There’s nothing like the first time you fall in love. That moment your heart skips a beat. That moment you realize you can’t live without that special person. That moment you want them to be yours, and when they decide they feel the same way, too. It shakes up your world.
But there’s also nothing like when that magic ends. And you feel like you and your whole world is over.
Hany knows this firsthand. But he also knows that sometimes we must go through a necessary heartbreak to discover what it means to truly love someone, especially ourselves.
Because of my ex-girlfriend, I associated the feeling of investment as negative and the feeling of pleasure with the fun of getting to know someone but never allowing it to get too deep. Sometimes I still feel that way. But I’ve realized it’s because of the fear of not knowing what could happen and not wanting to break someone’s heart or have my own heart broken, again.
The girl I first fell in love with wrote notes to me and would talk about the features she loved about me. Her calling me perfect made me feel like she was the one. And me wanting to be perfect for her made me even more emotionally attached to her. There were times when we’d break up, which happened a few times, where I felt like my life depended on her. She was my everything.
The reason I wanted her so much was because she was what I thought was perfect; she was tan, had blue eyes, cute, snowboarded, was hot, and the perfect picture of a girl–or at least she was to me. I thought I’d found the one. So, my self-worth was completely dependent on her. But because of what she looked like, I overlooked everything else.
I didn’t realize her motives were all fucked up because she knew I only wanted her. It was horrible because she would stop talking to me on purpose for the reaction and I would really react. I’d never cried so much over a girl in my life. My family couldn’t understand why I acted that way or why I didn’t’ see what they said. But it didn’t matter because their words weren’t her words.
The girl I first fell in love with wrote notes to me and would talk about the features she loved about me. Her calling me perfect made me feel like she was the one. And me wanting to be perfect for her made me even more emotionally attached to her.
It wasn’t until I got fed up that things changed. It was almost like I started being a normal a guy in my eyes. For example, if she did something that pissed me off, I would say it instead of chasing her. That threw her back. And when she started realizing what was happening, she started chasing me and the situation changed. It was a still a toxic relationship, it just took a different form where she didn’t have complete control of me and how I reacted to her. And around the time I got kicked out of my house, we became closer because I didn’t have anywhere else to go. She knew I needed her and she benefited from my circumstance.
When I started changing and doing all of the things that she said she had wanted me to do, she didn’t like it. I began to internalize the positive feedback and the comments I received about my looks, and it changed the way I saw myself. For example, I used to hate how big my nose was, but I reached the point where I began to believe it showed my character, heritage, and was an important part of me. That resulted in me becoming more confident in myself. She began to see that I started loving myself, which didn’t give her the unhealthy infatuation or power of me.
The day we broke up, I was working and she had escalated this whole fight with herself. She broke up with me via text. And when she said we were over, I just said, “okay.” She was upset that I didn’t react the way she wanted me to. It turns out she was with the only guy that I never said anything negative about. He was the exact same person I used to be: the boy the good girl wanted to change. The bad boy who would run up to the line, put his toe on it, and laugh, but never did enough to get into real trouble. I had changed. I was no longer the self-conscious buy who saw her as the only thing that mattered. So she found someone that was like the old me.
She will forever be the first girl I’d ever loved, and despite all of the painful memories, she taught me a valuable lesson: once you start loving yourself, your whole entire life changes for the better.
Around the time we broke up, it wasn’t until I moved out and started doing a lot of the things we promised we would do together that I felt alone. But I didn’t run from those feelings, though. Instead, I accepted and embraced that it was okay to feel that way, which was new for me. In the past, when we would break up, I would start thinking, “Why did this happen? How did this happen? This would have been so much better if she were here.”
And then I would get mad or upset about her not being there, which made me get even madder about getting upset about breaking up in the first place. Then I would beat the shit out of walls just to feel better because I had always thought that’s how real men expressed and handled their anger. But I made a very clear choice to not go through that dangerous cycle of hurting myself only to end up back with her.
Allowing myself to be emotional and accepting it changed my perspective on everything: how I saw her, myself, and our whole relationship. I used to think that it was a bad thing that I was so emotionally attached and that I shouldn’t be that way. But I’ve realized that’s a part of me and that caring is who and what I am. But the challenge is finding the balance. She will forever be the first girl I’d ever loved, and despite all of the painful memories, she taught me a valuable lesson: once you start loving yourself, your whole entire life changes for the better.