By EBR Team Member: Ashley

I didn’t find my first love until I was nineteen and in college.

For the rest of this article I will, ironically, refer to him as X.

Now, I have had crushes before that that I thought would turn into love, but none of them compared to what I had with X.

I’m sure you’ve heard me tell parts of this story before. If you haven’t, just know that our relationship was not a very stable one.

You see, to this day X is still one of my very best friends. In fact, I just got off the phone with him a little while ago. Now, that did not just happen overnight and it’s not something that works out for most people.

We did have a long stint of no contact there. In fact, we had several. I think the fact that we were both determined to stay a part of each others lives played a huge role in this.

The funny thing about being best friends with my first love is that we’ve had a lot of time over the past 10 years to talk about our off and on again relationship. So I have been gifted with the opportunity to understand the reasons our relationship was an unsuccessful one.

But, I think one of my favorite things is listening to him describe the day we met.

“I was sitting in the foyer in the theater department in between classes. A few of the other students in the department were there. You and that one ridiculously tall guy walked in the door at the end of the hall. You were laughing. The sound echoed down the empty hall. I assumed at the time the two of you were together.

You hugged him and he walked out one of the other doors. You sat down across from me, put your headphones in, and started writing in a notebook. I don’t know how or what started the conversation, but before I knew it we were talking up a storm. I think we almost missed our next class. Our lives would be so different if you hadn’t sat down and talked to me that day.”

You want to know the crazy part of all of this. I hardly remember the day he’s describing. I hadn’t even decided I liked him yet. In fact, I didn’t even realize I liked him until a month later when some other girl in our group asked him out. It’s funny how things like that stick with us.

You listen to other people talk about their first loves you’ll hear them describe how their love was like watching a sunset or something equally poetic.

However, I think Daphne du Maurier got it right when she said,

“I am glad it cannot happen twice, The favor of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets my say.”

Her fever analogy just makes sense because love kind of sneaks up on you and takes over unannounced. You spend your entire life growing up with fairy tales and happy ending story is telling you that true love is out there if only you just keep your eyes open.

So, we go into that first love unencumbered with hesitation. Our expectations are so high, as if greeting a knight on a white horse who is here to make our every wish come true. And then we just jump in headfirst.

First love is often paired with a childlike innocence.

What I am saying is that first love tends to come about with a bit of naivety. You jump in haphazardly, ready for the adventure ahead, and placing the promise of a future shared with someone ahead of everything else in your life.

Sound familiar?

That being said, it takes a long time for a person to establish a sense of self. So, generally speaking when you choose to be with someone you usually choose someone that mirrors the way that you feel about yourself.

It has everything to do with self-esteem. If you have a low self-esteem, you are more likely to pair yourself with someone who treats you in the same way you see yourself.

If you go into a relationship without at least a strong foundational sense of self, then you were unlikely to have a healthy relationship. This is why it is so uncommon for young love to stand the test of time these days.

I see so many people trying to become an extension of their partner, to move through life as one. But in reality, having two strong like-minded people who continue to be true to themselves is much more conducive than trying to merge to dissimilar persons into one.

Not to say it is impossible. It just seems that it takes people longer to find that sense of who they are or who they want to be when they take this route.

Just like me with X. I was 19. I lived at home with my parents my entire life. I was very sheltered and I had no idea who I was or who I wanted to be. Well, to be more truthful, I was like most kids right out of High School, so overwhelmed by the possibilities that I couldn’t bring myself to choose. My entire existence revolved around what my parents thought and believed.

So, when I met X, who had a wild imagination, a thirst for adventure, and strange beliefs, I couldn’t get enough. He was the rebellious guy everyone’s mother warns them about.

We had been friends for a while at this point. He even dated someone else for a while, giving us ample time to lay a serious foundation for the friendship that still exists today. Eventually, they split up and we wound up giving things between us a go. This eventually led to me rebelling against my parents and going on a road trip with him, a fight that almost led to me being kicked out of their house. I can only assume that, if that had happened, they wouldn’t have continued to help pay for my continued education either.

At that moment, though, I didn’t care. I was in love and there’s nothing they can do to stop me.

You see, this is where my sense of self, that had been so wrapped up in the groundwork that my parents had laid out for me, began to gravitate towards his sense of self. Before, all that mattered to me was school and making decisions about my future. Unfortunately for me, his sense of self wasn’t very stable either at the time.

This led to me to do some major character building when he left me for someone else about a year into things.

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Why Does First Love Have Such a Powerful Effect on Us?

power

It has been a long time since X and I met in that foyer back in 2006. Yet somehow, talking about it now, it feels like it could’ve happened last week.
So, what is it about first love that sticks with us so?

In a collection of research papers titled “Changing Relationships” edited by Dr. Malcolm Brynin, a principal research officer at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, they determined that the utter happiness sound in first love can damage future relationships.

The reasoning for this is because the euphoria that is found in that first taste of love become a benchmark for any following relationships. As with the first time you do anything, the senses register your feelings much more strongly than they might if it were something that happens every day. Future relationships might seem boring, which in turn might make them seem a disappointment.

Think back to the first time someone you liked ever held your hand. Did it send shivers up your spine? I can bring to mind the actual memory of the first time X ever held my hand and the way it felt. I can also tell you that holding hands with anyone else will never feel as exciting as it did that day driving to meet his mother.

It was the buildup, the excitement, and the newness. Brynin even went as far as to state,

“In an ideal world, you would wake up already in your second relationship.”

My only guess is that he meant that it would save you from having something to compare it to.

The emotions that come out during first love could be described as the highest of highs. This makes it easy for us to recall even the most minor details of things that happened during that time.

Several years ago, X had moved to another state to be closer to family while he waited to find out where he was going to be stationed. I hadn’t seen him in almost a year.

At that time, I was working for an oil company and bartending on the side at a local fine dining restaurant. I was opening the bar one morning and someone on the street was wearing way too much cologne, the same kind he wore before he moved.

The scent was so strong that it may as well have walked in off the patio and into the bar.

I was facing the back of the bar when it snuck around and hit me right in the face. My knees buckled and I had to hold onto the bar for a moment before I could stand upright again. I whipped around, positive that X was standing right behind me. I didn’t even realize it was the smell that caused this reaction until a few minutes later. It was completely illogical, but for some reason my sense of smell played a cruel trick on me.

He was still six states away and thought it was hysterical that he could make me weak in the knees from that far away. (his words, not mine.)

I have no idea why I told him all of this, aside from the fact that I had just called him up after several months of no contact and had no reasonable explanation other than the truth.

As you can imagine, I was less amused.

That was at least seven years ago.

Since then, I can honestly say that I have completely recovered from the fallout of my first love.

It took a long time to get to this place and a lot of honest moments with myself.

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The Lies We Tell

lies

After a break up, we tell ourselves quite a few fibs;

There is no one in the world like him.

 

I will never love again.

 

It won’t hurt to text him this once.

 

It’s OK if I drive past his house this once.

 

There is no better match for me out there.

 

I’ll be alone forever.

 

I am nobody without him.

Now, these aren’t going to make you feel better.

So, why in the world would you tell yourself these things?

The reason is, after a split, you need to feel as if the relationship the two of you had has been validated, like you didn’t waste your time. It’s not uncommon to put a recently lost relationship on a pedestal in order to preserve its validity.

When you get to this point and you feel like you can’t let go of your first love, you have two choices.

You can live with it, the feeling like crap because it’s over thing.

or

You could actively work through the grieving process, and then allow yourself to heal and move on with your life.

I’m not giving you any other choice.

Either you learn how to live in pain and push forward carrying that heavy burden or you can take action and move past the pain you feel right now by pushing through your feelings.

I’m hoping you chose what’s behind door 2.

Since you’re here reading this article, I’m going to assume you aren’t just going to sit on your butt.

You’re here to do something about the way you feel right now.

You will not let it overwhelm you.

You will not wallow in self-pity.

And for heaven sake, your world will not end without him in it.

The Truth

So, now that we know that you will be tempted to lie to yourself so you don’t feel like you wasted time loving someone who is no longer around, let’s look at the actual truth.

You see, now that I’ve pointed out that you’ll lie, hopefully, you’ll recognize when you do.

This will make it impossible for you to believe the lie.

When you catch yourself trying to pull the wool over your eyes, ask yourself questions to get at the truth.

Is the really no one else in the world like him?

Well, if he was a jerk or a major tool-bag, then let’s hope so.

But let’s be honest, there are millions of people on this planet, I am certain that you will find someone with similar qualities at some point. The upside is that there’s a possibility that this person that you find will have even better qualities.

The reason that you can’t see the possibilities now is because you are tempted to stay close to what is familiar. Since this is not an option, you’re stuck with the unfamiliar. I know that can be scary, but it’s also an adventure all its own.

Will you really never love again?

Do you really think your capacity love ends right here and now simply because things didn’t work out with this guy?

Well if you do believe that, then let me just tell you right now… you’re unequivocally wrong.

This is a practice run. You can’t just run out of love. You might be tired of trying, but you’ll catch another wind eventually. Just keep moving forward. It’s just like learning anything. It is highly improbable that you’ll get it right the first time. If people just gave up after the first time they tried something and it didn’t work, we’d still be living in caves.

You’ll text/call/drive past his house just this once… Right…

If you have read any of the other articles I’ve written for this site, then you know I love the scientific side of love.

Love has the ability to make us do crazy things. One of the things it does chemically is that it makes our bodies create an amplitude of Dopamine. The effects in the presence in the absence of Dopamine can have similar effects as those had on people with an addiction, like to cocaine.

You wouldn’t give cocaine to an addict who’s trying to quit, would you?

 

Likewise, by giving in to that “just once” circumstance, you’ll find yourself doing it again and again and it will become impossible for you to quit. This is how you wind up being the “crazy ex.”

The great part about this, is that if you can learn to control the urge that makes you want to do these things then it will make this time of moving through the pain that you’re dealing with right now go faster.

Is there really no other match for you?

Well, seeing as this last relationship didn’t really work out and you probably saw that as a good match, we can’t really trust your judgment, can we? Do you

have any substantial evidence to prove this point?

Do you really believe you’re going to be alone forever? Or are you just getting into a cycle of self-pity?

forever

Failed relationships have a tendency to make us see ourselves as less-than, a shell of a person.

This is understandable though, especially if you were anything like me, letting your self-identity get wrapped up in some else’s before it ever fully formed.

This brings me to the last lie that I listed before.

Are you really nobody without him?

I mean really, think about it. You’re basically starting out with a clean slate almost. You have just been afforded the ability to become anyone you want to be, and you have an excuse a surprise from almost.

You have just been afforded the ability to become anyone you want to be, and you have an excuse!! If that’s not exciting, I don’t know what it is. Take advantage of it!

A Few Extra Truths

No matter how much it feels like you were the only person in the world who will ever feel this way or has ever felt this way, you need to remember that almost every person on this planet has felt the way you feel right now.

The love that you had for your ex took time for you to build up to the heightened state it was in and it will take time to deal with it. It won’t disappear overnight. You should understand now that there is no shortcut to get through this.

There is one more thing we should discuss. At some point, if you haven’t already, you will start to wonder why things didn’t work out. This it’s part of human nature. I feel the need for things to be complete or finished. Have you ever done a jigsaw puzzle? We did them a lot when I was a kid.

And I would get so excited when we got close to the end only to find out that one piece was missing. It would literally bother me for weeks because that puzzle never got “finished.”

The human mind sees things in circuits. When a circuit is open, we look for a way to close it. So, when a relationship comes to an end we feel the need to understand why so we can close the loop. This is why you’ll hear so many people talk about getting closure. Like with the puzzle, short of sending a letter to the manufacturer asking for a replacement puzzle piece, you’re not going to get a reason, per se, that explains why your relationship didn’t work out, especially not from him.

You just have to find a way to move past it. In fact, accepting that you won’t get closure can sometimes give the feeling of having closure. Paradoxical, huh?

lack-of-closure

That is, until you realize that closure is really just that calm feeling you get when your mind finally gets past this point of unrest.

There is an upside. When you are in love with someone you see them in a kind of rose colored glasses sort of way. When you get over someone, you see

them through a much clearer view.

*cue music*

“I can see clearly now; the rain is gone…”

This makes moving on process and the act of “staying moved on,” as an old work buddy used to put it, slightly easier.

The Game Plan

(Firstly, let’s chat a little to make sure we’re on the same page.)

When you split with your first love, actually when you split with anyone, you can get stuck in the cycle of thinking called rumination. This is when you fixate on the feeling of disappointment.

Kind of like what we were talking about earlier, when we touched on the fact that you might get stuck in a cycle of asking “what happened?”

That’s one example. You could also get stuck on the expectations you had for the relationship. Think back to the times when you saw a future with your ex, when you saw past the actual happenings and dared to imagine the future of the relationship could bring.

If you allowed yourself, you could easily get stuck in the disappointment of “what could’ve been.”

The only way to move past this is to remind yourself that you have no control over what could’ve been as opposed to what actually will be. From here on out you can create whatever future you want, without depending on someone else being there to help create it for you. If that’s not a blessing in the skies, I don’t know what is.

There are other memories that will stick around as well. Some people might try to ignore them, however, in future relationships, they could be a great ally.
When X and I split up and went our separate ways, I found myself dating a string of guys that were all exactly like he was.

In fact, I’m pretty sure I even dated his evil doppelgΓ€nger. Each one had similar character flaws, and at the time I was dating them treated me in a way that

I didn’t deserve. However, when I started seeing X in the first place, I didn’t have a whole lot of self-worth built up. So, the guy I chose didn’t treat me like I had any worth. If I had taken notice of the memories, rather than pushing them aside, then I might’ve saved myself years of having a low self-esteem due to the way I let the people I cared about treat me.

Looking back, I realize now that I was trying to fix my first relationship with X by reliving it with those other guys. If you really want to know how that went, it didn’t. It was literally as if I lived in the same relationship multiple times.

But, on the upside, you get the ample amount of knowledge I accumulated during those relationships.

Don’t make the same mistakes I did. At least use the knowledge you gained from this relationship and use it to make better choices next time around.

However, the step-by-step procedure I’m about to lay out for you IS how I handle a breakup presently, and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that it works.

If I could go back and deal with X this way, I would’ve moved on so much faster. But there’s nothing I can do to change the past, I can only keep pressing forward and pass on the knowledge I have to you.

Okay, now for the game plan, or at least the way you should handle the loss of your first love.

Set a Deadline and Grieve the Loss

There are two things at this point the absolutely do not matter regarding starting this process.

  1. The amount of time it’s been since you broke up. If you are still feeling emotional pain in regards to your break up, then this is where you start.
  2. Who broke up with who, or the specific circumstances surrounding the break up.

The deal here is the start right now and decide that you are going to give yourself a specific amount of time to grieve the loss.

Now, how you grieve is up to you. But, first things first, turn off your phone.

Why?

I am giving you permission for this short period of time to let your emotions ransack your body.

Turning off your phone gives you that healthy little reminder not to contact him hidden in the time it takes you to turn on your phone.

I usually prefer to stay locked in my apartment by myself for this grieving process. Reason being, it is human nature to try and sooth someone when they’re crying because it naturally makes us feel uncomfortable. If you have someone around to soothe you, then you’re not going to allow yourself to push through these emotions and get through this grieving stage. That is the goal. To feel it all and push through it.

I usually take this opportunity to gather all of the things I can think of that remind me of the relationship and put them in a box or a bag.

I spend the time gathering going over the hopes and expectations I had for the relationship and the future that I had imagined. Then, I run myself a bubble bath and sit and let the emotions overwhelm me. Sometimes, this means crying my eyes out. Sometimes, it just means walking through the memories of the relationship with a new perspective.

sink-in

The bubble bath is optional, but I find that it is easier to let go of all of the tensions weighing on your mind when surrounded by warmth. The idea here is not to mourn the loss of the relationship you had, it’s to mourn the loss of the unfulfilled expectations that you had it laid out for the future.

Remember, you have limited amount of time to do all of this, so let it all out. If you’re going to cry, cry until you can’t anymore.

After your set amount of time is up, I’m going to ask you to take a nap.

There is a reason for this. Being emotional like this can be incredibly exhausting. When you wake, you should feel a small sense of clarity.

Snap Out of It

Here’s the true challenge. Get out of bed. Get dressed and put shoes on. Pull your hair back out of your face and go make yourself a vegetable-rich meal.
The reason for this is because vegetables are jam-packed full of vitamins that help create dopamine, especially green ones. Heavy carbs and comfort foods will simply make you want to crawl back in bed, which is not our goal here.

Now that you’ve had a good cry, a hard reset (read nap), and a good mentally stabilizing meal, you’re ready to get down to business.

Now that you have this mental clarity, the next step is being real with yourself.

Since the future you had planned with your ex is no longer a possibility, I want you to consider moving forward on your own.

This will require a lot of soul-searching and will require you doing one of the hardest things you will ever have to do, be honest with yourself. I will get you started with some of the questions that you need to ask yourself.

Did I leave any part of myself behind in being part of this relationship? Ambitions? Goals? Values?

Did I feel the need to change who I was in order to be a part of this relationship?

Did my ex value me for the person that I was or did he tried to mold me into the person he wanted me to be?

If I could choose what direction my life goes from this point forward, where what I like to end up? What ambitions and goals what I like to set for myself?

You can go on asking yourself questions like this. The idea is to gain clarity on the actuality of the relationship you were in. You see, when love comes into play all rationality flies out the window.

Looking back on my relationship with capital X, I see now that our relationship was incredibly unhealthy and manipulative. However, at that time, I never would’ve seen that.

This is why it is so important for you to answer these questions for yourself, without confirming or checking with anyone else. The truth can only come from you. Only you can decide what to do with that information and what happens next.

Find a Direction and Go

So, now that you’ve considered all of these things, I task you with setting your goals in motion.

If you found that you completely lost yourself in this last relationship, which is not uncommon with first loves, you might decide that you need to focus on re-centering the person that you are. That’s healthy. As an adult, having a strong sense of self can determine whether you accomplish any goals you set for the future.

Perhaps you found that you let some of your values fall to the wayside. Perhaps you let your health slide. Perhaps being athletic used to be important to you.

Perhaps your GPA stopped being as important as your relationship and you find that you don’t really know where you are in school anymore.

All of these are kind of where I fell after I did my bout of soul-searching. The solution being that I opted to join a gym and take on a personal trainer to get back in shape. This not only helped with the health and athletic side of things, but it also helped me regain the self-confidence that I had lost in allowing my identity to merge with my ex.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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And, like I said before, my schooling had seriously taking a beating during the relationship. My solution was to go and talk to an advisor and see what I had left in my degree. I then went to my teachers and apologized for my lack of focus and asked if they had any suggestions to get back on track. As you can imagine, they were a little annoyed.

I joined study groups, borrowed other students notes, and reviewed everything The classes had covered since the beginning of the semester. I may not have made a huge change my GPA that semester, but the fact that I put in so much effort was apparent to my teachers and they were more inclined to help answer any questions that I had. I easily could’ve given up and failed the entire semester and the seven classes that I been taking. Instead, the worst grade I made that semester was at least marginally passing.

Operation Mindset

Making these changes can seem like a lot to take on and without the proper mindset and outlook you’ll easily find yourself back in bed eating hot Cheetos and crying over what might’ve been. I think we can both agree that that would be a complete waste of your time.

cheetos-or-confidence

By keeping a positive outlook on things you are creating fuel to move forward and grasp hold of everything that you are capable of without having your identity muddled by someone else.

The basic way to do this is to keep a realistic view of the relationship that you had.

memories-to-lessons

Just because it ended does not mean that what you felt was not real.

Just because it ended does not mean that you won’t find love again. And the most important thing for you to realize during this time is that and letting go of your first love you have provided yourself with the ability to evolve into the most powerful and confident version of yourself. Learn what you can from this experience and make it work for you.

What you Take from all of This

Take heart, losing your first love is the most difficult break up you will ever have to go through. Take the knowledge that you’ve accumulated from this one and know that any other breakup will not be as difficult as this one.

Yes, there will be other break ups. But the way I see it, that is a good thing. It means that you won’t settle for anyone who doesn’t honor the person that you’ve become.

I may be revealing a bit of the nerd that I am by adding this quote in here, but, hell, that’s part of honoring who you are, right?

So, I’ll leave you with this, one of my favorite quotes from my favorites shows. And although it says men, because it refers to a male character, it applies to anyone who has gone through a crucible.

img_8892

“Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.”Β  -Doctor Who

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25 thoughts on “First Loves And How To Get Over Them…”

  1. Avatar

    Ariel

    August 1, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    Hello, I couldn’t help but to read your article after separating from my first boyfriend recently. It’s only been a few days, and, while I understand that I’m at a very impressionable age (16) I’ve been having problems deciding what to do next. The person I was with I care for, very much. And, while I still love them, it’s not romantically anymore. (I could see a future, and was blessed enough that they could too, but during our relationship’s end, found that image wavering more and more) This is partially what caused the breakup. The other part being their negativity towards themselves as a coping mechanism that I would try to reassure wasn’t true only to be met back with the same dissatisfaction of themselves. Even now, I really hope for their happiness and health in life. And while I did not necessarily want the breakup, I felt it would be a good step forward for their health and mine, since the fighting had continued for a while. What I’m worried about, is the pain of unfamiliarity. If they had asked during the breakup for me to stay, I probably would have, not much for my self but so that they wouldn’t feel bad anymore, I haven’t done that because I think it would be unhealthy. Now though, I’m left with sweet but saddened memories and items that remind me if them. I don’t have the heart to throw anything away or delete any photos. I was wondering, is it possible for me to have that fond memory of them into adulthood, and still be able to gather myself, alone or even in another relationship? And, while it might be a silly question, will this feeling of constant worry (worry due to us both having mental health issues, while I am labeled with depression and am seeking help, they are not making me worry since we have not had contact since), and unfamiliarity diminish in time (I don’t mind how long, I just need to know if it’s possible for it to end)? And while I know they must need their space, do you think it would be possible (or wise) for us to meet platonically, should we both manage to recover and agree to a meet up? I’ve been worried for them, and have constant confusion whether to stay split or otherwise. Sadly I have no prior experience and have spoken to little about it with those around me as I’m on break from school rn. Thank you for reading this, and thank you for the article. I found alot of what was written I could relate easily to my break up. Your time is well appreciated.

  2. Avatar

    Mitali

    February 20, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    My ex boyfriend just posted a picture of himself on ig. And I liked and commented ‘cute’ on that pic. I guess I broke the nc. Its just been two days. Does it count as breaking the rule?

    1. Avatar

      EBR Team Member: Amor

      February 23, 2018 at 5:57 pm

      Hi Mitali,

      Yes its broken, you need to restart nc..

  3. Avatar

    Amelia

    April 29, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Hi ExBFR,

    I need some emotional cuddles, please!

    My ex and I broke up 5 months ago. It was a shock, and incredibly painful. He was in a new relationship two days BEFORE he broke up with me, I didn’t know this until much later which added to the pain, but that’s besides the point.

    We were together for three years, and had a wonderful and gentle relationship. He held/holds a very special place in my heart as he was the first man I’d given my body to. I’m not super young, but because of my culture I’d been holding out for “The One” and “Marriage” and I fell so deeply in love with him I gave him my all and honestly expected Forever.
    Despite the wonderful relationship,
    we had a lot of differences. Our age gap (15 years) made things a little difficult over time. I was in a different head space than he was . We were from two different cultures – mine had an essential core of tradition; marriage, kids, 2.5 dogs etc. I was ready for that, but he had DONE all that in the past and just wanted lots of fun with me. I was ready for commitment and all that came with it, and he was great at promising but leading me on in that space. I know…I made alot of mistakes myself.

    There were so many warning signs (he never introduced me to any friends or family) that this was not an ever after. I myself subconsciously learned that as the years ticked by. Some of my actions were not something I am proud of (for example: as time went on, I found myself flirting with other men more and more).

    But still I thought that the deep love we shared was something incredible and long lasting.
    And then he dumped me.

    So (excuse me, this is going to be really one sided so please fill in the gaps of him being hurt by me and going through his own journey because it’s all there, I know.) I bought the Ex Boyfriend Recovery guide. I read everything because I desperately wanted him bacl. I was a mess and so incredibly hurt and I needed the pain to stop.

    I broke the no contact after 7 days. I did the stupid long emails thing, the “pouring my heart out via text” , the “guilting him into calling me” and none of it worked. And then…I read the book again and forced myself to follow it and start again.

    He’d moved on. I could see it on his social media profiles. His new girlfriend was more in line with what he needed I think. His culture, his age, his contemporary etc. She was looking after the dog, moved in and met his family and friends and everything I’d wanted for 3 years. It broke my heart over and over but I couldn’t stop looking. It was a gory car crash that filled me with grief and anger and every negative emotion possible.

    A month went by and I tried tentatively to contact him. He didn’t bite. In a fit of rage, I started no-contact again. I wanted him to burn and to miss me.

    And then…I met someone new. The excitement of the attention I received was an amazing distraction (I’m still seeing him, but taking it very slow – more about this later).
    Weeks went by, and then months…and somewhere along the line, I didn’t notice that I’d stopped thinking about him, and stopped hurting or crying or wondering what he was doing or obsessing over his life and mew girlfriend.

    And then one day I woke up and did NOT want him back. I didn’t want a future with him, I didn’t want to try anything, I thought was ready to move on and forward to be with someone who was better suited to me, and who would love me and provide the things that I truly needed from a partner. I was ready to be with someone that had matching core values who I could love wholeheartedly and build a beautiful future with.

    Side note: There is a problem though. The new guy that I’m seeing…I’m taking it very slow. So slow. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m still healing, but I can’t bring myself to open up for love. We have the most amazing conversations and he’s wonderful…but my spark hasn’t been ignited. Please also bear in mind that he travels alot, and I haven’t allowed any physical intimacy as yet because of fear and having only been with one man before. So it could be that.

    Now…here is where I tell you why I feel awful tonight.
    My ex started contacting me about a month ago. The conversations were light jabs. HE’d dash in and disappear.
    “Thinking about you, hope you’re ok”
    I crumbled. I responded, I asked him how he was, I showed interest. As soon as I did, he would go cold. And ofcourse, question and think why he was contacting me if he was so happy with New Girlfriend?
    A week would go by…once again he’d touch base, but he’d raise the heat slightly higher. This time he mentioned a physical attribute he missed about me. Slightly salacious.
    My kryptonite, I couldn’t be firm, I couldn’t tell him to get lost. I melted and meekly said “Oh my goodness! Hey btw we should catch up!”
    Silence again.
    Then two weeks ago it was all sweetness and kindness from him. Things like “I miss you, I’ve always loved you, I still love you. I think about you so much. Let’s do that catch up. When are you free?”

    It messed with my head and god, did I respond or what! *insert embarrassed face* ” I miss you, I love you too!” And i stupidly reminded him of the good times like the book tells me to do. BUT I DON’T WANT HIM BACK, what was I doing?
    And then last week…he kicked up the heat even more and reminded me of the amazing sexual memories we shared and was really graphic. He made insinuations about us having sex again. My responses were not discouraging (and my feelings for the new guy were tumbling around all over the place by this point.)

    I was giggling and blushing and telling him words that described to him that I was responsive to him. And I said “Hey! Let’s catchup this weekend”

    He was gung ho, ready to meet up, super excited. I don’t know what I was expecting from this. Rekindling the relationship? Sex? How? I know he’s in a relationship, so am I! What were we thinking! But god I wanted to see him and hug him and look at his face again. And I wanted him to see me, coz guess what? I’d become the ungettable girl in those months of no contact, I’d lost weight, I looked amazing, I was looking after myself, I’d gotten a promotion at work. I felt like sex on legs and I wanted him to SEE what he’d lost.

    I think…Revenge was the theme on my mind

    *big sigh* Then the morning of when we were supposed to meet, he sent me an incredibly formal message saying that he would not be able to meet me…and that was that.

    I got drunk that night, and I cried myself to sleep and I thought about him and I raged and thought stupid thoughts and tried to reach out to friends that I had benefits with from yeaaarss ago and shut out New Guy.

    And here I am, mad and upset and my heart is unsettled and I need some words of encouragement or rationale or logic or sense, please! And why? Why do this to me Ex BF? Why are playing with my heart? What about your new perfect life? Why do you still have this power over me?

    Dazed and Confused
    Amelia

  4. Avatar

    Hannah

    March 19, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    How do i differentiate between normal sadness and depression after a breakup? Im only 18 and it’s been two months since i broke up with my first love but i still cry everyday.. sometimes i’d shed a few tears and sometimes i’d cry hard. It’s like eeeeverything reminds me of him and i dream abt him 99% of the time i sleep then id wake up feeling horrible cause it was all just a dream and cry again. I know first breakups are the worst but for how long will i stay this way? It’s not that i purposely remind myself of him. Sometimes id be busy the whole day then all of a sudden at the end of the day i remember little things abt him like his voice and all the great things he did for me when we were together then id cry AGAIN. Is this normal? It just pains me so so much that he hasnt tried reaching out to me, not even once since we broke up. It made me question whether i was really that special to him if he could just cut me out of his life like that. We broke up quite maturely and there arent any hard feelings. Our relationship was amazing and we broke up because of a stupid fight which made him ‘lose feelings’ so it’s just so hard for me to move on when i thought that what we had was unbreakable. he’s smart, goodlooking, funny and i felt like he truly loved me for who i am. i really wish i could stop viewing him as this perfect guy.. what we had was great and im so scared i cant move on

    1. Avatar

      EBR Team Member: Amor

      March 24, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Hi Hannah,

      it depends from person to person.. Recovering from a heartbreak is like recovering from addiction.. Get counseling..it will help you understand yourself more.

  5. Avatar

    Xrixie

    February 20, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    I am 18 years old and I was reading your article and I felt a sense of hope I will get over this stage because I am not alone. I was dating a guy since we were 15 years old and after one and a half years of dating we had a terrible breakup last year. I still haven’t gotten over that “mourning the relationship” phase and its been for over a year. I took up the Athletics team, extra AP classes and so much more just to get over him!!!! I feel emotionally and mentally unstable. Like literally- my mind is consumed with thoughts of him! We do the same classes so I see him all the time and I’m at a boarding school so i virtually spend 75% of my year with him. We do talk but on a friendship basis with issues regarding school etc. I really want him back and I’ve been reading all your articles, Is there anything else you think i should do?

    1. Avatar

      EBR Team Member: Amor

      February 21, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      Hi Xrixie,

      check this one:
      The Ungettable Girl

  6. Avatar

    Caroline

    October 15, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Hello,
    I just read through your article and had a question that maybe you might be able to help me with. I’m 31 and when I met my ex I was actually at the end of a very unhappy marriage and was separating from my husband. When I met him it was love at first sight for both of us. We started a friendship until I was legally divorced and then hit the ground running. I have been in love before but nothing felt the way this did. He’s 20 and I believe that not only was I his first real adult relationship but also his first true love. We talked about a future together and she never was an issue. He got into a very intensive music program (his passion) and I was very supportive of it even though I knew I would see less of him (he had just moved in with me) then he suddenly lost partial funding for it, and in the same week lost his job due to school schedule not matching up. From then he started distancing and said he needed to move out to his mom’s bc he couldn’t afford to live here anymore. He kept saying he wanted to work it out. This all happened within two weeks and then we talked and I explained that unless he let me in then we couldn’t ever work it out. Bc the only way it had felt better was when he let me in. We then decided we should break up. I’m in the first week of No Contact and it is incredibly hard. He picked up some of his stuff yesterday but I couldn’t be at the apt or see him bc I knew I would break it. He keeps leaving things behind and it makes it feel so unfinished. I have never commented before but I was wondering what an expert would think about my chances of following the site and book’s advice were for getting him back. I know I’m your article you state there will be someone else but to me he was perfect and he used to think the same of me. Please help.

    1. Avatar

      EBR Team Member: Amor

      October 16, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      Hi Caroline..

      He’s young.. He probably doesn’t know how to handle setbacks and a relationship at the same time.. So, all you can do is let him be.. Let him go home to his mom to kind of figure things out or at least start over in his life there.. You can rebuild rapport when he’s there but as of right now, it would be better to give him space and start the no contact rule so that you can heal and improve..

  7. Avatar

    Madhu

    October 5, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Hi, first of all this is a good article and it is true. Just two months back, I was going through every article on EBR and making a game plan to win back my ex boyfriend. He was my first love and we had our relationship for nearly six years since we were 20 years old. However recently I got to know that he got married to the girl whom he left me for, so I did not need to execute my ex recovery plan any further (hoping for a married guy..no way haha). Somehow I was not much shaken by the news and for that I must thank the EBR team. You have been supporting by replying for my questions, introducing the No Contact period, the game plan book and all. It all supported to regain confidence and boost me up. I must say I am very successful now completing my Masters degree and currently planning migrating to my dream country, New Zealand. And I have no hard thoughts on my ex or his wife since they taught me lessons (though I am so skeptical about a marriage decision within just 3 months of relationship, no hurt meant). I admire the good times I had with my ex and also appreciate the good man he was (even though I’m sad about him losing his good character and genuine qualities during and after the breakup). That’s for the past.

    What I have is one last question to start clean slate with my new life. I know our relationship was a real good one and it blasted due to both our faults (may be 30% from my side and 70% from his side i would round up hehe). He had this nature in him to get along more with females (good looking ones i must say πŸ˜‰ ) and get their attraction in return since he was good looking guy too honestly. And he was so proud about it and kept on to flirting a bit with these other girls too which made him look more like a play boy in front of others’ eyes (at the same time he was devoted to me too). I wasn’t very comfortable with this since I was an intelligent, bright and proud girl myself (and I believe it is a good quality for a woman and that’s why he fell for me out of all the girls too I guess) and I thought him acting that way would give a bad image for our relationship. So i continued to give hints of my disapproval frequently. Finally when he broke up, he presented this fact as a lack of trust in me and that i only drove him away and he said he found a new girl who appreciates him the way he is. May be it is true that we never matched, but there’s this wonder in my head, then how did we manage to stay in a very good relationship for all these nearly six years.

    My question is was it wrong of my trait to expect a guy to be acting restraint and decent in front of other girls when he already has a girlfriend. Or is it like a born behavior among all men? This will help me to adjust my way of thinking so that I will not do the same mistake in another relationship if I am going to have someone in the future, haha.

    1. Avatar

      Madhu

      October 10, 2016 at 9:15 am

      Thanks Amor πŸ™‚

    2. Avatar

      EBR Team Member: Amor

      October 11, 2016 at 10:17 am

      You’re welcome!

    3. Avatar

      EBR Team Member: Amor

      October 7, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      Hi Madhu,

      there’s nothing wrong with that standard..he’s just not like that. I know a lot of men who are not like him and who are like what you want.. they know their boundaries.

  8. Avatar

    Poppy

    October 3, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    I’m now currently dating my ex again after a year apart thanks to your articles! πŸ˜€ Early stages but he’s reluctant to let me leave when i stay over, playful and flirty, and much more open than our past relationship. He’s even told his close friends that we were dating again, while we were all out for dinner XD However, there’s a couple of issues i’m not sure how to tackle :/

    We recently went out with his friends and he said that he went on a date with a girl to the theatre we was walking past, almost as if he wanted to see me react negatively? I laughed it off, and said I went zip lining on a date. I honestly wasn’t bothered because i already knew that he’d dated in the time we’ve been apart, and he knew that I’d been on dates too. But for the majority of the night he was grumpy towards me, giving more attention to his female friend, buying her drinks while allowing me to buy my own and trying to get her to flirt with him to make me jealous (something I found quite funny since I knew she didn’t fancy him in the slightest). I apologized, and stroked his ego a little after I noticed he didn’t react quite so lightly.
    Now this isn’t the first time he’s mentioned the break up. He brings it up at least every other day, or if I’ll say something cheeky he tries to link it to a past argument. I’m remaining calm and simply not entertaining any of it, keeping things light and easy going but it’s getting a little frustrating. I can only apologize so many times (I was the one who broke up with him).
    He also gets quite grumpy if I have a lot of attention from his friends (who recently said to him that I was the one), or tell him how well I’m doing in my life and career. It’s almost as though he needs to be doing better than me.
    He even complained about me unfriending him on facebook during the break up, so I recently added him back (I’m not a big facebook user). He said he’s going to decline the request and then add me back, just because I unfriended him?
    How can I deal with his insecurities over the break up? Is this something that I should confront him over, or should i let it run its course? Any help would be great!! Thanks so much! X

    1. Avatar

      Poppy

      October 6, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      We’re both 25. I’m a bit surprised to be honest that he’s reacting this way, but I’m not sure how to bring it up or tackle it. He gets really defensive fast if I mention anything remotely like this.

    2. Avatar

      EBR Team Member: Amor

      October 9, 2016 at 11:20 am

      that means you’re not having the right place, time and him being in the best mood.. until that happens, the best you can do is to be the mature one in the relationship and just live your life.. dont engage being negative, whenever he’s being like that

    3. Avatar

      EBR Team Member: Amor

      October 6, 2016 at 7:34 am

      Hi Poppy,

      how old are you both? I think you should talk to him about it

  9. Avatar

    Gr

    October 1, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    That picture of “got Crack” is so racist. I couldn’t read past it

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      October 2, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      Hi GR,

      I went ahead and took the picture down. We really do apologize for this. We promise to do better next time.

    2. Avatar

      EBR Team Member: Ashley

      October 1, 2016 at 5:05 pm

      I am sorry that you took it that way. It’s from a Dave Chappelle Skit.

  10. Avatar

    Ella

    October 1, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    At first i was planning to skim through this article but I ended up reading the whole thing and I just wanna say: It’s true that first love will serve as a standard or a reference for future relationships and we will always end up comparing the current relationship we have to the previous one— up to the first sweet one. I strongly agree with this article about accepting previous relationships and not thinking of them as a waste of time tho. We get together with different people in our lives for different reasons. They were there for you at that point in your life for a reason, and if things come apart, that probably means you’re set out for something greater OR things would’ve been worse if you guys kept going.

    This is coming from me: someone who followed EXbfRec for the past two years after a very painful breakup where he secretly replaced me with another girl πŸ˜› I did try everything from reaching out and all, but at the same time I improved myself (exercise, taking a class, surrounding myself with positivity and fighting hard to meet and socialize with people cuz damn i’m a huge introvert) so right now I am a BETTER woman than I was 2 years ago… and thinking about everything…. I got over him! πŸ˜€ It’s so great a feeling because I can even say his name again and look at our pictures without flinching anymore. One of the things that helped me move on is that I accept that our relationship is in the past and whatever we shared aren’t a waste of time. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be who I am right now! (Also, I just want to say that aside from more guys trying to court me, I end up inspiring others too! Which gives me a great sense of accomplishment!)

    ANDDD I have a personal question for EXBFR…
    So I am dealing with this guy online from another state. He’s younger than me by a couple of years (22 years old) and we started chatting through mutual friends. It is obvious that we are attracted to each other and even other people notice it when they see our posts and interaction and group voice chats. This site would talk about keeping guys on their toes and being mysterious, however our relationship is grounded in honesty and trust (we started out as friends in the same circle.) He dislikes people play games and dropping hints and prefers straightout honesty and bluntness. This is because his parents separated when he was a child and he would often be put in situations where people wouldn’t tell him things straight. I do notice that he gets bored with things he gets easily and he seems to value things he worked hard for. So my question is: How can I make this -not- lead into the friendzone while taking it slow? I enjoy his company as a close friend of some sorts, but we have this weird attraction going on (a lot of girls like him and a lot of guys are courting me now, but we just have this pull so we sort of see something special in each other perhaps?) I am in the process of getting to know this guy more but I don’t want to be walking towards the “only friends” path or the “boring, one of my acquaintances” path. I want to always keep the sparks flying from time to time without overwhelming him. I don’t want anything too fast, but I’m scared of being too slow (seeing as we’re both gonna start on something big in our lives soon that won’t make it easier for us to communicate as often). Any suggestions from this (very) summarized story?

    1. Avatar

      Ella

      October 1, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      Wonderful! πŸ˜€ I feel like I am on the right track then! Since this sounds a bit on the LDR side (and will prolly take a LOOONG time before we have a meetup face to face), i think it’s a good idea to stretch out the getting to know part (also the fact that it’s mostly online.) Right now I am not really on the “I think i want him to be my bf” feelings, but rather I’m interested in him and we mix well. I do want to be a close friend to him though and keep the excitement and fun and mystery… yes I think I can do that honestly too πŸ™‚

      I really feel that I’ve changed for the better since my breakup with my ex, and I am in more control now. So I’m really not in a rush with this guy. We’re both private people too so I think our relationship at the moment is more hinged on respect for each other and inspiration because we seem to draw the kind of strength we need from each other (I like his calm and firm strength while he likes me comfort and sweetness.)

      I think it just gets a little tricky when I would like to send him gifts or “light affectionate support” because a little more or a little more frequency of those is sorta like giving him freebies without me being his gf, so I will have to keep that in check : / (I really am sweet to close friends too tho, he’s just pretty special for me right now)

      Thanks again! πŸ˜€ I’ll see how this goes with my new evolved me and the EBR support! hahaha!

    2. Avatar

      EBR Team Member: Amor

      October 4, 2016 at 6:05 pm

      You’re welcome Ella! And yes, I think you have to hold off the gifts for now.

    3. Avatar

      EBR Team Member: Ashley

      October 1, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      Ella,
      I was actually talking to a friend about this the other day. Basically, he had the same stance on being open and honest.
      My response to him, and to you, regarding playing games is that being open and honest doesn’t doesn’t mean you have to lay everything out on the table up front. Keeping mystery can simply mean stretching the “getting to know you” part of the relationship out so that you are constantly learning about each other. So many people try to do this crash course type thing where they’re like, “Here’s everything you’ll ever need to know about me. AAAAAnd now we’re in a relationship.” But then there’s no excitement anymore.
      Once there is no more to learn, that’s when the mystery starts to dissipate.
      So my suggestion is to keep that in mind going forward.

      I hope that helps.