The saying goes “you never get over your first love.” What if your first love is the root of all your problems today. Here are some great steps to helping you get over your first love, and learning to love yourself more.
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Realize that you have to reach a point of wanting to get over your ex. At first it will hurt so much that you won’t feel able to even start to get over this person, and you may even harbor a deep belief that you two will eventually get back together. This internal hoping and avoidance may last for quite a while but eventually you will realize that you actually don’t want to get back with this person. After realizing this, you can move easily onto the next steps.
Cut off all communication with your ex. Harsh, but it’s the only thing that works. You probably feel like you’re losing the best friend you ever had, the only person who truly understood you. It might hurt at first, but it will get better. You cannot be friends while you attempt to get over each other.
Do not hook up at all with your ex. If you do, you’ll start right back at square one, and all the work you did trying to get over him/her will be wasted. Remember that out of sight, out of mind works!
When the going gets tough, recall why the two of you broke up. Remember what you hated about your ex, and what you could never agree on. In a time of heartbreak, you may tend to remember only what you loved about your ex, and keep playing over your happiest memories together. Yet, this is one-sided and fails to recognize all the niggling doubts, the irritation habits, the angry words and the letdowns that became a major force in splitting the two of you. Don’t belittle the hurtful things by denying them––they are as much a part of what formed your relationship as all those good times.
- If your ex cheated on you, stop justifying it, and realize you can find someone who loves you and who won’t be unfaithful. Use the experience to learn how to spot unfaithful types and avoid hooking up with them in future.
Realize that just because this relationship is over, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never find love again. Ask your friends, your parents, how they got over their first loves. Many people will remember how hard it was to get over them but will also admit that they found greater loves in their lifetime.
Take care of yourself. You may find it hard to sleep, or get back to sleep when you wake in the middle of the night. When it is dark, and everyone else around you is sound asleep, this can feel like the loneliest time ever. During the day, take lots of exercise and go for daily long, long walks to make sure you’re exhausted when you go to bed. These will help you sleep better/get off to sleep. You’ll also benefit physically from the extra activity, and exercise is great for depression, especially as it is a good time for working out some of those harder thoughts swirling around your mind.
Don’t try to get through this alone. Your friends are very important. They will help you survive by listening to you and offering comfort, support and sometimes good advice. If you forgot about them while you were with your boy/girlfriend, ask them to forgive you. If they really are true friends, they’ll forgive you and want to help you get over it.
- Talk to and see your friends and family more often. It’s good to listen to others and what they have to say, but if you can talk more, you’ll find yourself truly getting your mind off of him/her for the time being. If you make your world bigger, then s/he will become less important.
- Do not ask your friends if they have seen your ex. Do not ask how s/he is. You do not want to know!
Be open and honest about how you’re feeling. Don’t pretend, for yourself or others, that you’re okay if you’re not. Also realize that you are allowed to be okay. You do not have to feel sad all the time, or even at all. Different people react differently to breakups, and you’re entitled to feel emotionless as much as overly emotional. Talk to people instead of just holding it in and being moody, down or anxious. Other people can support you if they actually know what is going on.
- Remember that there are other people who care. Even if it doesn’t always feel that way, there are. There are people around you who understand, and will help.
Let yourself cry if you want to. It’s okay to cry. Crying can help to release your emotions. Just let it all out. After this you will feel a lot better. Make sure you call your best friends and have happy conversations after.
Use your breakup as an opportunity to become the person you have always wanted to be. Take on a daunting goal, such as learning a new language, instrument, or skill. There has never been a better time to set these goals in motion, and now you have a lot more time to do it!
Avoid equipping yourself to wallow. Don’t fill up your MP3 player with the saddest love songs you can think of. Sad songs just make you think of what went wrong and it’s hard to move on when all you think about are the lyrics of a sad song you relate to. Realize that the lyrics are often written by those experiencing a breakup themselves but at least they have songwriting and singing as therapeutic outlets––you only have listening, and playing such songs over and over again is unhealthy. Listen to a few initially, then start switching to happier, more upbeat songs instead, especially ones focused on surviving, pulling through and starting over again. Try songs that were written to remind you that you’re not the only one not having any fun and that you need to work to be happy again. Music can help heal you; just give it time.
- Equally, avoid over-dosing on sad romantic movies that require boxes of tissues. You might identify with the actor’s loss but after a time, this is wallowing, not helpful.
Do anything you can to make yourself feel desirable and confident again. Get a haircut or add new highlights. Go to the gym. Buy a new outfit. Dress up and dance in front of your mirror to club music. Remember all the times s/he told you that you are the handsomest/most beautiful person in the universe and convince yourself that it is indeed true, and that someone else will appreciate you the way s/he once did.
Endure the pain and loneliness bravely. With time, the pain will heal. Are you a strong person who can get through this or a weak one who will wither from one failed relationship? Don’t succumb to weakness. Retain your pride and hold your head up. There’s nothing better than that.
- Always remember that you’re better off without him or her because someone who you thought loved you but leaves isn’t worth your tears or pain… “Never cry for someone that will never cry for you.”
- With maturity, your capacity to love another human being grows. Be grateful for the experience of your first love.
- Recognize that you have the power of choice in your life. You can choose to be held back by this loss or you can choose to learn from it and move on to a wiser, more compassionate person.
- No relationship is ever a mistake if you can get something out of it, such as learning something new about yourself. You might learn that you are indeed a very stubborn person so this might be the opportunity to change yourself for the better and to become a more open-minded person. You might also learn that you are a very jealous lover, in which case you can take steps to becoming a less jealous boyfriend or girlfriend. You will heal with time, but it will not happen overnight.