How to get over your first (or biggest) love

You had an amazing connection, something you never experienced before. But now it’s over and you feel you will never find it again.

But that feeling, and that thought – that this was your first and only chance of true love, is exactly what’s keeping you away from meeting someone truly special again.

Here is why.



Do you have someone in your life you never quite got over?

Do you, on the other hand – have a positive experience that love can happen again, and again, and again – and it can be great, different – but, equally special each time?

Let me know in the comments!


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19 Responses

  1. Frank Grey says:

    Thank you Petra.
    What advise you have for religious people who feel the extra guilt of divorce, and are trying to remain faithful to their ex-partner, even if it means wasting years or decades, waiting for that person to come back?

    • Petra says:

      Well, this is a complex question and I don’t think I can answer without more input about your particular situation. I also think your religious leaders or books might be better suited to give you an answer that is aligned with your beliefs.

  2. sihle says:

    I dated a guy it was beautiful for the first two weeks , then the 3rd going onwards things started to change …reasons I couldn’t open up I couldn’t tell him about myself I always just ran out of words then on the seventh week I slept with him thinking it would bring the spark back but it didn’t , after that things got worse…. He started saying he was busy and etc… Then 4 weeks after that I slept with him again thinking it would bring the spark back which didn’t too. We started to argue there was a distance and etc .then I decided we go our separate ways. And he said he understands .and said I should come over and say goodbye .I went and we had sex without and with a condom…. After that there was a distance while I thought it was gonna be a new beggining.. .he has a great body and fucks me so good .I don’t think I’ll ever find a guy like that ever… I can’t get over him

    • Petra says:

      I think this wasn’t your greatest love ever, just someone you thought was great for you, and he wasn’t even into you that much. Sexual attraction doesn’t always lead to love, nor it equals with love. It can feel that way, but it is not. I wish I could give you a bit more clarity, if you’d like me to help – get in touch via email or contact / coaching pages.

  3. Marty says:

    I had a 10 year relationship come to an end 6 months ago and I’m still struggling to move on.I’m in my fifties never married no children male so I’m not in the what society would see as in the class.
    It’s not that I didn’t want to get married and have a normal life it just didn’t happen.I am not really trying to find new love I don’t really believe I’m ever going to find it maybe it wasn’t ever really meant to happen to me.
    I think it’s fate if it was meant to be it would have happened it’s sad because I never stopped loving my ex and after over 10 years it was me who ended it,even though I was pushed to do it by her behaviour which unfortunately for me,just became unbearablely controlling I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say it was beyond crazy jealousy issues.It got to the point I couldn’t deal with it,and it was, and did ruin the relationship.
    I am finding I have no purpose in life go to work come home watch tv go to bed wake up work and repeat. I’m hanging in there but the chances of finding somebody who likes me as much as I like them
    feels very much like buying a lottery ticket,the chances are very slim.
    I have sort of given up I can’t get motivated to even try to find a soul mate cause I really don’t believe it is possible at my age.
    I don’t ever really think I will be truely happy on my own but I just have to accept that maybe it was just meant to be for me.
    Thank you for reading my boring uninspiring situation regards Martin.

    • Petra says:

      Hi Marty, I am sorry you feel this way, but trust me – the chances to find someone are always bigger than we think. I helped men your age to find partners, and even men who never had anyone in their entire life. Get in touch, if you’d like, let’s see how we can turn your situation around. Start with my Coaching page and get in touch for a consultation. Take care!

  4. Lisa says:

    Hi Petra… I’ve been in love with this guy for years. Only thing is we never been in a proper relationship but he was the first guy I’ve ever loved and I can’t seem to get over him. We were seeing each other for 9 months. At one point I asked to be with him and he said he didn’t want a girlfriend, only for me to find out weeks later that he actually had a girlfriend. I was gutted and just stepped back quietly tho I was very heartbroken and has caused me to suffer with a bit of anxiety when it comes to men. Anyway recently he came back in contact a year later… I had moved on and was happy with my life by then so I held no grudges and was happy to hear from him. So I kept things polite and friendly… Only I couldn’t forget how I felt about him and started seeing him again when he showed that he wanted to start seeing me… He changed a lot. Was looking after himself, had his own place and own responsibilities and grown up a lot. I was impressed but also wary. I just was so scared of the same thing happening again so I pushed away… But every time he texts I can’t help myself I want to see him. But now that I do I have negative thoughts and my anxietys worse to the point where I break down in tears for fear of what could happen if I continue seeing him but I don’t want to stop seeing him. I recently attended a wedding and he was there. I saw him flirting with another girl and was very hard to watch, tho he came to see me the next day I still was upset to see that as it reminded me of old memories. He only texts me when he wants to see me and ignores me any other time. I know how it looks and sounds and I know how it is but I don’t want to stop seeing him. How do I let go of him and walk away? I love him a lot and part of me doesn’t want to give him up but I’m also petrified of getting hurt?

    • MeeLee says:

      That’s just what you will have to do.
      Walk away!
      You want a good relationship, not this one.
      This one is an easy pick now, but you will be better off with a good one later on.
      Imagine you give in to his flirting, and start a volatile relationship, only to have a person who actually fits with you come in your life when you’re still going with this guy?
      It seems like he’s not ready for you yet.
      Just walk away, cut all connections, and let him choose his life.

  5. Lisa Beehner says:

    Marty, I’m 46 and feel the same way about relationships. It is very difficult. I guess we just have to keep an open mind.

  6. fernanda says:

    so… I used to fell in love with someone who really wants to know everything about me, someone who listen to me well and loves when I told him long story about me, someone who was really open to me, someone who cry and tried his best not to break up with me. But what can we do? His mother doesn’t like me because of some “reasons”. His friends doesn’t like me and made his mother hate me too. Finally we break up. It’s sad. I cried. He cried. And it was happened 2 years ago, and I can’t get over him until now. I can’t also fall in love with other man… I often cry at night when I remember him, I try to forget him so hard, I keep moving forward but I keep remembering him again. What should I do?

    • MeeLee says:

      Just let time pass. Try to find joy again in small things, like hobbies.
      Spend time with good friends and family.
      You’ll get better again, even if it will take quite some time to get over him.

      In my case, people I was really close to, took about 1/2 the time of the relationship to get over.

    • Petra says:

      Ask yourself – what is so special about this one person that you can’t find with someone else? He left you because his family and friends didn’t like you. If he truly loved you he wouldn’t care what other people think. I doubt your relationship was that ideal to begin with, regardless of his family. You have to stop thinking he is the only one for you. Once you let go of that, you’ll be able to move on.

  7. Ruthy says:

    Hello Petra,
    Thanks for the opportunity to ask your advice.
    I unexpectedly had an amazing connection with a man this summer..we both felt we had met someone special and was as if we had known each other for years. I’m 48 and I had something similar happen in my early 20s and I’ve always called that person ‘the love of my life’ ..even over my subsequent partner of 18 years who is also my children’s father.

    Unfortunately his father became terminally ill and he, my Boyfriend, had to cope with the hospital stuff, the care home, his mothers distress, his job and his 2 children. He said it was the hardest decision he had ever made and he was full of guilt but he had no choice but to dedicate his life to his family (we live long distance) and that he’s a shell of a person with nothing to offer me. I respect that his need is greater than mine and that his grief etc is all consuming but the cruelty of having our time taken away is almost too much to bear.

    If we could be in some kind of contact it would help but he has cut off all contact. I texted him with support and love and he said he just cries when he sees my name but otherwise I’ve been very good at not bothering him. I understand that this his way of coping. It took 25 years to find him and only 5 weeks after he’s gone I’m still crying every day and in so much pain. I’m old enough to know I will move on but no one will compare to him for a very long time.

    All advice about break up assumes the people had grown apart internally but this was an external reason. I can’t help but harbour thoughts of somehow knowing him again when the pain has gone and his situation is better but I have a horrible feeling he’s the kind of person who would see it as a backward step. I know some might say if he loved me like he said and showed then he would have found space somehow for me in his life but the logistics really are too great. It’s a measure of the man that he has committed to his family.

    The unfairness of it is too much…but yes I know it’s early days…but I’m getting older and you don’t find such experiences everyday…well I didn’t for over 2 decades…

  8. Ruthy says:

    P.s re the terminally ill father I mention which has caused my current situation……he’s the father of my recent boyfriend not the father of my first live in my 20s who I mention as well…Ruthy

    • Petra says:

      Well, he may still come back. But it is his decision to make, and you are pretty powerless there. However, I would challenge your thinking on this – if you met someone and you had such a great connection, why not allow for the thought it’s possible for you again, and soon? You obviously have the capacity and ability to connect on a deep level, that means it’s possible again. This might have been just a sign you should keep looking for it. Sometimes people come into our life not to show us what we can’t have, but to show us what’s possible for us. I believe, if you were really so well matched you would overcome the obstacles. Maybe you still will, but regardless of that, I see this as a positive sign that you can find someone who is truly great for you.

  9. Kamryn says:

    Me and my now ex boyfriend had been dating for over a year. He was my first real relationship and we clicked instantly. We had some issues down the road but overall we loved each other so much. Anytime we took a break it didn’t last longer than a few days. We broke up twice over the course of that year. We have now officially broken up I would say around 2-3 months ago now and have not gotten back together. At this point we both still talk to each other and love each other but cannot be together due to his parents. They are very “old-school” in the sense that what they say is the final answer and he is very submissive. My family is very excepting of the fact that love is love and you can not force someone to no longer care about another person. I am very opinionated and my family has raised me to speak what I feel and not be scared to talk to them about my feelings. I know he cares about me and has said himself if it wasn’t for his parents we would be together. I haven’t been able to move on whatsoever and I do suffer from anxiety and depression as well. I have started to realize I need to figure out a way to let go, but I am finding it hard to because I don’t really want to. Not having proper closure and feeling as if his parents shouldn’t be able to decide when we are over is making this difficult. I am just wondering if there is anything I can do to face reality to move on for the sake of not driving myself insane and for my family so they aren’t worried about my happiness. He was my first love and I can’t tell if this is fate saying we shouldn’t be together or if it is being skewed due to parents not allowing it to play it’s self out.

    • malejunk says:

      I presume you’re still young.
      A lot can happen, and your emotions are a lot stronger than more experienced, matured and seasoned individuals.
      It may look like the end of the world to you, but it isn’t.
      It probably just sucks to be out of luck, but you just have to learn to take the beating, suck it up… Cry over it if you must, talk about it, and just go through this season of loss.
      If he’s meant for you, he’ll come back to you. But chances are his parents won’t allow him, until he’s an adult, 18 (or 21, depending on where you live) years of age.
      I remember a girl i loved when i was young, but had to let go.
      It hurt like hell.
      And it took several weeks.
      But after a few weeks, things started getting better, and I felt less pain.
      My life continued.
      I grew over her, believe it or not, it does happen; until she was nothing more than a faint memory.
      Other people came in my life, which I learned to love.
      And in ways to me, were better than the first girl.

    • Petra says:

      It’s not his family that’s deciding for you – he is making that choice. He decided to listen to them and not fight for you. Please think about it. You want and need a partner who will choose you and your relationship as a priority in his life. Otherwise he doesn’t love you (enough). I know it’s tough and it hurts but there is a big learning point for you in this experience. Take care.

  10. JC says:

    It was never official– it was never the kind of relationship you’d flaunt on social media with vacation pictures. But it was real and really intense, with varying phases of seriousness over the past 3.5 years. Time and time again I’d try to request some definition, some commitment, some level of faithfulness to one another… and I’d be turned down. He said he loved me- that I was one of the great loves of his life- but he had too much damage and couldnt commit or guarantee that he’d be ready to commit every time I’d ask. Then we would stop seeing each other, neither forgetting about the other, and the minute one of us made contact, we’d be back in each other’s arms almost immediately. He’s exciting and bad and a bit insane, but I loved it. I couldn’t help but hold out hope that he’d finally see what we have is worth holding on to and prioritizing. After the most intense year and a half of our relationship, I broke it off and kept him at bay for a record of 6 months. Then we caved and started seeing each other once a month. This current dynamic had gone on for a year, until last night.

    Last night it finally dawned on him that hooking up and flirting and communicating was holding me back from finding someone else, and he told me he didn’t want to stand in my way anymore. That he’d always love me and he’ll miss me terribly but he can’t give me the things that I want. He might in theory someday, but not any time soon and with no timeline. It was the most honorable thing to do. But I’m in so much pain.

    I want this time to be different. I want to leave the relationship in the dust. I know closure will be hard to obtain but I want to feel hopeful and brave as I leave the biggest, most formative (and only) relationship of my life behind. I know I can do better than someone who only kind of wants to be with me. I just can’t help feeling like something special was in my grasp and it’s being taken from me without my consent. I’m always waiting to hear from him, always looking at my phone and hoping he’ll snap and come back. I miss him when he’s gone- it doesn’t seem to fade. and can’t seem to find another guy who really can hold his own in a conversation and actually wants a smart woman. He could be awful but he also saw me for who i am. How can I move on?

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