First breakups are hard. We can watch as many movies and read as many books and quotes as we want but nothing prepares you for when it actually happens. My first breakup was tough on me.
Now, it’s important to note that I was raised by my mom and grew up watching Disney movies and listening to boy band music. All this gave me certain expectations on how relationships were supposed to work. I wanted to meet someone spontaneously, like they do in the movies. I wanted to shower my girlfriend with extravagant romantic gestures. I wanted the two of us to be each other’s everything, and that’s a lot of pressure to put on someone.
I met my first girlfriend, who we’ll call Courtney, during my first year at University. I met Courtney at the residence cafeteria the night after a party. She was in front of me in line, her credit card didn’t work, so I ended up paying for her food. We got to talking, exchanged numbers, and eventually started dating. It was a very spontaneous beginning; exactly the kind of beginning I’d grown up wanting.
The next 6 or so months went by in a blur. They were perfect, but thinking about them now, I can’t really remember them all too well. I remember the fights that happened afterwards but I don’t remember the calm before it. It was as though a switch flipped and suddenly we were fighting everyday about one stupid thing or another. I tried holding on to it. I really wanted to be able to say that my first girlfriend was my only girlfriend. I wanted to be able to look across the kitchen 10 years from now and tell my kids that their mother was my first and only girlfriend. It was very unrealistic of me but romantic comedies will do that to you.
Anyway, 10 months in, one of our fights ended up being really awful. I left her place and we didn’t talk to each other for 4 days. Now, to me, we were still together, but apparently not to her. When I went over to her place later, I found her in bed with another guy.
It’s hard for me to put into words what I felt that day, or for the next few weeks after. It was awful. I closed myself out. I stopped talking to people. I stopped using social media. I became a hermit. But, when I look back at it now, I’m glad Courtney cheated on me. I’m glad because we weren’t good together. We had so many problems that we kept sweeping under the rug and we were both so stubborn about it. I know for a fact that if she hadn’t cheated on me, I would never have broken up with her. We would still be together even now. We would’ve tried to “fix” any other issue that we had. And it would’ve led us nowhere.
I can’t tell you how to move on from a first breakup. Every breakup is different and every person has his or her own way of handling it. All I can say is that things do get better. It may not feel that way immediately, but they do.