In college, I dated someone on-and-off for about three years. We would date, he would dump me, I would sob uncontrollably to anyone who would listen, and we would somehow get back together. Repeat three or four more times, and that was the majority of my college experience.
When we were on, we were ON: sleepovers and lunch dates every week, consistently great sex and endless hours spent laughing our asses off together. When we were off, though, I would sulk under the covers of my twin-sized dorm room bed, forgo nights out to stay in and pity myself instead and drink way too much wine at wine nights with my girlfriends.
We were in the same 10-person sketch and improv comedy troupe on campus, and I'd spend the two nights a week at practice on the verge of tears as I watched him rehearse skits and play silly improv games with everyone else but me.
He dumped me for good in February of my junior year (on Valentine's Day, no less). I've never been depressed or suicidal, but I distinctly remember lying in my bed one night that spring semester and thinking to myself, "I really, really would not mind death right now" and completely meaning it.
I did not think I'd come out of this darkness alive. I felt powerless to my emotions, like a sad, pathetic, angry, broken, miserable version of myself who would have done anything, and I mean anything, to get him back. My lowest point came at the end of junior year when I spent weeks literally begging him to date me again. It was absolute hell.
But here I am: alive, no longer pining, no longer giving a single f*ck about what he's doing with his life and whether or not I am in it. And it feels incredible.
Sometimes I still can't believe I'm no longer the girl who drunk-cries in public, who pulls him aside at crowded parties to "talk" and who hate-stalks other girls on Facebook who I suspected he hooked up with. Sometimes I still can't believe I'm actually myself again.
So, heartbroken person, I'm here to tell you that this gut-wrenching sadness you feel, this terrible need to lay in bed all day and cry your eyes out, this nausea that overwhelms you when you scroll through his Instagram feed or see other girls you think he's been with -- it will pass. I repeat: It will pass.
Here are five things you need to remember when you feel like you're never going to get over your ex.
1. You are not doomed to pine forever.
This is the first thing you need to remember. You will not be in this state of misery forever. You will not be on the verge of tears until the day you die. Everything in life is temporary, even and especially this feeling.
There were stretches of days, weeks, MONTHS when I thought my default state of being was going to be "missing my ex-boyfriend." I thought that anytime my mind wandered, it would wander to him. I thought that anytime I saw his name tagged in a Facebook photo or as I scrolled through the contacts on my iPhone, my heart would race and my pits would sweat and I would freak out from my inability to text him right that second to spill my guts about how much I missed him. I thought I would pine, pine, pine for the rest of my life, like the worst cliché in the worst rom-com you've ever seen.
But all of that stopped. Oh boy, did it stop. It stopped HARD. I stopped thinking about him, I stopped feeling like a prisoner to my impulses, and, most importantly, I got the hell over him. And you will, too. I promise.
2. You will stop looking at his social media accounts.
When I was getting over my ex, I had this dire need to check his Facebook and Instagram at least twice a day. I knew it would rip my heart into a thousand tiny pieces and give me an anxiety attack, but I couldn't stop my fingers from impulsively typing his name into the search bar and clicking "enter." It was uncontrollable, like a doctor was hitting my knee with one of those reflex hammers over and over and over again.
I thought I'd never stop. I thought I was trapped in this cycle of my body forcing me to do something that gave me the shakes and twisted my stomach into knots. But then the cycle broke. I don't remember when or how, but it did. Stretches of time went by where I didn't check up on him, and I soon forgot that I ever cared about checking up on him in the first place.
And this will happen to you, too. You will realize that your energy is better spent elsewhere, like actually living your goddamn life.
3. You will stop fantasizing about the what-ifs.
When you're heartbroken, you craft a whole elaborate fantasy about what might happen if you run into your ex again. You know what I'm talking about: You become the star of your own stupid epic romantic novel in which there is intense eye contact and glorious bouts of "I've missed yous" and dramatic realizations that you were each other's soulmates all along, and also you are 10 pounds lighter and he's got a shit ton of money. I get it. I've been there.
But this fantasizing that you're doing all the time will end. Those romantic novels that you've written in your head will make you cringe. You will snap back to reality and realize that no amount of fantasizing will bring your ex back, and you will be SO FREAKING FINE WITH THAT.
4. You will meet someone new.
It's easy to just throw your hands up in the air and say "I GIVE UP" when someone breaks your heart, as if your ex is the last human being in the universe who will ever think you're interesting.
But take a step back and actually think about that. Do you really think so low of yourself that you believe your ex was the only person who will find you charming and attractive and worthy of anything? Do you honestly, truly feel that you will never, ever, EVER find someone to like you ever again? No, you don't think that. You are so much smarter than these thoughts. You know you are.
You will meet someone who will make you feel like nothing and nobody before this person should have ever mattered. He will lift you up even higher and love you even more than your ex did. He will text you sweet nothings, listen to you rant about your deepest, most insecure thoughts and smile at you while thinking to himself, "I am so lucky to have her."
This person is out there. You just have to believe that he is.
5. You will look back on him as the greatest lesson you ever learned.
If there's one positive thing that came out of my relationship, it is the lessons I learned. I learned that my ex and I weren't as compatible as I thought we were, and that there are people out there who are so much better for me. I learned that I don't deserve to date someone who needs to be convinced that I am lovable.
Above all, I learned that I am f*cking STRONG. I have felt the insurmountable pain of the kind of heartbreak that dropped me to my knees at the foot of my best friend's bed and made me question my will to live, and I survived.
You, too, are strong. You will emerge from this nightmare like the powerful, beautiful, resilient person that you are. It can be hard to remember this when you feel like a shell of the person you once were, but trust me: You are capable of overcoming so much more than you think.