Relationships in Nigeria can be different from that in the global world because it involves cultural norms that serve as rules to guide the conduct of the persons involved. An established rule in Nigeria says a man or woman shouldn’t stay single until thirty. Once you are in your mid’ and late twenties, your Nigerian parents and relatives pressure you to find a partner. Finding a partner is not so hard, but keeping one is. As you grow, your choice changes, and you lose interest in the things you desired before. These changes also reflect in the people you want to be with.
We have relationships of different age grades thriving in several ways, but there is a widespread belief that no one escapes break up. In Naija, we call it breakfast, and as the popular motto goes: “Breakfast na national cake,” meaning that it is served to anybody regardless of position, race, or class. To some people, it is served as a surprise, and to some, they see the signs beforehand.
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A few people were interviewed about their experiences over their first breakup, and some of their responses are included in this article. Here are five things you can learn from your first breakup:
1. Don’t Love Blindly
Love can appear sweet, but be on the lookout for anything that seems off in your relationship. One of our interviewed guests spoke about how her breakup came as a surprise to her saying, “I never really knew why he ended our relationship. I had been noticing an unusual attitude with him, and I felt like I was the only one in the relationship”. She saw the red flags but ignored them because she was in love. Look past the regular I love you and see if your love is being reciprocated fully. Actions speak louder than words. As the popular Nigerian quote says, “Shine your eyes”.
2. There Is Always A Reason, but Don’t Expect An explanation For It
Nobody wakes up one morning and decides they no longer want to be with you. There is always a reason, but they might not be ready to tell you what it is. Don’t expect an explanation. Don’t push for it if they don’t want to tell, no matter how tempting it is. Another person said, “She left me. She felt she got a better guy. I cried so much and couldn’t eat properly for days”.
Your ex might provide a flimsy explanation for leaving you but let it go regardless.
3. Holding On Hurts More Than Letting Go
One of the hardest decisions in life is letting go of someone you love. It’s even harder if it was your first love. Everyone that was interviewed for this claimed to have moved on. One person said, “I still love him. I don’t think I can love someone else the way I did with him. I don’t think you can ever stop loving your first love, but I’ve moved on”. The basic point here is moving on. You have to cease communication with your ex—set boundaries.
Like there are sweet love experiences, toxic experiences can ruin your mental health. Don’t hold onto the illusion that they will change. A person said, “The truth will stare right at you, but you will still choose to embrace a lie.” That’s how some of us are, we would rather live a lie than take the truth. It takes strength to let go. Choose yourself, let go of old feelings, and with time, you will heal.
4. You Are Not Always The Victim
Nobody wants to admit that they are toxic in a relationship. There is a possibility that the breakup was a result of abuse or negligence on your part. An interviewed guest said, “I had this nonchalant attitude towards the relationship, so it ruined everything. After the breakup, I realized I needed to work on my attitude”.
Learn from your mistakes and work on yourself to be a better partner (for future relationships), and a better human. You can’t give what you don’t have to learn to love yourself first. Be happy without relying on people’s love for you.
5. It Is Okay To Seek Help and Talk About It
Don’t suffer for something that happened in the past. It’s not worth it. It’s okay to be hurt about the breakup. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to talk to a friend or a trusted person about it. Pour out your feelings; you don’t have to bottle up your emotions. Do what you love doing. It can involve listening to music, eating, dancing, reading a book, or anything else. Surround yourself with people who love you. All of these will help you heal.
You are a courageous person for going through the perks that come with a breakup and standing above it all. Your self-worth is important; stand with dignity and don’t beg for anyone’s love. Forgive! Open your heart to love, and there’s plenty of love you can give. Be positive towards finding someone new and getting loved in return.
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