Are you struggling to figure out how to get over your first love? You’re not the first or the last person who loved and lost, and this probably won’t be your only heartbreak.
Nevertheless, there is no reason to torture yourself by leaning into the grief, isolating yourself, and crying your eyes out while praying your first love comes back to you. Here are ten tips on how to pick yourself up and heal so that eventually, your heart may be open to another adventure!
How to Get Over Your First Love: 10 Tips
1. Realize That the Breakup Is Just Another Challenge in Your Life
You will face many difficulties throughout your life, some of which may not be in your control at all. A bad breakup, especially one that involves your first love, is likely to hurt a lot for a long time.
But as challenging as it may seem, you can get over your first love in time. It’s not the end of the world, no matter how horrible it seems now or how hard you cry. You are still alive, you’re still breathing, and you have a world of new experiences before you!
2. Keep Yourself Busy
Distraction is sometimes the strongest weapon you have in your arsenal while getting over your first love. When you have something to keep you busy, you just don’t have that much time to dwell on the relationship or what you could have done better.
Consider this an amazing opportunity to try your hand at some of the hobbies you’re interested in. If you’re still in school, you can now focus on your studies and get the grades that will help you find a fantastic job later on.
In fact, you now have a lot of time to hone your skills, which should place you in a more goal-oriented mindset and keep you from succumbing to sorrow.
3. Seek Out Help
You may think that isolating yourself would let you think properly about everything that has happened and help you get over the breakup faster. However, isolation can make you so lonely that you end up feeling even worse than before losing your first love.
Instead, surround yourself with as much love as possible. Friends, family members, your pets — all of them can shower you with love and make you remember that you are still special to them. They will be able to listen to you, console you, and help you see a more realistic perspective. At the very least, they can be good shoulders to cry on.
4. Remove Those Heart-Shaped Glasses and See Their Flaws
Yes, your first love was incredible, and you probably felt as if you could fly whenever you were with them. But those heart-shaped glasses will start cracking once you are no longer with your partner.
If you were to continue putting your first love on a pedestal, you would never get over them. You should, of course, appreciate all the good times that you had. However, this is the time to focus on their flaws and everything that was wrong with the relationship.
There’s no need to grow bitter here, though. Instead, try to truly recognize their imperfections without getting too angry.
See them for what they truly are — traits that don’t work in your favor. Your first love clearly wasn’t ready or able to provide you with what you need in the love department. But you do deserve that level of happiness, no matter how bleak the situation may seem now!
5. Avoid All Contact
Just after the breakup, you are still addicted to your first love and how it made you feel. You see them in the songs you used to listen to together, movies that made you truly connect, and even in places in your city where you remember kissing them.
But if you want to get over your first love, you have to break that addiction. Breaking all contact is a must. More importantly, you should keep away from any reminders of them that could render you unable to move on.
Promising to stay friends or even talk every day won’t do much for your broken heart. As admirable as that may be, even a healthy breakup can hurt so much that it makes you lose your breath every time you think about it. And when you’re hurting like that, seeing your first love, running into them, or even checking their socials can wound you each time.
6. Accept That You May Never Forget Them
While getting over your first love, you should remember that you may never forget them. Unless somebody comes to you and offers to clinically remove all memory of that person (à la Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), you are stuck with your memories.
But that doesn’t mean you will have to love them forever. You will, in time, figure out how to live with those memories. You may even learn to block them out so that they don’t prevent you from living a fulfilled life.
These memories may, of course, pop their ugly heads at some point in your life, but if you accepted that your first love was in the past, you wouldn’t feel the same hurt you feel now. You wouldn’t feel rage or sadness. In fact, you would be, more or less, at peace with that relationship and its demise.
7. Forgive Yourself (and Them)
You and your first love may have passed the blame around while breaking up, but eventually, you will have to learn the art of forgiveness. One of the best ways to get over someone is to accept that they were not the one for you and that you weren’t the ideal partner for them.
You may feel as if you could have done more — been thinner, smarter, hotter or prettier, etc. You may spend hours dissecting the relationship until you find proof that you are to blame and that you never deserve happiness again.
But is that really what you want from your life? Your first love is important, but it shouldn’t be given so much power or a chance to destroy your life.
While forgiving them for their mistakes, remember to forgive yourself for everything you did or did not do. Acknowledge the relationship as a learning experience that you can use later on to find your true love — the one that will never go away.
8. Don’t Force Yourself Into Another Relationship
Though being on the rebound is somewhat common after ending a relationship, this idea doesn’t always apply to first loves. You experienced that sort of love and care for the first time in your life, so naturally, you will be comparing every other relationship with it.
During that time, it’s always possible that you may revert to thinking about getting back with your ex because nobody else compares to them. Those heart-shaped glasses might even magically end up on your face again!
But the relationship didn’t work before, and it’s unlikely to work in the future. So soon enough, you may experience even further heartbreak.
In the end, you should try to enjoy your solitude for a while. Use that as a chance to learn more about yourself and what you want from a relationship. Simply jumping into a new one while you’re still vulnerable could jeopardize your mental health even more. Worse, it may destroy any progress you have already made.
9. Take Your Time to Grieve
You may not feel great the day after the breakup or even the following month. In due time, though, your first love won’t be the first thought you have as soon as you wake up.
Time does heal everything, or at least it makes you forget about the stuff that used to occupy your mind all the time. That’s why you should give yourself plenty of it to actually grieve the relationship and learn all its lessons.
However, don’t give yourself a deadline and expect to feel incredible by a set date. Love doesn’t work like that, and neither does heartbreak.
10. Focus on Creating the Life You Want to Lead
Finally, keep in mind that the life you are so eager to lead is around the corner — but it’s your job to walk that way and see what awaits you. The idea of a life without your first love may seem daunting now or even meaningless. But that’s just the heartbreak talking.
You are stronger than you think, and you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and work on creating the life you actually want to lead. All it takes is to find that desire that has been buried deep inside you and ignite it again!
Love does hurt and creates scars that stay with you forever. Nonetheless, it should never prevent you from achieving your full potential!
How Long Does It Take to Get Over Your First Love?
Some people say that it can take quite a long time to get over your first love — even a few years if the love you had was particularly strong. However, every person is different; some may need only a year or so to stop feeling sad and vulnerable each time they think of their first love.
That said, scientists have been interested in this exact question for a long time. Though research is still scarce, there are some indications that getting over your first love can take a lot longer than getting over any other breakup. And yet, the reason is not that this particular person was better than others!
Getting over their first love is challenging because most people experience it when their memory is at its peak. Generally speaking, this memory bump occurs between ages 15 and 26. One of its major “side effects” is that you can remember your first love more vividly as the memories themselves were more impactful.
More importantly, though, it seems that your first love truly does shape the way you seek out and even act in later relationships. Essentially, the hormonal interactions related to feeling in love for the first time get imprinted in your brain’s sensory areas.
As a result, that first experience becomes your foundation for love and likely stays with you for the rest of your life.