how do I get over my first gf?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by lauren26, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. lauren26

    lauren26 New Member

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    Hi everyone,
    Early this year I finally decided to date a girl. I had never been in a relationship with anyone. I'm 23. I met a girl online that was my type, exactly how I had ever pictured my perfect gf (not only physically but in her personality as well) she was romantic and respectful and sure enough I fell in love with her within a month of dating. She was my first kiss, my first time, my first of almost everything. I lived for her for the last 8 months. For the last couple months things felt weird, she almost never said "I miss you" or "I love you" even if I said it to her. When I would complain she always apologized and reassured me she loved me. But she kept being distant. We have very busy lives so we usually went weeks without meeting and when we did it would be for 3 or 4 hours. I am not out to anyone and I'm completely heartbroken. I was the one to officially end it but I feel she gave me no choice and she was not as hurt. I would like to hear from anyone who has had experience to tell me what they'd do, how do I move on? Thank you!
     
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  2. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    Getting over is simple, if hard:
    (1) Time
    (2) New things & distraction
    (3) Honesty
    (4) Kindness
    This will be how you get over every relationship: friendship, romantic, broken family ties, whatever. So let's dive in, shall we?

    (1). Time. I say this on here all the time, but love actually chemically changes your body and your brain (because you, my dear, are a chemical machine) and the object of your affections effects you like a drug. Every time you said "I love you" and "I miss you" and wanted her to say it back, you were after a little rush of hormones. Every time you spent time together: hormones. Sex: lots of hormones! This chemical soup drives us to spend time together, ask for declarations and assurances, move in after a month or two because closeness feels right, etc. So the bad news is: you are detoxing. Your ex is removed, by your own good sense, but your body is still after the feelings that she provoked (and feelings are real, measurable changes in your body and brain! so I'm not dissing feelings). This hurts; anyone who has tried to quit even coffee will tell you that your body resists these kinds of changes, because your brain actually has to re-wire itself to the new normal.

    The good news? Your brain is remarkably resilient, and can do this. It was made to do this. It will take some time, but pretty soon the swings will stop. Your brain will get used to the lower levels of oxytocin and neurepinephrin (among others), and your ex's absence won't feel so stark.

    Even better news? You can help it, by:

    (2) New things & distractions. No joke! Your whole life has been taken up by this relationship; your actual time, your worrying, your focus and attention. It makes the sadness you're feeling even more extreme, because you have this gaping hole where all that effort and love and actual person used to be. But there is also a whole world of things you weren't doing while in this relationship, and only you know what they were: maybe you wanted take a pastry-chef course, but couldn't because you were waiting for your ex at home, or are interested in parkour, or want to learn to juggle flames, or embroider the solar system on your bedsheets. Whatever your discarded hobbies, brand-new interests, or always-wanted-tos: now is the time!

    Some suggestions:
    - Take a course! In anything!
    - Join an adult-ed sports team! (Softball, anyone?)
    - Find a queer book club, and meet some more of your people (and read their literature)
    - Train for your first race - preferably with some other people.
    - Reconnect with friends and form a dinner club.
    - Anything you loved that she didn't like (if my wife left me, I would cook mushrooms for three straight weeks and watch British rom-coms with all my friends).
    These things have many, many benefits as a get-over-her strategy. The first is: occupying your actual time, and providing you opportunities to forget about your breakup for a while. Second, you will have the opportunity to get back in touch with your friends or make new ones, and finding many robust connections to replace the one that is missing helps a lot. Third, you will get to get in touch with yourself, without the relationship or the ex: someone who is learning something new, who has a field of possibilities (interests, skills, friends, communities) arrayed before her. Breakups are endings, but they are also beginnings, and you can make this into a beginning that will nurture and enrich and sustain you. And... exercise, human contact, being outside, etc: they all release many of the same hormones that you are missing right now, and weaken the association of those good feelings with your ex. It is hard to be mopey when you hit the winning home run and are borne to the bar on a raft of friendly homos, because that experience is actually working to re-wire your brain and move on.

    (3) Honesty. Girl, you need to (a) be honest with yourself, and (b) find someone you can talk to about this. It is much, much harder to be truthful and work through difficult things by yourself, but that is 100% what you are doing right now. So, (a): when you are missing and loving her and just wishing that you didn't break up, remember (not with anger, or exaggeration, but just truthfully) what it felt like to be pouring love into your relationship and getting nothing back. Remember what it felt like to actually confront your partner to be told that you were loved. To go weeks without your partner seeing you or making time for you. Someone can be beautiful, intelligent, kind, and interesting, perfect on paper, and if they behave in the way that you describe, a terrible partner for you. Be honest when you talk, think, and reflect on your girlfriend's perfect-for-you-ness, because perfection is found in the connection between people, not in isolation. And then, (b): You need to mourn the relationship that you were imagining, the connection you thought you had, the one that didn't pan out. It is very hard to be in love for the first time, to lose that love, and to have no one to share that experience with. I'm glad you're here, and strangers on the internet can help, but if you have a friend, sibling, etc that you can come out to, who you trust to take care of you when you need to talk or bring you back to reality when you lose sight of the reasons you broke up, that person is invaluable.

    And finally, (4). Kindness. Everything you are feeling is normal. Missing a lost love is normal (see above re: hormones and quasi-addiction to love!). You are doing this right, and by "this," I mean everything: having a first relationship that didn't work out, choosing to end it because you were not supported and happy, feeling alone, mourning what you lost. Most of the women here have had these experiences, made these choices, felt what you are feeling, at some point; forgive yourself for whatever time you take to move on, and know that your time-frame is your own and perfectly valid.

    Be kind to yourself. Kindness takes the form of letting yourself off the hook sometimes, when you choose to watch Disney movies for half a day rather than do your laundry; it takes the form of pushing yourself to try something new even though you are nervous. It takes the form of putting yourself first, so if your ex wants to be friends and you're not ready you say no. It takes the form of finding the closure you need, spoiling yourself from time to time, asking for help, and seeing yourself as valuable and worthy even though this first relationship didn't work out. You may want to be kind to your ex; that's fine, but make sure that you are only doing that if it does not hurt you. Your first responsibility, as a human healing heartbreak, is to your own safety and wholeness; your ex is similarly responsible to herself.

    Finally (5! bonus): Remember, there are women out there who are beautiful, are respectful and romantic, and who will tell you unprompted and at inopportune times that they love you (no lie, my wife tells me this while I am up to my elbows in dishwater). Who will find ways to meet you for lunch when your schedules don't line up (picnics in the cafeteria with smuggled-in wine!). Who, when you bring up that you are feeling unloved and unmissed, will not only reassure you but want to talk about how they can show you that they love and miss you in other ways.

    Your first love is precious; remember it for the good things, for what it taught you about yourself, for the sacred experience of realizing you can feel this way at all. But also remember that it is a starting place, and that there are better things to come.
     
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  3. lauren26

    lauren26 New Member

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    Thank you so much! I cried a lot while reading this but I feel better after it. This is great advice. I appreciate your help :)
     
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  4. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    I cried a lot after my first break-up - I felt foolish, lost, embarrassed, and very very sad. Now (a bunch of years, varyingly successful relationships, and the actual love of my actual life later), I have a lot of affection but little regret for that confused, hurt girl who was experiencing her first heartbreak, and for the person who I loved who hurt me so much, and for the flawed, sweet, ultimately not-so-great relationship I was mourning.

    You're gonna be okay. Time, distraction, honesty, and kindness. And feel free to come back here and ask for more advice/other people's stories/help if you need it.
     
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  5. mariannek2u

    mariannek2u Well-Known Member

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    Time time time. And getting your mind set on other things! That always worked for me :)
     
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