How to Move on after Your First Real Heartbreak
The First Real Breakup
When I say the first real break up, I don't mean your crush that moved away in third grade or getting the cold shoulder on the playground. I don't even mean the first gal or guy to give you butterflies, the one that you wrote about in your journals swearing they were the one, or the one that claimed your first kiss. Of course puppy love can hurt just as much, but there's something about the pain of losing your first true love that nothing can compare to: The kind of emotional hurt so deep you can feel it twisting your stomach and making you dizzy. The kind of sadness that isn't easily remedied by a tub of ice cream and a funny movie. The kind of depression that makes everything around you colorless. It's completely normal to feel a wide range of emotions after this loss. You may find yourself going crazy from a lack of sleep, troubled dreams, plagued with rage, frustration, maybe even guilt. Or you could find yourself feeling completely numb, unable to handle a situation you thought you'd never find yourself in, your body might shut down and enter a stage of denial. Your head is going to be drowning with thoughts like "How could this happen?", "I can't live without them.", "I'll never get over this." and similar thoughts. Losing something we held onto so tightly always hurts, there's no way around that. There's no magical solution to erase your memories. Encouraging words from friends is going to do very little. Some days are going to be completely exhausting, there's no way's to sugar coat a broken heart. It hurts. It's going to take a long time to heal. But the good news is, no matter how impossible it sounds to you now, you will move on from this. And chances are very likely you will find love again.
The Mourning Process
The first thing you need to realize is it's okay to not feel okay. A lot of people make it sound easy by saying things like "Just get over it". But the body and mind's way to do that is to mourn, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Cry if you want to cry, scream if you want to scream, and sleep if you want to sleep. There's no time frame on how long it will take to get over it. There's a lot of factors to take into consideration. Were you happy? Were you cheated on? Did you plan your life with this person? Don't overwhelm yourself by feeling like you have to let go of everything or that it all meant nothing because it's over. The first thing I want you to do is grieve. Bottling these feelings will make it so much harder to let go even when you reach the point of feeling like your ready. So mourn, you just had your heart shattered, do whatever feels right. Just don't let it destroy you.
Mourning is okay, but seek help if you notice any of the following.
Normal Mourning Behaviors
Behaviors to monitor
Seek Help Immediatley
Feeling sad, nervous, disappointed, angry, and other negative emotions
Depression lasting more than a few weeks
Feeling suicidal or feelings of wanting to inflict self harm
Lack of appetite
Weight loss and fatigue
Not being able to keep down food, complete sleep deprivation, throwing up/sickness that lasts over a few days
Loss of motivation
No longer keeping up with hobbies/sports/friends
No longer leaving your room/house, and dropping all or most social contact
Noticing personality changes
Wanting the other person back
Addiction with stalking and obsession
Regularly stalk, terrorize, or threaten the other person
Save yourself some trouble and skip this step!
The first few weeks are probably going to be the hardest. After the initial tears and chest-piercing sadness, that doesn't mean it stopped hurting. Only the physical symptoms have subsided. One of the first things that you're going to want to do is get the other person back. I'm not saying love doesn't have second chances. Sometimes it takes a relationship ending fight or worse to make both people realize their mistakes and appreciate what they had, and become stronger for it. But don't torture yourself by trying to get them back. If they love you as much as you love them, they will come back if you give them some space. Whatever's meant to be...will be. Trust in that.
First ask yourself: Is this person really worth getting back? Answer some of the following questions and truly take this into consideration.
- Have they ever cheated on you?
- Have they ever called you names or made you feel like you weren't good enough?
- Did they ever give you reasons not to trust them?
- Have the majority of your friends warned you before or after the relationship to not get involved with them?
- Did they make you feel more sad than happy?
- Did you have to sacrifice the things you loved to make time for them and make them happy?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may want to try adjusting your feelings that they weren't worth your time, definitely aren't worth more of your time trying to get over, and maybe didn't deserve you anyways. There are people out there that will make sure you never answer yes to any of those questions.
If you answered no to all of the questions, things still probably didn't work out for a reason. But you don't have to make it your mission to find out why. Sometimes horrible things happen, and we just have to try our best to conquer them and get through them. Even if you answered no to the questions, then there's no need to make it harder than what it already is. For your best interest, please try to avoid the following:
- keeping and rereading old notes
- letting pictures hung up
- not deleting tagged photos on facebook, instagram, or any other places they exist
- sending them countless texts or calling them constantly
- going out of your way to see them whenever you can after the break up
- buying things for them or trying to "win" them back
I know it's tempting to hold onto any little piece you have, especially since now they are your only reminder of the other person and they bring back good memories. It may seem like it's making it easier, but it's almost like your mind is tricking you. Doing these things give you little boosts, but you can't lose yourself in these memories or chain yourself down in the past. Looking at pictures isn't going to change what's already done. None of those things is going to change the fact that it's over now. Give them their stuff back, get rid of anything that reminds you of the break up, and start working towards the stage of acceptance.
Take some "You Time"
Just because you're single doesn't mean you have to be lonely. Engage and appreciate the time you now have because you are alone. Ask yourself if there are things you were missing out on because you were involved in a relationship. Did you give up a hobby to make time for the other person? Did you switch hours at your job or quit to benefit the other person? Are there friends or family members you've spent less time with because your significant other came first? Chances are there at least a few things you miss from when you were single. You can now take the time to visit old friends, get that haircut you were too afraid to get, flirt with the person(s) you had to let ignore because you were committed. Here's just a few ideas to get you back on your feet and smiling again:
- Visit your favorite place whether it's the beach or a childhood tree house
- Go shopping and buy yourself something nice
- Treat yourself to that 900 calorie milkshake- You deserve it!
- Make a date night with your bff
- Pick up a brand new hobby
- Join some sort of club and meet new people
- Put on some headphones and jam to positive music if you're feeling down
- Watch the Netflix series that's been on your 'To Watch' lists for months
- Cook up some new recipes
- Do at least one thing everyday that makes you smile
Looking back, there was a time you convinced yourself you wouldn't be able to live without the other person. But here you are, living and breathing. There's no better time than now to figure out what you want to do with your life with nobody to hold you back or base it around. Set goals and go for them, even tiny ones. Take baby steps into discovering who you are as an individual, not who the other person made you. Don't let feelings define you. You're a free bird now, and there's plenty of other doors if you're brave enough to open them.
Are you over your first break up?
Give love a second chance
Sometimes giving love a second chance is tricky. If you find a relationship again too soon, it's probably not going to work out. "The rebound" might seem like a good idea, but will add even more drama and insecurity to your life. You can't fully give someone the chance and love they deserve if you're still stuck on your ex. Don't go with somebody just because you think it'll be better than being lonely. At the same time, don't brush off love forever. Don't give up or think it's hopeless. Don't fool yourself into thinking that all relationships are the same or live in fear of loving again because you might get hurt again. With love, there is always a chance of hurt, pain, and rejection. But don't build your walls too high so that love can't find it's way in. Learn to love yourself and accept your flaws,and find who you are so you can find somebody that will compliment and accept that. If you keep an open heart and an open mind, love will always come back around, and that's why it's a beautiful thing. No matter how badly we get our hearts broken, we keep our chins up and learn to love again. We're made to love as much as we possibly can. Pain is just a way of telling you that it wasn't meant to work out. Don't get that confused with it will never work out. Step out of your comfort zone, talk to new people, download some dating apps, ask your friends or co-workers to hook you up with some new people, and keep your eyes open. With 8 billion people in the world, it's almost impossible that nothing will ever work out in your favor. There's somebody out there for everybody. It might take a few more tries and a few more heartbreaks. Use them as an learning experience, take something out of each one, and don't settle for just anything. There's always going to be a special person out there that can make you smile again, that can pick you up at your lowest point, and make you feel things you might have forgot about. Someday you're going to wake up next to the love of your life and realize why all the pain was worth it.
When You Finally Let Go
The day you wake up and decide to let things go is going to be be one of the greatest decisions you've ever made. You're going to feel so much lighter, and better, and able to see things in a fresh light. The second you let go is the second you have room for newer, and greater things to enter your life. One heartbreak isn't going to change your life. You going to do great things. You are going to laugh, and cry, find jobs you hate, find your dream job, go on lame dates, maybe even find the true love of your life and raise kids together. Let the negative things go and positive things will come your way.