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  • That Sunday she entered my room and timidly made her way to the foot of my bed.

    “I think I’m ready now,” she sighed.

    I looked up with a questioning smile.

    “I’m ready to clean my room now and pack his things.”

    “That’s good,” I said. “Go ahead.”

    “Do you think he’s gonna let me keep his Wii?”

    My sister went through a breakup with her first boyfriend a month ago and is slowly but surely finding her footing again. I’m very happy and not at all surprised at the progress she’s been making. Being her older sister and only sibling she’s only got me to turn to for serious relationship advice. Our parents were each other’s one and only. They met when they were eight and were married 16 years later. “Ex’s” is not part of their vocabulary.

    Not one to open up to other people, I guess my younger sister is stuck with me. Luckily I have a few tips for her while she undergoes “breakup therapy”. My past regrets of being the psycho ex-girlfriend of my first boyfriend are finally being conquered by this chance to play the role of a protective big sister, to not let her go through more pain than what she’s already feeling. In a way, I was the perfect bad example because whatever I’m telling her now is exactly what I did not do.

    Tip # 1: Have a clean break. To quote my other ex, “An ex is an x for a reason.” How romantic it would sound to say you’ve fallen back into your old boyfriend’s arms but it doesn’t happen with a lot of people. So do not dissect the language you’ve used during the breakup to justify the possibility of getting back together. Also, never ever act like you’re still together post breakup because more complications are bound to arise.

    Tip # 2: No communication whatsoever! No texting, fishing for stories through friends and definitely quit Facebook for sometime (or whatever social media where you can get updates from him). I keep on telling my sister that she should not stress over changing her relationship status to single because frankly, what do other people care? She should be attending to her emotional needs first before satisfying the curiosity of nosy people because it really isn’t any of their business.

    Tip # 3: Make yourself pretty. I think other girls who feel good about the way they look bounce back faster from a breakup. Not to say one should pounce at the first potential rebound but during this period even if your eyes are puffy from crying, at least your hair should be cooperating.

    For a couple of nights I let my sister sleep beside me in my twin-sized bed. We’d talk for two hours or so before saying goodnight, giving her the reassurance that she’s not the first person to go through a breakup and that it will definitely hurt and she will cry more than usual on some days but like all things, this too shall pass. I remember to balance the times when all I would give her is a comforting hug and when I would knock some sense into her by saying hard-hitting words.

    I would give everything to know then what I know now. As her big sister, the truest, most important thing I could ever tell her is that she will find someone else who will love her unconditionally. A first breakup from a serious relationship leaves one feeling vulnerable and insecure, naturally. She may screw all my tips and make so many mistakes but the one mistake she should not make is to believe the lie that there will be no one else who will love her and accept her, flaws and all. The best one is always yet to come.

    Sometimes I forget that she’s already 22. In my mind she’ll forever be my baby sister and she’s still too young to watch some movies. In my mind she’s still the one I play paper dolls with or the one I’d catch pretending to be a singer in front of the mirror. But she surprises me with her maturity and the way she’s handling her first encounter with heartbreak. I’m proud of her.

    Just now she walked into my room again.

    “Today is the first month anniversary of my breakup,” she recalls. “I think I’m doing okay. I don’t cry as much.”

    I nodded with approval.

    “I’ll be preparing myself so I can go out with my friends next week. I don’t want to look like an ugly loser when we take pictures.”

    We talk about cutting her hair like Olivia Palermo’s, and finding her angle so she can show her best smile. She sounds happy again, getting there little by little, living one day at a time.

    I know now she’ll be fine.
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