An online space for queer, questioning, lesbian, bi, trans and everything else in between women at Yale

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Getting Over Your First _____

Ah, it's that wonderful time of year when the sun peeks out from that infinite expanse of grey, the green emerges from its thick white blanket, and couples go strolling to savor these glimpses of spring. Right...So while this may be the case for some (what can feel like MANY), I am not one of them. No, this February will mark the year anniversary for my first REAL break-up with a woman. This post isn't a painful rehashing of the details surrounding that day, but more of a reflection on what it means to say goodbye to your first.

Ok, that picture is a bit melodramatic, but hey, oftentimes so is breaking up. In my particular case, I was with my gf for a little over two years. No, she wasn't a fellow Yalie or a high school sweetheart. Actually, she was on the other side of things a.k.a the older woman. Ten years older, to be exact. Not only was there a decade between us, but almost 3,000 miles; it was the ultimate long distance relationship. For most people, long distance equals death...
[death-where-the-sting.<span class=

But not for us. The distance actually enhanced our relationship. Seeing as we knew we only had limited amounts of time together, we were always sure to make the most of it. I would travel to L.A for the weekend, she'd come out here, and we'd plan all vacations together. It was great. We were able to maintain the excitement usually said to fade after the first few months of being together, while still developing a mature and deep connection. Since I had no real model to compare to, this arrangement seemed pretty ideal.
(Apparently this is the best image that captures my happiness).

That's not to say we didn't experience awkward moments where we realized the limitations of our relationship. For example, after one particularly low key weekend spent almost entirely in her apartment, I began to notice that some of her habits were also some of my biggest pet peeves. They were little things, like biting her nails and constantly talking throughout movies that drove me crazy. And even though you're thinking, well, it's not like you had to deal with it that long, these discoveries always affirmed the undeniable: we really didn't know each other as well as we thought.


Despite knowing this, I did fall for her...or at least it felt like I did. It was only until a little over a year ago that the real problems arose. Long distance relationships pose all types of challenges- the constant missing one another, the inability to share special events together, or, maybe the worst, the possibility of meeting other people in your separate locations. Mmm hmm... that last one can get you when you least expect it.

kids kissing 3

Sure, when we first started dating we agreed to keep our relationship open, enabling us to explore without feeling so restricted. I hooked up with a few girls during this period, but eventually I realized I only wanted to be with her. We decided to move into the exclusive territory and, although there were potential interests along the way, we stayed committed. Then, as all long distance haters would have predicted, the inevitable happened: she met someone. Before I dive into the shit storm that followed, let me give you a bit more background on the gf. She's a surgical resident in L.A, in her 30s, and had previously never been with a woman until me. And from the title of this post you know she was my first too. We were able to experiment and make mistakes with total abandon. We were discovering what it meant to be lovers, friends, and gay women together.

And then it all came crashing down. I went to visit for Thanksgiving and realized, despite having closed the 3000 mile distance between us, she still felt extremely far away. This feeling only intensified throughout the trip, and even when having sex for the last time, it was all too aggressive and detached. The warmth and intimacy had vanished; I had lost her without even knowing it. That was the last time I saw her. I soon found out that there was another, someone we had actually talked about before (speculating on whether or not she was gay). Well, turns out she definitely was.

Some more drama has passed since then, but for the most part we no longer talk, and the memory of the relationship has grown dimmer. However, the process hasn't been easy. They always say that getting over your first is the worst as it's the only love you've ever known and the only one you think you'll ever have. True, but it's difficult for so many other reasons. Your first is usually the first person you bare all of yourself to. You pour out all of your fears, vulnerabilities, and dreams. You share everything you are because you want to reach the highest degree of closeness...in all respects. Once you've reached that closeness and suddenly had it stolen away, what follows is the unavoidable heartache.

(me after break up)

No, but after the end, everything does seem unbearable for awhile. Reminders of her spring up where you never knew they existed, e.g., the way you now butter your toast, or stop to watch the frolicking squirrels (an animal you previously viewed as an oversized fluffy cockroach). These aftereffects linger, reaffirming your newly unwanted aloneness...but also the fact you had such an impactful relationship.

Squirrel Driving Barbie Car

(Details I could be missing)

What I've discovered in the course of this year is that while having your first love leave you hurts (and hurts and hurts), the experience, like any other, allows you to learn and grow. Ok, gag, I know how cliché-ish that sounds, but hear me out. As much pain that comes with a break up, you also have to figure out a way to get over that pain, and embrace the woman you are without that person. In my case, I finally decided to focus on what I had learned about myself in the relationship, and how that applied to my life in general. By examining how I changed and what good came out of the situation, I've been able to more fully accept the loss and rededicate my life to me. While break ups can motivate those to a point of self-empowerment, i.e., getting in great shape or starting a new creative project, this only typically comes after a long mourning period. I didn't want to be one of those that was depressed for soooo long that I had to do something positive to free myself from it. In that respect, I think allowing myself to feel whatever I was feeling and finding the positives in the relationship beforehand, really gave me the chance to come into my own much sooner than what could have been. It's not always easy and clearly it's something I still think about (otherwise I wouldn't be writing this post), but I think our firsts provide us with some of the greater lessons to guide us in the perilous world of love later on. We gain some maturity and endurance, and hopefully a bit more sense...when it comes to long distance. Or...

Kill Bill <span class=Uma Thurman" style="max-width: 660px; ">

We start kicking asses and taking names.

If any of you have thoughts/stories to share on your firsts, please comment!

Bring on the next,



Anonymous said...

Very insightful!

Anonymous said...

Heartfelt, with humor and depth!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

this warmed my day. going through this now, and you're right: it hurts, hurts, hurts.

Aladdin said...

I'm glad I could help :) As much as it hurts now, when you're able to get past it and embrace being single, it'll feel that much better to know you're back on top. Nothing compares to having self-love, self-confidence, and self-appreciation...especially when it's not contingent on anyone or anything else but you.

african woman said...

It really interest me alot! According to them "First love never dies" but I don't agree with it. It is true that you can't easily moved on because of the great pain you felt. Your first love really means you a lot. That is why, when it comes to break-ups it is really hard to move on but you have to move on because your first will never be your last. You can still find someone better than your first. That's the real cycle of love. God will really give you the person you deserves for. So wait patiently!