How to Deal When Your First Love Ends
We met at age 9. Sitting in religious education class at our Catholic church, we went around the room and introduced ourselves. As I felt my own feet swinging in the air from the too-big desk, I looked over at the tall boy sitting in the front row, his legs unable to scrunch comfortably under the wooden table.
In fourth grade, we had a lot in common. We were the youngest in our families, hated math class, had vision problems, were teased for our respective heights, hated going to mass, watched Nickelodeon, and loved strawberries. But, in a lot of ways, we were different. I was more studious, while he rarely completed homework. He was very quiet, while I was extroverted.
In eighth grade, he asked me to be his girlfriend. Back then, we watched movies together every other Friday, talked on the phone every day, and walked through the hallways together to every class.
As we went through high school, we stayed each other's best friend. We talked on the phone for hours. Sometimes we stayed on the line in silence while we were both working, just because we liked knowing each other was there.
For years, we seemed to be the model couple for the phrase “opposites attract,” and I even found myself saying it frequently. But as we grew older, our opposing personalities and views on life began to drive us apart. Discussions would turn into arguments and those arguments would turn into us bringing up everything we disliked about each other.
It seemed as though he began to feel inferior to me, even if I wasn’t the one making him feel that way. His mother loved me because I worked really hard in school and tried to convince him to as well. She compared us regularly, putting me on a pedestal and him in the dirt. The intense mocking of his intelligence and the praise of mine led to a point where he couldn’t even be happy for my successes anymore.
And then one day, he said he couldn’t do it. I wanted to try to make it work, for all of the times we enjoyed together, but he no longer wanted to. And if his heart wasn’t in it anymore, I knew I couldn’t make him.
I never asked him to get back together. I knew we weren’t meant to be together. I deserved someone who understood and complemented me, but I wanted the pain to stop. I would be teary-eyed all day and then go scream in my car all night. I was physically nauseous for days and couldn’t eat anything. I would stay up all night because I used to think of him every night before I fell asleep.
But I realized that I couldn’t live like that. I had to learn to live without him, no matter how comfortable and easy it would be to just get back together.
And every day, I learned that life without him would become a little easier. I learned I could be happy without him. While this was the most distressing point of my life so far, I have to be so thankful that a breakup was the worst thing to happen to me, not a death or an illness of someone I love.
And one day, I know I’ll wake up and think of someone else. Because we are all entitled to someone who understands us, who appreciates everything about us. Someone who is not our opposite, but our counterpart.
By Meggie Furlong, 17