3. Don't blame yourself for exploring who you are. "Embarrassment and shame wash over me. I am a complete failure." Ana, let me tell you something: You are not a failure, and there is nothing to feel ashamed about. Shame is born from the limits we force on ourselves, and the limits we allow others to force upon us. As a woman, it's natural to want to experience something new and exciting. You can only discover your own true limits (hard or soft) when you allow yourself to experiment, to discover what feels okay and not okay to you, and to push these boundaries. You found your limits and you stuck to them. Bravo! Your journey on the road to self-discovery and sexual awakening is nothing shameful.
4. Don't isolate yourself or keep your love affair a secret. Yes, you signed a non-disclosure agreement (which, if my legal skills don't fail me, probably wouldn't be enforceable in a court of law), but you cannot keep this pain to yourself. If you do, it will take on a life of its own in your mind, exacerbating and prolonging your suffering. Sometimes, we understandably want to keep what happens behind closed doors a secret. If you don't feel comfortable talking about your relationship with Kate or your mom, then don't. Just find someone you trust and tell them your story, whether it's an online support group or a therapist. If you still can't do that, then start a journal. You need to get this out!
5. You will love again. Promise. I'm sure this is the last thing you want to hear and you may hate me for saying it, but it's true. I know Christian Grey isn't just some crush you passed notes with in high school who broke your heart. This was your first true love, who gutted your soul and tortured your heart. Though you may never love exactly the same way again, love has many forms, and you will love again. How, when, who and why are questions that cannot be answered. Your destiny will unveil itself slowly over the course of your life's journey. As long as you stay true to yourself, all roads will lead you back to love.
Someone who's been there.