Relax, We‘ve Got This!
Hey Amanda! How Do I Get Over My First Love?!
Question of the Week:
I’m having a hard time staying away from my first love. He hasn’t treated me well in a long time and lately I’m feeling like he just wants to make sure no one else can have me even though he doesn’t want me around all the time. I’m so disappointed in myself for spending time with him, buying him things, and being intimate with him. I don’t know how to let go and I’m just wondering if you’ve been through this and what you did to move on. – A, Houston, TX.
Oh sweetie, yes I have been through this. The details may vary, but most of us have found ourselves stuck in a relationships that we couldn’t seem to move past, though we know it’s harmful. Here are some tips that I sincerely hope help you move on…
Analyzing Won’t Help
For me, I remember being stuck in the emotion of it all. I found myself questioning everything. It sounded something like “but what if we get back to the good place we used to be in,” “what if he can fix this, this and this about him – then we can be happy,” “what if he grows up in a few years and changes,” “but I know he loves me…” As I’m sure you are, I analyzed the situation to the max. I couldn’t seem to see anything clearly.
Break It Down and Make It Clear
Finally, I went to therapy. And my therapist, God love her, had me write down all the qualities in him that were hurting me. When I saw the list of negative attributes in front of me, I was able to begin to see that since he was choosing to treat me badly, that he was choosing not to be with me. This took the responsibility off me to fix everything. All the what-ifs in the entire universe don’t change how this man is treating you TODAY. And today is the day that you have to work with.
You could also make a list of the ways you desire to be treated/qualities you want in someone. Next to each item, write how being treated that way will make you feel. On a separate paper write a list of how homeboy is treating you. Next to each of those items, write how that attribute makes you feel.
That could look something like this:Takes me on dates -> adored Respects my morals and body -> valued Communicates with me -> loved —————————————————- Puts me down -> unworthy Uses me for sex -> disrespected Questions where I’ve been-> controlled
The thing is, once most of us break it down, we have fewer items on the what-we-really-want side than we thought we would. Seeing what you want written out, it probably won’t seem like such a long shot that someone who will treat you well out there. This is just one way of helping yourself to see if what you have and what you want are profoundly different. It can also help you see what kind of emotions and energy this relationships is adding to your life, not to mention, how different your life could be.
Be Patient with Yourself
However, having the above revelations isn’t going to necessarily cause you to end the rendezvous immediately – especially if you are heavily emotionally involved.This might very well be the beginning of the end for you, but you’ll still have to walk out being without him as he tests your boundaries, tries to make sure he can still have you, and attempts to convince you to come over, hang out, or not be with anyone else. And that may feel conflicting and hurt like hell. It may even make you want to run back to him. Back to him may feel safer than alone as you move on.
And that’s okay.
Just stick with the process.
For me, I had to give myself permission to not be ready to move on all the way on the first day. Then I had to give myself permission to miss him and be a hot mess.
In this hodgepodge of emotion, I had to forgive myself for replying to texts, answering calls, and not being over the second I realized he sucked. Don’t beat yourself up for where you are today. Give yourself permission to feel everything you feel and be where you’re at. This is part of your process. Be patient with yourself. It will get easier. You will wonder about him less. You’ll think about calling him less. You’ll notice other people more.
You will move on.
When you are ready, you could consider making yourself some rules. This may look like, “I’m not going to go to such and such party alone, because every time I do I hook up with him.” Or something like, “I’m not going to answer the phone, or text after this certain time because that always seems to be when he talks me into seeing one another.” In my opinion, establishing boundaries before you are ready will just cause you to go back on them and then feel incredibly guilty – don’t do that to yourself.
Grieve the Loss
As you say not to and separate from him, you are going to hurt. Whether he deserves it or not, you are grieving a loss. Someone who was fulfilling roles in your life, is gone and you may very well feel like someone died as you let the relationship go. You may feel anger, disbelief, denial, etc. Since you are already hurting now, you really don’t have much to lose.
Deal with Your Stuff
I’m wondering if there is more going on for you in this situation. As Mastin Kipp says, you date at the level of your own self-esteem.
Aside from loving this guy and having intense emotions toward him… Have you stayed with him out of fear of being alone? Do you perhaps have an internal belief that you don’t deserve better? Or maybe you’ve been told that you will end up just like someone in your family and are meant to be with an abusive man? Or maybe if feels to you like ending this means you failed? If any of this touches something deep in you, you may want to consider therapy of some kind. Insecurities tend to resurface in future relationships if they aren’t dealt with.
Love You More
You are worthy of love. You can be treated well by yourself and those you let in your world. You deserve a relationship with a respectful, loving partner who takes care of you and allows you to do the same for them.
You may find it helpful to read about the benefits of being single, or about some fun ways to enjoy life on any given day. As you deal with your shit, are patient with yourself, and increase your self-love… you will move on.
And I have to add… Don’t try to change him. You can’t and won’t.
In my case, the boy did grow up and get his life mostly together. But by time he did, half a decade had passed. I could not have done anything to make him move through the process any faster… and dear God, if I had kept going back to him, I can only imagine what I would have missed out on in life. By time he got his head back on straight I was long gone… staying with him and his drama would never have been conducive to the happiness and life I now have.
And besides… this guy may never get it together.
Let’s let that be someone else’s problem.
Best of Luck, A.
Let me know how it goes,
Maybe a happy ending doesn’t include a guy. Maybe it’s up to you, on your own,
picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in
the future. Maybe the happy ending is just moving on. – He’s Just Not That Into You