For this first category, I’m going to assume that you were prepubescent and had a schoolchild infatuation with somebody. With any luck, this should be a lot easier.
All you need to realize is that she was a little shit. It’s really simple. I don’t care if she was the sweetest little girl alive, she was a little shit. Little kids are like this quite a lot. One of the first skills that they learn is how to be twofaced: how to flip back and forth between being good and bad at the drop of a hat. It was not really her fault that she broke your heart; she was programmed that way.
Odds are that this was not something particularly serious; you had some contact with her at school, at the ice cream shop, in the plutonium mines, or wherever it was that kids hung out at the time. You were nice to her and she reciprocated, or you were a jerk to her and she was nice to you, or some other linear combination of she and you, nice and jerk. The point is that all of a sudden, you realized that you weren’t just friends with her, you loved her as nobody had ever loved before, and she was going to be your wife, and you would own a castle somewhere (or a superhouse of the future) and raise unicorns and robots and Ewoks together.
This was your first mistake. If she cared about you, she would either (a) have been forthcoming about it or (b) pretended to hate you. If she did like you, and was forthcoming, and ended up dropping you for somebody else, you need to remember that that happens all the time with kids. I’ve been indoctrinated into and kicked out of more childhood social circles than I care to think about, and I turned out fine, albeit as an acerbic, cynical member of the Internet generation. But this is not about me, it’s about you.
Say this to yourself: she did not know what she was doing. Go find her and talk to her today. There are a few ways this can turn out.
- She’s a really nice person, and she still likes you.
ANALYSIS: Score! You’ve just got yourself a date, and you have an entire evening’s worth of small talk already prepared in the form of reminiscing.
- She’s a really nice person, and doesn’t care about you at all.
ANALYSIS: Well, who cares? There are plenty of nice women out there, and you don’t need to be all heartbroken over one who loved you and left you before you were old enough to dress yourself, or at the very least before you were old enough to perform basic algebra.
- She’s a total shit. She may or may not care about you.
ANALYSIS: Yikes! Good thing you got out of this one while the going was good! Who needs a jerk for a significant other? She’s bad now, and she was probably bad then. Short of giving her an epiphany, there’s nothing you can do to change that fact. Find another woman and drive this one out of your mind.
So basically, if you were young at the time, you’re in lots of luck. It’s going to be pretty easy to get by this one, as the worst that could have happened was mild emotional trauma, assuming you weren’t involved with Destructico, Bitch Goddess in Training. Moving on.
Here’s where it gets slightly harder. For members of e2, this event could have happened anywhere from the ages of 11 up to about 30. There are a few things to keep in mind that will help smooth this over.
These cases will mostly fall into the same patterns as the ones above, so I won’t bother with the fancy formatting this time around. First, if she was basically a nice person, then there are a few reasons for why she may have broken your heart. If she was young and scared, and had to back out because she thought she was headed down a bad path, you should be able to forgive her. She may be willing to give you another chance now. If not, see the aforementioned bit of advice about finding another girl, or drowning your troubles in booze.
If she was a jerk, and you still care for her, remind yourself that you can’t really be happy with a person who doesn’t care about your happiness. If you truly still care about her, and she truly can’t change, then you need to confide in good friends until you’re so sick of telling the story that you find catharsis.
Another trick to try is apologizing to her. If you get the feeling that things ended on a really sour note, most people will be grateful to you if you come to them with sincere contrition. Do your research beforehand, and be prepared to explain to her why you did whatever it was that upset her or otherwise caused her to snap. This will not work if it was truly unprovoked. In that case, go to her, tell her that you feel guilt over what happened, and ask what you can do to patch things up between you. Remember, as long as you end up on amicable terms at the end, you’ll be happier than if you had done nothing. There’s no shame in humbling yourself a little in order to get somebody not to be your enemy.
The whole trick to resolving bad feelings about somebody is to talk to them. There is no way at all that you will fix anything simply by thinking about it on your own and stewing, unless she comes to you - and that really doesn’t count at all.