Lessons I Have Learned From Getting my Heart Broken

Lessons I Have Learned From Getting my Heart Broken

Every once in a while, you meet someone super special. And last year, I met someone cool. We met in July 2017 in a random pool hall on a college campus. He made an impression on me, but I didn’t realize we would cross paths more than once. I saw him again in August 2017 and I went up to him to say hello. From there, things kind of snowballed into a late summer fling. He liked me and I liked him.

Alas, things did not work out. He was still in love with someone else, and my budding relationship with him muddied the waters. Some people would say we met at the wrong time but truthfully, the right person at the wrong time is still the wrong person. Here’s what I learned from the messiness of the “break-up.”

1. Your feelings are always valid

I dated “D” for almost 6 months. It wasn’t official (although before we broke up he wanted to be exclusive). As a result, when I found out he wasn’t entirely over his ex-girlfriend, I felt like my feelings weren’t valid. Since we weren’t officially “together” did i have the right to feel so heartbroken? Truth is, no matter what your relationship is with the person of your affection, your feelings MATTER. Who cares if they couldn’t love you back? Who cares if they even knew about your existence? Feelings don’t have to be acknowledged or returned to be valid....they’re yours to own and accept, no one else’s.

Lessons I Have Learned From Getting my Heart Broken

2. It’s not always about you

Whenever things don’t go the way i would like romantically, I automatically blame myself. I had a horrible habit of thinking that because D couldn’t be with me in the way I wanted, it was due to something I lacked. When in reality, he felt how he felt. You can’t rationalize emotions or lack of feeling towards a person. So it’s never anyone’s fault really.

That individual has their own life to live and reasons for what they do. You may have been rejected but that doesn’t mean it was because of you. You just aren’t meant to be. It’s hurtful and dangerous to assume every breakup or romantic failure is because you aren’t “enough.”

Lessons I Have Learned From Getting my Heart Broken

3. The hardest part of breakups is letting go of the IDEA of them

You create special memories that form the basis of a bond with someone. Those memories don’t fade immediately after a breakup. In fact, they seem much more vivid and beautiful when you know that person is out of reach.

An important step of breakups then, is letting go of the hope you’ll get back together. You have to let those memories of the 2 of you slowly slip away - you can’t grab on to them. I know you expected and hoped for so much with them. You wanted to create new memories, go to new places for lunch, heck...you may have wanted to marry them. But reality said “no, not him.” Listen to that voice.

Keeping hope alive will eat you up inside. It will make you desperate and might even cause you to reach out to someone that doesn’t belong to you. In order to find peace, you have to release all of the expectations of a future with them and what it would have looked like. Imagine a bright and beautiful life without them in it. I’m not saying it because it’s easy....I’m saying it because it keeps you sane.

Lessons I Have Learned From Getting my Heart Broken

4. Feel every second of the hurt

We all tend to do this thing where we ignore how much we are suffering. Sometimes, it’s easier to deny the pain and repress it. Denial can make it much easier to overwork at your job, drink too much, smoke every day, sleep longer periods of time than is healthy. These are terrible coping mechanisms for losing someone special. I get why you would want to feel numb, but you MUST grieve.

Let yourself cry. Let yourself feel every second of the pain, even when it feels like you’ll die. You won’t, I promise. You can’t get over them until you go through each and every one of those memories and put them in a box. Tuck that box in an attic somewhere where they will stay for quite some time. But this mental activity requires sifting through those emotions.

5. Heartbreak increases resiliency

If you’ve had your heart broken more than one time, you understand what I mean. The first time love doesn’t work out for you, it’s nearly crippling emotionally. You feel like you can’t breathe, like you’re going to die. You won’t but you don’t know it at the time.

The second time is less worse, and you know what to expect. You can get through it a little easier and in a more healthy way. The idea is that each time you experience failure in love, it only makes you stronger. Your heart heals itself over time, so with each passing day you grow stronger.

Lessons I Have Learned From Getting my Heart Broken

6. What you tell yourself about the breakup matters

If you’re like me and you have an inner critical voice, consider how this plays into your most painful breakups. The tendency to be hypercritical of yourself definitely extends to your behavior in a relationship. As a result, some people find they tell themselves the same sad story over and over again.

Yes the breakup hurt you badly. Yes, it took a long time to recover. But don’t establish a narrative that portrays you as an innocent, naive person and the person who broke up with you as a villain. Life is rarely about heroes and villains - most of us vary depending on the day. Romance is in a shade of grey, where we do what we can with the information that we have. Once you do some introspective work during the breakup, your perspective of the situation should be more balanced.

You want to create a narrative of empowerment. Instead of saying “she broke my heart in pieces” try thinking of it as “she left my life to make way for something better.” Or how about “the breakup helped me stand on my own and find myself again.” Reframing the negative situation into a positive changes your outlook on life and dating.

Lessons I Have Learned From Getting my Heart Broken

7. Using this time to change your life is the best thing you can do.

After this breakup with D, I managed to find a new job and pursue an interest of mine. Taking up new hobbies and rekindling old friendships has made the transition so much smoother. At any time of the day, I was focused on a task or person, making it easier not to miss him.

In a way, changing aspects of your life (no matter how small) creates a barrier between the person you were with him versus the person you are without him. I’m no longer the college senior dating the engineering major. I’m a college senior who likes pottery interning at _______. Small changes give your life new meaning and give you something to focus your attention on.

Keep in mind this is different than keeping yourself busy to avoid thinking about him. What this is about is being productive. Giving yourself more room to grow without this person you grew comfortable being around. You want to look back 6 months from now and marvel about how much you’ve changed and grown. This can only happen via new experiences so get back out there.

Lessons I Have Learned From Getting my Heart Broken

8. Rebound relationships prolong your grief

The saying “the only way to get over an old love is to get under a new one” isn’t really true. If you really cared about the person you were with, simply starting a relationship with another person won’t cure your sadness. You need time to be introspective and to get acquainted with yourself again.

Being with another person most likely changed your routine, and small aspects of yourself. Now you’re left with hollow memories, a ton of items from your ex lover and maybe unresolved anger. The last thing you want is to misplace this confusion and heartbreak. Don’t bring other people into your mess, especially if you know you couldn’t handle a friends with benefits.

Wait at least 1/3 of the time you were together before you get back out there. In my opinion, you aren’t ready to date again when you think you are. Add 6 weeks to the time you want to date again, and that’s when you are emotionally ready to be present with another person. There are exceptions to this but generally, it’s better to wait it out before hitting the dating scene.

This breakup was tough emotionally. I lost a good friend and lover. It took a huge emotional toll on our friendship and I’m not sure it will be the same after but that’s okay. I’ll be fine and so will you :)


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Most Helpful Guy

  • These are all good suggestions. I went through my first heartbreak just over a year and a half ago and to be honest not a single day has gone by that I haven't thought about her multiple times. I really liked her but she ghosted me and I got no closure at all. I feel like I should be over it by now, but I still think of her every day and wonder what the reason was. I have tried some of these things in your my take and still haven't been able to completely move on so I'm not sure I'll ever be able to fully.

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    • I understand. This time last year the guy I really liked ghosted me for no reason at all and I never got closure. It tore me up inside for MONTHS. Most of 2017 was about forgetting him. And then I dated someone else and in 2018, im trying to move on from both of them.

      You never really forget when someone does you dirty. Your heart heals but it’s never quite the same. And that’s perfectly okay

    • Show All
    • @comesaveme I think what was mentioned here is accurate. When I was your age (a few years ago) I had not dated anyone. Any rejection felt monumental and as such, when I was ghosted it felt horrible.

      I have learned since that heartbreak is about resiliency - the hope that you can and WILL move on. That there is better out there and that you WILL find it.

      So don’t look for closure, you don’t need it. The ending you desire is within you. Knowing why it didn’t work or out or why he left won’t make you feel better - it might make you feel worse.

    • I guess I should stop looking for closure, even yesterday I sent a friend to him but that friend got blocked too. I just feel whatever the reason is it'll make it easier to hate him. Thank you for your advice, I will surely use it.

Most Helpful Girl

  • This was amazing! I admire how you took the break up and your little steps to get over it. It's been 5 months for me and I am struggling to get over it because I was simply left without a reason. I always hope we would get back together but after reading your take I am starting to let go of that thought. So thank you.

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What Guys Said 9

  • I think the best of many good points made in this My Take is that you shouldn't see yourself as a victim and wallow in victimhood. Excellent advice, and we learn something from any experience, even a negative one like a painful breakup.

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  • Fantastic advice the hardest thing is to see yourself as OK and not missing some key element. It is not always about you if you were dumped. Personal improvement is by far the best advice to embrace. In my life I have had the good fortune to meet someone that was perfect at least 3 times all different people but all perfect in their way. I might have to find #4 because I'm the Right guy wrong time or she's the Right girl wrong time, "In every case 1 wrong cancels out any right!"
    that is by far the hardest lesson to accept.

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  • I learnt to:-

    - Forget about love and focus on making money instead

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    • I think it’s important to have goals and to work on yourself when you are younger. Relationships can be especially stressful at a young age so don’t pay TOO much attention to love and heartbreak and all that.

      BUT. Just because you got hurt once doesn’t mean love is over for you. You are very very young and you don’t know what life has in store. Be mindful of that. I would hate to see you become angry or bitter because of a thoughtless girl in your peer group.

      The secret is, none of the people your age have it figured out. They’re all insecure and childish and make terrible decisions. They hurt each other for no reason. Don’t take it personally because it happens to pretty much everyone

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    • I already told her that I like her when I visited her at school...

      I've visited my former school twice this year ( The trip was on the second visit )

      On my first visit, I spent the whole day with her in her class and told her that I " love her " and that " I've missed her a lot, and that it's been two years since we last met "...
      She seemed happy when I told her so, but I'm afraid she was just faking it in order not to let me down...

      I know my story sounds crazy and too intense for my age, but I swear that is the truth and, God knows, I'm really taking it seriously!

      In order to avoid the shock of getting rejected, I'll have to, with a heavy heart, part ways with her and go for someone more appreciating of obvious genuine gestures of love and commitment...
      I'm pretty ready for that difficult situation, but, hopefully, I won't have to!

    • In short, I want to have a firm ground to stand on before I'd tell her " I love you " so that the " magic three worded sentence " wouldn't be pointless and I wouldn't be rejected again by then...

      The point here is that I'm just afraid she wouldn't appreciate the tremendous efforts I'm putting in, y'know...

  • All true.. I agree with you 100%

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  • Excellent advice.

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  • nice solid take

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  • It can be summed up as, don't dwell on shit.

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    • Not exactly. “Dwelling on shit” is a part of introspection. The point is to come to positive conclusions about the world and about yourself

  • I broke up with a girl about three weeks ago, I miss her but everyday it gets easier.

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  • That's why I don't fall in love easily. I don't want my heart broken. I only legitamately loved a girl once in my life in junior year high school, haven't loved a girl since then... junior year college now.

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    • I’m a senior in college and it sucks. Dating in college is a joke, and I learned that the hard way. Most of the guys here have been in 1 serious relationship previously and by their senior year, aren’t looking to be committed to anyone any time soon.

      SO. I’m pretty single and haven’t been in a relationship all of college. I’m just focused on my grades and internship at this point. I’ll wait until after college lol

What Girls Said 8

  • Good take! Although if I did what you suggested in point 8, I would probably not be together with my s/o.

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    • Everyone is different and I’m glad you found happiness. But you are also older and not experienced. The younger GAGers usually have little self awareness when they date so I’m not entirely certain they know it’s recommended to take a break after a hard break up. Older adults are usually more resilient.

      I definitely needed a break after dating the past guy. But hey, everyone is different

    • *you are older and not inexperienced is what I meant

    • Ah, it wasn't a critic and I'm not encouraging rebound relationships to anyone. Just saying that not all rebounds are bad. It actually helped me get over my ex faster.

  • I'm happy with my boyfriend (first) and I want it to last forever, I don't know really about heart broken because of love (even tho it already hurts without breaking up) but in my opinion it's like that with friends, I'm quite sensible when having really bad times with them and I've been back-stabbed and treated unfairly (imo) that now I'm learning to move on and make new friends easily, not that I have other choice some times since I have to move with my parents to other countries because of their jobs... So it's not easy to keep friendships...

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  • I think many people ignore the emotional process (aka grief). I agree sometimes the feelings aren't there from the other person and no one is at fault. Good myTake!

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  • this is a nice take. I'm currently dealing with the pain of a breakup (my first) so this is helpful with knowing how to deal with it myself

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  • Great takes!

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  • Great MyTake

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  • It is good to learn from your bad times.

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  • I know how you feel. My own bestfriend and I got into a fight today because apparently I couldn't get over the feelings I had for him for more than one year. That is when I realised what a jerk he was and saw the real him. He kissed me recently just because he was bored with life. He was fed up of me not being able to move on from him. He was also angry because he thought that I dated two of his best friends just to taunt him. Anyways he said that we should just forget and start anew. But now I feel so bad not because of what he did because of how he believes that he didn't do anything wrong.

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