In my life, I've only ever been in one serious relationship. Technically, my first boyfriend was a parade of awkward in the fifth grade, but I don't normally count that. Not long after my 17th birthday, I met the guy who would very soon become "the big one." He was the first person ever that I can truly say I was head-over-heels in love with. The year and a half that I spent with him was filled with firsts. And the day that we ended was the first time I've ever had my heart broken. With that being my first, I really had no idea how long it would take for me to get over him.
It has been four months since my relationship ended, and not a day goes by where I don't think about him. For a pretty long time, we were great together and I loved every second that I spent with him. But here's the thing: the end of us was ugly. We fought a lot and I came out of every fight feeling like so much less of a person than I know I am. I spent many nights agonizing over the things that he said and crying because of them. And now I find myself constantly bringing him up in conversation, and I really wonder why he still takes over my head. On one hand, I have always had an amazing talent for not letting things go, no matter how small they are. But there are times when I really have to sit myself down and wrestle with the fact that - even after how he made me feel - I still miss this guy.
I no longer have romantic feelings for this boy; they died a long time ago. But some nights when I can't turn my brain off I find myself drifting to when we went to prom, how his hand felt around mine. A really small part of me still longs for the feeling of just being close to him. When I was with him, I had a person that I could very consistently cuddle with, and that was the best feeling in the world to me. When my thoughts start to gravitate towards him on particularly lonely nights, it's almost as if I have to pinch myself to snap out of it and remember how bad the breakup was.
Fun fact about me: I am super touchy. I hug my friends with koala-like clinginess and—if you date me—I basically need to be cuddled constantly to survive. Now, the weird thing is that it took me a pretty long time to realize that all the daydream-y, nostalgic thoughts that I have about my ex are all related to touch. His arms, his hands, his lips. Cuddling with him was when I felt safest. So, when you boil it all down, it's not the relationship itself that I miss, only the sheer physicality of it. And if you're in the position that I am, it's pretty calming to know that you no longer crave the love of a toxic person when all you need is actually just a little safety blanket.
I guess my point in saying all of this is that I miss my first boyfriend and, believe it or not, that's actually okay. Because I don't miss the crying and the broken promises, I miss the idea of who we used to be. I'm smiling at memories of the honeymoon stage that disappeared a long time ago. If a relationship ends, that doesn't automatically mean that every good time spent together is suddenly null and void. It's a crime to try to forget a good thing because of a bad thing that came after it.
Right now, I don't want anything to do with my ex. But he's the reason that I had so much fun at prom and he's the one who showed me that I am pretty enough, smart enough, and cool enough to be loved by another human being. He was an a**hole to me towards the end, but before that, he provided me with a solid year and a half of love. So, for what it's worth, I actually have a lot of things to thank him for. And there's really not many things that I regret about that relationship.
If there exists a person that you no longer want in your life, it's still okay to miss them. You may hate them and they may hate you, but you're still remembering the good times that they gave you and that is not a crime. I was in a relationship - and a pretty serious one - but now that stage of my life is over. Of course there are times when I still dwell on the hurtful things that he said. But if I did that constantly, I would still be in the same place that I was on the day that we broke up. It's okay to let yourself miss someone that you want absolutely nothing to do with. Let the good memories come. With time, they'll flush out the bad ones completely.