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A Blessing in Disguise: Your First Breakup

About a year ago, things started to go downhill between my ex and me. Like most relationships that had run its course, ours was plagued by fighting, unresolved issues, and general unhappiness. About two months later we finally decided to call it quits, and just like that my first relationship was over. Even though deep down I knew we weren’t right for each other I was still devastated, wondering where things went wrong, if it could be fixed, and if I would ever love anyone else again; you know, typical overly dramatic post-breakup thoughts. TV shows that glorified marrying your high school sweetheart gave me very unrealistic expectations about settling down with the first person you date. Part of the reason why I stayed longer than I should have was that I was afraid of giving up that fantasy; now almost a year later, I’m so grateful that I followed through on one of the scariest decisions of my life. Here’s why your first breakup might be the best thing that ever happened to you:

 

You learn what works and what doesn’t work.

My ex had a lot of great qualities that I tend to look for in guys. However, since he is an ex, there were several characteristics that I got tired of putting up with. It’s difficult to determine if certain qualities in a guy are deal-breakers if you have nothing else to compare it to. You may think that you love being with a quiet guy, until you date someone more outgoing, or realize that not loving Harry Potter is actually a total dealbreaker. First breakups also give you the chance to take a step back and learn from your own mistakes, and how to be a better partner the second time around.

 

You take risks.

Last year, I put off going on a two-month study abroad because I was afraid of the distance breaking my ex and I up; next month, I’ll be studying in Italy and working at my dream job in The Netherlands. Your 20s’ are your time to be selfish, to make dumb decisions, to do what you want to do without worrying about anyone else. As happy as I was in my relationship during my first two years at school, I feel like I missed out on meeting new people and having exciting experiences because I was tied down to someone. If you feel like you can’t go out and try new things because you’re in a relationship, then you’re not with the right person.

 

You realize that you don’t need a relationship to be happy.

A lot of people think that the person who gets into another relationship first after a breakup is the “winner”; I’d say it’s almost the opposite. It can be difficult adjusting to the single life for the first time, and very tempting to try and jump into another relationship just so you won’t be lonely. It may be hard imagining life without the first person you’ve loved, but if things aren’t working between the two of you, it’s far better to be single than be with someone who you’re not meant to be with.

 

You become a stronger person.

First breakups are an incredible learning experience. Going through the heartbreak the first time around sucks, and there are times you think you’ll never get over it, but you do. The breakup that you might dread more than anything could end up being one of the best things that ever happened to you. Now this article isn’t meant to dash anyone’s hopes and dreams that their first relationship will last forever; I’ve seen plenty of couples that went from holding hands in middle school to walking down the aisle, and good for them! However, if you know your first partner isn’t the one, don’t let the fear of losing your first love hold you back from doing what’s best for you.

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Lindsay Marum

Northeastern

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