We’ve all had that one relationship that knocks the wind out of us. The things you thought you knew about love become all jumbled in your mind because you’re blinded by hurt. Bad breakups are emotionally taxing. With it comes resentment and sometimes outright anger. The thing about a bad breakup is the more emphasis you put on the other person’s fault, the longer it takes for you to re-group and heal.
There are five powerful lessons that a bad breakup will teach you once you stop romanticizing the relationship:
1) Love is not an event. It’s a process: Many relationships come to a bitter end because someone’s feelings changed. As great as it may sound, love isn’t a feeling you get when you’re around that person. Love is a choice. From those choices come deliberate actions. You invest time learning about them and give yourself a chance to like the person you’re dealing with. From that feeling of like grows love. You can’t rush into something and expect it to last.
2) It’s okay if you aren’t ready: When the right person comes along, it’s natural to want to snatch them up. During Pharrell’s interview with Oprah, he explained how when he met his wife, she was dating someone else. With all his hubris, she resisted his pursuits. She didn’t immediately cut him off though. From that point, they forged ahead as friends and eventually got their happily ever after. A person will respect you more if you’re honest about the level of commitment you can make. That type of transparency is hard and scary because nobody wants to have to wonder “what if…”. But it can save you from sadness and a bruised ego later. The great thing is if you two believe that you’re each other’s “right one”, you’ll stay in each other’s lives.
3) You can’t force your method of love on someone else: The Five Love Languages is a book every single should read at least once in their adult life. Knowing your significant other’s love language is the ultimate cheat code. I think that each love language essentially tells you the bare bones of keeping your significant other fulfilled in the relationship. The quality of love is far greater than how much you love them. If you don’t love a person in the way that they receive it, it’s never going to work.
4) Date longer and more deliberately: For every short courtship that led to a 30+ year marriage, there’s 50 stories of couples who wound up in divorce court within the same year. Some people don’t believe you should fall in love with potential. I tend to disagree for the reason that on occasion – for men particularly – the right kind of love is exactly what’s needed. However, many of us have been hurt because we loved someone for who we wish they were. When you date someone longer or date with your own purpose, you have the space to make a more informed decision about love.
5) No relationship is ever a waste of time: It’s hard to feel “good” about a break up. On the flip side, it’s true that a person’s presence in your life was either to be a blessing or a lesson. I look back and can unequivocally say that every serious relationship I’ve been in has taught me something about myself as a man. A relationship is only a waste of time if it a) didn’t help you see your weaknesses or b) never showed you how strong you actually are.
Relationships are often the catalysts for shifts in our lives. So if you continue to come out of relationships the same exact way you went in, then the problem may be you. You owe it to yourself and your future significant other to accept responsibility, learn from your mistakes, and make the shift a positive one.