Loss of First Love – A Grieving Period I Need Help To Understand

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    Megan Edie

    I came to Tinybuddha back when I was suffering from severe anxiety and panic attacks due to insecurities in my previous relationship. I came here seeking answers, and that’s exactly what I got. Now that the 2 and a half year relationship I had (and came here seeking advice for) has been over for two months, I’m still feeling crushed and confused.

    It was after we had a fight at the end of the school year last year. He wouldn’t talk to me. I thought apologizing would make things better.

    He texted me as I was leaving school one day in August saying he needed to talk to me. My stomach was in knots and I wouldn’t talk to anyone. I went home and I thought, no, there’s got to be something else, this can’t be what I think it is. But then I realized: ever since our fight at the end of the last school year, he had been pushing further and further away from me. Not wanting to hang out. Not wanting to talk to me. I became even more anxious than usual because it was not normal for him to act like that, but it was also normal for me to panic. I was in a state of confusion for a while.

    Eventually I sat on my bed and realized: this is it. He’s breaking up with me and there’s nothing I could do to stop it. Instead of panicking even more, I just let it happen. I let everything I had been fighting happen. I cried and cried and cried – the next day I couldn’t get out of bed or talk to anyone without crying. Days went by and I felt a little better. I regained my independence quickly. Strangely enough, I started feeling better. More like myself. Like there was no control. All I had to do was just be me and not worry about what anyone thought. I really began taking that to heart – what caused me to suffer enormously in that relationship was that I was insecure and I doubted myself a lot. But after we split, I realized that I am so much stronger than I thought I was and I have so much more control over my emotions than I could ever believe was possible.

    Then came our musical production.

    After a few days of weeping it out and having to leave classes because of how painfully my heart had been ripped to pieces, things began to feel better. And I began talking to more people and becoming more friendly. I made friends. People aren’t so hard to talk to anymore. I realized that in all the chaos, I grew.

    I began talking with a fellow actor of mine and we became buddies. We would talk, I would make fun of him (still do), he would make jokes, and I felt like I could be me around him. He asks me out to homecoming. By now, this is a few weeks later, and I’m really digging the guy. He’s one of the goofiest people I’ve ever met and one of the most interesting (he plays the strings and he’s in a local youth symphony and those have always been some of my favorite things lol live music ftw). We go to homecoming and slow dance together, we kiss, we begin holding hands, and things take off from there.

    We’ve been seeing each other for about 2 months and have been officially together for a few weeks now. I’m not really keeping track. Having a monthly anniversary is so…eugh. It’s petty (at least to me it is). But things are moving along nicely.

    Let me just make this clear before anyone questions it: I understand it didn’t take very long for me to start dating someone else. But my intentions behind dating him aren’t to get rid of anything from my past or to fill a void. I genuinely like him and I’m beginning to care for him.

    Since I’ve started dating him, I’ve felt extra cautious. Not only because he’s one of the coolest people ever and I really want to make something of what we have, but because I don’t deserve to suffer like I did in my last relationship.

    Speaking of suffering, I guess I’d better end storytime and cut to the chase.

    Since the breakup, I’ve had periods where I am generally depressed and feel like crying. Memories replay in my head. Everything has ghosts in it – reminding me of moments and things that were said that I had totally forgotten about. These have generally lasted over the course of a few days. On and off. I’ll go to talk to a counselor at my school and that usually helps me to feel better.

    I’m just tired of it. I want to rip out every memory from my head with him in it and throw it into a fire. I want everything that I used to share with him to burn.

    Now here’s my dilemma: I’ve had one of my depressive spells with intense crying and isolation from people for the past three days. I’ve managed to work myself up when I have to be around people, but I keep breaking down. I don’t want to feel this way anymore. I want to move on and I don’t want to cry. I don’t want to think about the things he used to do or the way I used to feel.

    Someone please help me. Someone please give me room to believe that this feeling won’t last. I need someone. I need a stranger to share their experience with me. Please. I don’t care for encouraging words. I want the cold hard truth about how I’m feeling. I want to know that I’m not alone here. Tell me how it is and how it has been for you. I need a response.

    Is it normal even after two months to break down and want to cry for days at a time? Is it normal to want to isolate myself? I’ve experienced the death of a loved one but never a death of a relationship. This is so confusing. It has been a living hell that feels like it won’t end any time soon.



    I can certainly understand somewhat how you are feeling. From the what you’ve said, it seems as though you are in highschool right now. I am not trying to demean your feelings or imply that they are any lesser because of your age but I do want to say that you have a very bright future ahead of you and what seems like an eternity of suffering right now will soon feel like a blurr of a memory that happened almost an eternity ago. So rest assured that time heals all. You can however, accelerate your healing and happiness.

    I have to ask, was this past relationship an overall very negative and bad experience for you or would you say it was great for the most part? Whichever the answer is, you two undoubtedly had many experiences together and thus had a huge connection. It is hard to severe these kinds of ties in your heart sometimes, it truly is.

    Please do not put a time frame on your healing, there is NO one right answer to any question that will perfectly address everybody. You WILL heal and be happy, but when this becomes absolute, nobody knows so stay true to yourself and make intelligent decisions. Hold your head above your heart for now, because you are in a vulnerable position as long as you are hurt.

    So in response to “Is it normal even after two months to break down and want to cry for days at a time? Is it normal to want to isolate myself?” :

    There is no normal and nobody can answer that time question. It is completely alright for you to isolate yourself sometimes and just be with you, in fact it is very healthy to become comfortable and happy just be being with yourself, because that demonstrates that you truly love yourself and you are all you need to be happy.

    I would suggest, as hard as it may be, to take this time to work on yourself and be utterly happy with just being you. I say this because it is so easy to just jump into another relationship after a break up. But is this really genuine? are you really going into this new relationship as a whole person who is happy with herself who doesnt NEED another person, but rather wants to be with him? You should ask yourself this difficult question and answer honestly.

    Had I jumped into a new relationship after my breakup more than two months ago, then i would have probably never worked on myself and have come as far as I have now. So beware of just being ‘comfortable’, it is always easier to do than to go off on our own journey ourselves, but it also hinders us sometimes from becoming all that we can be.

    Megan, I also occasionally think about my ex girlfriend, ok maybe a little more than “occasionally”, and it makes me feel very nostalgic and weird. I combat this by reminding myself everyday that I am better than that and I am worth way more, I affirm this daily and you should too. That is, use AFFIRMATIONS (look this up, theres some great text on this subject on this site). Keep doing what you are doing right and meeting new people and being friendly and smiling, that is great and you have clearly taken the right steps!

    The mind can ONLY concentrate on ONE thing at a time, and YOU can decide what you think about in any given moment. So immerse yourself in your hobbies, music, sports, school (yes, i said it, school! I am assuming youd like to go to university so destroy that math class!).

    Lastly, exercise , when you get your blood flowing, you become super happy and optimistic, whenever you get into a slump, do some exercise!

    Write down your goals, figure out what you want in life and work towards them, you will be so occupied with bettering yourself that you will not have time to focus on the past! Its all about perspective, you must see this stage of your life, this breakup, as an OPPORTUNITY, an opportunity to do you, and focus on what you want most :), then go out and get it :).

    You can do this, and will most certainly get through it and end up better than ever 🙂 .

    Don’t hesitate to share any bad days or thoughts that are hurting you, there are tons of great people here who can give you some great insight and help you realize everything is going to be OK (or more accurately, more than ok: great!)



    Megan Edie

    I’m actually in the middle of my senior year right now. And thank you for not coming across as an adult that treats everything they went through as a child as insignificant – it seems difficult to try and find adults willing to help instead of demean my emotions. I agree – my future is bright. What I cannot wait for is for the feelings I feel now just to be a distant memory.

    This past relationship wasn’t necessarily bad, but it wasn’t exactly all that I could ask for, either. We got together my freshman year, and I was busy doing my own thing with my friends and BAM! Suddenly I was in a relationship and falling in love for the first time. Things were great until a year into it when I started having anxiety and panic attacks. That made dealing with my ex day to day nearly unbearable (he was my biggest trigger), although it wasn’t necessarily his fault. I gave a lot – and possibly too much – of myself to this one person. It even got to the point where I started criticizing my best friend only because he had problems with her and didn’t care for the way she acted. Now I have never felt more sorry for the things I said about her that I never really meant. The motivation was acceptance – and it was a terrible approach. I abandoned a lot while in that relationship. But I also changed a lot. High school is a really confusing experience. He didn’t know who he was when we started dating and I had no idea what was in store for me along the way. Other than the fact I still look like an 8th grader, I’m unrecognizable compared to myself as a freshman.

    There were a lot of experiences I shared with him. First kiss, first real dinner date, first real relationship, and a lot of other firsts. We so often want the first to be our only that we hang on until we can’t possibly do it anymore, even if it means sacrificing ourselves and our own happiness. But what is a good relationship where you become a shell of yourself? Not a relationship at all.

    I have to be around people so often that once I get home, that’s really all I want to do is be by myself. I’ll communicate otherwise, but I don’t talk to very many people outside of school. And I’m fortunate to have people that understand me and how I’m feeling that know I just want to be alone to let my negative and uncomfortable feelings go. As we speak, I’m just taking time for myself with the expectation that people be annoyed with my current emotions or not, but I don’t care. I’m taking care of myself and that’s all that matters.

    Back when I was still with my ex, I made a conscious decision to change the way my life was headed. So, really, I have been working on myself. It was just harder with such a difficult relationship taking place. Yes, I’m not a perfect human being. I make mistakes and I make misjudgements. But I also do a lot of good. I see in myself that I am in tune with my emotions constantly and I’m always taking an opportunity to learn something about my life or someone elses. I don’t like to talk about it, but I feel like I understand things a lot of people my age just don’t get. I’ve taught myself to see from different emotional perspectives and taught myself how to act and how to react and it has made the world of difference in the relationships I share with my family, who are the primary people in my life. The idea that people need another person to be happy is so…dumb. We are in control of our happiness. We are always born whole. Having people and relationships in our lives just add to the wholeness we already have. My current boyfriend just so happened to be there. We just so happened to share a lot of similar interests. I am, however, pressing full down on the brakes if I ever feel the need to. We have no rush to get into things. And the wonderful thing is that he understands why and has been very supportive.

    I’ll have days where I come to school feeling embarrassed because I’ll feel depressed and on the verge of tears because grief just comes back and hits me like a ton of bricks. I can tell him that I’m just having one of my days (I explained that these will be a recurring thing for a while) and he doesn’t have any issue with it. Which actually freaked me out at first; I’m not used to the patience.

    As for friendships, I can honestly say I probably won’t ever want to come to my high school reunions (that’s the verdict as of now, at least). But I will say that if someone does something that makes me laugh, I feel the freedom to laugh. It doesn’t matter who this person is considered to be by the school. Usually, if someone made a joke about something stupid that happened, I would turn my nose up and ignore them. But I realized that I don’t have to take things so seriously. I’m learning to reach out of the shell I was so used to being inside of, and now people are opening up to me as well…and it’s people I never would have expected to communicate with!

    Thank you for the kind words, Singh. Reading this reply put me to tears. I am thankful for your understanding and your response. Reaching out to strangers has seemed to be the best therapy for me so far. So again, thank you. 😀



    Hi Megan,

    I’m sorry that you are hurting…but it doesn’t have to be this way.
    You said you didn’t want encouraging words, but the cold hard truth…well, you’ve come to the right place!
    I deal in reality and sometimes people see me as lacking in empathy or sympathy…but my goal is to help people find a way forward…not feed their victim mentality. As they say…if you want sympathy, talk to your girlfriends!

    Having said all that, grief is a real emotion and it can’t be argued away. What can be argued away is the reason for the grief.
    That’s what you have to attack. I would ask you…why are you grieving? Did you expect your first relationship to last forever? Are you different from the rest of us, in that most of us have some good relationships, some bad ones and some for life. The chances of you meeting your “soul mate” straight out of the barriers is pretty remote. The reality is, wise people use their early relationships to learn about ourselves and others. We enjoy them while they last and we understand that there’s every chance that we may not be compatible in the long term, and that we might decide to go our separate ways at some time. That’s life.

    I think, rather than grieving, you should be so happy that you had the opportunity to have the good times you did and that you learnt the things you did and that you are now in a better place to dodge the hurdles in your next relationship. You should make peace with your ex…a fellow traveller who’s also just trying to navigate life’s pitfalls… and look forward to the next adventure.

    If you decide to hold on to the grief and regrets, it’s going to be a fairly painful journey for you.

    Now…back to being Mr Nice Guy….I hope everything works out for you….



    hi Megan,

    I am much older and can tell you from life experience that breaking up is hard to do at any age !

    If you have a great bond/connection with someone it makes it even harder to let go, and sometimes is worse than someone dying because we feel we could have done something to save the relationship and cannot let go of the regrets !!

    But we have to let go and move forward because there is no other way – you have to go through the emotions and keep taking small steps forward otherwise you will end up depressed and make things worse.

    I can tell you are a kind and gentle soul and you deserve someone that will truly love you and won’t leave you.

    Listen to this song by Josh Groban – it helped me get through some tough times:

    GOD Bless !


    Hi Megan, believe me.. you are not alone. Right now, i am going through the same thing as you. He is also my first love. And this breakup had ripped me inside out. It has been 3 months now and i still can’t forgive him. One month after we split, i came to the point of depression and anxiety. Fear of the future…grieve of the past. I lost weights significantly and actually felt ache in my chest, like someone had just punched my chest and left a big hole. I am in my 3rd semester in college and my grades suffered because of my depression. I was so scared of falling deeper and deeper into this sadness. No one understands me (at least that’s what i thought at first). Eventually, i seek help to a psychiatrist and he gave me antidepressant. This works for me.. but i’m still scared that someday i will had a breakdown. No one deserves to feel the same way as i do.. and i hope you cope with this better than i do. Now, i begin to believe in my strength and ignore the voices in my head that said i can’t go on without him. The truth is.. i can.. so can you. Even though i still have a relapse every now and then… it’s better than not fighting at all. Now i still love my ex.. i really do.. but I push myself to move forward and focus in my life. I’m starting to open up to other guy (four actualy), but sadly they’re just either lame or boring. I don’t feel like giving up on my love life… but really… i really can’t imagine there is someone out there better than him… someone that won’t break my heart the way he did. I share this because i want you to know that you are not alone.


    It’s important to know why we get attached to others, how we are able to fall in love, out of love, ect, or if we are even experiencing love or just genuine need. Relationships work at filling a void that we each, for our own specific reasons, have. And while there are some common traits that unify people, there are so many things that can be polar opposites that some relationships are destined for failure. The idea is that the more mature a person, the less that person needs, as wisdom brings understanding. The people that break up with us, cheat on us, push us away, hurt us, they have a driving need to always be fulfilled by something, while others of us are happy just to ‘be’. Unfortunately, the two desires of , ‘need’ and ‘be’, can never co-exist. One person is always in the control of that relationship. Those of us on the receiving end go through the hard part, because we were happy for most part. It’s hard to believe the other person really was.

    Being honest about your own maturity level is a step in the right direction. It has nothing to do with age, or even experience. The two people who have the least to gain by being together, will be together the longest. Work toward needing people less, through work, family, education, lifestyle choices, hobbies and exercise. Allow other things to make you happy, and when you face people wanting a piece of your heart, question why.

    my 2 cents

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