5 Things I Learned From My First Breakup

I'm not someone who takes risks and personally enjoy the security of routine. Leaving my long term relationship of 3 and a half years was one of the biggest steps I took in moving out of my comfort zone since moving away from home to a university, and it has taught me a lot.

No drama. No private details will be spilt. Just a blog wishing to share some of the "wisdom" I've gained from my first breakup.

1. Relationships have an expiration date
Sometimes relationships - whether romantic or platonic - reaches its end and it is better to terminate it rather than forcing it to work. I have noticed a proliferation in relationship quotes whether it comes in a meme format or a Twitter rant; quotes from people who are most likely in an unhealthy relationship themselves. They tend to go along the lines of, "relationships are hard work", "it's full of sacrifices", "you have to compromise", and the one which I disagree with the most: "you don't just give up on someone you love."

From an outsider's perspective, it may make complete sense. However, when we look closely at the factors involved in the situation, the quote then becomes redundant. You are allowed to walk away from the relationship if it is making you unhappy. You have the full right to give up on them if you have tried and tried and nothing has worked and the person shows no signs of improving. Do not insist on watering a dead flower.

Now that I'm in another relationship, I have a better idea of what it is actually meant to be like and how I should be treated (similarly, how I should also treat the other person). This relationship has not been hard. It has required very little effort for us to make it work. It has genuine respect, trust, and communication. So, after being in a rather unhealthy relationship before and now being in this perfectly functioning one (aka seeing both ends of the spectrum), I do question when people say relationships are meant to have arguments and ups and downs. If you're constantly arguing with your significant other or always feeling unworthy then you should stop justifying it and realise that the relationship has expired.

You will reach points in your life where some people will no longer fit in the picture; if they are not encouraging your growth or making a positive contribution to your life then your relationship with this person has reached its shelf life. Relationships, especially when started young, aren't likely to last. And that's okay.

2. My happiness matters
Stop putting other people's needs before yours. Why do people like to preach that "love" is about putting someone else before you and giving them your everything? No. No person's presence in your life is guaranteed. You know who is guaranteed to be with you forever? That's right; you.

There are two branches to this particular point I'd like to address with the first being: do not put all your eggs in one basket. Now, this doesn't mean that you stop thinking about your partner's needs and happiness, just don't let that become an obstacle to your own goals and ambitions. Do things for you. Choose life choices for you. Do not dictate big life changes decision such as what university you're going to or where your job will be located based on the boy you're with. What happens when you two break up and you're away from all your other friends and loved ones and you suddenly have nothing? And because of this exact factor, you'll feel like you can't leave the relationship when things get tough. Because, "Oh no, I've sacrificed so much for him" or, "if I leave there's nothing left waiting for me."

Maybe that's why I get peeved when I tell people about my plans - or more recently that I am moving to London for my placement - and their initial question is, "what about your boyfriend?" What about him? Why is my significant other the first thing that concerns you when I tell you about the next stage of my life?

The other branch I'd like to address is to remind yourself that when the relationship has culminated in its end, it's okay to leave. It's been aforementioned above but I think it's worth touching here: If you know that ending the relationship you will be happier but are on the fence because you don't want to hurt the other person - end it. Your happiness matters and you are not responsible for anyone's happiness but your own.

3. I will be fine and so will he
One of the things which always drove us back to each other, I believe, was the fear of the unknown of what was to come after we left each other. With me, it was safe to say that I was cripplingly insecure with a poor sense of self-worth. I was always telling myself that I was never going to get better, he was the best I'm ever going to have, I'm not good enough for him, or that I simply did not want to see him with someone else. Plus, we had been together so long, at that point of the relationship we relied on each other a fair bit and it was scary to think that support was going to be gone.

There was the comfort of always having someone to rant to after a bad day. Someone who would take me out to eat whenever I was hungry. And I think knowing that at the end of the day there was someone there - that sense of comfort - was something which was hard to leave despite all the arguments and tears which were a regular occurrence.

Time will fix almost anything. I have grown more confident and learned so much after the relationship. And, even though it was clear that he was struggling after the breakup, we can all see that we are now both at different stages of our lives, without each other, and still thriving.

4. People will talk
When "drama" happens between a group of friends or people we know, people like to discuss. "Did you hear what happened with (x) and (y)?"

There are people who think I started seeing someone else whilst I was still in a relationship. It's insane how I can be made completely into the devil and people just eat it all up. I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me at first. In full honesty; it ate me up. I have lost friends who have taken sides and that really broke my heart at the time.

What I've learned is that people like to talk about other people's problems because it helps distract them from their own. But more importantly: people will talk but at the end of the day, they are more concerned about their own problems so it's no use moping over what they think about you or what they say behind your back.

I'm proud of the fact that I did not go around publicising private information when we broke up. Which most likely played a massive role in people hearing stories which were utterly one-sided. I do think that's the best approach; just keep to yourself and don't try to bother with what other people are saying. You are under no obligation to prove anything to them, you do not owe them an explanation, and you do not need to defend yourself because you know your truth. It'll die down and new drama and rumours will replace yours.

5. Nothing lasts and that's okay
Hai and I were together 3 and a half years. We had been together since we were 17 and I'm turning 22 in a month so you could imagine how much we have changed since and that we are at very different stages of our lives. When you're that young, love makes you believe stupid things like forever exists or that you'll always be in each other's lives no matter what.

Despite our relationship ending, I don't think what we had was a failure nor do I believe it was a waste of my time. It has taught me so much. Despite everything that happened, there were great times. Amazing times. Full of laughter and genuine young love. He's done so much for me and I'm still thankful for how much he was there for me. I know we truly loved each other and I still and will continue to care about him.

I've learned to appreciate the temporality of things in life: the happy times and the generally harder times. Everything will pass. Emotions are temporary and it will be replaced with another. However, that doesn't take away the meaning from the experience and memories created.

When nostalgia hits, I'm always reminded of the image of us when we were just in our teenage years. Things were so innocent and we were just two dumb kids in love. I know that he'll always be the best person to go grocery shopping with as I still look back at the memories of him riding the trollies and us spending hours in Tesco just browsing every aisle. I'll cherish the late night trips we made to the convenience store because we were craving sweets and fizzy drinks as he made those things so fun. But alas, all good things must come to an end.

We're both with other people now. I hope she makes him happy and that he's treating her well. I've been in a really good place in the last few months and I can only wish him the same.

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