Everything I Wish I Knew Before My First Breakup
While you're bound to have numerous makeups and breakups over the course of your romantic life, there's nothing that quite compares to the experience of your very first split.
After all, your first breakup is a totally new experience. You've never had to deal with ending things with someone you care about, or the subsequent changes that will occur in your relationship. And while it might seem completely terrifying and anxiety-inducing, it's also totally survivable.
(The Vampire Diaries via The CW)
In the grand scheme of my romantic experience, my first breakup seems like a tiny blip on the radar—a barely recognizable bump in the road in comparison to other, more emotionally exhausting splits. However, I still learned plenty from that experience.
Keep scrolling to read everything I wish I knew before my first breakup.
The Pain Will End
I dated my first boyfriend for roughly a year and a half. We got together right before I turned 14 and broke up officially towards the beginning of my sophomore year of high school, after I turned 15. While we definitely had a very young and inexperienced relationship, we were also there for each other during a rather formative time in our lives. By the time our breakup rolled around, he was obviously emotionally detaching himself and flirting with other people, but I can't say I was being the most present girlfriend, either. I think both of us knew the end was coming for quite some time, but we weren't quite ready to let the relationship go.
When we did decide to call it quits, it was incredibly painful. Despite the fact that we had been growing apart for a while, it still hurt to accept that it was time to officially redefine and adjust our relationship. To make matters worse, we went to different schools, which was positive in some ways, but also meant that my likelihood of ever seeing him again was fairly low. Therefore our breakup carried a certain finality that made it very difficult to let things go.
(Gilmore Girls via The CW)
In my adolescent brain, it felt like the pain wasn't going to end. Every time I would think of him, a fresh batch of tears would spring to my eyes… until they didn't. After a time, I just didn't feel the same sadness or despair every time he entered my mind. I can't even say what changed, except that with the right amount of time I was able to recognize that our relationship wasn't as life-altering as I imagined it was.
Breakups hurt, and your first breakup is going to come with a unique level of pain because it's the first time you'll have experienced the emotions that go along with cutting someone you care about out of your life. However, you can rest easy in the knowledge that the pain will always have an end. It can't last forever, and if you just give yourself time to mourn the relationship and move on, you'll find that after a while, you'll hardly be able to remember why it hurt so badly in the first place.
The On-Again, Off-Again Cycle Isn't Healthy
Before my boyfriend and I officially called it quits for our relationship, we had gone through a few rough patches. Specifically, we broke up and got back together about four months before the official end of our relationship. We stayed separated for about three weeks before deciding to give things another try, but there was something inside me that kept trying to say I shouldn't have gone back.
I was never a big fan of the on-again, off-again cycle that I saw so many of my friends go through. But I convinced myself that it was just one breakup, and that our relationship was so much stronger than anyone else's—we just needed a little time apart to realize how much we meant to each other.
(Grey's Anatomy via ABC)
The truth is that in most cases, one breakup means the end of the relationship. Any attempt to rekindle things or "try again" is usually based on an inability to let the other person go, rather than a realization that it was the wrong choice.
Of course there's a small percentage of people who break up, get back together and live happily ever after, but it's much more likely that you'll start down the path towards an on-again, off-again relationship that will leave both of you drained and unhappy.
If you break up, it's usually for a good reason. Don't let your sadness and care for the other person push you into changing your mind and re-entering a relationship that you've already determined has issues. It will only prolong the inevitable and delay your healing process, which will prevent you from moving on and finding someone who might actually be good for you.
It's Better to Keep It Private
If there's one thing I could have changed about my first breakup, it would have been the way in which I approached telling other people. I've never been one to drag my exes over social media or air my woes to the world via the internet, but a younger me didn't mind doing that in person among my friends.
Unfortunately, I wasn't very careful about what I said following my first split. Things hadn't ended poorly, but my ex and I weren't on the friendliest of terms, primarily due to some strange and unnecessary lies I found out about after we parted ways. I was upset and hurt, and I just didn't see the need to be careful about who I told, which—in my tiny, private high school—meant that basically everyone knew.
(Riverdale via The CW)
Things escalated quickly, and suddenly I had friends battling it out with my ex over Facebook (yes, we still used Facebook), calling him names and telling him to leave me alone, despite the fact that he hadn't tried to contact me. While I was appreciative of how much my friends cared for me, I didn't have that same animosity towards my ex and wasn't at all sure how to handle the situation. I ended up deleting the posts and telling my friends that I didn't want to talk about my breakup anymore, which was difficult, considering I still had some sadness to work through and would have liked the chance to confide in people.
When it comes to breakups, it's better to veer on the side of privacy, even in your in-person conversations. Not only are you not sure how people are going to react, it also only results in pitting you and your ex against each other, which isn't a great way to end any relationship. Definitely confide in your close friends, but other than the people you trust to keep things private, it's really not anyone else's business.
It Probably Won't Be the Worst One
I wish I had happier news, but unfortunately it's very likely that your first breakup probably won't be your worst one. In fact, it'll probably be far from it.
In the moment, my first breakup felt like the most painful thing I've ever had to go through, but as time has gone on and I've experienced other breakups and other relationships, I've realized that each subsequent breakup seems to hurt worse than the last.
(Stranger Things via Netflix)
With age and maturity comes a stronger emotional intelligence, which allows you to build deeper connections with people that are based on stronger feelings than the relationships of your younger years. Also, if you're doing it right, each new relationship should provide something to you that you were missing in the last one, as you inch closer and closer to the person who ticks all your boxes. While all that's awesome for building healthy relationships and finding a compatible partner, it also means it's all that much worse when those relationships end. After all, the higher you fly, the harder you fall.
While later breakups will probably carry more pain, you'll also be more equipped to deal with them. You'll know how to mourn your romance and how to pick yourself up and move on. Breakups are never the end of the world, so don't let the temporary pain convince you that it'll never get better than this one romance. There's always more out there, you just have to pull yourself together and keep looking.
Wondering if ending your relationship was the right call? Click HERE for five signs your breakup is actually good for you.