I’ve always found the concept of breaking up with someone to be both unsettling and sad. Whenever I hear of a friend or family member’s relationship coming to an end, I feel somewhat disappointed that another love failed yet again. Coming from a family where my parents met and fell in love at 15 years old, I grew up believing in the whole “fairy-tale” ending phenomenon. I just didn’t understand how if two people loved each other so much, they could even fathom ending things. I think this is part of the reason I struggled so much in ending my first long-term relationship. He was more than just a lover; I grew up with him. I had so many firsts with this person, and I went through many hard times with him by my side. We started dating at 15, the same age as my parents. He was my best friend for four years and I couldn’t imagine life without him, or how I was even happy before we came together. Before I knew it, everything changed. He made consistent mistakes when it came to our relationship that hurt me over and over again. I started to feel myself not just falling out of love with him, but also craving something new and more fulfilling. At the same time, the thought of not having him in my life felt both sad and unfamiliar. It also felt unfair: Why did I have to lose him as both my boyfriend and my best friend at the same time? I wished it didn’t have to be that way. I wished the aching hole in my heart would just close up and heal. It’s amazing to think how quickly people can come in and out of your life; people who used to mean everything can turn into nothing. How are we forced to forget people who once meant the world to us? When our lives center around someone we love, it doesn’t just stop the minute you break up. When you’re passing by his favorite restaurant or the place in the park where she first told you she loved you; when you realize it’s his birthday or hear her favorite song on the radio, the memories will always linger. However, these are memories you are forced to forget because you know, and everyone else knows, that you deserve better. I believe that if you truly love someone, you will always harbor love for that person. It may be a different love than it was when you were together, but something will always be there. Maybe it’s simply just an ache that creeps across your body upon hearing his name. We will never completely forget about a failed love, but that does not mean you won’t be happy again — you will. Either way, this concept is inevitable. It’s the human condition to crave love and relationships. Every now and then we meet someone who may end up becoming a big part of our lives, and with this, we run the risk of ending up as strangers. However, I think it will always be a risk worth taking. With every failed relationship comes a new lesson. They help us learn more about what we like, don’t like and what we are willing to accept. They help us recognize the pain a broken heart can bring and the growth involved in healing it. They also teach us to appreciate how beautiful and vulnerable love can be, and hopefully, eventually, help us find that person who will make all that pain and uncertainty worth it.