I was looking back over my life one day, and I started to reminisce about first love. I was 17 with a heavyset figure. He was 6 foot 3 with dreadlocks. He was skinny and played basketball for the local high school. We were both brace faced, lonesome teenagers with big dreams living in a crack infested, poverty stricken neighborhood. It was the beginning of summer in 2010. We lived across the street from each other. Our families knew one another, and he was friends with my younger cousin who had just moved to town. He would always tease me on the bus on the way home from school. It was his way of sheepishly giving me attention. It annoyed me, but I still found it cute. One day he courageously waltzed over to me and confessed his feelings for me after two years of hinting and teasing me around his peers. Our romance started quickly and lasted almost four years. Sadly, it was one of the worst decisions I have ever made in my life. It caused me health problems, destroyed my self-esteem, and corrupted my innocence. He was indeed in love with me, but he had a sick soul and treated me poorly because of it. A few months before my 21st birthday, we grew apart and went our separate ways. We went in two completely different directions in life. I’m 23 years old now, and I’ve just started to accept living without him. I’ve let go of the idea of marrying him, and having his children. I’m healing from the years of damage caused by that horrible relationship.
Here’s an article that I found one day while reminiscing that I wanted to share with whomever is having a hard time getting over a first love:
Getting over your first love can be tough. Your first love teaches you what it’s like to be in a romantic relationship. Experiencing anything for the first time sets the tone for how you will engage in such experiences in the future. If you’re struggling to get over your first love, this is perfectly normal. This is something most people struggle with, but there are things you can do to help yourself move on. First, limit thoughts of your ex. Try to focus on the present and not dwell on the past. Try to adopt a healthier perspective about the relationship. While it ended, you learned a lot about yourself by being in love. After grieving, try to move forward. Focus on what’s ahead of you rather than your lost love.
Limit time spent thinking of your ex. You may think that you should eliminate your ex from your thoughts altogether. However, this strategy can very easily backfire. If you try to force yourself not to think about something, you’ll only think about it more. Instead of trying not to think about your ex altogether, limit the time you spend thinking of them. This is a more sustainable strategy. •Choose a certain time in the day where you can thoughts of your ex out of your system. You could, for example, think about your ex for half an hour every morning. If you’re having trouble coming up with memories, try listening to a song or thinking about a movie the two of you loved.
•After this, try to avoid thinking about your ex for the rest of the day. If thoughts creep back in, say something to yourself like, “I’ve already thought
Watch for unrealistic thought patterns. If you’re reeling from the loss of a first love, you may be prone to catastrophic thinking. For example, you may think things like, “I’ll never love anyone again” or “I’ll never be happy again.” When you catch yourself engaging in such thoughts, stop and challenge them. •No two relationships are alike. You’re right to think you’ll never feel exactly the same way again. However, this does not mean you’ll never love or be happy again.
•Be realistic. Most people do not end up with their first love. Think about your parents, friends, or other family members. They probably all experienced the loss of a first love, but ended up in healthy relationships later on.
•Remind yourself that, while things are difficult now, in all likelihood you will love again and be happy again, even if it takes time.
Focus on the present. Remind yourself of what you have going for you right now. Think about things like your friends circle, job, interests, and passions. While you may not have the romance you want right now, there’s a lot in the present to focus on.
- Do things to keep you grounded in the present. Take up a new hobby. Join a club. Volunteer somewhere. Join a gym. Anything that can keep you in the present moment can help.
- New memories can help you get over the past. Taking concrete steps towards making new, better memories can help you let go of your ex.
Practice self-care. It’s very difficult to think positive when you’re not caring for yourself. You may find it hard to sleep, exercise, or eat right after heartbreak. However, you need to keep up with basic self-care. This will allow you to stay strong and avoid negative thinking.
- In addition to sleeping and eating right, give yourself treats. Do not be afraid to baby yourself slightly after a breakup.
- Have a night out with your friends. Order takeout. Go for a long walk or bike ride. Watch a movie you love.
Examine any negative patterns. You can learn something from every relationship. It’s all a process of growing and changing so you can find a healthy, happy longterm romance. When striving to get over your first love, look for any negative patterns you should work on breaking in your next romance.
- Think about why the relationship ended. Is there any way you could have behaved differently? Is there any reasons the two of you weren’t compatible? Why were you drawn to this person? Was it for the wrong reasons?
- Most of the time, relationships end because two people are just not right for each other. You can take this as an opportunity to examine how you can pick someone more compatible in the future.
Allow yourself to enjoy past memories. You don’t have to shut out all thoughts of your ex. With time, you may be able to smile on some of what has occurred. Love can trigger wonderful, happy emotions, and your first love will always be special. If you find yourself smiling at a memory, allow yourself to enjoy this rather than shutting the memory out.
- You can find strength in old memories. You can look at them as a way to remember yourself as a loving person. It can be healthy to remember your best loving self.
- Old memories can also help you feel better on bad days. You may suddenly remember some encouraging words from your ex when you’re feeling bad about yourself. It’s okay to embrace the good memories, as long as you do so while acknowledging the relationship is over.
Acknowledge there’s nothing special about your first love. First loves can be a wonderful experience. You learn a lot about yourself and are able to experience love for the first time. However, people have a tendency to romanticize their first experience with something. There is likely nothing special about your first relationship beyond the fact it was your first. Remember, you are wired to place first experiences on a pedestal. You do not want this mentality to get in the way of embracing the present.
- You may remember experiences with your first love in a somewhat inflated manner. In new relationships, this may result in a tendency to compare current feelings to past feelings. However, think about your first experience with anything. You probably inflate these experiences as well. Your first day at a new job probably felt very exciting, but chances nothing that different happened that day than any other day.
- Instead of seeing your first love as the perfect partner, view your first love in terms of experience. You learned how to love someone and be in a romantic relationship. However, the person you were with is likely not the one and only person for you. You are simply wired to romanticize the memory because it was your first.
See your ex as a way to learn about yourself. Reflect on what you learned during the relationship. Think about what you liked about yourself in the relationship. Did you learn to be more selfless? Did you learn how to care for another person? Even though the relationships over, do not disregard it as a failure. Most romantic relationships you have in life are, in a sense, practice. Value what you learned about yourself and your capacity for love instead of trying to forget the relationship altogether.
Revisit your larger goals. In the wake of loss, you often forget your bigger goals in life. You may think losing your first love means you’ve failed on the goal to find a loving relationship in life. However, look at your larger goals in terms of relationships. One failed relationship does not mean you’ve failed on your goals.
- Revisit what you want out of life. In addition to finding a loving partner, think of other goals. What kind of career or education do you want, for example?
- One loss does not mean you have failed. In fact, the vast majority of people face a lot of loss and rejection on the path to larger goals. You do not need this one particular person to eventually reach your goals.
Give yourself time before dating again. Many people feel getting involved with someone else will help them forget their first love. While a new relationship can help distract you from thoughts of the current one, you’re not likely to find relationship success this way. Instead of jumping into a new romance, take some time to reflect.
- Think about what you want out of a relationship. Think about the ways your need were and were not met. This will help you figure out how to find a more suitable partner in the future.
- Many people jump from romance to romance, hoping to find the right person. However, if you’re not okay on your own, you will not be able to have a functional romance. You need to grieve your first love and figure out what you want for the future.
Model your behavior after someone else. Look for a friend, family member, or c-worker who has also suffered heartbreak, but moved on successfully. Try to model your behavior off of someone who does not need a relationship to feel fulfilled and happy.
- Find someone who does okay on their own. You want to lean on someone who does not need a relationship to feel fulfilled.
- Once you’ve found someone, think about how they cope with heartbreak. Look for the ways they stay independent and strong after a relationship ends.
Accept you will be sad for awhile. While you may want to move forward, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings. Take steps to feel better, but accept sadness is a normal part of the process. Getting over a first love is hard, and even if you’re doing everything right it will not happen over night. Do not beat yourself up for having bad days. This is normal and it will take time to move on.
- Don’t panic if a reminder of your ex leaves you feeling bad. If you try to hard to avoid the bad feeling, you may make it worse.
- Instead, accept that you’re going to feel sad for a bit. Let yourself cry if necessary. Get the bad feelings out so you can continue to move forward.