If you have been regularly reading this blog, then you are well aware by now that I have recently had my heart broken. I mention it in a lot of my posts, partly because it is so intricately connected to my coming out, but also because there always seems to be something new and different that I realize about the situation.
I finally understand why Taylor Swift can pen an entire album about one break up, why Shakespeare could write sonnet after sonnet about the same person. Every day I think new thoughts about it all, I see things from a new perspective, and, unfortunately for my very patient friends, I always find something more to say.
So today I want to talk about coping, about all the things that helped me learn how to take control of my pain and play an active role in making myself better. Of course, first I had to make a lot of mistakes to get there.
I was lucky to grow up in an environment filled with people with good intentions, but it left me unprepared for a world where not everyone has them. It was my unwavering faith in the girl who broke my heart that resulted in her hurting me over and over again. Sure, she caused the initial hurt, but by continuing to give her the benefit of the doubt and expecting her to act in certain ways, I see now that I am the one who prolonged that pain.
I have been told that the first heartbreak is the hardest because without having experienced it before it is almost impossible to believe you will ever get better. I certainly didn’t believe I ever could, but slowly and with a little determination, I did.
While time is certainly important in healing a heart, I have found that there is so much more that you can do besides idly sit by and hope the feelings go away. The first step is actually wanting to get over it, then comes actively trying to, and now, when finally I have completely let go, I am happier than I have ever been. Because now I am not only being myself to the fullest extent, but I am being myself with a strength and resolve I never knew I had. It may have taken a few bumps and bruises to arrive here, but nonetheless, here I am.
By making many right and wrong decisions throughout this first time heartbreak, I have compiled the following ten rules for what I believe are the best ways to help yourself get over someone:
- Let yourself cry, but fake it ‘til you make it can actually work. You have to let yourself feel it or else you will never be able to move on. Curling up in bed with sad music and unhealthy food is an important step, but eventually, forcing yourself to get up and go do something, no matter how badly you don’t want to do it, will also help you get over the pain. Walking outside and realizing the world is still spinning and great things are still happening will help you start to enjoy things again.
- Immediately get rid of her on all social media. Clicking those block buttons will be one of the hardest things you do. You won’t want to. You will think how good it feels to at least be slightly connected to her through the magic of cyberspace. Well, it is dark magic, and watching her live her life will only make things worse. Clicking those buttons will be difficult, but the moment you do, you will feel so free, so powerful—something you likely haven’t been feeling for a while—because you are finally doing something to make yourself better.
- Stop idealizing what you had with her. Just stop. It wasn’t as incredible as you remember it. There were problems. She did things. She said things. You did and said things too. Stop building her up into a mythical, perfect being that inexplicably and uncharacteristically decided to abandon you. The good parts were good, but the bad parts were worse.
- Don’t shut your friends out. You don’t have to pretend that everything is okay when it isn’t. Don’t think you have to appear strong because your friends are sick of hearing about it. You need them, and they are there for you. They’ve had broken hearts, too, and they understand. They won’t judge you, and they won’t be angry with you when you make the wrong decisions, even though they told you not to. The good ones will always listen, and they will hug you as many times as it takes until they’ve squeezed the pain away.
- Don’t let her ruin love for you. Keep believing. Try not to forget that love can and will bring you more than pain. Take all the time you need before you date again, but don’t swear it off forever. You are young. Don’t let her steal your optimism.
- Don’t expect rational moves from her. Don’t expect her to follow a logical or coherent sequence of actions. In fact, don’t expect her to do anything at all. It will only disappoint you. All you can do is control what you do. You can’t control the way she handles hurting someone or the way she decides to walk away. You can only control how you react.
- Try to let it end with dignity. You can’t force someone to want you or to love you. When she says no, don’t beg her, don’t try to convince her she’s wrong, don’t push. If she wanted you, she’d stay, she’d call, she’d respond. The more you try to force your way back into her life, the worse you will feel when she continues to turn her back.
- Do not celebrate that you are healing by texting the person who broke you. Do not make contact with her unless you are absolutely sure that you are completely and one hundred percent over her, and even then only do it if it is absolutely necessary. If for whatever reason you do decide to text her, do not meet her in person. You’re going to want to. All of your friends are going to tell you not to, but you are going to convince yourself that you can handle it—although you are already picturing a scenario in which she realizes she made a terrible mistake and scoops you into her arms. This, of course, won’t happen. Instead, she will say the same words that hurt you the first time, and you will leave in a mess of tears, with a gigantic rip in the stitches that have done such a good job holding your heart together. You will not have to start all over in the healing process, but you’ll have just moved ten steps backward. You will be so angry at yourself because this time, the wound was self-inflicted. You knew this would happen, and you went anyway.
- There is no such thing as an appropriate timeline for getting over someone. This whole rule about how getting over someone takes half the length of the relationship is nonsense. There is no rule. There is no timeline. We are all different, and we all heal in different ways. How we were hurt affects the length of time it will take. One heartbreak does not equal another, so don’t compare yourself to someone else’s journey.
- When you inevitably break all of these rules, don’t be so hard on yourself. Sometimes, no matter how much we understand the right thing to do, our weakened hearts won’t let us do it. If you make the wrong choice and everything crumbles into pieces again, you’ll know to make the right choice next time. It is not always possible to learn by the examples and advice of others. Sometimes we just have to make the wrong decisions ourselves to truly understand the consequences. It will make you stronger and smarter the next time around. Love is a beast different from anything else you’ll ever deal with, and breaking down, making the wrong choices doesn’t make you weak, obsessive, or pathetic. It makes you a human being.