To All The Boys We've Loved (or Strongly Liked) Before

Ladies, breaking up is hard to do. It’s that heart-breaking, soul-crushing, mind-bending kind of pain. If anybody knows, I know. For the first half of my freshman year in college, I was extremely depressed. I had done what everyone in my life had advised me not to do my freshman year: have a long-distance relationship in college. Lord knows I wish I had listened. In the midst of trying to get acclimated to the Hampton culture and navigating this new atmosphere, I had girls calling my phone telling me things my then-boyfriend had done. I had my friends sending me snapchats of him doing questionable things. I had him lying in my ear at every turn. It. Was. Terrible. There was also no CityGirls back then telling me to “F*** Dat N****”, so you know I was going through it. I cried pretty much every day, multiple times a day. I didn’t know how important it was back then to express my emotions, so I kept everything bottled up which only made me feel worse. When I didn’t want to feel sad, I masked my pain with anger and completely hardened myself to make sure I would never feel that same pain again. I was not myself. Ask anybody. I had allowed a boy and his actions to make me into a person that I wasn’t. An angry, insecure, untrusting, depressed, detached, and lesser version of myself.

I brought up all of this to say, you are not alone. You are not the first girl who’s suffered a heartbreak that felt like the end of the world. You are not the first girl who’s gotten blindsided by someone you cared about. You are definitely not the first girl who questioned what his new girl had that you lacked. We have all done it. It is up to you to determine how you will rise and grow from this. Below are some tips on getting through your breakup, getting over your ex, and knowing there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

“God’s love brings no confusion.”

Allow yourself time to truly grieve your relationship. Don’t try to move on too fast, but also do not dwell on it. There will come a point where you’ve had enough of crying and feeling sorry for yourself. I remember the night so clearly when everything changed for me. It was homecoming and I was sitting in my dorm lobby, slightly tipsy, talking to a friend about the whole situation. I didn’t even realize how loud I was talking until a girl came up to me on her way out. She put her hand on my shoulder and said, “God’s love brings no confusion.” She was completely right. God would not supply you with a love that brings you stress, sadness, or confusion. If the guy you love is bringing you any of that, let go of him, sis, before he drains you dry.

There is hope.

You might feel like, “No one will ever make me feel like he did.” You are right. If your last relationship was toxic, then you definitely don’t want anyone else to make you feel that way. If it was a great relationship and life just got in the way, know that you will love other people. No two loves will ever be the same, but there is someone out there that is meant for you and only you. Different people enter our lives to teach us the skills we lack and fulfill the needs we have at that time. While I was dealing with the aftermath of my breakup, God sent me a guy he knew I needed. Someone who understood me. Someone who didn’t dismiss my feelings. Someone who was actually interested in getting to know me and not just this image he had projected on me of who he wanted me to be. Someone that was secure within himself. When we met, we clicked. It was so instant and so intense that I remember crying on the phone to my mother about it. I was so scared. Scared of being vulnerable with someone else, scared of getting my emotions involved, and scared to be responsible for someone else’s feelings while I was still trying to get control over mine. All of my reservations and hesitations almost caused me to lose this great guy in the process. He came precisely at a time when I needed him, but a part of me -- a stupid part of me -- wasn’t ready. Do not make that mistake, girl. Every person that comes into your life is for a reason, whether it is as a blessing or a lesson. Listen to your heart, take it day-by-day, and stay present. Do not let your worries over tomorrow halt your today.

Not all storms need to be chased.

Letting go of a relationship can sometimes follow the same process as mourning the death of a loved one. Once you get past the denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, you finally get to acceptance. Many people commonly mistake the acceptance stage as an excuse to get closure from their ex. You may be thinking: “I just need to know why!” or “I just want to let him know how I feel!” Before acting on these urges, think to yourself, Do I really need closure, or do I just want to give him the chance to say what I want to hear? Focus on gaining closure within yourself first. I never got closure from my ex, but I got to a point where I didn’t need it. I had let go of the why and focused on the what. If someone does something to hurt you, it doesn't matter why they did it. They did it. In addition, dealing with guys you honestly may never know the real reason behind their actions. Therefore, it is up to you to look within yourself, understand your emotions, express your emotions in a healthy way, and begin to heal. Yes, you may be sad at first and find yourself questioning everything, but you will soon get to a place of contentment where an “I’m sorry” won’t matter or fix anything. Not all storms need to be chased. If you’re feeling a way about a situation, just let it be. It’s not worth it.

Getting over a breakup will not be easy, but you have the right to take as much time as you need to heal. You have the right to be angry and sad, but do not let this consume you. Just because he told you were beautiful, funny, and intelligent does not mean that you were not all of those things before him and that you will not be all of those things after him. Remember that God’s love brings no confusion or stress or sadness, so he would not send you someone that brings any of those emotions onto you. Also, know that there is hope and that there is someone else out there for you. You will love again, just be open and willing to explore those options. When you are tired of crying and want to begin the process of healing, focus on yourself first and not getting closure from your ex. His “why” or an “I’m sorry” will not dramatically stop the pain you’re feeling and you could find yourself back in the same cycle of toxicity (and he could be lying). You can do this!  

To all the boys we’ve loved (or strongly liked) before…

You did not break us. You only made us stronger. Dealing with your lying, cheating, manipulative, and toxic ways has only made us more prepared for the world. We trusted you, confided in you, and you let us down. You’ve hurt women who have only ever supported you and believed in you (more than you believed in yourself). We gave our all to you and were left with little to nothing for ourselves. Despite all of that, we thank you. Thank you for showing us what we don’t want in a man and what we won’t tolerate. We are sooo much better off without you.