Writing by Kim Koelmeyer // Photograph by Nadia Bautista
At the start of this year, I went through my first breakup. And it was a big one. He was my first everything, we were together for four years and I was fully prepared to spend the rest of my life with him. We were the “it” couple; the couple that everyone thought would defy the odds be together forever. Turns out the odds are stacked up for a reason.
It was one of, if not the biggest shock to my system. One of the constants upon which I rested my life was pulled out from under me. My vision of the future received a significant restructure. I think it hit me as hard as it did because I had almost resigned myself to the fact that we’d always be together. Sure, it was amazing and I felt incredibly lucky, but even a sunset becomes mundane when it happens every day. Holding him to that promise of forever that he made four years ago like a life source, only worked to drain life from me when forever ran out. I had gone all in because I wanted my first love to be my last, as I’m sure everyone does. That’s why I feel the first breakup is always so visceral. The fairy tail is broken.
One of the most immediate realisations I had in the aftermath is that people are not stagnant, no matter how much that may appear to be the case. I initially got the pointy end of this realization. I put my trust in this man only for him to turn around one day and hurt me. So why trust people when you can never really be sure what’s waiting around the corner? I was almost determined to be ruined for relationships forever in a twisted way to punish him, when in reality this thinking just punished myself.
Change is inevitable, but I’ve grown to realise that that’s not necessarily a bad thing. When I think back to my 16-year- old self, I see how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown, both in and out of the relationship. It was foolish to think that in those 4 years, he hadn’t gone through a similar change, and delusional to think that his feelings were invulnerable to that change. In the end, we’re all on our own paths to become our best selves, and sometimes that involves change that we aren’t prepared for.
The faster you can accept change, the faster you can get on track to get better. Yes, people can change and feelings can fade, but that also means the grief you’re feeling will also one day fade. The very preciousness of life is that it’s not around forever. By accepting change, you learn to appreciate what’s around, and also revolutionize how you grieve the end of things.
Some of best advice I can give to anyone going through a breakup is to cut them out of your life. Breakups can pan out one of two ways. Either they’re happy without you, or they’re not happy and want a reconciliation. Either way, you should want them out of your field of vision, at least during the immediate aftermath. If they’re happy without you, you’ll only torture yourself with that information. If they’re unhappy, you’re only going to mourn the relationship more, and will probably be compelled to reconcile a relationship that ended for a reason. If it’s meant to be, it will be somewhere down the road. But it’s in both of your best interests to make that decision when you’re not marred by grief.
You also learn that you are the only person you can really count on. Having someone break your heart for the first time just reinforces that you don’t have control over anyone but yourself. However, that also means you can become the person you need, and that’s perhaps the most empowering thing that came out of it all. I learned that I am all I need, because I can be anyone I want to be.
It’s also important to acknowledge that you’re never going to be over them overnight, or even completely. You can’t will yourself to erase instincts or gut reactions. It’s been about 7 months now, but there are still times my mind instinctively jumps to him, and there are still nights where I think about what had been, and what I’ve lost.
But there are also nights where I marvel of all that I’ve gained in the past year, or moments where I realise that I can’t recall the sound of his voice, and I’m consoled that these past few months have counted for something. It’s a long, bumpy road to recovery, but it will come with time. Just take it all in as it comes.
Almost all of us will go through a breakup, and the first one can hit hard. But it’s also an opportunity for reflection, evaluation, and learning lessons that will stay with you forever, even if the person who broke your heart doesn’t.[share]