Feeling broken hearted is just about the worst pain in the world. It can also seem endless - luckily it isn't.
So, you're nursing a broken heart? What you have to remember is that you can get through it. Ask around and you'll find that loads of people you know have had their hearts broken. Most of them are OK now. And one day you'll be OK too. Better than that you'll be fine. But right now, it's hard to believe that.
Getting over your first love is incredibly difficult. This is because we all think our first, real, wonderful, romantic love will last forever. Funnily enough, we don't look at our friends and their early relationships and think that they will last forever. And we know statistically that most people do not fall in love at 17 or thereabouts and stay with that person for life. But knowing these things does not seem to stop us from feeling that our particular first love is golden and timeless and unlike any other. So when it ends it's shattering.
The only comfort is that this romance has shown you how much love you have to give. And people with love to give are attractive individuals that others are drawn to. One day, you'll look back at your first love and realise that it was a great dress rehearsal for subsequent relationships. But you're unlikely to feel that right now.
Treat yourself gently
You can feel so 'knocked' after your heart is broken that you feel seriously ill, or as if you've been in a car crash. So, treat yourself as if you are recovering from a bad illness or a road traffic accident. Let other people care for you, too. Get as much sleep as possible. Eat lovely foods. Convalesce. And allow yourself to cry - even if you're a bloke. It's horrible at the time, but you'll feel better afterwards. All in all, take life gently - you've had a shock, and your mind and body need time to get over it.
Pep up your social life
Your friends will help you get over it. Soon, they'll be asking you to come out in a group to the cinema or the pub or whatever. At first you won't be in the mood, but soon you'll realize that there are some bonuses to being single again. In fact, you'll find that this is a good time to do stuff that you didn't do with your ex. So now you can go to the sorts of films that you like, or you can listen to your type of music, or go on your type of holiday.
Look back to look forwards
Once you're over the stage of feeling shocked and ill, try to look back at your relationship as it really was, not through the rose-tinted spectacles you've worn for so long.
Write a list of the things that you don't miss about your ex. At first you'll be thinking that you loved everything about this person, but you didn't. What about those awful jokes, the rows, how you always had to make the arrangements if anything was to get done, the times when your ex put you down or made you feel stupid or how they didn't like your best mate? There are always elements to our past loves that weren't right, and this is a good time to focus on them.
Sometimes when our hearts are broken we want to find someone new to love us as soon as possible. This is natural - but unwise. Your best bet is to embrace your single life wholeheartedly for six months or so. Obviously you may end up having sex with other people - but do make sure it's safe sex. However, your emotions are not going to settle for quite a while, so have fun, but don't go looking for anything else serious until you're happy without your ex. You'll know you're getting over your heartache when you can get through a whole day without thinking about them.
Christine Webber is a relationships advisor and the author of How To Mend A Broken Heart (Hodder and Stoughton, £7.99).