My very first heartbreak was probably one of the worst events in my life to date. We were that annoying couple that was always together, always overly affectionate, and sadly, overly optimistic in our future. When reality set in and he realized “maybe this isn’t for me,” my life, my heart, and my future shattered into a million pieces that I had to personally glue back together.
It took four years of self-love, emotional reflection and a few ounces of alcohol for me to dip my toes back into the dating pool, but I did, and that’s when I met the second love of my life. About a month into it, I knew I was falling and to my realization, it wasn’t the same as the first time. A part of me thinks I knew right from the beginning that though I loved him, it wasn’t a forever type of love. So fast forward seven months, a few trips together, a lot of internal reflection and the relationship was over, thus began my second heartbreak. It was primarily a mutual end, and though I still felt the tears in my already scarred-over heart, I realized it was a bit easier the second time around and I came to realize these seven things the second time around.
1. It’s always going to hurt.
It’s heartbreak — it’s always going to hurt. Though the second time around is a bit easier, I would be lying to you if I told you I didn’t really cry. I remember curling up into a ball as I sat with my mom and let those tears rip like a waterfall. But unlike the first time around, I understood why this break up happened and I let those sad emotions fall over me until there was no more left to fall and then I did my best to understand why I was feeling them and how I could do better the next time around.
2. I made the same mistakes in both relationships.
I’m an analytical person and so after the second breakup I sat and analyzed, sat and analyzed and finally realized I made some of the same mistakes in both of my relationships. So rather than dwell on that I asked myself why, why did I repeat those actions or words and after countless hours of reflection it led to some very interesting personal revelations.
3. You have a “love language” and if your significant other doesn’t understand that love language it’ll never work.
We all want to be loved and that involves feeling loved and to feel loved your significant other has to realize how you feel loved. Some feel loved by being told, “I love you” others feel loved by kisses or hugs, others feel loved by a back rub after a long day or by leaving out the sports section of the newspaper because you know he’ll want to read it. I personally feel loved when my significant other does little things for me, like bringing me coffee in the morning, holding my hand when we cross the street, staying in on a Friday after a long week, coming to my soccer games without me having to ask, or kissing my forehead. Both my exes didn’t understand this and ultimately it led to me feeling unloved and as we all know feelings of being unloved create an emotional, somewhat crazy woman, who I admit I became in the end of my relationships. So when going into my next relationship, I realize that I will need to be upfront about how I feel loved. That also goes both ways because I also need to understand how my future significant other feels loved, because I vehemently believe that to feel unloved is one of the worst feelings in the world.
4. Just because you love them doesn’t mean you have to love yourself less.
In my first relationship, I lost me — I lost the individual. And so, after that breakup, I had to start all over and rebuild. In my second relationship, I was determined not to lose myself again (because heck, I spent 4 years creating her!) but after a while, my friends and family pointed out that I had lost my independent self. I stopped running (I was running 10 miles a day at the beginning), I started to drink more and more (he was a bit of a partier) and I rarely, if ever, slept in my own bed (I made the excuse that it was lonely without him). What I realize now is that my second love, loved the independent girl from the start of the relationship and as time went on and I became more dependent on him, it started to take a toll on him. So just because you love someone doesn’t mean you need to love yourself any less because being dependent on another only leads to resentment and neediness, neither of which is attractive.
5. If their mannerisms remind you of your ex, run for the hills — now.
It wasn’t until after my second breakup that I realized how similar my exes are. Both are the “life of the party” types, the ones you always see in the middle of the dance floor with the champagne bottle. To be honest I loved it, at first. But after too much partying, I needed to hang up the high heels and have a night or five in, not go for round 10 at a different bar. Both of my exes drank a bit more than they should have, and I followed suit. Both were terrible at communication, didn’t have solid jobs (can you say sugar momma?) and they even looked rather similar. Early on I should’ve seen these traits in my second relationship, and to a certain extent I think I did, but I dismissed the red flags as trepidation. Your ex is your ex for multiple reasons and if some of those reasons start popping up in your current relationship, maybe it’s time for a serious talk or some reflection on what you want in your significant other.
6. Take your time.
In both my relationships, I felt like I moved in fast forward and rarely did I have a moment to realize what was happening before it happened. Case in point, in both relationships “I love you” was said within the first month. In my first relationship, I had a diamond promise ring after three months of dating and in my second he came to Thanksgiving dinner in the second month. Like the stereotypical girl, I daydream about the love of my life, the ever after and cannot wait to meet the man who will be my panther until I’m old and frail, but that’s the point, right? You have forever, so why rush it?
7. Don’t be afraid to love again.
If you only fall in love once you’re either really lucky or you closed yourself off after the first heartbreak. I admit, heartbreak sucks; dealing with the feelings, the hurt, the pieces — it all blows, but I’m a firm believer in the fact that everyone deserves that can’t love you any more than I do, mind blowing, comfortable, love that leads to a happily ever after. After both my breakups, I went to a family friend who helped me through my hours of personal reflection. During one of my latest sessions, she said something that jolted me. She told me that everyday she wakes up and “chooses love.” Admittedly I had never thought of it that way and instantly realized how simple the act of choosing love was. So though my heart has been stabbed, torn, and is a wee bit fragile, I wake up every day and choose love, because I deserve it and so do you.
Check out our practical guide to finding, friending, hooking up, breaking up and falling in love in the 21st century.