We met in our freshman dorm and hit it off almost immediately.
She was so goddamn beautiful.
She had long blonde hair that tumbled off her shoulders in waves, big, beautiful eyes that held a soft and caring expression and this smile that lit up whichever room we happened to be in together.
As striking as her physical beauty was, that wasn’t what made her special to me.
I was addicted to her personality.
She has this way with the world.
I can’t truly explain it, but she’s incredibly magnetic.
People like being around her, and I wanted (needed) her to be mine.
I’ll skip the gory details, but we started dating mid-freshman year.
It was fireworks from the start.
Those fireworks popped and sparkled in my head every day for the next two years while I was around her.
She was magical.
Slowly, though, I think we both began to realize the fireworks had been blinding us from the underlying problems of our personalities.
We didn’t communicate well, and we brushed bigger issues under the table.
Those bigger issues manifested themselves into insecurities within the relationship, and they turned into petty arguments that were easily avoidable.
I suddenly realized it had reached the point of no return.
Neither of us was happy.
There was a different shine in her eyes.
The once soft and relentlessly caring eyes looked more guarded and cold.
I’m sure she saw the same thing when she looked back at me.
I can’t speak for her, but I stopped cherishing her.
Long story short, we ended things.
In the months that followed, I fell down to incredibly dark places.
The world seemed a little less beautiful.
I was going through the healing process, and I decided I needed to take the time to look inward and start making things happen for myself.
Here are five stages of moving on and letting go that I went through.
I hope they can help someone else struggling with heartbreak:
The first naïve impression I had after the breakup was I wasn’t supposed to be upset.
Some machismo propaganda that had been tossed my way seemed to spread the idea through my conscious that I was okay.
I didn’t need her, and there was nothing to be sad about.
The world moves on.
Boy, was I wrong.
The more I suppressed the fact that I missed her and that I was sad about the end of things, the worse it got.
It would come out when I drank and when I was alone, even if I was consciously trying to stop it.
Heartbreak is like breaking a drug addiction, and you're in the withdrawal stage.
My advice is to let yourself mourn the loss.
Don’t let the emotions build up to a dangerous point.
Think of suppressing emotions like adding air to a balloon that’s already been inflated.
Eventually, it’s bound to pop.
Listen to some emotional music and be overdramatic about it.
The more you let your emotions come to the forefront, the more you will learn about yourself.
Oh, and cut off all contact with her.
You may think you can be friends, but you can’t.
There is too much emotional baggage.
2. Lean on your support system.
I’m going to be blunt here: No one really gives a f*ck about your heartbreak.
Really, it’s not a malicious thing.
People will be empathetic and sympathize with you, but they don’t truly care because they don’t truly understand.
They may understand the pain from a previous heartbreak of their own, but every relationship is so unique in and of itself that the healing battle should be self-directed.
However, now is the time to truly figure out the people you can trust to lean on for this sort of stuff.
First, lean on your family.
They have been there for you as long as you’ve been alive, and they have a lot of experiences with love that they are willing to talk about.
I grew so much closer to my family in my mourning process because I was truly dedicated to fostering the relationships in my life that weren’t with her.
I found out a lot about my family and a lot about who my true friends are.
They are all damn good people, and they had my back every step of the way.
Exercise with your friends and family.
Go out to eat, get drunk with them and talk to them when you feel like you need to.
They may not truly understand, but they’ll listen.
That makes all the difference.
3. Identify problem areas and focus inward.
Were you a selfish prick during your relationship?
Were you insecure and jealous? Did you put yourself before her?
Whatever it is, figure it out and work on improving it.
This is your time to fix the things about yourself that you aren’t proud of.
Start improving them.
Before you work on giving your heart to someone else, focus inward.
The first step to solving a problem is identifying and admitting the fact you have one.
4. Take care of yourself.
Exercise, and sweat the negative feelings out.
Set a fitness goal (a lofty one) and hit the gym, champ.
The iron and asphalt will be your new girlfriend for the time being.
Be determined to not f*ck this relationship up.
It not only will help you feel better (trust me), but you’ll also have tangible results to show for the progress of your recovery.
You’ll take a look back at your initial lofty goal and be shocked at how close you are to achieving it (if you haven't already).
5. Have fun.
Just because you’re sad, that doesn’t mean the whole world has disappeared (although it may seem like it has).
One of the most important lessons I've learned throughout my process is while you’re in your room feeling bad for yourself, the world keeps on turning out there.
So mourn, but don’t mope.
Explore. Eat good food. Drink good beer.
Listen to good music. Go to concerts. Take a cooking class.
Be a productive and contributing member in the world.
This is the time to reinvent yourself into whoever you want to be.
Make that reinvention awesome.
6. Let go.
Anger seems to be an automatic reaction to a breakup.
I think it’s natural to be angry at your ex in one way or another, but don’t stay angry.
One of the biggest steps of moving on is looking back at the relationship through a positive lens.
Don’t hold the breakup against her.
Remember the good times, and take the bad times as lessons.
You two undoubtedly had great times together.
They are forever embedded in your identity, so remember how she taught you to love.
It’s going to be tough to see her in the world without you by her side.
You’ll undoubtedly see it when she picks herself up and gets back out into the dating world.
She deserves to be happy as much as you do, and facing her new relationship with animosity will only make it harder for you.
Let someone else love her the way you couldn’t.
Let her go. Let her live her new life without you.
If you ever loved her at all, you owe her this. Maybe your paths will cross again one day, but don’t count on that thought.
For now, she is out of your life.
Don’t make it harder on her or yourself by chaining yourself to the thought of getting her back.
She'll respect you for that, and she'll return the favor when you finally stop listening to Death Cab For Cutie and start dating again.
There is no reason to flush with hatred when you think of her.
She brought some amazing times into your life, so appreciate them and respect that you two need to go your separate ways.
One slightly cloudy area of this process is learning how to not paint her in a perfect light.
Remember the relationship ended for a reason, and both parties are to blame.
Well, there you have it. These are not all-encompassing.
But like I said, every situation is different.
Hopefully, these words can help someone out there.
It will hurt, but it’s a part of life.
You ultimately turn into a better person after you spend some time learning more about yourself.
You become more empathetic to people’s inner battles because you know how hard you are fighting your own.
(Oh, and try not to have sex with her. That really screws everything up.)