You are in love with him. The way his lips curl upward into that sultry smirk that makes your heart melt. The way his fingertips graze your thighs and send electricity through your veins. The way your head fits perfectly in the space between his right arm and his chest. The way his skin smells of mahogany and musk. The way his big, hazel eyes sparkle and make you fall for him over and over again each time you catch a glimpse of them. The way he rolls over in bed to whisper, “Good morning, baby” into your ear with the raspiness of sleep still lingering in his voice. You are so hopelessly, wholeheartedly, utterly consumed with love for this boy.

His love fills you up and makes you whole. You begin to think of yourself as a part of a unit, as opposed to an individual. Every thought becomes, “How would he feel about this?” or “How would he like this?” When he begins to flake, you make excuses to yourself for his unreasonable actions. When things go wrong between you two, it is so earth-shatteringly devastating that you can barely pull yourself together. When things are going right, you experience a high like no other. Love deeply, love passionately, but never let your love for someone else become your world.

Love is one of the most beautiful things in life; by no means do I advise you to avoid falling in love. As we embark on the journey to find our life partner, each individual that touches us in some way becomes a learning experience that conditions and better prepares us to have a mature relationship in the future. If you develop such a profound dependence on another person, it makes the breakup that much more unbearable. Love your significant other; love them intensely. Do not let your love for that person cause you to lose sight of who you are.

Learning to love yourself after a relationship like this takes time. Finding your own happiness in everyday situations is not something that comes easily to you. Slowly but surely, you will get your stride back. You will learn to love doing things for you and only you. Get that short haircut you’ve always wanted. Take that yoga class that intrigued you. Read books. Learn to speak a new language. Spend time with friends. Study abroad. Be ambitious. Find your passion.

This relationship will make you stronger. Once you’ve found yourself, you will never, ever lose yourself again. You are your biggest priority and your own best friend. Dare to be selfish. The most mature, ultimate form of love is a love in which your happiness comes from within, and your love for him makes you the best version of yourself.