You don’t know what you don’t know.
My first romantic relationship was kind of a mess. Actually, in retrospect, it was a veritable nightmare.
I was a late bloomer, so, when I started dating my first-ever girlfriend (!!) my junior year of high school, I was just so damn grateful to have finally gone on a date and kissed a girl that I made a lot of bad decisions.
I ignored red flags of abuse, I let myself be treated like crap, and spend weeks stressing over stupid, imagined psychodramas that my girlfriend would concoct.
I thought I’d finally (FINALLY!) fallen in love, but, in reality, I was just allowing myself to assume the submissive position in an extremely abusive and dysfunctional relationship.
When I think about those moments, more than anything, I just want to travel back in time and give myself the Good Will Hunting “it’s not your fault” hug. I want to put my arm around my own shoulder and assure myself that I did, indeed, have self-worth, that I deserved better, and that things would, one day, get SO much better.
So, with hindsight now on my side, here are the 11 things that I wish someone, anyone, would’ve told me before my first experience with heartbreak and the ending of my first-ever romantic relationship.
1. You don’t love her.
I know it feels like you do, but, trust me, you don’t. This is just your first experience dealing with these kind of strong emotions in any sort of real-world situation. It's not a fantasy anymore, everything is heightened. So, even though it FEELS live a forever kind of love, trust me, it's not.
2. You don’t have to do EVERYTHING together.
When you start your first relationship, it feels like you need to give it your all, your everything, but here’s the thing — you still have a lot more life outside of that one person. Spread the wealth a little. Hang out with your friends.
Don’t abandon the rest of your life just because this one girl is willing to make out with you.
3. Admit what you don’t know.
Being silent and trying to fake your way through things doesn’t help ANYONE, particularly you. And, if she can’t handle you admitting things, you probably weren’t meant to be in the first place.
4. Call her back.
You saw that she just called you a few minutes ago, right? Call her back. I know what you’re thinking — “But we just spent 9 hours together today. What more do we have to say to each other?” The answer is “A LOT.”
Do yourself a favor and save yourself a lot of grief down the road — call her back.
5. You don’t have to hate who she hates.
Is your girlfriend throwing shade at someone who “done her wrong”? Unless you were personally involved in the beef, don’t join in. You don’t have to be her designated hater.
Treat people with respect as long as they treat you with respect and never decide you don’t like someone by proxy.
6. Seriously, you don’t love her.
I can’t stress this enough. You’re just really happy to be touching someone’s boob.
7. If it feels bad, it is bad.
Hey, do you notice how you feel miserable all the time when you’re around her and, after talking to her, you kinda hate yourself? Yeah, that’s what we call a “red flag.” That’s not how you should be feeling in a relationship. It’s not you, it’s BOTH of you.
This pairing might be toxic.
8. You’re a good boyfriend.
Stop worrying about if you’re a good boyfriend or not. If you’re actually staying up at night, worrying about whether you’re a good boyfriend, chances are, you’re doing OK.
9. You should break up with her first.
Why did you stay in that melodramatic mess for so long? Are you a masochist? You let HER break-up with you, simply because you were too scared to bail from your very first relationship ever. You were so grateful to have finally had a relationship that you didn’t want to see it end, even if it was AWFUL.
But I get it. It’s a confusing time in your life. No one is blaming you, but, dude, sack up next time and don’t be a floormat.
10. It won’t hurt for very long.
The break-up seems so charged and volatile when it happens. You’ll be heartbroken… for like two days. And then a wave of relief will wash over you that you can hardly believe.
You will feel FREE, you’ll feel amazing. And when she calls you in two weeks and wonders if she made a mistake, you can hardly hang up the phone fast enough.
11. See, you really didn’t love her.
I told you. Now get back out there and try a few things. Don’t be afraid to get your heart bruised a little and ALWAYS stand up for yourself from now on. Love yourself first and, if someone wants to join in later — the more, the merrier.