10 Things You Learn From Ending Your First Relationship

On the day you decide to end what you once thought would last a lifetime, your mind will refuse to think about anything else. Your hopes will be like plastic beads clinging to cheap string knotted poorly, trying to keep the bracelet in one piece. As an inexperienced teenager, you’ll be able to rationalize pretty much anything—perhaps you’re simply taking a few small things in many wrong ways, but you will find no qualities able to justify the number of times you felt like a lost penny left on the side of the street: alone and practically worthless.

When you look around your bedroom, everything you own will try and convince you that you made the wrong decision. You fucked up. You shouldn’t have done it. All of your belongings will scream their name, even if you owned these things before either of you gave an awkward introduction. When you wrap yourself in your bed sheets, you’ll hear faint echoes of their laugh in its wrinkles and their low voice in its fabric. You’ll remember that you trusted them. They didn’t trust you in return though, not even close, and for reasons you knew were really stupid but you had anyway, you missed them.

You’ll discover that your closet is every shade of their favorite rock songs, video games, and anime episodes, even when you don’t own their t-shirts anymore.

The gifts you received from them will become physical manifestations of oxymorons. They won’t fit the holes in your jigsaw puzzle of thoughts but you won’t be able to bring yourself to throw them away. They will confuse you more than you confuse yourself, and every time you try and get rid of them, it’ll feel like you’re digging untrimmed nails into your own human flesh—pulling out the vital parts of this form; this body; this imperfect whole of a being that they somehow loved regardless.

Attention and compliments from other people will become things to yearn for. You will try to build houses out of the words of strangers and palaces out of the paragraphs of your closest of friends with the hope of finding reassurance that you can still be loved. None of these structures, however, will feel as real or as strong as the kingdom your lover once built you out free verse poetry and late night text messages.

You’ll want a pet. The overwhelming desire to have another living creature within your proximity at night will eat you alive if your doubts don’t do it first. A dog or cat wouldn’t be able to fill the void a person used to occupy but it would at least distract you from it long enough for you to convince everyone but yourself that you’ve moved on.

If you really truly loved each other, you will both give your all to try and make a normal friendship work. It won’t. Despite your collective efforts, things will never return to how they were before because now the red thread that ties you together has over six hundred days of dusty history hanging from it in faded colors, like old polaroid pictures. After being hung up— perhaps even hung over— for such a long time, they may try to bring those colors back.

You might give in.

You’ll hate yourself for it. Your stomach will fill up to your esophagus with overflowing regret immediately afterward, but—

—by then you’ve already committed the sin and broken the promise you made to yourself but it still doesn’t hurt as bad as the promise they made you and broke several times over. You ran out of second chances to give a long time ago, so it’s time to let go.

Even if your mind refuses to think about anything else.

Even if you thought it’d last a lifetime.