There is no high on earth that can compare to falling in love. By the same token, falling out of love or having a relationship end can be among the most painful moments of your college years.
Once you find someone special, it is sure to be one of the most intense, rewarding, and fulfilling experiences of your life. And, while falling in love is always a defining moment in a person’s life, nothing compares to your first love. You never forget the first person you give your heart to. That very special time becomes a part of you forever, from the kisses you shared to the clothes you wore to the music you listened to. Sadly, many of these memories can be tinged with pain and regret as first loves rarely work out the way you’d like them to. Yet there are ways to cut down on the amount of suffering that can follow a painful breakup. Consider the following:
Take it slow. It’s hard to be cautious when the hormones and endorphins that accompany feelings of love and attraction are churning inside you, yet it is important to make sure that you aren’t giving your heart to the wrong person. Be aware of his actions and don’t merely take things at face value. For instance, if he says he has feelings for you and you alone, yet you routinely see him flirting with other girls on campus, it might serve as a red flag that he isn’t trustworthy.
You should also listen to the advice of the people around you. If your friends or family think that he isn’t good to you, you should heed what they have to say. Of course, at the end of the day you should follow your own counsel, but it’s important to stay open-minded and take other’s opinions into account, especially if they are people who usually look out for you and have your best interests at heart.
Consider what really matters. It’s easy to get drawn in by an amazing body or by a sparkling smile, but those aren’t things you can build a real, lasting relationship on. If you want an enduring first love, you need to look for someone who shares the same interests and values as you. You don’t necessarily need to have everything in common (how boring would that be?), but if he doesn’t take your beliefs seriously or if he doesn’t agree with your fundamental life view, then you’re headed for rocky waters. Furthermore, when it comes to young love, it’s also important to make sure that you look for someone who has similar goals. You don’t want to attach yourself to someone who doesn’t support your dreams or someone who doesn’t have dreams of his own. Look for someone who can challenge you and inspire you, not someone who will convince you to sleep in, cut class, and skip your final exam.
Look for the silver lining. Losing your first love can be very painful, yet as hard as it is, there is also a silver lining to that pain. It will broaden your worldview and deepen your capacity for feeling, and it will also help you see things with a fuller perspective. In addition you’ll learn what you want and need from a partner and how to better communicate those needs in the future. As painful as it will be, it is also an experience that you would be very empty without, so brave those first few months with that silver lining in mind and reach out for the support of friends and family. Love sometimes hurts, but everything worth having comes with a price tag, and eventually you will find that perfect person who will make all that pain seem like a very small price indeed.