I’ve tried everything — I’ve hooked up with other guys and I’ve “dated myself,” but I always find myself crying on the floor while Lil Wayne pulsates from the DKE lounge. I know it’s not meant to be; he’s got some growing up to do or I’ve got to lower my expectations. But in the meantime, I have to ask: How do you stop loving the person who showed you that you could care more about another person than you could about yourself?
(Learning) How to Love
Dear (Learning) How To Love,
First off, great Lil Wayne reference. Secondly, never lower your expectations. You know yourself better than anyone; you know what you need and deserve, so don’t attempt to lower your standards because he can’t give you 100 percent. Giving up on someone is hard, especially if he’s the first person you’ve been in love with, because love is something so damn special. It’s the realization that you’d give anything for a person, that you’d literally break yourself apart to fix them. For college students, I think relationships often fall into the category of “right person, wrong time.” I know that no matter what I say, you may continue to love him, to miss him. And that’s OK. That’s normal. People say time heals all; it doesn’t. But it helps. One day, you’re going to realize you no longer miss him. You’ll miss the memories, you’ll miss the future that could have been, the one that plays out in your mind as you fall asleep. But you’ll no longer miss him.
You’re doing everything right. Crying is OK. Being alone is OK. The biggest thing is you have to focus on yourself right now: love yourself, treat yourself, take care of yourself. He may have been the biggest thing in your life up until now. But he’s gone. And you’re left with yourself. Don’t try to think about it as attempting to stop loving him. Because chances are, you never will. You just have to love yourself, and your emotional health, more. Wallowing is normal, as is missing him. But give yourself time. One day you’re going to wake up and he won’t be the first thing you think of; he won’t be the person you reach for your phone to text. He’s going to be a memory, hopefully a pleasant one. And, sweetie, you have so many more memories to make in your life. You’re going to have more loves. While that may sound horrible — now, you don’t want anyone but him — it isn’t. It’s freedom.
Emily Sakamoto ’16 is an English major with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in messing with people’s personal lives, whether they ask for advice or not, from North Oaks, Minn. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.