Falling for someone who doesn’t feel the same about you is a pretty soul-shattering experience and it was almost enough to make me give up on love for good. Almost. Thankfully, I kept my heart open and along came a guy who reminded me why it’s always worth taking another risk on love.
I let go of my imagined future. When I met the man who broke my heart, it was one of those moments you hear about in the movies. I was utterly starstruck, there were fireworks when we kissed, the whole shebang. I honestly couldn’t imagine a future without him in it and I didn’t want to. After we split, I spent so much time holding on to the dream of him and me, so when a new man came onto the scene, firework-free, it took some time to get over the fact that my dream was dead. Once I did, I realized that not all relationships have to be a fairytale romance. It doesn’t make them any less valuable.
I learned that heartbreak is an inevitable part of life. Hand in hand with my lifelong commitment to my ex came crippling anxiety. I was constantly worried that I might lose him and when I did, it felt like the floor fell from under me. I was so afraid of having my heart broken again that entering a new relationship was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do. However, it dawned on me that I was only holding myself back from happiness. Relationships are often temporary and sometimes painful but that doesn’t cancel out the good stuff. Regardless of the outcome, the wonder of love is worth the risk.
I forgave myself for my past mistakes. The breakup that broke me became a massive source of guilt. I totally blamed myself for the fact that it failed and I refused to forgive myself for losing the man of my dreams. Opening myself up to a new guy made me realize that it’s never all one-sided. It wasn’t all my fault; my ex was just as responsible for our unsuccessful romance. Also, beating myself up definitely wasn’t going to get him back.
I got comfortable with being vulnerable again. To state the obvious, heartbreak hurts. I closed myself off to love because I didn’t want to get hurt again. When my next relationship rolled around, being my true self was terrifying. What if he rejected me? Spoiler alert: he didn’t, and allowing myself to be vulnerable and authentic turned out to be more rewarding than I ever could’ve imagined.
I rekindled my trust in men. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to go through a breakup and not come out of it hating an entire gender. I’d had a bad experience with a man, therefore all men were the devil incarnate. If the guy that I’d thought was perfect could betray me then I didn’t want to think about what other men might do. It took a long time and a decent man to make me realize that not all men are evil.
I made peace with my ex. Oh boy, did my emotions rollercoaster when it came to my ex. I loved him, I hated him, I didn’t care, then I loved him again… It was exhausting. I wasted so much energy being angry for what he’d done to me but still wanting him to care. It was all completely pointless. Holding onto that kind of negativity just wasn’t serving me so I decided to let it go, move on with my life and find someone new.
I stopped obsessing over how I “should” be. Even when I knew my relationship was over, I was determined to win my ex back. I read countless articles on how to act to make him love me again. I put on a mask around all his friends. I tried to look like I was happy and over it so he’d think I was confident and sassy and he’d totally come running back into my arms. I would change anything to get what I thought I wanted and lost touch with what actually made me happy. Dating someone else taught me that I didn’t have to pretend for someone to love me.
I rediscovered hope. That dream future with my ex that I mentioned? When I lost that, I lost hope for the future entirely. I didn’t see a life where I wasn’t in pain, where my heart didn’t hurt, where I wasn’t consumed with missing him. My misery felt endless but slowly, the heartache faded. When I dared to date someone new, I started to believe that maybe I’d be able to love again. Time, patience, and a potential new romance restored my faith in love.
I remembered that I’m still worthy of love. It’s hard not to find yourself questioning your value when you’re intimate with someone and they dismiss you. I tortured myself for months, believing that I was worthless, unlovable, invisible. But here’s the thing—the whole world isn’t going to love you and that’s OK. Just because one person rejects you doesn’t make you any less worthy of love; you just haven’t found the right person! As much as I wish I’d realized it on my own, falling in love again helped me to see that there was never anything wrong with me. I was still deserving of love, and wow, how different did it feel to receive it just for being myself.
I overcame my life of fear. Fear of another heartbreak; fear that I’d never get my ex back; fear of making the same mistakes again—noticing a theme here? Fear absolutely ruled my life and it was miserable. If you’re in this place, I really feel for you, and the best advice I can give you is this: let go of control. All these things you fear might happen or they might not but being afraid of them won’t change the outcome. I decided to screw my worries, take another chance on love, and I’m thankful that I did every day.
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