Having your heart broken at any point in your life is a devastating blow. But Sheryl Crow totally knew what was up because the first cut is definitely the deepest. Knowing how to get over someone who broke your heart for the first time is tough, partly because you have no idea what to expect.
Most people are blindsided by how physically agonizing it can be to lose the first person you ever loved. Thinking back to the first person who completely annihilated my heart, I remember being shocked by how overwhelming the physical sensations of experiencing this shattering form of loss were. There's no wonder why such a large part of music, literature, and pop culture is so heavily saturated with tales of life in the wake of a broken heart.
But trust me on this one — once you've had your fair share of heartbreak and relationship malfunctions, it doesn't necessarily get easier, but something about knowing that you aren't going to keel over and die from the agony becomes weirdly comforting in its own right.
Elite Daily spoke with Dr. Martha Tara Lee, a clinical sexologist (DHS, MA, BA) and founder of Eros Coaching, to better understand why first-time heart break is so painful and the best ways to start moving on.
1. Allow Yourself To Fully Lean Into The Pain
When going through something as traumatic and intense as letting go of the first person you truly felt connected to, it can be tempting to run from the pain. But believe it or not, this isn't the best way to cope.
"It is believed that if we allows ourselves to feel whatever emotions it is we are feeling fully for 17 seconds, it will shift. And painful as it is, it is better to feel fully as part of the process of healing as opposed to suppressing, repressing and avoiding feeling," explains Dr. Lee.
By trying to avoid your emotions — especially ones as powerful as heartbreak — you run the risk of closing yourself off. By doing this, you are potentially making it that much harder to let other people in later down the line — ultimately robbing yourself of the chance to fully heal. Just like wounds on your body, emotional wounds need to be aired out before they can scab over and reveal the beautiful, stronger, and more resilient you that's waiting underneath.
2. If You Can, Even Try To Embrace It
If the heartbreak is still fresh, then the idea of fully embracing the pain probably seems impossible. But once you've allowed the initial sting to settle, accepting your pain for what it is is the next step towards recovery.
To make this step a bit easier, Dr. Lee suggests remembering that pain isn't necessarily a bad thing: "Pain tells us we are alive — we can stay with [it], embrace it and work through it one breath at time and one day at a time."
3. Talk About It, But Not Too Much
For some people, the first they do post-heartbreak is to call up their friends and start going on a rampage detailing the specifics of the situation on repeat. Although seeking the support of friends and family is totally healthy, Dr. Lee warns not to get carried away with the wallowing.
"Talking it out, bitching, and/or whining to any listening ear can make you feel worse at times, because the validation and support you get doesn't truly help you make sense of things," explains Dr. Lee.
If you are in a particularly dark place, or want some honest perspective on the situation from someone who isn't just going to fuel your negative feelings, then talking to a professional is a solid opinion. "Make sense of the situation through counseling or therapy if needed. You will heal faster and more fully if you work with an impartial and trained practitioner," says Dr. Lee.
4. Avoid Falling Into A Rebound Relationship
"You are hurting and if you don't want others to hurt you. Don't hurt others by using them to get over your negative emotions," urges Dr. Lee.
I know the idea of having a temporary place holder might seem awfully tempting, but try to fight the urge. At the end of the day, rushing into something new isn't going to erase the pain — at best, it will serve as a temporary distraction, and at worst it could actually end up adding to the issue if things go south.
5. Let Go
Just because you've been burned doesn't mean anything other than that person probably isn't right for you. And just because they aren't right for you doesn't mean that your chance at true love is forever lost.
"Decide not to let one negative person or experience affect the rest of your life. Decide not to close yourself to love and life. Learn what you can and let go of the rest that is not within your control. It's not always about you and what you did," says Dr. Lee.
I'm not going to pretend like the road ahead is going to be easy, but I can promise that if you allow yourself the time and space to heal, at some point the intensity of the experience will begin to fade. Remember, there are so many amazing people in the world that are worth getting to know. Don't let yourself shut them all out just because the first one didn't get it right. When you finally do meet the right person, all of the hard lessons leading up to that moment with be so, so worth it.
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