“Oh, to be young, and to feel love’s keen sting.” –Albus Dumbledore

Question: My boyfriend and I are both in our early 20s. We broke up 3 weeks ago after a six month relationship. This was my first serious, adult (post-college) relationship. I know it’s over but why am I so hurt when I saw him on Tinder?

Generally, the younger you are or the longer, more serious the relationship, the greater the emotional toll. Since this was your first serious relationship and it’s only been three weeks, my first bit of advice is for you to stop being so hard on yourself. Emotional healing takes time, just like physical healing. The deeper the wound, the longer it takes.

My second bit of advise is, your feelings are an indication that you’re not ready for another relationship. Have you ever twisted your ankle? It hurts for quite a while afterward, and that is your body’s way of saying, “It’s still healing, stay off of it.” The pain you are feeling now is your heart’s way of saying the same thing.

My third bit of advise is to stay off dating sites. We’ve already established that you’re not ready to start dating again, so why would you be on Tinder except to check up on your ex? It’s over. Let it go before you drive yourself crazy. Stay off dating sites until you’re ready to start dating again and if you encounter him on other social media, just keep scrolling. Exes are exes for a reason. Let it go.

My lst bit of advise is to use this down time to take an honest look at where things went wrong. Was it his behavior? Was it your behavior? At you age, your educational, professional, and social lives are probably in a state of great flux, so perhaps it was just a case of “wrong time, wrong place”. Perhaps you just weren’t well suited to each other–learn from that so you can make a better choice next time.

More than anything, give yourself more time.