasy. At the moment I pinpoint this to the fact that they don’t seem to realise that they have led someone on. I can’t believe that you could lead someone on and not know about it, but that’s just me. As I said before, I have only had one relationship and I know I am naïve in these things!

    Similarly, I feel it has been implied that ‘mutual adoration’ and ‘love’ are synonymous with each other. In fact, I would say mutual adoration must be firmly filed under ‘Infatuation’, and whilst it may often feature in loving relationships, it is definitely not an indicator of love. Love is so much deeper and wider than that.

    I wish the writer all the best in finding/maintaining a relationship where there is the balance which she, rightly, says only sometimes happens.

  3. Anon
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Not much reaction which is quite weird because I spent the night thinking about it and had to read again this morning. I really don’t like the last but one paragraph. “Maybe” you led them on. “But you did something about it.” “You made it right.” You did lead them on (not maybe, you said as much). And I’m not sure you made it right. I’m not saying you didn’t try but it’s all a bit simplistic.

  4. Posted June 27, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I would agree with what others have said here. I glanced over it yesterday and didn’t have much reaction, but reading it more closely does make me think harder. I think for me what makes me uneasy is how almost cold the writer is? As if it’s not their problem someone loves them and they didn’t reciprocate, that this is all the other persons problem to deal with. And once you’ve (justifiably, apparently) led them on a bit, dump them and move on…

    And maybe this would be appropriate with a weird stalker or distant admirer, but the implication is very much that this was a relationship.

    I do agree that feeling totally loved is a great feeling. But not feeling the same back just makes me feel horribly guilty.

    Some of the advice here seems good and solid, but the tone makes me uncomfortable. Like others I wish the best in life and love to the writer!

  5. Anita
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I read this yesterday and couldn’t bring myself to reply. The writer seems to feel they have an automatic entitlement to be forgiven by the other person, the whole premise of this piece is about not ruining the friendship and the line ‘even when they think they’re ready to go back to being your friend’ implies that they don’t even know their own mind. I would argue that if you have broken their heart, you have no right to expect their friendship and certainly not to be patronising towards them.

    Perhaps I have misunderstood this piece (and I completely understand that sometimes it is necessary to end a relationship for whatever reason) but I get the impression that the writer was hoping to almost try and absolve their guilt by saying ‘at least we’re still friends’ and I don’t think that’s respectful or kind to the other person.

  6. Posted June 27, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    With BCD pieces I usually find myself empathising with the writer even if it is a situation I have not personally experienced. I find that much more difficult here, largely because of the way it is written. If it was a personal piece about breaking someone’s heart or even a “help, i seem to routinely break hearts!” I think I would have engaged with it a lot more. But, as it is, the premise seems to be that this is a shared experience and something we all go through often… and I don’t think it is.

    I’m also somewhat confused because of the absence of details. This section in particular:

    Once you’re over the highest hurdle it’s easy to believe that it’ll be plain sailing from here on out and that you’ll be able to return to your usual friendship, but in reality what you’re entering into is the marathon, the full 26.2 miles. You’re going to have no choice but to accept that they’ll need time to sort through the harsh truth you’ve just dealt them, but telling them is the best option, you could in theory leave their texts un-replied and ignore their calls and generally make them feel like an idiot but that’s no way to build a lasting (platonic) relationship

    To me this sounds like you’re talking about more short-term relationships. I’ve been on both sides of the “I don’t think we’re looking for the same thing” and having that awkward conversation after a couple of months is a lot different than if you’re having it after several years.

  7. Yanthé
    Posted June 28, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    I’m another who initially read this and couldn’t bring myself to comment, for largely the same reasons as others have given above. It just left me feeling uncomfortable and having read it again now, that’s still how I feel.

    That said I think the writer has been open and given their thoughts and feelings on something which clearly, for whatever reasons we may speculate about, is regularly affecting them. I understand why they have written this anonymously and hope getting this out of their system has helped them in some way.

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