When I was 15-years-old, I had a boyfriend who I was convinced I was going to marry. No one in the world could change my mind, whether the warnings came from my mom, my best friend, or the cousin I looked up to the most. Me and this guy, we’ll call him D, were in ‘love’ – or as much in love as you can be before you’ve finished puberty. We did everything together – cuddling in the back of the school auditorium, ditching classes to hang out in the cafeteria, and ignoring the rest of our friends to make sure that we had room only for each other. We did this for four years, through high school graduation, making it through the first two years of college, and then, we stopped.
We did that whole in-between, on-again-off-again, awkward ‘It’s Complicated’ thing for another year after the actual breakup, didn’t talk to each other for a little while, sort of-kind of got back together for about five minutes, and then… it was done. It’s been almost three years since we officially ended our relationship, and I have been able to say I’ve been completely, 100% over it for almost that same amount of time. However, I know plenty of girls who have been in similar relationships, and who still aren’t over them – even though they should be. Long-term relationships, especially ones that took up most of your adolescence, are SO difficult to get over. When you’ve been going out with someone for years, they become your best friend, practically part of your family, and it’s incredibly hard to let go of someone like that. So, for all you girls out there who are still sort of not over that one guy in your life, here’s my story of how I got over my first serious boyfriend.
I wish I could say that I remember the day I felt like I was really, finally over D, but I can’t. I just remember that one month I was laying in bed crying myself to sleep with all sorts of false hope running through my head, and the next month I was going days on end without thinking about him. Maybe it was easier for me since I was the one who ended the relationship, but at the same time I don’t think that’s really true. D was everything to me for years, but I ended things because neither of us were happy. Though it still took a long time to realize that I could be happy without him.
After our in-between year, D got a new girlfriend. And although I had been with other people, it still made me sick to my stomach to think of him with someone else (When I pictured them doing the things we did together, it made me want to throw things – and sometimes ACTUALLY throw things). At first, I did the typical things that any ex-girlfriend does. While my friends constantly reminded me that I had been the one to end things, I stalked his Facebook, her Facebook, and the rest of his life. Until he changed his password (I’m not proud of this), I read his emails and hacked into his messages on Myspace. I picked fights with him on a daily basis, throwing every angry word and phrase I could at him to try to make him hurt as much as I did. But whenever he would say that we could get back together if I wanted, I stopped. No, I didn’t want to get back together. But did that mean I wanted him to have another girlfriend? Absolutely not.
And then one day, after wasting the morning crying about everything, I decided that was enough. I deleted him on Facebook and Myspace, I blocked him on AIM, I deleted his number from my phone, and I packed up everything in my room that reminded me of him (yes, even a very pricey diamond necklace that he gave me) and gave it to a friend. I immediately felt a huge sense of relief – the urge to torture myself looking at what he and his girlfriend wrote to each other online was nearly gone. The ability to instantly text him or call him and say mean things was gone. And it felt amazing.
Things progressed from there – besides for a few moments of (drunken) weakness, I really did cut him out of my life. I didn’t answer his texts or calls, I stopped stalking his life, and I started focusing on myself. I got a new internship, I actually paid attention in class, and I started going to the gym on a regular basis. Most importantly, and I really do think this is the biggest thing that helped me get over him, I made my friends my priority. They were my support system, always there for me no matter what time of day it was, always making me laugh even when I didn’t want to, and always talking me out of a quick drive-by of his house. I made new friends and went to new places, expanding my horizons and realizing that I didn’t need D to feel comfortable – in fact, I actually felt more comfortable without him.
My advice to any girl who is trying to get over a long-term relationship? Cut the guy out of your life, at least for a little bit. So many girls don’t want to lose the guy completely, and it’s understandable, but going into the friends zone immediately makes it way too easy to fall back into that familiar pattern of hooking up and acting like bf/gf. That’s why me and D had that one in-between year – we were trying to stay friends, and neither of us was getting over the other. It wasn’t until we spent a few months of no contact that I could move on and be happy with myself.
Today, I’m friends with one of his ex-girlfriends from after we dated. I can see him and feel nothing but a little nostalgia, and I can watch him with other girls and not feel any need to stab myself in the eye repeatedly. Most importantly, and it sounds really corny, but I’ve gotten to know myself – and it kind of feels really great.