In the beginning…
Nothing makes you more anxious than waiting for his texts and calls. Nervous butterflies fill your entire body when the phone rings with a message from him, confusion spreads when you think of something to reply, clammy hands persist when you wait for a response, and then your mind runs high on whether you should have replied “Hey! 🙂” or “Heyyy! 🙂”
Nothing occupies your mind more than when you feel things start to escalate…you know, the first FaceTime, the first date, the first kiss? And let’s not forget that unbearable eagerness, the bolt of lightning that ignites your entire body the minute he leaves your apartment, and that instantaneous thought When will I see him again? takes over your brain. Quickly though, you grab your phone so you can relive the entire night through your best friend, describing every detail. There’s a euphoric emotion that comes from talking about it out loud, too, when we’re spilling out our racing hearts analyzing all pieces, bit by bit. From the first word that came out of his mouth to how you caught his eye looking at your lips as you said goodbye, and how you so badly wish he would have just kissed you. If only I could go back in time…
When he stops trying…
There’s nothing quite like the gutted feeling of being ignored. All of a sudden he stops trying, he doesn’t make an effort to see you anymore, and maybe you’ve tried to text him a time or two, but he doesn’t really respond like he used to, or at all for that matter. And then you’re left feeling utterly worthless, confused, disheartened, unappreciated, and lonely. You tell your friends in hopes that maybe, just maybe, this time they’ll think of something clever to say that will make you feel better.
But you’re left disappointed because they say the same old things, the things you’ve heard a hundred times before, the things you know all too well…You’re too good for him…It’s his loss…He’s not the only guy in the world, you’ll find someone else…You deserve better.
And hearing “you deserve better…” just leaves you outraged. Why couldn’t he be the one that gives me what I “deserve,” huh? He was who made me happy…why do boys have to be so stupid?
Eventually you realize it’s time to let it go. Slowly, but surely, you begin the process: your heart stops hoping that every text you receive is from him. Instead of looking at his profile four times a day, you limit it to maybe once or twice (or zero if you’re extra determined). A week passes by, and you still haven’t heard from him. You try to keep your mind occupied – busy with school and friends. One evening you might realize you haven’t thought about him for the entire day. You take this as a sign you’re getting stronger. You’ve done it – you’ve finally moved on!
But before you know it, you find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night looking through old pictures and listening to all the songs that remind you of him. You cry yourself to sleep, forced to wake up the next morning and pretend it’s fine…you’re fine. You get back up the next morning and promise yourself that that was the last time. You won’t cry over him again. And no one even has to know that you broke down – it’s your own little secret.
What keeps us coming back for more…
I know what your heart feels like; it feels weak, and defenseless, and torn in half. I know what it feels like when try to move on again, and again. You try to convince yourself that you’ve learned your lesson. No more falling for those guys. You repeatedly tell yourself I hate boys and shield your heart in extra armor to protect it from any other intruders. Eventually, though, you spend more time alone, or way too much time talking to your friends, analyzing what could possibly be wrong with you (when that’s not the case at all).
Once we get a taste of being appreciated, wanted, and cared for – once we get a taste of what we think, quite possibly, could be “love” – we don’t want to let it go; we don’t want it to end, nor do we want to see ourselves experiencing that feeling with anyone else. This is what makes us hold on. Those prime moments – the ones when you laugh till your stomachs’ hurt, the ones when he holds you tightly in his warm arms, and the ones when you just find yourself staring at him with nothing but sparkle in your eye, and pure happiness in your heart – are what we strive to keep reliving. And even when the going get’s tough, we convince ourselves that despite the pain we feel, it’s all worth it as long as we can relive those moments. Why else would a girl go back to the guy that made her feel worthless? Because she knows what it feels like when he made her believe she was his world. For the longest time I didn’t understand why a girl would put herself through that kind of suffering. But I understand it now because that feeling of being appreciated, and loved, is absolutely addicting.
But this is what you really need to do…
– First, you need to tell yourself: I WILL NOT SETTLE
I know those memories are going to keep haunting you for the first few weeks (maybe even months?) but the first step in moving on is to remind yourself that you truly do deserve better. There is no reason why you can’t keep setting the bar higher; the higher your standards, the more you will get out of a relationship, the happier you will be.
Respect tastes a WHOLE lot better than attention.
– Stop blaming yourself
From here on out, suppress any thoughts of blame, denial, or pity. You are who you are, and if he doesn’t want to accept or appreciate that, then let him go. If you know you have a particular bad habit or trait you’re not so proud of, then go ahead and work on it, but focus on it as being a lesson learned and on to the next one. No reason to dwell on someone who refuses to work on you, with you.
– No more dwelling and over analyzing – delete what needs to be delete
Whether that means deleting people from social media, or messages from your phone: do it. Dwelling wastes time, and we all know you’re not getting any younger. Call it tough love, but the sooner you learn to move on, the better off you’ll be.
– Keep yourself busy with things you actually enjoy
If your friends are dragging you out to a bar to help you get over him, but you and I both know that’s not doing anything for you. Rebound guys won’t help you find your worth anymore than the guy that broke things off with you will, so do something a little bit more productive – something that will make you feel like you’re worth something. Get involved in something that you love; read good books; get yourself into a workout routine; try cooking; go outside more often;
– Focus on empowering yourself
So often when we’re in relationships, we forget about our own passions, the things we used to do, love, and what made us who we are. My advice is to focus on finding that again, and don’t let it go of it this time. Did you paint religiously before you met him? Get those paint brushes back out. Were you an avid reader, but lost that practice when he came into your life? Then start reading again! My favorite piece of advice in this situation is: solo travel. Make it work. You will not believe how much confidence and self-worth you’ll find when you get out of the comfort zone of your hometown.
In a nutshell: Focus on figuring out who you are, what you love, and be damn proud of that. Once you find those unique qualities within yourself, you’ll know just how much more you have to offer, and you’ll be less likely to tolerate anything less than you deserve.
So, with all that being said, I do want to throw this little fun fact out there: I’m 20 years old and I still have not been in a relationship before. Even with that being said though, that doesn’t mean I haven’t dealt my fair share of “almost-relationships.” I’ve taken each one of those experiences, learned from them, grown from them, and moved on. It gets easier each time, but you have to be mindful. Time will heal all things, but use that time wisely. Make something of yourself, learn to love yourself, be yourself, have faith in yourself…the rest will fall into place.