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5 Things I Learned From My First Heartbreak

“Why are you still crying over him?”          

“You were too good for him anyway.”

“You better know your worth and add taxes to it!”

These were my responses to all of my friends throughout my life who were devastated after having broken up with a guy that was completely not worth their time. Throughout my teenage years, I was one of those girls who could not, for the life of me, understand why girls had let boys have so much power over them that they felt the need to stay down after a guy put them down.

In my life, I had had my fair-share of dealings with boys, but I have never allowed any of those relationships to bloom beyond the point of friendship. I avoided relationships, because I did not want to date anyone who did not check all of the mental boxes of qualities I had set in my head of what I wanted in a guy. In doing this, I chose to play the role of being that friend who had the best relationship advice but was never in a relationship.

Within those male friendships was a guy from my childhood – a close family friend I had known and vacationed with for a number of summers since I was nine years old. More so than we probably were, our families had toyed with the idea of us being together. After a long summer of conflict between his persistence and my coyness, we mutually agreed to give a relationship a try – or so I had thought. With all this said, it turned out that what I thought was a budding relationship was just a summer fling to him.

After allowing myself to go through all of the motions of heartbreak – anger, sadness, feeling stupid and whatever else have you – I found my light and the end of the tunnel when I realized that I learned some valuable lessons on what to do and not do so I don’t ever allow myself to be played in that way again.

1. Do not date a project.

It is not wise to date someone having the mindset that you can change or fix certain things about them. People can only change themselves, and in addition to that, they have to want to change. Waiting around for someone to change will only leave you at a standstill as you wait, and you may never even see the final outcome. Be so busy trying to improve yourself that you do not have time to fix anyone else.

2. Address issues as they come.

We often overlook and invalidate our own feelings in attempt to avoid conflict. If you do not like something they said, the way they said it or something they did, tell them then and there. Issues that brew and never get addressed often arise in arguments about more serious issues. Don’t be that person that argues about whose turn it was to wash the dishes when you really want to argue about how much that sexist comment they said last week hurt you. Do not ever think that you are being petty; how you feel is valid. Someone that values you should also value your feelings.

3. Do not let love blind you.

One thing I criticize myself on a daily basis for is allowing toxic people to have a place in my life because I loved them. It is important to decipher between quirky imperfections and actual red flags in a relationship. Forgetting to wash the dishes one time is a fixable mistake. I would, however, think twice, maybe three times, about the sexist comment you made. This kind of issue is not something you should have the burden of trying to fix for someone. Do not turn a blind eye to any issue that is rooted in hatred, ignorance or abuse.

4. Never settle for less than what you deserve.

One of the most valuable lessons I learnt after being heartbroken was that I did not deserve the subpar treatment I got. I distinctly remember asking my ‘summer fling’ why he was being so cold and distant toward me. He said to me in plain words, “I think you expect me to be your knight-in-shining-armor and that’s just not realistic.” Boy, did that hurt! I was made to feel as if my simple requirement of being loved properly was a large burden that I was trying put on him. When I thought about it some more… he was absolutely right. I did have high expectations of him, because I deserved nothing less. I never understood why people accepted half love from anyone, and there I was permitting it. You deserve to have someone who values you and knows how to show it; not someone who says that they value you, yet show the exact opposite. The minute you accept poor treatment from someone, they start to see you that way.

5. Don’t let being in a relationship validate you.

Looking for your ‘better half’ or for someone to complete you insinuates that you are less of a person because you are not in a relationship. You are a complete, whole individual with, without, before, during or after a relationship. You can never truly be fulfilled in life until you love yourself first. When your relationship crumbles, what would you have left? You would be left with an amazing individual who knows their worth without needing outside approval.



Courtenee Ross is a Senior Fashion Marketing and Management major with a minor in Fashion Journalism at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
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