Your Turn: “How Can I Get Over my First Broken Heart?”

In a new feature I’m calling “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

About two weeks ago, my boyfriend of almost exactly a year broke up with me. It was three days before what would’ve been our anniversary. I’m nineteen, and he was my first boyfriend, my first love, my first everything. We left it on pretty good terms, and I think eventually we will be friends, but right now I’m too sad. I guess my question is: any advice for a girl dealing with her first heartbreak? — First-time Heartbreak


  1. SpaceySteph says:

    Oh man can I relate!
    My ex (first kiss, first love, lost my virginity to him, etc) broke up with me ON our second anniversary. The very day.
    I was an absolute wreck for a couple weeks. Every time I tried to eat I was too nauseous- in the next month or so I lost 15 pounds from just not having an appetite. To say I did not take it well would be a massive understatement.
    Things I did that I would recommend: I had alot of aquaintances, who could have been better friends if I had not been so wrapped up in my long distance boyfriend. I started hanging out with them alot. We got to be pretty close, and they were very understanding- having been through awful breakups themselves in the past. Remember you are not the only person who has been through a heartbreak and survived. This sounds like small consolation and you will hate people who tell you that, but its good to have perspective. Though you will probably not feel like doing anything, get up, put on your big girl pants and some mascara (wearing mascara works for me on 2 levels- it makes me feel sexy and it makes me not want to cry cuz it’ll run; whatever makes you feel sexy and happy, go with that) and drag yourself out of the house.
    Things I did that I would not recommend: I made a Jdate profile within a week of being dumped. It hadn’t even fully sunk in that he wasn’t going to change his mind. I was absolutely not ready to date other guys, kiss other guys, think about being with other guys, and here I was trying to internet date? Terrible idea. Give yourself time to grieve rather than rebounding immediately. Also I got a little slutty, a fact which I’m not proud of. I slept with a coworker. I kissed alot of boys I had no intention of learning the names of. It was messy and stupid.

    So to recap, do go out and have fun and make friends. Don’t go out and get slutty all over town. And remember, you will be ok… it’ll just take time.

    1. Sounds like my first breakup in a nutshell.

    2. I did the slutty thing, too, after my fiance dumped me. It was really bizarre because it was SO out of character for me. But that’s the world of breakups…

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        Yeah I went from being a 23 year old who had kissed and had sex with one guy, to being a 23 year old who had kissed over 10 guys and had sex with 3 in a period of about 4 months. To some it might not seem like alot, but to me it was a HUGE leap.

      2. Ditto. Seriously what is up with that?!

    3. My ex dumped me the day after Christmas! (After he made my Christmas a nightmare)… This is how he dumped me:
      He took me to a movie & dinner, pretended everything was great…then, on the way to drop me off at my house he starts telling me he wants to break up. I asked him “so why did you just take me out on a date if you were planning to break up with me? Why didn’t you just break up with me?” His answer: “I wanted to give you one last night of happiness…”
      My skin still crawls when I think about that. He actually believed I wouldn’t be happy without him! What a douche!!!
      & I soooo did the drug thing & semi-slutty thing too. I went all out & it was NOT good. I was only hurting myself. & when he found it, it just made him feel better than me even more, like if he “rocked my world” tremendously. UGH GROSS!

    4. I can relate somuch Only I was 17 And we dates for a year And had an official relationship for half a year. Love is harsh

  2. It gets better, that’s for sure. What you’re feeling will go away eventually.
    Surround yourself with family and friends. Keep busy, submerse yourself in a new hobby, in school. Focus on you.
    For me, the hardest part was going to bed and waking up. I would cry endlessly it seemed at the time. Just pick yourself up and try to make “today” a good day. And remember, tomorrow can always be better too.
    Something I always think of when I’m hurting: It’s not the time that heals your pain, it’s what you do with that time.

    1. oh, and TALK about it. I don’t know why, but I talked to so many people. people i barely knew. and it helped so much.
      I remember being almost bed ridden, and not eating, having lost quite a bit of weight because of a break up. and my dad brought me yogurt and fruit to my room. i could barely eat it; no appetite. I don’t know why, but this thought always stayed with me. even though it’s been almost 5 years since that time.

      1. Skyblossom says:

        Or write it down if you don’t want to talk. It really helps to get your feelings out on paper.

  3. callmehobo says:

    What helps me is a good, solid breakup playlist (I suggest “Samson” by Regina Spektor) and a fresh set of paints

    It’s ok to be heartbroken- but use it constructively (it’s better to put time into a hobby or belting a sad song than to say, eat until you feel better or take it out on friends and family)

    Also, it’s ok not to be friends for a good while. Actually, you shouldn’t try to rekindle a relationship too quickly in an effort to be the “cool ex”. Take all the time you need- that also goes for jumping in a new relationship! NEVER EVER date someone in an effort to get over an ex. EVER.

    I’m so sorry! Heartbreak is never easy, but it’ll get easier with tim.

    1. who’s tim? maybe i’ll give him a call, my bf and i just broke up too.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        Hee! I thought the same thing. Sorry about your breakup. 🙁

    2. Painted_lady says:

      Okay, “better with tim” just made my day – I know it’s a typo, but I had a visual of a friend of mine named Tim and trying to figure out how he would be absolutely necessary in getting over someone. Silly, but I needed that silliness.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        Well a guy named Tim hooked me up with his roommate 6 months after my breakup. And we’re still together a year later. So maybe things really are better with Tim!

    3. callmehobo says:

      OH MY GOSH.


      This is what I get for being on Dear Wendy while taking notes.

    4. Lexington says:

      Samson is one of my favorite songs <3

  4. ReginaRey says:

    What I’d wish I’d known when I first went through a break up was this – Do. Not. Communicate. With. Him. I thought I could jump straight from “girlfriend/boyfriend” to “friends,” and it sent me into a very unhealthy period of my life where I kept getting back together and breaking up. The person who hurt you can’t make you feel better. Getting over them means nixing the Facebook account, not responding to any texts/calls/email, avoiding seeing them in person, etc. It’s only with time and perspective that you can begin to see your ex as someone other than the person you love. If you don’t put distance between you, you risk never healing and finding someone better suited to you.

    The grief is not forever. I remember waking up every day and for a split second in that period between consciousness and unconsciousness, I forgot that he was gone. And then every morning, it would come flooding back to me…and I had to start all over again. I didn’t want to eat, I couldn’t sleep, I literally doubled over in pain sometimes. There’s no way to avoid it, but know that it DOES end. Lean on as many friends and family members as you can during that time.

    Your next relationship will be much, much better. I can’t tell you how many lessons I learned from my first break up. I came out a completely better person in so many ways, and so much more understanding of what I needed out of a relationship, and what constituted a “good” relationship.

    Just because you broke up doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. You two weren’t right for each other. And that’s that. While you can certainly grow and mature, your personality usually remains. You two weren’t it, and that’s OK. You’ll feel better, LW, I promise! Hold strong.

    1. SpaceySteph says:

      “I remember waking up every day and for a split second in that period between consciousness and unconsciousness, I forgot that he was gone.”
      Man does this sound familiar. I think I must have dreamed about him alot, because although I never really remembered my dreams, I did wake up with that same feeling where I went from feeling ok to suddenly remembering that we weren’t together anymore. That goes away too. It all goes away and only time can help. Time, and not wallowing.

      1. ReginaRey says:

        It was the absolute worst feeling. It was as if every morning, I caved in on myself all over again. It’s been over 2 years, I have a great boyfriend who I’ve been with for 1.5….but thinking about it now, I STILL almost get teary-eyed. The pain is quite real.

      2. I dreamed about my ex constantly after our break up. Then I’d wake up and realize that I preferred my dreams to my real life. Not a good feeling. Thankfully, 3 years later that has now reversed!

    2. caitie_didn't says:

      Your second paragraph x1000. This is EXACTLY what I felt and still feel a lot, but could never put into words.

    3. Kerrycontrary says:

      Great description of the pain of a first big breakup! and I totally agree, do not communicate with the ex, it only makes things harder. I’m in the same situation, I’m in a 100 percent happy relationship but when I think about my first love and my first big breakup it still pulls on my heart strings….

    4. ReginaRey says:

      One more nugget of wisdom that really, really helped me – Your ex boyfriend chose to break up with you. He sat down and thought to himself “Do I continue to be with her, or do I want to live my live without her in it?” He chose to keep on living without you, and he actively chose to stop loving you.

      That was one of the hardest things for me to hear, but one of the most helpful slaps in the face I’ve ever gotten. It puts it into perspective, and makes you much less likely to try to get back together with them…”No, I DON’T feel like being sad over this d-bag who chose to cut me out of his life and to fall out of love with me!” Get mad!

      1. moonflowers says:

        Anger at someone helps disconnect the remaining bonds, so good idea Regina!

        I also told myself, “The guy who loved you is dead, and the one there now is some other guy who is almost the same except he doesn’t love you. So mourn the loss of the one who was your lover, and leave this new stranger alone!”

      2. OMG ME TOO! EXACT SAME THOUGHT! It sounded kind of morbid when I’d describe it that way to people, but I didn’t find it morbid because it helped me so much with closure.

        Jeez this thread is extremely cathartic.

      3. caitie_didn't says:

        YES!!! That is possibly, other than “DO NOT CONTACT HIM, DO NOT TALK TO HIM”, the most helpful piece of wisdom I received. It makes you feel awful to think about but at the same time it’s like, but this person CHOSE to break up with me. They looked at me, looked at our relationship, and said “meh, I’ll try my luck elsewhere”. Why would I want to entertain even the THOUGHT of getting back together with them?

    5. phoenix287 says:

      I wish I had this advice when I went through my first break up. What helped me the most was leaning on friends and getting physically active, whenever I’d feel upset (which was a LOT) I’d get out and go hiking (helps that my city is built around a mountain 🙂 ) I actually made a deal with myself that the only way I could think about him was if I were doing something else.

      It gets better, it may not feel like it right now, but I promise it gets better!

    6. the forgetting he was gone part is the worst because no matter how good the day was before, you just go back to 0 when that happens, just like it happened moments ago.

      that does sound exactly like my first breakup too, though. i guess it must be really common.

      i also had that moment happen to me months and months (maybe even years?) afterwards, when i would dream about him and it would be just like it used to be.. and then i would wake up and it would all come flooding back. its freaking tough.

      all i do remember for sure, is that years later, it will be hard to remember what he looks like… and he wont be the last for sure.

      please try to eat!! i did that too.. its hard i know.

  5. You’re so young sweetheart! Cry it out with your friends, listen to some Taylor Swift, push yourself to go about life BB (before boyfriend) and before you know you’ll be ok again. It hurts but it’s the end of the relationship, not your life. Surround yourself with all the love and friendship you still have. *hugs*

    1. I know your intentions are genuine, but this comes off pretty condescending.

  6. caitie_didn't says:

    I second all the suggestions that have been made and I’ll add a few of my own:

    1). Don’t feel obligated to be friends. If you eventually wind up as friends, great (but don’t rush it- if you’re meant to be part of each other’s lives, it will happen eventually). But don’t feel like that’s what you have to do or feel guilty if you decide you never want to see his face again (I would recommend never seeing his face again, but that’s me). I had to see my first real boyfriend every single day after we broke up and it was like rubbing salt into the gaping wound that was my heart.

    2). Let yourself be sad. And don’t be afraid to let other people take care of you for a while.

    3).But also, recognize that you still need to exist in the real world and that means being able to go to class, work, out with friends, to the gym, to the grocery store etc etc without having a massive public breakdown. And nobody is worth you losing your job or sabotaging your grades. Eventually, you need to drag yourself out of bed and start living again.

    1. SpaceySteph says:

      Ah, #3. I took exactly one sick day because I was just too upset to get out of bed. It actually came about a month after. I’d been crying instead of sleeping all night, and I was like forget it. One day was all I allowed myself though. Because its true, he wasn’t worth falling behind at work or losing my job over. Life really DOES go on.

  7. brendapie says:

    Don’t be ashamed to cry your heart out and grieve the loss of the relationship but don’t forget to keep your normal routine in place. Don’t neglect your studies, your friendships, family, work, etc.

    I did the whole lock myself in my room and cry my heart out for days thing and all it did was make me feel worse! Yet when I started to do things for myself again and return to my normal routine, I started to feel better and was able to keep everything in perspective.

    In the long term, start up new activities or spend more time with your friends. This should help fill the gap of time that I’m going to assume you used to spend with your ex. This should help to distract you and you’ll meet new friends and discover things about yourself in the process (hopefully!).

    I would also be cautious in dealing with your ex right now- it is possible he could see how much you still mean to him and want to take advantage of that (friends with benefits, etc). However, it is totally possible you guys can become great friends in the future but that is something to work out in the coming months but not right now.

  8. Give yourself time, and patience – lots of it. I was in your exact situation 2 years ago and have recently found myself at the end of another relationship. Things that were helpful – time spent with friends, family, doing positive things for yourself (exercise, manicures), distance from your ex (and lots of it), getting involved in new activities (hobby or intramural sport). Things will get better!

    A friend recently passed this on to me:

    Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Do your best to forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right and pray for the ones who don’t. Falling down is part of life, but getting back up is living.

  9. I know just how you feel. I remember my first “real breakup” with my first “real boyfriend”. But my situation is different in the aspect that he tried to kill me (literally), was verbally and physically abusive and i had to let everyone know what was going on because he was stalking me too! So I wasn’t allowed anywhere outside my job by myself (the bank even had people walking me to my car everyday when I left the building b/c he would be lurking some where). Then I was sooo sick from everything that was happening that the doctors didn’t even know what was going on (talk about being a human guninea pig!)
    Well I turned around, has sex with like 6 different people, started doing drugs and lost the best job I ever had! Then that spiral stayed with me through 2 more serious relationships (about 5 yrs) until I met my now Fiance (4 yrs ago). He picked me up and helped me get my life back together (but he knew me from when the 2nd bad relationship started so I’ve known him for 7yrs including dating him).
    So DON’T NOT DO ANYTHING I DID!!!!! that is the best advice I can give you.
    Lean on your best friends and family for comfort and support (I am sooo glad I have 4 sisters) And do not eat to cope with your feelings, you will just start to gain weight and feel more down on yourself!
    Let other peoples mistakes teach you a lesson in what not to do, and you will come thru this just fine sweetheart! There are plenty of fish in the sea, AND REMEMBER HE IS NOT YOUR END ALL!!!!!
    Goodluck! Can’t wait for the update!

  10. spaceboy761 says:

    Here’s a little advice from the overprotective male perspective:

    Whenever you decide to get back into the dating pool, do NOT publicize the fact that you’re just getting over your first major breakup. This will have the dual effect of driving away the guys that actually care about you and attracting the predatorial doucheholes that circle around emotionally wounded women a la sharks vis a vis baby seals. When the topic comes up on the early dates, just be cool about it. If you’re still too hurt to be cool about it, then you’re not ready to date yet.

  11. This was me a little over 3 years ago!! I was DEVASTATED, we were together for 3 years. But guess what? It was the BEST thing that ever happened to me. Granted, I went through some emotional rockbottoms, but I think my situation differs from yours. (My ex was verbally & emotionally abusive, would call me names like “dumbass, bitch, etc…”)
    I was so young & naive & stupid because he was my “first love” my first everything too. So I assumed I needed to endure this treatment from him to make things last because God forbid we broke up!
    Ok, from your letter I don’t think your ex is like mine, but regardless, the point I’m trying to make is, just because he is your first, does not mean he needs to be your last. You will be sad, you will cry, you will miss him, but sooner or later (sooner, hopefully) you’ll be just fine.
    You’re 19! You are so young! You have your whole life ahead of you! Enjoy your singledom! Have a blast! Party hard, meet new people, join different clubs in your school (assuming you’re in college), make new friends, stay out all night, have the time of your life.
    The thing that made me get over my ex was this thought (it’s a little harsh but it so helps!): Everytime you find yourself crying over him just think “Is he at home crying over me? Is he as devastated as I am?” If the answer is no, & it most likely is, then tell yourself “Then why the hell am I?!” If you’re strong with yourself, you’ll make it through! Make sure to block any contact with him. Erase his number, block him on FB (to prevent any unwanted news feeds or pictures etc…) Fall off the face of the Earth for him & him for you…It’s a very difficult transition but it is the ONLY one that works!
    Like my friends say: “Don’t waste the pretty!!”
    Good luck to you in your new life, be strong!!

    1. Wow, everything you said COMPLETELY hit home for me. My boyfriend of 3 years just broke up with me an hour ago for some small mistake that I made, even though he has done the same exact thing. And everything you have said was just completely amazing and made me feel better for the time being. Thank you

  12. I just got a new puppy a month ago – it is UNBELIEVABLE what this puppy has done for me in getting over my ex. He gives me something to come home and be responsible for. He’s a constant companion and thinks I’m amazing. He has single handedly kickstarted me into single mode. Now some days I am just happy – without the effort to be happy. The first while I couldn’t be happy even with effort, then I could be happy if I focused on it, hopefully I’m now transitioning to actually just being happy again. Anyhoo – maybe a new dog won’t be what you need – but I do think a jump start will help – join a book club, start a new exercise program, make a plan for a girls weekend, anything to get yourself started on the road to post coupledom happiness will actually get closer to achieving post coupledom happiness.

    My heart hurts for you though – a breakup is so hard – and they are all terrible – but people live through them and become better on the other side. Hang in there.

    1. I like the new puppy idea. I got a puppy about a month before my fiance left me, and she was (and still is) a major comfort. Granted, I didn’t get a dog just because my relationship was crumbling–I had wanted one for a long time. And it is a responsibility. But it can be a great blessing, too.

    2. My mom actually pushed me into getting my little guy – I didn’t even realize what a hard time I was having – but I feel so much more like my old self and I think I turned the corner when I got a new dog. The ex kept the dog we had together – I just didnt’ realize how much I missed being a dog mom. For me the responsibility pulled me out of wallowing in self-pity – which apparently I had been doing for a good while – I just didn’t realize it. 🙂

      This reminds me – letting my parents baby me for a bit was really helpful too!

      And probably some of the best advice is the NO CONTACT advice that so many others have already suggested.

      1. And – STAY AWAY FROM COUNTRY MUSIC. That’s what I usually listen to 80% of the time – but 80% of the songs are about broken hearts and it was really adding to my misery. I’m back on Country music again now and love it again – but I was bawling at the drop of a hat when I was listening to this when my split first happened.

      2. Lexington says:

        Agree agree agree!

        Especially the Rascal Flatts

        No good can ever come from listening to the Rascal Flatts

      3. fallonthecity says:

        Haha, this is soooo true.

      4. moonflowers says:

        Also Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart”! Total weeper.

    3. My dog did the exact same thing for me! My ex-fiance and I actually had two dogs together during our relationship and when we broke up I took both dogs. Not long afterwards, the female who was our first, got *really* sick. She was at the emergency vet for a week and needed blood transfusions…a lot of stuff. Anyway, focusing on her helped me get over my ex in a snap and I was so proud of myself that I handled everything that happened without having to call him for any kind of support, especially emotional support and it helped me realize that I’m going to be okay on my own. That dog is like my kid. She is the love of my life.

      A dog may not be what works for you but find something that gets you up and moving in the morning. Don’t dwell on the what happened, the what-ifs and the whys. That’ll only bring you down and cause much more un-necessary frustration. Find something you love and put your all into it. Before you know it you’ll be better than you were before him.

  13. Painted_lady says:

    Oh honey, that’s awful. It doesn’t get easier with age – trust me – but it does help knowing you’ll get past it eventually.

    What you need is a time frame, and a short one – like two weeks, a month. In that time frame, wallow. Have weepy phone conversations with parents or friends or siblings. Don’t eat, eat too much, eat only the wrong things. Watch sad movies. And then after that short time frame, you have to stop. Call your friends and tell them you need out of the fucking house. Get a friend to take up a new hobby with you (going to a dance/painting/yoga class the first time alone always makes me feel lame). If you can’t stand the thought of calling everyone, call one friend and have her call everyone for nights out – dinner, movies, live music, whatever. My friends got me through my last breakup, no question. They dropped their entire lives to take turns babysitting me for the next two weeks after that two weeks of wallowing I allowed myself. Allow yourself only a limited amount of time you can talk about your ex, and have your friends hold you to it. And DON’T be friends with him for a good six months to a year. And again, give your friends permission to remind you of that.

    You will get over him so gradually you won’t even notice, until one morning you will wake up, something will make you think of him, and you won’t be able to remember the last time you thought about him. And it will feel great, I promise.

  14. Don’t call, email, or text. Hang out with good friends. Let them tell you how wonderful you are, and how dumb he is, and how much he will regret dumping you. It really helps. Be sad for a while, but definitely keep enjoying the things in life you like.

    And in the words of both my parents: “This too shall pass”. I didn’t want to hear it at 19 or even at 25, but it’s true.

  15. Kerrycontrary says:

    So sad 🙁 I had a big breakup during college with my first serious boyfriend so I know exactly how you are feeling. I made a lot of mistakes during that breakup process (I think we both did) and I learned a couple of things. The best piece of advice I would give is to take some space and not talk to him for a while. Even though you left on amicable terms, its going to be hard to be “just friends” at first. You may be tempted to get physical with each other or “work things out” without officially being back together. Both of these can lead to heartbreak. Don’t communicate with him for a couple of weeks (or months!) before you try and be friends.

    Otherwise, just take this time to be single and have fun with your friends. Don’t be afraid to be sad, cry, or get angry. You are justified in all of these feelings, and anyone who tells you different hasn’t been through a big break up.

    Best of luck!!!

  16. SmileRhode says:

    1. Close your Facebook account and delete his number from your phone. It will be much easier to stop yourself from stalking him or any new women in his life or reaching out to him on your phone when you’re in a compromised state (either drunk, hormonal, or emotianally unstable) if you take away the temptation now while you’re sober, calm, and rational.
    2. Get angry. Now this might not work for most people or even be a healthy response, but for me, I’ve learned that it’s much easier to process these kind of things when I’m angry rather than depressed. I’ve struggled with depression my whole life, so for me when a guy breaks up with me or we have a fight, I tend to blame myself for not being hot enough or cool enough and end up wallowing in self-pity and self-hate. It’s okay to be sad and depressed about the loss of the relationship, but if you find that you’re directing anger and negative thoughts at yourself like I do, be angry with him instead.
    3. Lean on your friends and family. Talking it out with people you love and who love you for you will make the journey not so lonely.
    4. Fake it till you make it. It may seem like the hardest thing in the world to drag yourself off the couch, turn off the HGTV marathons, shower, and pretend to be happy with your friends, but it gets easier. And eventually if you fake it long enough, you will find yourself actually happy and not realize that you don’t have to try and force it anymore.

  17. spaceboy761 says:

    It is so much easier helping guys through breakups:

    Friend: “So, titty bar?”
    Breakup survivor: “OMG, yes.”


    1. Do guys say, “OMG”? haha…

      1. spaceboy761 says:

        We would actually say “Oh my God, yes.” there

        It’s just a really convenient shorthand for teh Intarwebz.

      2. 🙂

  18. Time, distance and distractions are your best allies.

    There is no short cut to getting over someone. You just have to wait it out. Distance from this person, including cutting off ALL communication, will expedite this healing process, and keeping yourself distracted with friends, hobbies and activites will help in the short term (as well as help you to build your new life as a single person).

  19. So sorry, I’ve been there. Unfortunately the only thing that works is…time! But in the meantime try to keep busy with things that make you happy, hanging out with friends, going to the movies, sports or hobbies. It may seem like the end of the world right now, but trust me, in a few weeks? months? maybe even longer you will slowly start to feel better.

  20. I think it is going to take more than a few days (months… possibly years) to get over your first love. Best advice is to just give it time. Don’t rush into another relationship, don’t hold on to hope that you might get back together, and avoid ex-sex. Those are all things that will just tear the wound right open again instead of letting it heal correctly.

    Just don’t beat yourself up over needing time, hopefully one day you’ll realize that you haven’t almost texted him, or thought about him when certain songs come on, and you’ll back on it pleasantly.

  21. Something that someone said to me years ago has always stuck with me:

    “It’s always okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

    It’s so cheesy, I know, but I’ve found it to be so true.

    Like other people said, the only real cure for a broken heart is time. I totally recommend that you look at The Frisky’s 30 Day Breakup Guide. I wish I’d had that around when my last BF and I broke up – I was devastated. We were together for 3 years and I had to break up with him because he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and I just couldn’t handle the irrationality and the erratic behavior and the craziness. People with mental disorders can totally live a productive and happy life, but you have to be willing to do the work (abstaining from drugs/alcohol, things like that), and he wasn’t. I may sound like a coward for leaving him, but it was honestly the hardest thing I have ever had to do. He just wasn’t the same person at the end of the relationship that he was in the beginning. Obviously I changed a lot over the course of our relationship, but I just didn’t have it in me to deal with those kind of problems in my relationship. I was only 21.

    Anyway – it took me close to 9 months to get over him. During those 9 months, I made it a point to go to lots of shows/concerts and talk to anyone who seemed interesting to me. Kind of “practicing my social skills” since I’d been in a relationship for so long.

    I also started running, I’d get manicures, I learned how to cook, I picked video games back up, and I started learning about new shoes/bands/movies that weren’t “our” shows/bands/movies.

    Basically, you just have to distract yourself. Even if it takes your mind off of him for 60 seconds – pretty soon you’ll be able to get your mind off of him for 5 minutes. Half an hour. Several hours! A day!

    And maybe this won’t help. It probably won’t. I remember my mother and sister saying this to me and I just didn’t *care*, but they were right. There will be many more suitors after this one. Just focus on doing you. My sister used to tell me to make being single the most fun ever. And I did!!

    I’ve been in a relationship now for a year with someone that I love dearly, but I am so glad that I took that time out to figure out what makes me happy and to learn new hobbies – I feel like going through that heartbreak made me a more complete person. My heart hasn’t ached for my ex in a very long time. Now I just look back on the situation and feel sorry for him – but I don’t feel sorry for me.

    1. SpyGlassez says:

      I don’t think you sound at all like a coward. It takes a toll on you to be with someone with any kind of mental health issue (or any health issue). You recognized you could not be that person at that time. Years ago, I had a close friend who was a paraplegic with a variety of other medical conditions. He wanted our relationship to become something more, but I knew in my heart that while I liked him as a friend, I could not be the support he would need. I knew I couldn’t “handle his illness” in the way that someone else could. I had to turn him down, and it did change and eventually end the friendship. I felt guilty, like I had been a coward; but how much more unfair would it have been for me to start resenting him or feeling pity towards him?

  22. So sorry you’re hurting right now. We’ve all been there (or will get there) at one point or another. One never really gets over their first broken heart – they just learn to cope with the pain and come out stronger.

    Time intervenes, showing you, the freshly broken-hearted, new interests and distractions to occupy the mind and heart of what once was your first love. Some distractions, like the first night stand you indulge in or those many shots of tequila you down in a night, end up doing more harm than good. Other interests, like that poem you write to explain how you FEEL or that kickboxing class you sign up for to vent out your anger, have more positive ramifications.

    You can cry a little, lean on your true friends a lot and grow from the memories of the relationship that just ended. You’ll try to get to a point where you don’t look back in anger, and that your memories of your first love get you to smile. It won’t happen now, but it may happen someday.

    The most important thing is to go at your own pace for coping with your pain and not close yourself off from the whole world at this time. Please distance yourself from your first love until your sadness is not as overwheming to you as it is now. It may be the end of your romance with him, but now you have a chance to start a new relationship with the rest of the world.

    And finally, go get yourself a fancy chocolate, or some other decadant indulgence in your budget. You’ve been through a lot just now. You deserve it!

  23. A day at a spa? Yoga? These suggestions are along the lines of all other people’s suggestions – distractions.

    Something that worked really well for me – no contact with him. I tried to stay friends with one of my exes, immediately after he broke up with me, and I would hurt so much after I talked to him. It also didn’t allow me to be emotionally available for a great guy, because I wasn’t completely detached from my ex.

    I don’t erase my ex’s numbers from my phone – I just replace their name with “Wrong Guy Don’t Answer/Call”. Just in case he calls and I don’t remember his number, I really don’t want to talk to him. Oh yeah, if he leaves a message – delete without listening.

    In my case, alcohol makes everything so much worse. I hurt a lot more after a few drinks, then when I’m sober. So even if you feel like getting wasted and forget about everything, don’t. You can handle pain better when you’re sober.

    When you catch yourself thinking about him (like, what is it that he doesn’t like about me anymore? or what did I do wrong, or any other thought that just won’t leave your mind), distract yourself. Make a conscious decision to think about something else. (I know it’s hard, and the path of least resistance is to let thoughts about him keep spinning in your head.)

    For a year after my divorce, I would fall asleep watching TV. It was the better option to crying myself to sleep.

    I agree with everyone else – you need time. Be patient with yourself, and don’t start dating again until you’re ready.


    1. Oops, I completely overlooked the fact that LW is 19. So the part about alcohol doesn’t apply to you yet.

      And I’m not a yoga fanatic. I had some work-related stress, and I went to yoga only once, and it did help me feel a lot better afterwards. It’s worth a try.

      Another one – try to avoid things that trigger your memory of him. I started avoiding people that knew him, unconsciously. I only made the connection later, but those people reminded me of him, and for my well-being, it was better to see them as little as possible.

    2. caitie_didn't says:

      Oh wow, the TV thing! I haven’t been able to fall asleep without the TV on for 2 months now, since my ex broke up with me. Glad to hear it’s a normal thing to do 🙂

  24. Breakups suck. They hurt. No matter what way you cut it. If you genuinely cared for the person, it’s going to KILL.

    First of all, it’s ok to cry a lot for a period of time. Really good cries are like emotionally throwing up. You don’t want to, but you do feel better.

    I wouldn’t suggest trying to remain friends. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be friends someday in the future, when you’ve moved on and whatnot, but I have never seen people have a really deep romantic relationship just be able to turn it off to friendship. If the transition is that easy, then the relationship couldn’t have been that romantic for a while.

    Brace yourself for the worst. None of us know your ex, but the next time you hear even a hint of an idea of him dating/etc someone else, you’ll probably be a little bit jealous. And that’s ok.

    Use your sadness to do constructive things. Surround yourself with people. Stay busy. You will learn from this first relationship. And there’s a very good chance that, in a year you’ll look back on it and it won’t seem like a huge deal anymore. Meaning, you dealt with it well and took everything in a stride. And you will likely meet someone you’re supposed to be with in the future.

  25. jessicaxmx says:

    Ah…the old broken heart. I haven’t read everyone else’s posts but I am pretty sure they are about the same as mine, and googling “How to mend a broken heart” didn’t do it for me either, sweetie!

    First off, FRIENDS are very important. And it’s also important to cry! Cry cry cry as much as you need to! Let it all out! Listen to your favorite music and blast it while singing along, believe helps. My ex broke up with me the day after Christmas, which was pretty devastating because I did give the guy awesome Christmas gifts for fuck sake.

    Try to keep busy by meeting new people, hang out with your friends and family as much as you can. I started reading..exercising….things to just keep my mind busy. Don’t hold anything in..just let it all out. The hardest part to me was at night, when it all came sinking down that I am really am alone and had no one to cuddle with. It get’s soooo much better hun trust me. One day you will realize “Hey, I am my bed watching Sex & the City and I am absolutely okay with that.”

    I wish the best in your heartbreak and please please don’t let this stop you from experiencing love with someone else. Love is a wonderful thing in so many ways and unfortunately it is also this terrible thing that can destroy you. Luckily, within time your heart will mend again and you will better than new.

  26. its hard to get over someone until you find another guy you like better. try your hardest not to obsess over him. The following things will NOT help you MOA, as I can say from experience:
    –stalk his fbook page
    –post pictures on your fbook page hoping he will see them and become jealous/think you are so happy without him
    –go places you think you might run into him
    –try to hang out with/run into his friends, or impress them hoping they will tell him how great you are
    –talk about him to anyone who will still tolerate it
    –try to be “friends”–at least don’t do this until you have moved on to someone else
    –try to make him see you with another guy
    –try to get with his roommate/best friend/anyone he will hate for doing so
    –hyperanalyze his texts, emails, or anything he has ever sent to you
    –(this applies to those on a college campus:) take a different route to class that you might bump into him on, because you’ve seen him there before and you memorized his schedule
    –delete his number IF that means you are going to end up memorizing it because you have to dial it every time you slip up and contact him, or he does the like.
    –compare future guys you meet to your ex, thinking your ex is your “type” and anyone
    who is different is not your “type”

    –try to date a guy who is totally different from him, to give yourself a new experience
    –spend more time with girlfriends or acquaintances–work on developing these friendships
    –pick up a hobby
    –get a new piercing
    –buy new sexy lingerie and other stuff to make you feel hot and sexy
    –embrace the freedom of singlehood
    –work on your flirting techniques with other guys
    –workout or develop a healthy new habit to make you feel great about yourself
    –any other form of confidence booster


  27. fallonthecity says:

    My strategy is to just keep moving at all costs. Don’t sit and watch sappy chick-flicks, don’t sit around reading Facebook news feed, don’t hit the snooze alarm. Just get up and do something. After my most painful breakup I went home to my parents’ house (my ex boyfriend lived down the hall from me in the college dorms, and I just needed to get away), and the farm provided a lot of things to do, with the bonus of my being totally exhausted by the time I went to bed, so that I would zonk out immediately and didn’t lie there thinking about it. Another bonus: My dad’s dog could do some really fun tricks after all the time I spent training him 🙂

  28. Everybody’s giving good advice. I definitely agree with the idea of not contacting him. That’s the only way heartbreak starts to fade is if it’s not constantly in your face. If you find yourself just sitting and thinking about him or your relationship, distract yourself. Find something else to do and think about. The idea isn’t to block out your emotions, but at first, it’s usually best to clear your head.

  29. Pamper yourself, love yourself and let yourself feel however you feel. There is not such thing as bad feelings and you need them to get yourself to a better point in your life.

    Be kind with yourself, let yourself cry or scream or stay in pijamas all day, you cant rush this things.

    Good luck and lots of hugs to you!

  30. I’m really sorry this happened to you LW. A very strange thing about love and relationships, and a thought that killed me during my horrible break up, is the idea that no one has ever felt the depth of pain you are feeling. And while, of course, no one knows *exactly* what you had with your boyfriend or *exactly* what you’re feeling other than you, all of the comments above should confirm to you that heartbreak is so universal.

    I lost my first major love 4 years ago, after an 8 year relationship. Like you, he was also my first everything, and also like you, I was 18 when it started. I’ll spare you the details, but losing him made me feel like the world made no sense.

    Nothing that anyone really told me helped me to feel significantly better. For me, it just took time. If you feel like you need to grieve and lay low for a while, don’t immediately force yourself to be super social. That didn’t help me. Go easy on yourself for a while. Know that you can’t think yourself out of grief. Like any major loss, and especially since he was your first love, don’t expect it to ever stop hurting completely. But know that with time it will get better. One day you will feel ready to date again. And one day, another great love will find you.

    You’re so young, and there is so much more to the tapestry of life than finding a love partner (though of course that is a very amazing part!). Focus on the other parts right now. I promise you that one day you will look back and be grateful for having had such a great love in the first place, and you will see how much the whole situation has taught you.

    The most important thing that my break up taught me was, I can get through anything. And so can you.

  31. The best advice I got in my last big heartbreak was to “give up all hope” (though I hated hearing it then). Your letter doesn’t say anything about trying to get him back, but just in case you are having thoughts like that, I thought I’d include it. I was almost immediately wondering what I did wrong or could change that would make him want me back. It was almost the end of the year when he dumped me. I thought maybe when we were back in the fall we would start hanging out and end up back together. I saw pictures on Facebook of his ex visiting him in his home country, and I still thought I might somehow get back together with him. I spent most my summer crying, looking at photos of him, stalking his Facebook, and re-reading old messages from him. I wasted all my time clinging to the last little bit of hope I had until I was back at school and found out they really were officially back together. I even unfortunately accidentally met her when she was visiting, but that’s another story.

    Other than that… Don’t be afraid to indulge it when you feel sad. It can feel good to do it. But don’t do nothing *but* that. Don’t hide yourself away being sad- keep seeing friends and doing fun things.

  32. Mackenzie Mason says:

    Heartbreak Academy: How to Make it Through | Martha Beck

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