It's hard to let go. Accepting a new version of your life without the one person you thought would always be around is devastating. But it can be done.
Step 1: Delete him or her off of social media.
21st century technology is not kind. It is not cooperative. It will hinder the process.
Unfollow them on Twitter and Instagram. Delete them off Snapchat and Facebook. Back up the photos on your hard drive if you must, but delete them off of your phone. Seeing their face every day, whether it be old pictures of the two of you, or whether it be their Snapchat story of them and their new significant other, will hurt more than you realize. One way, you’re left fantasizing about the past, and the other, you’re smacked in the face constantly with their new reality instead of focusing on creating your own. The temptation of reminiscing is strong, but you must be stronger.
Step 2: Now that you are no longer looking in your rearview mirror, it is important that out of your windshield you are not choosing roads simply because you believe it will lead you back to them.
You can think, “Hey! I’m doing great. I don’t look at photos anymore, I don’t listen to our song anymore, and they’re no longer my first thought in the morning.” But if you are still (consciously or subconsciously) making decisions because you think that it is what they would want you to do, or because you think that eventually, it will allow you to become a person they would want to be with, you still have a longer way to go than you think. It is okay, you will get there.
Step 3: Surround yourself with things that make you happy at your core.
Allow me to clarify: if it is something that you once enjoyed because you did it with them, it does not count. Go back in your mind to things you have always loved. Not things they helped you to discover, not things that were made better by their presence. Maybe you really love to read--hit up Barnes and Noble, grab a coffee and breathe in that comforting book smell. Maybe comedy brings you great peace – go to some stand-up nights, watch as many clips as you can, brush up on your own jokes.
FEED YOUR SOUL. When someone who filled you up with love is no longer around, you can (and probably will) be left feeling very empty. You are hungry for something to hold onto- let it be yourself. Fill yourself with you.
Step 4: Forget your fear.
It is scary to be alone! It is scary to be alone! It is scary. And scarier yet is feeling alone, even when you are not. But here’s the twist: it doesn’t have to be. There’s a huge difference between being alone and being lonely. You will probably have to re-learn how to be alone without being lonely all over again, but it is the greatest gift you could give yourself.
Step 5: Stop the comparison.
So, you've made it through the previous four steps. You're doing great! Maybe you've even met someone new.
But there's always a nagging sensation in the back of your mind. This new person can't ever be what the old one was. You can't help but be sad that you won't ever find that kind of love again.
And you're right. You can't ever find another love like that one. But that's okay. Your first love will have given you things that you won't ever get from someone else. But you're not supposed to. You learned from them, you were loved by them, and you have grown exponentially because of it. Be proud of yourself. And do not hinder your future relationships by expecting it to be like that one. Explore, live, and move on.
I have grown because of you, but I am growing still.