22 Teenage Heartbreaks That Become Total Wins After Age 22

When you’re in your teens, every single romantic failure feels like the end of your entire universe: “I will never love again. Why bother? Screw this, I’m going to the mall.” When you’re in your 20’s, heartbreak happens all the time. Relationships end, friends move on, *talking* turns to never talking again—and you deal with it, grow up, and get better. Here are a few of the profound differences between life-ruining teenage heartbreak and life-making 22-year-old heartache.

The O.C.
The O.C.

1. Getting bailed on

At age 17, getting bailed on is the end of the world. You cry, you throw things, you curse the world and the opposite sex. When you get bailed on at 22? Cool, you’re bummed, but whatever. You go out with your friends or stay home and get take out. You literally have one hundred other things to worry about. It can be heartwrenching, inconvenient, awful, yeah…all of the above. But after age 22, you also have heartwrenching loans, deadlines, and rent checks. You know what isn’t heartwrenching? Happy hour. You know who’s at happy hour? Other single people. Win.

2. Going on a shitty date

When you’re younger, real dates are a bigger deal because you never have them. Most of the time you’re just ‘hanging out’ with a big group of people, so dates become this huge production when they actually do happen, and it’s a huge bummer when they go wrong because you probably really care about that person. Dating in your 20’s? Tinder. Hook ups. Missed connections. Even the topic of dating itself is tired of talking about dating in your 20’s, one date is that common. It’s one out of one thousand more. It sucks if it’s bad, but you know that you have miles to go before you sleep…in a marital bed? I don’t know. Let the reference work.

3. Spending too much money on a date

Spending too much money on a date in your younger days could be tragic because you don’t have enough money to go to the mall; conversely, in your early twenties it just forces you sack up, buy groceries, and stop eating fast food—at least until your next payday.

4. Realizing that your date is broke

Your date having insufficient funds as a teenager is actually pretty terrifying, considering it’s unclear what the consequences for being unable to pay for your meal are. At 22, you can impressively cover the cost of the entire bill in case of emergency, making the situation 100% not awkward for you, even if your date overdrafts on dignity.

5. Not getting a phone call after you give someone your number

Oh, how devastating it is to be 17 and give someone a way to contact you, only to never hear from them. Actually, this is still pretty devastating even after 22, but at least you can purchase alcohol and perhaps use it to cope with the unfortunate situation, or lack thereof. On top of that, phone calls with people you just met can be painfully weird, and we all need to recognize this in 2014.

6. Not getting a voicemail when you have a missed call

At 17 a missed call that doesn’t come with a voicemail is like UPS delivering an empty box that has nothing but the sender’s address on it. Potentially exciting, but in the moment it’s a bummer. Cut to your 20s and suddenly you’re doing your best to make sure every call is a missed call. Voicemails are the last thing you want. That annoying notification that sits there until you listen is the worst, and the only bigger win than a missed call with no voicemail is no call at all.

7. Seeing that your inbox is completely empty

17-year-old you wanted a constantly buzzing phone– specifically high activity in your text inbox. Seeing nothing was pretty emotionally taxing, but eventually it became the equivalent of looking out the window and seeing no pesky kids on your lawn.

8. Being celibate as hell…by accident

No sex at 17, when seemingly everyone is getting action is the equivalent of sitting on the bench during the biggest game of the season. When you’re older you can spin it like, “Oh well, at least I’m 100% not with child, or in possession of any STDs.” Also, you could meet someone you really care about and accidentally grow a relationship that doesn’t start with a hook up, so that’s pretty cool too.

9. Hooking up with someone and never hearing from them again

In high school, this would equate to a death in the community or someone moving very far away, that is how small high school feels, even if you went to a huge school. In the world of your 20’s? Good riddance. You’re bummed out, but you dodged a bullet.

10. Hooking up with someone and realizing they’re awful

Let’s be real, if you’re hooking up with someone and realizing they’re awful after 22, chances are you’ve been doing it for several years. It crushed you at 17, but now it’s sadly become par for the so-many-people-are-terrible-is-everyone-a-sociopath course.

11. Not having anything to talk about when dating comes up

Teenage years: you’re a loser, you’d better make some stuff up or make fun of someone else before everyone is on your ass about this stuff.
In your 20’s: you win! You get to listen to everyone’s drama like it’s a new season of Scandal!

12. Kissing a stunningly terrible kisser

Bad kissers in your younger days might not even be identifiable because you’re judging from a small sample, but when you’re older and it happens you know immediately, and you can kind of adjust the situation with little cues to teach the other person how to kiss you. It’s a beautiful thing, we all win. #KissMoreBadKissers

13. Feeling incredibly nervous when you meet their parents, like sweaty nervous

Yeah, meeting the parents is never fun or easy, but parents have a little more mercy on you when you’re older and it seems like you could actually be a part of this person’s future. They’re hard on you and ask you a million questions, but it’s different because you’re invested in giving them sincere, thought through responses—as opposed to just saying things like, “oh yeah, I hate working at the mall and basketball practice sucks.”

14. Realizing that it’s not them, it’s you

Mature enough to realize that you’re the problem? Smart enough to grow? Wise enough to know that you are still a young idiot who needs to be wrong and learn why, often? Sexiest things a person can be, really.

15. Being date-rescheduled to death

In your teens? This person is hard to get and babely. In your 20’s? This person is a complete dick and all of your friends tell you to get rid of this person over and over until you finally listen, and god bless. Re-schedule them for 3005 and say goodbye forever.

16. Being really upset over something completely innocuous on social media

After the tumultuous years of your adolescence and poetry blogs are over, you can finally obsesses and crush on people on the web in the healthiest way: social media stalking a person with all your friends over drinks. Like a hackathon, but lacking in any tech knowledge whatsoever and full of powerful witches.

27. Thinking that every single thing they write applies to *you*

In your teens, this is a real thought that seems plausible. In your 20’s, this is a real thought that is insufferable and you laugh about it and make inside jokes about it…even though in your head you’re like, “still tru tho.”

18. Crying, a lot

Crying in your teenage years: in the bathroom at the party, everyone talks about how much of a bitch you were for the next two weeks
Crying in your 20’s: *texts friend about crying, friend texts back SAME. all LOL*

19. Realizing that you’re doing something wrong in bed

Yeah, at 17 we all think we are amazing sex gods or terribly awkward weirdos, there is no in between. You go from 0 to 100. In your 20’s, you realize that those extremes don’t exist. As tired a truism as it is, you do realize that every person is different and nothing can apply to everyone, even if there seem to be universal “shouldn’t do’s.” Those things are only more helpful in figuring out just how to please a person and teach them how to please you.

20. Having sex that is nothing like the sex in porn

In your teen years, everyone watches porn and you talk about it in jokey ways, but you don’t really try a lot of it out in a serious way. In your 20’s, everyone tries to do porn stuff and realizes that most of it is kind of impossible and really hilarious. And you might realize you don’t like any of the popular porn out there, and that is cool, because a lot of people don’t.

21. Having sex that is even dirtier than some porn

Then again, your 20’s are the time when you can do some weird stuff and figure out exactly what is doable, or weirdly good. In your teen years, you were paranoid that people would think you were weird for bringing it up.

22. Having all of the problems and all of the feelings

At age 17, you felt like you were the only person in the world who managed to fuck every single situation up and you had no idea how you would ever grow up and learn to fix it. At 22? You realize that we’re all making mistakes and learning from them as we go. This isn’t an excuse to be a hot mess; it’s a stage in which you learn how not to be a hot mess, and how to be the slightly less hot mess who can find an even less hot mess and spark an eternal flame of not-that-hot-messy-but-still-hot-and-sometimes-a-mess love. That’s what Elvis was singing about, right Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Crissy is a writer living and lol’ing in Los Angeles. She’s on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, for better or worse.

Keep up with Crissy on Twitter and frizzyfilazzo.tumblr.com

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