If you ever find yourself heartbroken and back in the year 2007, I would highly recommend not listening to One republic’s “Apologize,” Band of Horses’ “No One’s Gonna Love You,” or A Fine Frenzy’s “Almost Lover” on repeat alone in your dorm room.
Listen to these songs and you will then see why I continued to sabotage myself from feeling better. Listening to the lyrics “No one is ever gonna love you more than I do” only made me cry myself into oblivion. People, take my advice, when you are sad, DO NOT LISTEN TO SAD SONGS. Cry it out a few times, but then go watch Pitch Perfect and cheer yourself up. Do not torture yourself.
When I suddenly found myself single my freshman year of college, I had this aching pain in my chest. My heart actually felt broken. It was so bad, I called my Mom and asked if I was going to be ok (self-diagnosed hypochondriac.) I would also highly recommend not drinking boxed wine that same night before your Psych 101 final the next morning with the people on your dorm floor. You will wake up, still devastated, with a massive headache. Franzia is literally (said in Chris Traeger’s voice) the worst thing ever.
Tons of people breakup and are fine. Why did this affect me so much? When we see our friends STILL talking or going back to that guy we KNOW is not right for her, why does she not listen to our advice to stop communication?! Are some of us just gluttons for punishment?
Even if we weren’t mistreated, and the breakup ended amicably, what prevents us from moving on? This post is meant to be gender neutral, but I may refer to “he” more often.
Here are 7 reasons we just can’t get over it:
1. He/She Was Your First Love
There was a theory that if you fell in love during adolescence, like me when I was 16, that this person imprinted on you. If you’re not familiar with the term imprinting, think of baby ducklings immediately following the Momma duck during a critical period after they hatch. It is a biological bond. It was thought that first loves have this similar intense emotional bond especially when we are young. Unfortunately, if this were true, we would never be able to bond with anyone after the first person we fell in love with. Though we may have strong emotional memories, they are not imprints. It is our choice whether we rekindle the relationship or let the person go.*
2. You Want the Fantasy, Idea, Or What They Represent, Not The Person
You can’t get over this person because they provided so much for you at a pivotal time in your life. Perhaps it was emotional or financial stability. They made you feel loved, treasured, and safe. You were a part of a couple and you felt you had a place in the world, with your partner. You miss the idea of being with SOMEONE, it’s just not this person necessarily.
3. You Only Remember the Good Times and Cannot Remember Anything Dysfunctional
Of course our stupid brains keep flashing happy memories to us. You only remember the secret love notes he left around your house, the silly made up nicknames, the way he decorated your room when you came back from Europe for a month, and all the mini outdoor adventures you would take. Your brain doesn’t want you to remember how jealous and needy he was or how he betrayed you.
4. He/She Was Your Most Recent Relationship
You can’t get over this person because you can’t remember what dating anyone else is like! You don’t want to go back into that awful dating scene and will compare everybody to this person. This is just because it was your most recent relationship. When you meet the next great person, you will get over it.
5. You Made a Mistake and Let Go of Someone You Took For Granted
Don’t beat yourself up too much about this one. Ever hear that quote, “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you’ll know exactly what to do.” Maybe you ended things with this person because you needed to explore what else was out there and were too young to make a lifetime commitment. You broke up with this person because you thought he would always be there. You thought you might be able to do your own thing for a while, but when you were ready to come back, he had already moved on. It’s ok. As F. Scott Fitzgerald would say and I agree, “I believe there are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice.” You will find another, different love.
6. You Want What You Can’t Have
You were fine when things ended, but now that he is dating someone else, you want it back. From what you can tell by stalking his Facebook, you can tell she’s really cute and looks like a lot of fun. You could probably be friends with her. You don’t want him, but that doesn’t mean anyone else can have him either. This is the classic “grass is greener on the other side” scenario. You just want what you can’t have.
7. Maybe You Truly Are Meant to be Together
A part of you truly believes this person is your soul mate. Despite whatever happened, you will try and figure out a way back to each other.
If any of these applied to you, realize that you are not alone. I think the majority of us have experienced this “lost love” at some point in our lives. Know the difference between what your heart wants and what your brain is telling you. Look at the situation logically, and consider why you truly didn’t work out, unless you really believe in #7.
If you think any of these apply to your friend, the best thing you can do is not force her to “get over it.” Despite how much it hurts you to see your friend go through such emotional turmoil, it is THEIR experience and has nothing to do with you. Even if they are making what you see as the “wrong” decision, they are on their own journey of self-discovery and have the right to make their own choice. Don’t get angry with them or tell them, “don’t come back to me when he screws you over again.” In fact, it is probably the most crucial time in your friend’s life when they need someone like you to just listen to them. Even if you don’t support her choice now, she will figure it out eventually. Allow her to do that.
Whatever it is, these particular people hold special places in our hearts, even if it is just a tiny piece. I like to think of the experience as a scar. You know it was painful once, but now it’s just a faint reminder that at one point you were hurt. That doesn’t mean you can’t move on and be happy with someone else. Despite the past hurt, you will always have those wonderful memories and can reflect back on them in times of nostalgia. Know that there are about 7 billion people in this world and one is waiting to love just you.