Dealing with heartbreak is always overwhelming but your first breakup transcends to a different level of heartache and pain. There are few life experiences more confusing and crippling than watching your first relationship wither away. Well, the first serious relationship anyway.
If you were just fooling around for a couple of months and decided that it’s not working out anymore, that’s another story. It won’t sting any more than ripping a band-aid. But if you had been together a long time and were deeply emotionally invested in the relationship, boy, that’s going to be the hardest of life’s sucker punches you’ve dealt with yet.
Even if you were the one to call it quits, the first heartbreak is still going to hurt six ways from Sunday, making you feel like you’re drowning in the pain and agony. It can sound like a load of baloney when everyone around you tells you that it’ll get better.
Trust us, they’re right. It does and it will get better. So, my first breakup advice to you simply would be to hang in there until it does. Surely, the first week after the breakup, or even the first month or two, can feel like swirling in gut-wrenching pain, over and over again. But then, you will bounce back. The hurt will go from a sharp, stabbing pain to a blunt ache, before it lets up completely. With the right first breakup coping strategies, you can even speed along the process of recovering and getting back on your feet again.
11 Tips To Deal With Your First Breakup
Your first breakup is likely to bring in its wake feelings of anger, sadness, longing, regret, and perhaps, even relief. These mixed feelings can turn your mind into a confused mess. Besides, since this is your first brush with this messy churn of feelings, making sense of what you want and how to move on from here can be hard.
The first break up in a relationship replaces the heady rush of romance and the surge of feel-good hormones in your body with pangs of emptiness that can make your life seem bereft of any meaning. Surely, that is not a pleasant transition.
Of course, you’d want to break free from this cycle of pain, tears and feeling stuck in a spiral that takes you to new depths of rock bottom every day. As impossible as it may sound right now, with the right first breakup tips, you can start making progress – one step at a time:
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1. Accept that first breakup is always the hardest
Sherly Crow said it as plainly and accurately as possible: The first cut is the deepest. Naivety and idealism are both the boon and bane of the young. When you’re smitten with someone – for the first time no less – managing expectations can be hard. It’s possible that when you found your first love, you started envisaging your happily ever after with this person.
Besides, it is your first experience of developing such a deep connection with another person. When that connection withers away, accepting that you now have to go your separate ways can be excruciatingly hard. That’s why first breakups can feel like such a numbing punch to the gut. But baby, you can try to love again. (Seriously, look up that song on Spotify already)
2. How to deal with your first breakup? Wallow
The first few days after your first breakup will be especially hard. There may be moments when you find it hard to breathe. Simple tasks like getting out of bed, showing up at school or work can seem like a challenge. In these moments, you may find yourself asking how to deal with your first breakup or if you’ll ever come to terms with this loss. The most sound first love breakup advice in this situation is to allow yourself to wallow.
You can’t sleep, you can’t eat after a breakup, you don’t feel like meeting anyone. All you find comfort in is crying and crying some more. If you’ve heard first breakup stories of those around you (yes, the grown-ups who seem to have their act together), you’d realize that this intense and lingering pain is all too common. Ask that older sibling or your parents about their first-breakup experiences, and you might find it reassuring to know that you’re not the only one going through this low.
So, don’t be intimidated by that tear-stained pillow. Embrace your state of mind rather than trying to suppress it. This is your mind’s way of grieving the loss and you must go through the churn to be able to get over your first love and move on from your first breakup.
3. Follow the no-contact rule
After my first breakup, for weeks, I kept trying to reach out to my ex in a bid to figure out what could have gone so horribly wrong that he dumped me so unceremoniously over a phone call (yes, this happened in a pre-cell phone era, so breakup texts weren’t a thing. Small mercies!). The more I chased this idea of getting answers from him as a way of seeking closure, the deeper I slipped down the hole of self-pity and pain.
Ultimately, taking control of my own emotions and snapping all ties with him was what helped me take the first steps toward healing from my first breakup. That’s why I strongly recommend the no-contact rule, where you snap all ties with a former lover to allow yourself the time to heal and move on, as one of the most effective first breakup coping strategies. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough for millennials and teenagers whose lives are so deeply entrenched in technology that eliminating someone from their lives, even if temporarily, seems impossible.
Delete your ex’s phone number, block them on all social media platforms – yes, including Instagram and Snapchat. Do not try gimmicks like setting up a second account just to keep tabs on their life. The block-and-unblock game of peek-a-boo doesn’t work either. You have to be strong for your sake and cut your ex out for as long as it takes for you to recover from your first breakup.
Related Reading: The Right Way To Use Power Of Silence After A Breakup
4. Lean on friends and family
Letting those close to you help you sail through the pain of heartbreak is one of the most crucial pieces of first breakup advice I have for you. Just because you’ve removed them from all potential avenues of contact doesn’t mean you’ll not be gripped by an overwhelming urge to reach out to your ex now and then. Wanting to call them at 2 am or sending long-winding text messages or emotional voice notes is all perfectly normal. As long as you don’t succumb to those urges.
The best way to do that is to lean on your family or friends for support. If your folks are supportive, empathetic – the kind who’ll bring you hot chocolate and chicken soup in bed to comfort your aching heart – consider yourself lucky. Accept all the love and pampering they’re drowning you in.
If not, turn to your innermost circle of friends. Whenever you have the urge to talk to your ex, call or text a friend instead. Try to keep 3-4 friends in the loop, so you don’t feel guilty about imposing on just one close person in your life.
5. Reflect on your relationship
One of the most fool-proof first breakup tips is to reflect on your relationship from time to time, especially when you’re missing your ex sorely and craving their presence in your life. The fact that you’re not together anymore is proof that something was amiss in your relationship.
Today, your nostalgia-tainted mind may conjure up only happy memories of the good times you’ve shared. But there are bound to have been fights and differences that got so out of control that you decided to part ways. Think long and hard about these from time to time. This will keep you from falling into the tricky territory of getting back together with your ex.
If they were insecure and needy or controlling and manipulative, think long and hard about whether you want to give space to that kind of toxicity in your life. Not losing sight of the real dynamics of your relationship with your ex can make moving on after your first breakup easier.
6. Figure out who you’re as an individual
Since this is your first breakup, chances are that much of your adult life has been spent with your ex. Perhaps, you started dating in college and parted ways soon after you both embarked on your professional journeys. College is also the time most young adults venture out of the comfort of their homes and start leading an independent life.
Since being one-half of a couple defined much of your life experiences during this time, you may find yourself lost when it comes to figuring out who you’re as a person. So, use this time to get in touch with yourself. Now that there is no ‘we’, you can start concentrating on ‘I’. Figure out your hopes, aspirations, likes, dislikes. This process will help you come into your own.
My first breakup advice to you would be to use the post-breakup phase in learning how to prioritize yourself, irrespective of whether you’re single or in a relationship. It will stand you in good stead for all your future relationships as well.
7. Create happy distractions
Love is considered a potent drug because it is a major trigger for endorphins – the feel-good chemicals produced by our body. Now that your relationship is over, the release of endorphins has also dried up. That’s why the first love heartbreak makes you feel so awful.
A smart way to bounce back from this abyss of sadness is to create happy distractions for yourself. Once you’ve wallowed, spent a couple of weeks in your sweats watching Parks and Rec or Brooklyn 99 on repeat, motivate yourself to be up and about again.
Activities such as spending time with families, participating in community events, pampering yourself with self-care routines and exercising are all reliable ways to get those endorphins flowing again. So, hit the gym. Color your hair red. Give yourself a wardrobe makeover. Join a cycling club. Do what brings you true joy.
Related Reading: 7 Things No One Tells You About A Breakup
8. Get a change of scene
Another one of the most effective first breakup coping strategies is to treat yourself to a change of scene. Once you’re up and about and actively trying to make the pain of first love heartbreak go away, plan a short weekend getaway with your gang of friends. Or visit a sibling over a weekend. Plan a family reunion, if you’re close to them.
This will give you something to look forward to and take your mind off the heartache you’ve been reeling from. This refreshing change will also make you see that it is possible for you to be happy again. The distance will also give you some perspective on the breakup as well as allow you to make a clear distinction between your pre-and-post-breakup life, making it easier to turn over a new leaf.
9. Give your living space a makeover
Irrespective of whether you and your ex were living together or not, every nook and corner of your apartment, room or dorm is bound to remind you of them. The corner where you sat to talk to them over the phone. The cushion they slid under your head while making out on the couch. Their favorite spatula for whipping up eggs in the morning.
Look around, and you’ll see there is just so much of them in your current living space. Mixing things up a little can help change that. Now, we’re not suggesting that you burn a hole in your pocket or borrow money from your parents to completely redo everything.
Small little changes like hiding their photos and gifts, rearranging the furniture, getting a couple of new throws and cushions can mask away those ubiquitous memories that hold you back.
10. No wishy-washy, please
This piece of first love breakup advice should become your Holy Grail for moving on from the heartbreak you’re nursing. Yes, the absence of your partner can create a vacuum in your life. This can be hard to come to terms with, particularly after your first breakup.
That’s why so many couples try to get back together, only to part ways again down the line. This can leave you trapped in a toxic cycle of an on-again-off-again relationship, which is not healthy for either of you. Worse still, you may try your hands at being friends with benefits or attempt no-strings-attached intimacy to relive the familiar and comforting feeling of being close to each other.
Know that it will only result in confusion, making it harder for you to heal from your first heartbreak. Besides, it can lead to friction, arguments and resentment, which can forever tarnish your memories of your first relationship. Stay committed to your decision, no matter how hard it seems in the moment.
Related Reading: How To End A Relationship On Good Terms
11. Hold off on rebounds
Rebounds are tempting when you’re hurting and nursing a broken heart. At this stage of life, you’d have no dearth of opportunities to hook up or get into a rebound relationship. That guy who’s been sliding into your DMs. The co-worker who has had a massive crush on you. People you connect with on dating apps. Friends of friends. Yes, there is a lot of fish in the sea.
Even so, a new relationship is not the antidote to that pain of the first heartbreak. Getting into a rebound relationship or casually sleeping around can mess up your mind space even more. So, take the time to do the necessary inner work to get over your first breakup and be sure of what you want before getting back on the dating scene.
Your first breakup is a life-altering experience. It will change you in many ways. By processing it the right way, you can make sure that this change is for the better.
Undoubtedly, the first breakup is always the hardest. It is your first experience of developing such a deep connection with another person. When that connection withers away, it’s bound to bring you unparalleled pain.
Take some time to grieve the loss, then focus on healing and finding your independent identity to fully recover from your first breakup.
A study on undergrad students found that a majority of youngsters start feeling better after about 11 weeks or three months of a breakup. However, the duration can vary depending on your personality, attachment style, how long the relationship lasted and whose decision it was to break up.
The most important first love breakup advice is to allow yourself to feel the full extent of the pain you’re experiencing. Without it, you will never be able to process the breakup healthily.