It ended and I’m miserable

Happy Friday. It's "validate the dumped" day.

Hi Meredith,

I've read your column for months and have always thought you give great advice. I also thought it was pretty great to read your column and compare it to my wonderful relationship. I realize now how naive I was to believe that my relationship was any more bullet-proof than the next.

I met J. my sophomore year of college and we hit it off immediately. I had just come off a string of miserable flings with guys who treated me horribly and I was delighted to find J., who truly wanted me to be his. I reciprocated those feelings. We started dating after only a month and we fell in love.

This was only my second boyfriend and certainly the first serious one. Eventually, however, we began to fight. Now, after an entire year together, he has abruptly broken my heart. Two days ago, after one particular, alcohol-influenced fight, he decided to end it.

I won't get into specifics -- it's no different than any other relationship. But this was the first guy I loved.

My question, Meredith, is how am I supposed to get over someone I am still so in love with? I realize everyone goes through this at some point in their life (unless they're lucky enough to marry their first sweetheart), but I don't even know how to being to address the pain.

Since we live on a fairly large college campus with thousands of students, I know it's rare that I will run into him. Yet we live only a block away from each other, and every restaurant I pass, every park bench -- they all remind me of places we've been together, and intimate times we shared.

I want to so badly to talk to him, but he was very clear in expressing his need to cut off communication. This is especially hard for me, as he was not only my boyfriend, but my best friend. I shared everything with him.

I can't eat, I can't sleep. I can't even walk outside without tearing up in public. How can I mend my first broken heart, Meredith?

– Lonely in Wisconsin; Wisconsin, by way of Boston

This is like asking me how to cure a head cold, LIW. I can tell you to go out and buy chicken soup and sleep a lot, but really, the cold just has to run its course.

But let me address a few points you made in your letter.

You say that people who never experience this kind of pain are "lucky." I’m not so sure. This kind of pain spawns creativity. Life changes. Renewed friendships. Really great mix CDs. It's like making it over Heartbreak Hill during the Boston Marathon. It's awful when you're doing it, but when you're done, you feel pretty great about yourself (I'm just guessing on that one. There's no way I'm ever doing that). Use this time wisely. Feel your feelings and channel them into school, work, television, and friendships -- all of the good stuff.

Also, you mention that you had a string of not-so-nice relationships before J. That doesn't mean he is the only person who will respect you and love you for the right reasons. He's just the first.

All you can do is wait this one out. Take long walks and call a lot of people. I promise you, one day you'll pass those restaurants and benches and they'll have new memories attached to them.

In the meantime, welcome to the world of heartbreak. It's a well-populated world with good music and food. If you think of it that way, it's not the worst place to be.

Readers? Is there anything she can do to speed this along? Thoughts on dealing? Words of wisdom? Discuss.

– Meredith