How to get over a broken heart
As Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas split, Kerry McKittrick asks well-known local people how they coped with the end of a relationship, plus the best songs when love don't live here any more
Just weeks ago gossip columns and social diaries were full of whispers of a forthcoming engagement between Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas.
Now, Harry has spent the weekend partying in Miami, joining celebrations for the wedding of his best pal, club owner Guy Pelly, who married Holiday Inn heiress Lizzy Wilson on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Cressida (25), his girlfriend for the past two years, has remained in London, where she was spotted looking glum as she made her way to her marketing job following news of the split.
Unsurprisingly, rumours abound as to why the couple called it a day.
According to some reports Cressida, who had previously made public appearances with Prince Harry at charity events and rugby matches, had become increasingly uneasy about the idea of life as a member of the Royal family.
Others, however, say it was Pelly's wedding -- and the planned activities around it -- that prompted the break-up. Apparently, the celebrations were to have included male-only events, raising trust issues between the two -- no doubt evoking memories of Harry's naked antics in a Las Vegas hotel room in the early days of their partnership. For all the speculation, it's worth remembering that we are talking about two people who did date each other for several years.
And no matter what brave faces the pair put on in public, they wouldn't be human if in private they weren't reflecting on where it all went wrong and what might have been.
Of course, everyone approaches break-ups in different ways -- some head out on the town for a few drinks to drown their sorrow, others reach for the ice-cream and a CD of classic love songs.
Here, we ask some well-known local people about how their heart was broken in the past -- and how they coped with it.
Pamela Ballentine (53) is a broadcaster and journalist and lives in Belfast. She says:
I've been dumped and have dumped. I wear my heart on my sleeve and when I get dumped then it's the end of the world. You just get on with it, though.
The funniest one was when I was dumped by text. The guy used that awful ‘text speak' and I actually couldn't read it and had to give it to my friend to translate. It turned out he wanted to give it another go with his ex-girlfriend but he still wanted to be on good terms with me. It had me roaring with laughter — there was nothing else to do.
In the good old days when I was a teenager I would have gone for long walks to clear my head. I love a good old wallow so I like songs like 10CC’s I'm Not In Love and the Gary Moore song Still Got The Blues For You — something you can really sing with gusto.
I've always stayed friends with everyone whom I’ve ever gone out with, but you can't always expect to stay friends with the friends whom you had as a couple. I was very surprised when I split up with my husband to discover who was a friend and who wasn't. That’s sad because I always believe that life's too short to fall out with people.
You have to remember that Prince William and Kate split up and then got back together again,
so the same pattern might emerge with Prince Harry and Cressida. After all, it wasn't very long ago that people were talking about them getting married.”
Jason Clarke (29) is a singer-songwriter from Belfast currently working on his forthcoming EP. He says:
My girlfriend and I split up in February — it was a complete shock and came out of the blue. The day it happened I went straight to the gym. I'm not much of a gym-goer but I wanted to do something that was physical and that I didn't have to think about. It was a way to get some feelgood endorphins pumping through my system.
Since then, though, the way I've been dealing with it has been by lifting my guitar. There's a song on my forthcoming EP about our break-up and the process of moving on.
The songs on the EP aren't necessarily sad but the break-up has been a starting point for me to write from.
At the moment, I'm both licking my wounds and dating. My ex disappeared from my life as soon as she broke up with me and I haven't seen her since so I haven't had any closure.
I'm not looking for a relationship — I wasn't looking for a relationship when we met and I certainly don't want another one. My focus is going to be on my career now.”
KirstieMcMurray (40) is the co-host of the Downtown Radio Breakfast show. She lives in Bangor with her fiancé Andy Brisbane and her children Connor (15) and Katie (13). She says:
I was a late starter and didn't have my first boyfriend until I was 17. I was the dumpee early on but in later years I was more like the dumper.
I remember doing a lot of walking by the beach and gazing longingly into the sea. There was probably a box of tissues to hand, too and as I lived in Ballyholme I would see the sunrise or set over the beach.
My break-up song was Roxette’s It Must Have Been Love — anything to bring on more tears to make you feel sorry for yourself. I would indulge and feel sorry for myself and then after a while I would pick myself up and get on with it.
After my marriage broke down I tried online dating. I had lived away for 10 years, then moved back home with the kids on my own and most of my friends had moved on.
Going online was a great way to get out of the house and meet new people. It was great craic and I was able to be out of the house three nights a week. I very quickly learned what not to do on a first date — don't go for dinner because if something goes wrong then you're stuck there for the entire meal.
I used to go ten pin bowling as it only lasted half an hour and if you wanted you could get out of there after that.
That was before I met Andy, of course — I found him on Facebook.
It looks as if Prince Harry has just jumped straight back into his old life so he doesn't seem to heartbroken over Cressida.
Maybe he needs to find a new woman to cheer him up!”
Laura Lacole (24) is a glamour model and lives in Belfast. She says:
Breaking up has always been an amicable experience for me so I've never come away from a break-up feeling heartbroken.
I'm actually friends with everyone I've ever gone out with. I’ve never been dumped.
I'm very selective so I tend to know that whoever I get into a relationship won’t end up being petty should it come to an end. In fact, I can't imagine ever coming out of a relationship badly.
After a split, I tend to start dating again straight away — I feel like I need to get some space from the person I've just broken up with so I find dating other people helps to divert my attention elsewhere.
A couple of months down the line, I’m over the break-up — and then I lose interest in dating. It’s a coping mechanism, I suppose, a way of distracting myself from the thinking about the person I have broken up with.
I was more used to seeing pictures of Harry with his previous girlfriend Chelsy.
I've only been familiar with Cressida for about three months even though they were apparently together for a couple of years.
I think she's lovely looking — she looks like Cara Delavigne — and she seems like a nice girl.
According to some reports they split up because she's too clingy, but I don't think anyone should call girls clingy.
What it really means is that the person is deeply in love and attached to their partner — and that shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing.”
Connor Phillips (somewhere in his 30s) is the co-presenter of the Cool FM breakfast show and lives in Belfast. He says:
I have a 50/50 split of being the dumper or dumpee. I can remember my first love when I was about 14 or 15 and she broke my heart a little bit when we parted.
When I split up with someone I absolutely, categorically stay away from alcohol. That's the bad route to take and you'll end up with a hangover and feel even worse.
I curl up in front of the TV and I also tend to hit the gym. In fact, I do that with any kind of romantic turmoil — just hit the gym and it will all work itself out. You need to take a little bit of time to yourself.
Still, I'm a happy-go-lucky person and think there's no point in moping so I do try to get back out there again.
It doesn't matter to me in the slightest if Prince Harry has split up with someone.
I'm sure he'll be back to normal in no time — just give him a pool table and a hot tub and he'll be grand.”
The tracks of your tears
1. Fleetwood Mac -- Go Your Own Way
No one did break-ups quite like Fleetwood Mac so it stands to reason that the band have one of the best break-up songs. This is a fast number so it's perfect for the furious phase of the split.
2. Sinead O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U
Planning on lying in the dark, dreaming of your lost love with a single song on repeat over and over? This is definitely the one for you, complete with maudlin violins. If all goes to plan, you'll even look like Sinead at the end of the video, with a classy tear running down your chiselled cheek, as opposed to matching red eyes, blotchy skin and drool all over your face.
3. Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know
Ah yes. Morissette got the best possible revenge when her relationship - apparently with comedian Dave Coulier - ended badly. She penned a multi-award winning album that earned her millions. All of her white hot rage has gone into this song. Try screaming these lyrics, Morissette-style, while staring wild-eyed into the mirror:
"And every time you speak her name
Does she know how you told me you'd hold me
Until you died, till you died
But you're still alive"
4. Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball
She might not be a role model for young people and you may frown at her lack of clothing but you can't help but agree that Miley hit the nail on the head with this. The perfect song when reflecting on the effect the end of a relationship can have your life.
5. Roxette - It Must Have Been Love
This is a heartbreak hit if ever there was one. From the soundtrack to the movie Pretty Woman, this is perfect when what you really need is a good cry.
6. Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse Of The Heart
'Once upon a time I was falling in love, now I'm only falling apart' -- the perfect lyrics sung by the perfect voice. Better to just listen to the song, rather than watch the video which is an oddly cheering affair featuring Tyler running around an all-boys school, driving the pupils bonkers.
7. Adele - Rolling In The Deep
Or indeed, any other song by Adele who has written two fabulous albums full of break-up songs. If you feeling like curling up and crying, do it to one of these. She knows how you feel.
8. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You
It always prompted fierce debate - which version was better, Whitney's or Dolly's. But after Whitney's premature death and own real-life bad luck in love, we think Whitney's definitely edges it. A tour de force performance - and unbearably poignant since this mega-talented lady is no longer with us.
9. Soft Cell - Say Hello, Wave Goodbye
Now, this is top drawer - perfectly placed somewhere between a haunting lament and 'just about' holding onto your self-esteem and fighting back. Try singing along to the following:
"Take your hands, off me.
I don't belong, to you, you see.
Take a look, at my face for the last time.
I never knew you, you never knew me.
Say hello, wave goodbye."
Yes, give it up for Mr Marc Almond.
10. Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive
The best break up song of all time - this is the song to sing when you're getting over it and back on your feet. Put this on as you're getting ready to head back out on the town. Works every time.
RUNNERS UP: Rod Stewart, Maggie May; Harry Nilsson, Without You; The Police, Every Breath You Take; Snow Patrol, Run; Abba, The Winner Takes It All.