I remember my first breakup. In the mornings that followed, upon waking up each morning, my brain would re-register that we had broken up. That horrid feeling of loss overwhelmed me, as if a wave of awful feelings had waited all night to sweep over my bed and drown me in the morning. And every morning, as soon as it happened, I knew there and then that it was going to be another fucking horrible day.
This happened every day for about 2 months. Every. Single. Morning.
With time I got a little better. My days weren’t so bad anymore and I found myself thinking of her less.
I thought I was moving on. And then I saw pictures of her on social media that made it clear she had moved on. I felt forgotten. It felt like she had won and I'd lost. I felt like crap for at least another month. Time alone was not enough to heal.
That first breakup was the hardest for me. I loved her - or, at least, for the first time in my life I had felt the strongest sense of romance and emotions that combined to give me what I thought was love. I'd had all sorts of dreams and aspirations with her. We talked of a bright future. We didn’t hold back: we were going to get married and we laughed as we came up with stupid names for our imaginary kids.
When the breakup happened, all of that disappeared forever, crushed, with no possibility of being revived ever again. It was the first time I had imagined a future, and then experienced the loss of that dream. I think that’s why the first breakup always sucks the most.
That’s not to say other breakups are cool… all breakups suck, especially if you felt you really loved your ex. When you break up, a void forms in the place of the imagined future. It can be hard to imagine that anything can fill that void. Your usual self can feel totally lost. Things that used to bring joy and entertainment suddenly seem like a waste of time.
Video games? Forget it! Fake and lame.
Hanging out with your friends? They can’t give you the love you want.
Dating someone else? They are not [insert your ex’s name here], and that’s the only person you want in your life.
Is there even HOPE for a better life ahead? If your breakup feels like this, then you probably answered no.
But I’m here to tell you: whoever you are, wherever you are, a breakup shouldn’t bring you down that hard. Life isn’t meant for you to feel permanently sad or depressed.
We all know how it is to feel the sharp pain in your body, the ache of loss. Most articles that claim to help you get over a breakup simply state that “time heals all.” Well, that's not real enough. This is realness, from me:
Dominate your mind first
Dominating your mind doesn't mean blocking the pain. Go ahead and feel as bad as all you want because it’s going to hurt no matter what. Accept that. Embrace the pain. Don’t ask why, because the pain is already there and questioning it is a waste of time.
Now take your time with the pain. You did, after all, just end a heartfelt relationship with someone you loved, and only you know how special that was.
The pain ultimately shows how meaningful the relationship was. The pain shows you’re a good person who knows how to love and that you have the capacity to care for someone deeply. Instead of wallowing in that pain and feeling pity for yourself, take it all in and realize how human you actually are.
Answer this question, “What do I want now?”
This was by far the best advice I received after my first breakup. Answer that ONCE, honestly, with all your heart and mind. Answer with all the stability and emotional control you have, because you’re a good and sensible person.
If you answered that you want your ex back, and you honestly believe your intentions are sincere and noble, then do whatever you think you need to do to win that person back. I suggest you try ONCE only. If you are not wanted any more, then move on. If your desire is not shared, then there’s nothing you can do about it. Your energy can be used for better things.
Never look back
You've decided what you want? Okay good, now don’t look back. The past is the past. Looking back would only potentially derail you from going after it.
A better future with someone more awesome exists. STOP fearing that the future sucks! It doesn’t. It’s all in your head. Can you believe in a better future? Find a way to do that.
Commit to growing so you can own it in your next relationship
It is okay to fuck up in your first relationship. Learn and do better in your next one. And I believe you can do better. When you do, it’s going to be an awesome one.
When you learn from previous relationships, you are recognizing that you deserve to give yourself the best, and you're demonstrating a willingness to work for it.
Remember that you’re allowed to be happy
You are allowed to be happy in this world simply because you were given life. It doesn’t matter if you just broke up, have a shitty job, had a bad day, were disappointed by someone or lost your wallet.
It isn’t the end of the world. You deserve to be happy.
Besides, you aren’t alone. Many people go through bad breakups and they are, as of right now, feeling pretty low too. Take comfort that your experience is pretty universal. If others can get through it, so can you. From there, who knows how much you can help others, which is the ultimate gift.
Mend is the self-care app for heartbreak and beyond. Mend was created to be like a best friend guiding you through a breakup, with daily audio training, content, and a global community. You can download Mend in the App Store or visit letsmend.com to sign up for free Mend Moments. Follow us on social @letsmend.