One person loves and the other doesn’t reciprocate. It happens to everyone at some time. Heartbreak as acute as a bee sting, only 20 times more powerful. No, make that 200 times. That tentative overture, a profession of love, can be rebuffed as easily as a fly by your beloved. And suffering a heartbreak too easily recalls the tortures of the ones before.

Love is strange; it can come like an immediate feeling, centered in the heart. Usually prompted by lots of hopes and expectations or followed by lots of hopes and expectations. Love ‘is a nice dream’ according to at least one non-romantic. But I don’t know where love would be, if it weren’t for the exercise of the heart that heartbreak provides.

A penguin shows his love at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

There’s research that shows the heart really can ‘break’. Tiny muscle tears in the heart can result from emotional trauma. There is even a “Broken Heart Syndrome” (Takotsubo cardiomyopathy) that mimics the symptoms of a heart attack. And — I’m not surprised — it affects women more than men.

The late Dr. Paul Pearsall, MD quoted a Hawaiian saying, something like “break my heart so that it may become even larger.” Is it true? Does heartbreak make the heart capable of loving even more? I hope so.

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