“Love is like a puzzle. When you’re in love, all the pieces fit but when your heart gets broken, it takes a while to get everything back together.” ~Author Unknown

This quote summarizes the problem with heartbreak. There is something [a piece] missing once love is over. Furthermore, the problem of the missing piece is the problem of desire. Once desire is satisfied, the person is no longer desiring. Then how can heartbreak be explained, I wonder? I believe that the missing piece explains the pain of heartbreak, which is the paradox that I can not be complete with an other nor can I be complete on my own, and this idea comes from the mirror stage.

The mirror stage begins when the subject sees himself complete in the mirror; the subject forms an imago of himself on the Imaginary level, and then the subject moves into the symbolic stage when it learns language. As one enters the social symbolic (through language), one will lose this Imago (this wholeness) one has created and will spend the rest of its life trying to find this wholeness again. The subject is no longer whole but rather broken– split.

This split marks the subject’s lack–we are always-already de-centered, and we can never reach any kind of self-same identity. Therefore, when the subject falls in love, it feels that it has found wholeness again. This idea is easily illustrated in the language people use about being in love:

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”

“I love you, not only for what you are, But for what I am when I am with you.”
-Roy Croft

“You’re nothing short of my everything.”
-Ralph Block

“The only true gift is a portion of yourself.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Two souls with but a single thought, two hearts that beat as one.”
-John Keats

“Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition.”
-Alexander Smith

The language here is about being one or about possession. It is violent. Furthermore, it is this idea of looking for another to complete me– a subject-supposed to know– that will full(y)fill me which makes heartbreak so painful. When I am rejected, the experience is that I am not what the other desires. Lacan. precisely, discusses desire as being the desire of the other– I want to be what the other desires, and I have staked my identity in being what the other desires. I have found my missing piece and have become the missing piece to the other.

When the other rejects me, the other has denied my identity; once again I am split–fragmented. I have been reintroduced to the moment of language that split my after the mirror stage.

These again are my fragments. I just wanted to think about this for a moment.

From here, I would like to explore the phenomenological experience of heartbreak. That empty gut feeling one gets, which feels (literally) like a piece has been ripped out from inside of the heartbroken. In heartbreak, perception is completely skewed. Time becomes the time of waiting (see: Howard Schwiertzer). Everything–all experience–becomes soaked in heartbreak.