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I know it’s a sour subject, and I know most of us have experienced it in our lives, sometimes several times. But there’s a lot of people out there who have trouble healing a broken heart. I’ve heard or read about how they were dumped and how they can’t move on. And they ask, when will this pain and emptiness go away. Personally, I think that being heart-broken in some shape, form, or fashion, allows you to truly cherish the gift of love when you find it.

That being said, how do you get from one to the other? From the sobbing, stuffing ourselves with ice-cream, sorrow of heart-break to wanting to risk it all again? Its easy – think about buying peanut butter.

I know you are all looking at the screen saying, “Huh?” What the heck does buying peanut butter have to do with getting over a broken heart? The answer is that it’s all in your perspective. Changing how you view the break-up can help you heal the wounds it caused. Or at least it helped me and when I shared this theory with others, it seemed to help them too. So now I’m going to share with you.

Once upon a time, before my darling husband found me, I got dumped by a boyfriend of five years. Not only did he dump me, he lied to me and he cheated on me. When confronted about the rumors of this other girl, he said he had met someone and he just needed time to think. You know, to figure out what he really wanted. At this point my brain should have heard, “Yes, I’ve cheated on you, told you lies so I could see her, but now you busted me and I’m trying to get out of it.” But I was a sucker and I fell for it. Lets just call it me being blinded by stupidity because looking back now, that relationship really sucked. But I digress.

I gave him two months. Of which I later found out he had spent with her. I guess that was his way of “trying to figure out what he wanted.” Regardless, I was done. This was not the first time I had been pushed aside by him for other girls and then picked back up when they were through. I was the epitome of “The Back-Up Girl.” But no more. I gave the ultimatum. I said, “If after five years, you don’t know whether you want to be with me, then I think you’ve already figured out what you want. So why don’t you just say it?” He did. And I felt crushed.

I cried and cried. I stayed in bed for two days. I ate chocolate, and ice-cream, and potato chips. I cursed men.Β I swore off love. I swore off relationships. I cursed Cupid and threatened to hunt him down. I wanted to break his arrows. I wanted to pluck his feathers. I wanted that little cherub to know my wrath. And when the anger subsided, I cursed myself.

I honestly think that my pain wasn’t from losing the jerk, loser, moron,Β  guy but rather the loss of five years of my life dedicated to trying to make this man “see” me, make him believe I was worth it. The problem wasn’t him – it was me believing I was worthy. But that’s a whole other post. At that time I hadn’t gotten to the point where I was making better choices for myself. Instead I was beating myself up about not being good enough.

Until one day, I was in the kitchen making lunch for my daughters. My youngest really liked peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I opened the pantry and asked if she wanted crunchy or creamy. I’m not really sure why I asked because she always wanted creamy. (The crunchy made her feel like there were “things” in her peanut butter. Kids are funny like that.)

But it got me thinking. She had “tried” the crunchy and it didn’t suit her. She liked the creamy better. Did that make the crunchy peanut butter any less likeable? Did that mean the crunchy sucked and wasn’t worth purchasing? Of course not! I liked crunchy peanut butter and there were plenty of others who did too. And just as many people who liked creamy. It was all a matter of taste and preference. I started thinking about it in the form of relationships.

You go into the store to buy peanut butter. Along the aisle are tons of jars. Some big, some small, some plastic. Some are crunchy, some are creamy. Some are even mixed with jelly. Then you look at the different brands. First, you decide whether you want creamy or crunchy (or with jelly included), and then you decide what brand. After that, you decide what size.

But what if you don’t know what you like?

You try different brands and different sizes and different textures, until you find the one you like the best. And when you find it, you stick with it. But that in no way declares that the other sizes, brands or textures are bad. It just means that for you, they didn’t work. But for someone else they might be the perfect choice in making their sandwich oh-so-delicious.

Same thing goes in relationships. While it hurts to know that we got put back on the shelf this time, we need to realize that someone else may come along and think we are the perfect choice. Once I put myself in the shoes of the peanut butter jar, I felt a little better about being dumped. But it wasn’t enough to get me dating again.

It took a few more days of thinking about being the peanut butter, before I realized that I could be the one to pick the peanut butter. I didn’t need to wait around for someone to want to date me. I had a part in that decision as well. I had the ability to pick peanut butter too!

So I started looking at the choices I had in front of me and learning from the ones I had already made. I knew that guy wasn’t “the one.” But what was it about him that made me stay for five years? And what wasn’t so great about him? What did I really want from a partner?

Each time you experience a relationship, you take a piece of knowledge with you. You start narrowing down your choices – you start picking what kind of peanut butter is right for you. But you can’t make these decisions without that experience. You have to get out there and start buying peanut butter.

And I did. I refused to settle for a lesser brand. I refused to deal with creamy when I really wanted crunchy. Eventually, after a few times of tossing out jars of icky, runny, wishing-it-could-be-good-enough-to-be-called-peanut butter, I found exactly what I was looking for.

So next time you find yourself being dumped, instead of throwing darts at his picture and sobbing into your pillow until all hours of the night, remind yourself that it doesn’t matter if you were the peanut butter that got put back on the shelf. Because next time, you could be the jar of someone’s dreams or better yet, you might be the one buying.

I love it when you share! So, tell me about your experiences. What helps you get over heart-break? And what helps you get back out there in the dating world?