Tiny Love Stories: ‘How to Survive a Broken Heart (With Pictures)’

All I ever wanted was a dog, but Carlito was allergic and unmovable. I married him anyway, certain that love would prevail. One night while eating with friends in a Manhattan restaurant, a 50-pound chandelier broke out of the ceiling, partly striking my head. I bled; he wept. When the E.M.T. told everyone I would live, Carlito’s friend leaned over my stretcher and whispered, “Now’s the time to ask for anything …” We named the puppy Chandelier. Carlito sneezed every day of our dog’s life, but he didn’t care one bit. — Shari Simpson

I met David on a blind date. The next day, I invited him over for tea. He appeared on my porch, peeking through the glass, offering me his cupped palms. “It’s all yours,” he said. “What? Sweaty hands?” “No.” He beamed. “My heart.” Typically, this would make me run, but I didn’t. He had picked me to hold his heart. His body was ravaged with cancer, but still, I accepted. We laughed. We cried. We married. Twenty-two months after our eyes met, I stood at the river, cupping my palms with ashes, and let go. — Susan Purvis

Wendy was one of my favorite single-mum friends. She had a disconcertingly careless way of stretching that reminded me of my cat. Her stomach was toned and her T-shirts were tight. One day, she turned up at a friend’s house with a girlfriend. I was so cross that I started avoiding her. She assumed I was homophobic. I missed her optimism and her endless enthusiasm for gossip and chocolate. Eventually, I tossed a coin and invited her over for a drink. I was terrified. We got married last year. Turns out, all that stretching hadn’t been so careless after all. — Joanna Lambert

Two months after meeting her, I was reading wikiHow’s “How to Say ‘I Love You’: 13 Steps (with pictures).” Nine months in, “How to Recognize a Toxic Relationship: 12 Steps (with pictures).” Ten months in, “How to Fix a Toxic Relationship (with pictures).” Twelve months in, “How to End a Controlling or Manipulative Relationship.” One month out, “How to Survive a Broken Heart (with pictures).” I’m on step three: Put your feelings into words. — Sofia Collins