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Difference between "broken" and "human"

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kg201 posted 2/22/2014 09:24 AM

On this forum we often discuss "broken" people and how to avoid them when beginning to date after infidelity. I was wondering how people view the difference between a broken person and a person who is fallible, but dateable? How do you define "broken" and how do you recognize a human being with faults? What's the difference and why do we seek to date one and not the other?

devistatedmom posted 2/22/2014 09:35 AM

I look at it this way. No one gets to their 40's/50's without some baggage. I expect everyone to have a past.

The guy I had a date with that was D, had 3 kids, one with autism, had his own place, own company, had his kids a ton...we talked about our kids, he told me about their sports, that his wife cheated, but then said they were coparenting well, etc. Him: dateable. Not broken.

The guy I met for a date that sat at the table and even though he was YEARS out I could see the bitterness about his wife oozing out of his eyes? That hadn't seen his kids in years because "she" made it too hard, etc? NOT dateable. Broken.

We all have "stuff". It isn't being able to coparent well (heck, I can't do that with my XH half the time) or not talking about your "past life"'s about the attitude about things, it's about how they are living their lives now, it's about how they talk and treat others.

Does that make sense?

inconnu posted 2/22/2014 09:38 AM

for me, "human" means being aware of whatever issues they have and doing work on themselves. "broken" means not seeing the issues, or if they do acknowledge them, not doing anything to change things.

Sometimes, we have to be "broken" for a time before we can start the healing process. It doesn't make us wrong or bad, but it's not the right time to involve someone else in our lives, kwim? Our focus needs to be on ourselves, not someone else.

fireproof posted 2/22/2014 10:04 AM

I think everyone has faults to some extent.

Broken to me is someone who either holds anger towards their ex that causes the inability to see their future and someone who blames their ex and sees everything as they were at no fault. I also think it means someone who expects to find someone else to make things right.

I think time is the ultimate key. We all have areas over time will expose some good and some areas that require work.

I think dateable is someone who can see their own faults and communicates and listens regarding their faults and yours.

Broken wants to be fixed and only the individual person can do that for themselves- truly.

[This message edited by fireproof at 10:05 AM, February 22nd (Saturday)]

Sad in AZ posted 2/22/2014 10:08 AM

Even though we all use it, 'broken' is perhaps a bad term. 'Broken' implies unfixable, and we know that's not necessarily the case. Just look at the former waywards on this site who have turned their lives around.

Devistatedmom gives some good examples for initial contact, but you shouldn't be looking for a new partner until you can identify what makes you tick. Yes, there are codependent people out there, but what about you? Do you have those tendancies? Take some time (maybe lots of time) to get to know and like yourself. Then, when you're ready, don't take on another person as a 'project'. You can't 'fix' someone; they can only fix themselves.

jjct posted 2/22/2014 10:31 AM

We're all a little broken.
Some work to fix themselves.
Some don't.

better4me posted 2/22/2014 10:36 AM

Recognition of and willingness to work on past hurts, problems, personality issues and failings is what changes one from "broken" to "working on it". If someone does not notice or admit to their issues and/or is unwilling to change--that's what I steer away from when looking to date someone. Self awareness (with the ability to address issues) is really attractive to me.

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are stronger in the broken places"--Hemingway

persevere posted 2/22/2014 11:21 AM

I've often wondered the same thing - this thread has been very helpful kg201.

stronggirl72 posted 2/22/2014 14:01 PM

Sometimes, we have to be "broken" for a time before we can start the healing process. It doesn't make us wrong or bad, but it's not the right time to involve someone else in our lives, kwim? Our focus needs to be on ourselves, not someone else.

^^^ I like this a lot. Timing is (pretty much) everything.

I have learned to not judge someone based on their experiences (good or bad), but how they handle things. It's difficult to hear someone constantly blame others, or focus on other people's life, while they haven't done anything to come clean with their mistakes (and we all make them) or work on themselves.

I was certainly a mess from DDay until a bit after the first year out. I was definitely not dateable and probably would have been considered "broken." Instead, after a lot of soul-searching, IC and honesty, I focused on myself and my healing. Now, I might be considered someone who has been through a lot, but certainly more of the "fallible" route.

Great post!

risingfromashes posted 2/22/2014 17:09 PM

Human= having some difficulty staying above water during a difficult time. Needs help like everybody else sometimes.

Broken= A drowning person going down and they are going to latch on to the nearest living creature. You are going to be dragged down with them!

PhoenixRising88 posted 2/22/2014 17:13 PM


My personal definition of 'broken' is someone who does the same thing over and over expecting a different result - and is bitter or blame-shifting about that different result not happening. Someone who insists on remaining in the bitter/anger/sad loop of past hurts when they need to move forward into the now, if only for their own sake.

But someone who knows they're not perfect, working on what they need to fix for themselves, someone who's no longer looking backward in anger or bitterness but looking forward with hope? That's human, not broken. And dateable.

That's my take on it anyway... My opinion and $1.50 will buy ya a coke! LOL

Catwoman posted 2/23/2014 06:36 AM

I agree with Phoenix--broken is staying mired in resentment, bitterness and anger. Human is confronting your weaknesses and working to put your baggage into a carry-on size.

I know a former BS who is very broken. He is mired in anger, resentment and bitterness. He will not confront his demons, but instead blames everyone else for his misery. His relationships are, predictably, a hot mess. He is looking for someone to save him, and when he is in a relationship, the other person inevitably falls short due to his enormous expectations. This then adds another coating of bitterness and resentment to the huge buildup that is already there. Healthy women with boundaries and self-respect won't deal with him, so his relationships are confined to the unhealthy. He defines lather, rinse, repeat. No amount of talking to him makes a difference. He will die angry, bitter and resentful. It is really no way to live.

You will know human in that the person is moving forward. They may have some cleanup remaining, but on the whole, they are working towards acceptance and peace. They are aware of their actions--good and bad--and work to turn around those tendencies towards bad behaviors. They get help when they need it, and they can speak about their journey of healing and look forward to a future.


Amazonia posted 2/23/2014 08:03 AM

I think we overuse the term. Especially in regards to one another. Personally, I think "still healing" or "still early in the healing process" would be a more accurate and palatable descriptor, but it just doesn't roll off the tongue the same way.

Dreamboat posted 2/23/2014 09:46 AM

To me, broken is someone who won't own there shit, who is immature and selfish, who always blames others for everything that goes wrong in life.

Human has the same flaws as broken, but they own their shit, they take responsibility for their actions no matter the consequences, they recognize that they are not perfect and cannot be perfect and yet strive for some perfections anyway.

kg201 posted 2/24/2014 10:09 AM

Thanks everyone. I think I am in-line with the responses on the thread. One of the reasons I originally posted it is this constant self-evaluation of whether I am as far along in healing as I think I am. My d-day was last summer, but yet I feel like I am in a very good place, and wondering whether there's another shoe to drop. Not to say that it hasn't been hell dealing with my STBX's crap, but I feel like I am moving on, and have started a new relationship, which has been going well for 3 months now. But there is that self-doubt of whether I am broken and just don't know it. The posts on this thread which talk about owning my stuff have helped. I own therefore I am...human.

SoHappyNow posted 2/24/2014 15:38 PM

kg201, I think you have to keep in mind that some people were blessed with exceptionally good resilience. We all receive different blessings: some are smarter, some are very athletic, and some of us just bounce back from our troubles still intact a lot more quickly.

I am blessed with top quality resilience. I don't sweep my sorrows under the rug. I deal with them fully at the time (I have found that pain is an excellent teacher if you can be brave enough to stand and face it). Then I move ahead.....just a little more quickly than some do.

Maybe you just bounce better, too?

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