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An Open Letter to My Sister: Your First Love and Heartbreak

Dear Jenevy,

You turned seven just a few days ago. I’m glad I was home to celebrate that with you. Although you’re not a baby anymore, you’re always going to be my baby sister. Some ways I envy you: you can watch Netflix all day after school, you have an amazing imagination, you have dimples and hair that curls in beautiful rings, you have an awesome big sister, and you haven’t yet experienced your first heart break.

I’ve experienced mine. By the time this letter becomes relevant, you might not remember him, but he was a part of your life too, even if it was for a little while. We took you to the zoo last summer. It was a warm, sunny day and we rode on a carousel, pet the sheeps and llamas, and played at the park. I took pictures, of course, and sent them to mom. That day was special for all three of us.

When I told you we broke up, the news upset and confused you. You asked “Does he still love you?” I said yes. You asked, “Do you still love him?” I said yes. Confused even further, you exclaimed “Then why aren’t you together?”

Jenevy, I wish it was that simple. From the Disney princess movies you love to watch, you adopted this idea that if two people love each other, they should be together forever. But that’s not always the case.

Love is complicated and messy and can’t be wrapped up with a “happily ever after.” With love, especially your first love, you’ll have days that make you feel like your heart is going to burst with adoration and happiness and then there will be days when you feel lost, unsure, confused, sad, and angry all at once. If your first relationship was anything like mine, you’re going to collect many amazing memories and sorry mistakes, you’re going to get hurt and you’re going to hurt someone you love, but through it all, you’re going to grow.

I think the hardest thing about being in your first real relationship is understanding that it probably won’t and probably shouldn’t be your last. You have a whole life to live and a world to conquer. There will be many people to meet and places to go. Opportunities and experiences will push and change you. You won’t be the same person after graduating high school and college, finding a career, and going abroad. With every new experience you will grow and change; you won’t be the same person you were when you first started dating.

My best advice is to put yourself first. I know it sounds selfish, but if you’re not happy, if you’re not growing, if you’re not learning anymore, what’s the point? A relationship is supposed to bring out the best in both people. If you can’t grow together then the best option is to grow separately.

A friend once told me that a girl becomes a woman after experiencing her first heartbreak. It takes an incredible amount of strength to be independent after experiencing romantic love. It’s the rediscovery that is important because after breaking up, you’re faced with the daunting task of finding fulfillment and value within yourself. You’re initially going to feel like you’re learning to walk all over again, but once you overcome it you’ll realize, in the wise words of Christopher Robin, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”


Your Big Sister

Image Credit: Juviand Rivera


I'm a first-year at Kenyon College. I was raised in Staten Island, New York. I'm a Scorpio. I'm a delicate balance between introvert and extrovert. I'm into Environmental Science and Politics. I'm super excited to be part of Kenyon's Her Campus team. Go Ladies!
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