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What My First Heartbreak Taught Me

what heartbreak taught me

I was a 21 yr old girl. The kind who wore floral dresses and smiled brightly at the earth. He was a brown-eyed intense boy. The kind who listened to sad songs and stared at you like he saw your soul. We met on Tinder.

On our first date, we sat near a stunning lake at sunset and talked till night fell. Our second date was on Valentine’s Day, and he took me out for lunch, where we giggled and ate avocado toast. After that, it was all about long drives, lake views, walks, movies, workouts, and slow kisses.

He was the kindest boy I had met.

It was the little things that captivated me. The way he loved making puns. The way he squealed at the sight of his favorite cars. The way he hid from the world, but I could see his soft side as clear as glass. The way it made me gently smile. The way he would goof around in the car and make me laugh. The way he kissed me, and suddenly I knew what passion meant. The way he stared into my eyes and made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world.

We had known each other for 6 months. And we went really slow the whole time. Just enjoying each other’s company and allowing our connection to naturally take its course.

But what we didn’t know was that time moves really fast.

Before we knew it, it was time for us to go our separate ways for graduate school. We had known each other only for six months, and we were both afraid to do long-distance. You hear about it in books, but does it even work? Especially for people who have known each other for so little time. You can extend the foundation of a relationship through long-distance, but the sad truth is that I don’t think you can build a foundation through one.

So I had to let him go.

It was hard. I cried. I looked through our texts and remembered our time together. He was so good to me, and I was more afraid of the possibility of what I might be missing out on. What we could have been.

But I knew this wasn’t the right time for us. Sometimes, timing is a bitch and life has other plans for you. I’ve heard many instances of people cheating, having major disagreements, and falling out of love. But what do you do when the timing is what’s wrong? It’s not him. It’s not me. It’s just that life changed its course, and suddenly it was too soon for us to adapt to it.

Yes, I didn’t actually date him, but I know what I felt was real. And I know that the pain and disappointment is real. Nobody can tell me otherwise.

I tried to think about how the last six months changed us, and I was amazed at what my brain revealed.

He told me, “Thank you for being my sunshine for the past six months”. He told me how he learned to keep the spirit of hope and optimism alive through me. With every giggle I made and every spark I showed in my eye, he learned how to express himself better in a world that was hell-bent on silencing his voice. He told me I did that.

As for me, with each stupid risk he took (and he took many!), he taught me how to live life on the edge. To not succumb to my overthinking brain so much and just “do!” I have always been a cautious and anxious individual. But our time together showed me how I could mischievously kiss a boy by surprise, drive further than three blocks down my home and still be okay, or attempt the leprechaun jump (aka jumping and tapping your heels together!) knowing that I would fall.

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He taught me that I could do what I wanted to. I could listen to that little voice inside me more often. And trust me, I will forever be grateful for that.

But you know what he taught me the most? He taught me how to open my heart. And feel.

Taking a chance on someone is hard; it is possibly the scariest feeling for a girl doing it for the first time.

But he made it worth it. He took my hand and gently showed me how to trust him. By the end of our journey, I felt what we were. It was the strangest feeling ever. But so blissful and peaceful. I’m glad I did.

I’m glad I took a chance on that brown-eyed intense boy.
I’m glad I allowed him into my heart.
I’m glad the six months were so heartwarming.
And I’m glad we understood what we were.

I don’t regret it. At all.
It was time for it to end. I knew that.

But I also knew that
we crossed paths
touched hearts
and transformed each other
one sparkling summer.

View Comment (1)
  • My first heartbreak taught me to never lose myself again when a man breaks my heart. I will never, ever again let another man have that kind of power in my life ever again. And boy am I glad I learned that lesson at 20 while I was that young. Ever since then every single breakup I have had, I am able to let go and move on quickly.

    When my ex-boyfriend of 14 long years sprung a breakup on me out of nowhere, by the time his bags were packed and he was out that door, I felt so much peace and calm that it even amazed the hell out me.

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