Truly the only good thing about your first big breakup is that it only happens once. The first break up you go through—the first real one, with someone you had googly love eyes for— is particularly brutal. But it's also necessary because it teaches you a lot about yourself, your capacity to binge watch terrible television shows, and how to process heartbreak. Here are 12 lessons you learn the hard way during your first big breakup.
1. They call it heartbreak for a reason.
And, uh, that reason is that it literally feels like something inside of you is broken. It sucks. It's the worst. But (spoiler) it gets better.
2. All those lame clichés people tell you about getting over an ex are kinda true.
You know—sage advice like, "If it wasn't meant to be, it wasn't meant to be," and "it takes half the time you were in the relationship to get over it." It's a cliché that most clichés are a little true, and these are no exception.
3. You probably got way too sucked into the relationship.
And that's fine. Dating is about #Realizing #Things, and something you realize after your first big one ends is that you have to reserve some time and energy for yourself. Even though it's tempting to spend every sentient moment with this fun person you're head over heels in love with, you need some balance and boundaries.
4. You might surprise yourself with how bitter you feel at first.
I vividly remember wanting to throw things at couples I saw holding hands after my first big break up. This is not an urge I typically have, but heartbreak does wild things to a person. A breakup can cause you to learn new things about yourself and feel feelings you don't understand. But it's ok to feel bad and angry, and it'll pass in due time.
5. "Closure" is bullshit.
Well, mostly. Fictional characters always seem to get closure after having some big conversation, shedding a single tear, and then parting ways with a friendly hug while an uplifting acoustic song plays in the background. But in reality, closure is something that has to happen privately. You can't get it from anyone else. You gotta find it yourself by making peace with what's happened.
6. Your friends are absolutely the most important thing.
Even if you've maybe (probably) been ignoring them a little bit during your relationship, best friends will be at-the-ready to help the moment you need it. And that's all the more proof that they are actual saints. Next time you're in a serious relationship, you'll have learned your lesson and won't neglect your friends so much.
7. It'll take longer for you to want to ~go out~ than you think it will.
Which will lead to a fun phenomenon where you get dressed, put on makeup, listen to a fun song, walk out of your door, and come back home to get into bed within an hour. Eventually, you will actually enjoy a full night out with your friends. But it's gonna take some time.
8. You'll probably need a first "pancake date" when you are ready to actually date again.
You know that charming theory about how the first pancake is a throwaway because it gets burned on the skillet (see Gilmore Girls)? You need the dating equivalent of this after a big breakup. As in, don't put too much pressure on your first date, post-breakup.
9. You're a lot stronger than you think.
You can get through it! And you will. But you'll also need a bit of help, and there's absolutely nothing shameful or weak about that. People need people! It's normal.
10. Trusting your own feelings is hard and necessary.
Once again, everyone is going to have something to say about the breakup. But the only person who really knows how you're feeling, and why you two broke up, and how much that hurts, is you. Focus on your own feelings and know that they're valid, even if that means shutting everyone out for a day to focus on what's going on in your head.
11. You have your own unique breakup routine.
For me, it was jumping around to the same pop song every single morning, riding my bike everywhere, and spending too much time knitting a scarf (I was 19!). Because leaving a relationship kinda leaves your plans and schedule a total mess, you'll search for things to both bide your time and take your mind off how sad you are. And thus a breakup routine is born.
12. If you can get through this, you can get through any breakup.
The silver lining of the first big break up is that, in many ways, it's the worst one you ever go through in terms of feelings. Probably because it's a new sensation and your poor little heart doesn't know how to heal from this sort of thing yet. All your subsequent breakups (and there will almost certainly be more) will hurt, but they won't hurt quite like this. Thank god.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.