Before I became a love doctor so-to-speak, I was very much in the heartbreak business. This is probably because I was in a different place in my life then, and was trying to heal myself through healing others. Whatever the case may be, I have had my heart ripped out of my chest in the past and I'm pretty open about that. Yes, part of me doesn't want my ex to have the satisfaction of knowing how much he truly hurt me, but screw it. I promised myself from day one of The Way We Met that I would always speak my truth. Plus what he thinks of me is none of my business anyways, and I'm building an empire here, so who the heck cares? Ok, moving on...
In my years of experience coaching people through break-ups, nine times out of ten, people's biggest concern is that they will never love anyone the way they loved their last partner. Well, that is true, but you WILL find love again. It will just be a completely different kind of love than the last love you experienced because no two relationships are ever the same. You don't replace someone you loved with someone else who you will love in the exact same way, it just doesn't work like that. Not to mention, you will be entering your next relationship as a changed person yourself, which means the kind of partner you chose will also change.
Often times the first person we fall in love with in life is not the one we're meant to be with. I know that fairytales will tell you different, and I also realize the hypocrisy here considering I feature many stories of high school sweet hearts ending up together on my blog. However, these couples are an exception to the rule, and statistics show that less than 25% of people marry their first love.
The most difficult part about your first love is that it is the hardest one to get over. The first cut is the deepest as they say. The pain that you feel during your first heartbreak is so excruciating in part because it's such a foreign experience. You never knew this kind of pain even existed before. Furthermore, you never in a million years thought that it could happen to you. There was a point in time where the two of you were so in love you would have swallowed a vile of poison Shakespeare style before choosing to live without each other. Somewhere along the lines though it changed. There could be a myriad of reasons as to why, but it's not important. What's important is that currently you feel like you will never move on, but that's not the case, and you will. You are not the first person to feel this way, and you most certainly won't be the last.
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote such an accurate description in her book Eat Pray Love that sums up exactly how I feel about first loves and soul mates:
"A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. The purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master."
I spent years of my life grieving the loss of my first love. I was devastated and it truly turned my whole world upside down. However, had I not gone through that and had I never experienced that turmoil, I wouldn't be the person I am today. That heartbreak is what pushed me towards finding my passion in life, which was creating The Way We Met. Writing about love and relationships is what I was meant to do, and for 27 years I didn't know it. Every experience, every tear, every friend I've ever counseled in relationships has led me to this point right now.
You can't take back what has happened to you or what you've been through. You can't un-see what you've seen. The best advice I can give to you is that self-improvement is the best revenge. All you can do right now is take the grief you are feeling and turn it in to something productive. Make it the force that pushes you out of bed every morning and the voice in your head that says, "nothing and nobody is going to keep me down." Spend all your time and energy focusing on yourself, and in time, an even better companion will come along. Your battle wounds will always be there, but in time you won't feel them anymore. They will merely be a small scar to remind you of a past you overcame but that no longer hurts.
I've been in other relationships since my first boyfriend and have fallen in love again. Of course, it has been a different kind of love, a healthier one. Nothing could ever compare to the high-highs and low-lows of my first, nor would I want it to. For me, that was an experience that was meant to happen once in my lifetime in order to shape me into someone entirely different. I was completely consumed in my first relationship; I didn't really think about my own dreams or passions and didn't really care about meeting new people or trying new things. That is entirely opposite of the person I am today. I think greatness is achieved only after we have experienced complete failure. How do we learn great strength if we have never known great weakness? Sometimes we need to rise above our worst moments to create our best ones.
I know so many of you read the stories everyday on The Way We Met hoping and praying for "the one" to come along, and they will. But until then focus on your relationship with yourself. If you're going through a heartbreak, I promise you your best days are yet to come. You are about to know yourself better than you ever have and learn the limitlessness of your strength. You will not only survive but thrive as a result of what you're going through. Pain makes you strong, not weak, and that's where people have it twisted. Feel your pain, let it hit you, let it penetrate your soul, and wake up tomorrow a better and stronger person because of it. This is not the end, its only the beginning...