Even though the love didn't last, you learn about yourself from failed relationships. In the weeks and months after a romantic partnership dissolves, no matter how casual it may have been, we are confronted with a zillion emotions stemming from the breakup. It can be tough to deal. When you are with the wrong person for too long, you recognize that there is an expiration date for those intense but passionate experiences you first encountered. No partnership is without its flaws, but if you feel mostly emotionally drained in the beginning throes of a relationship, that's usually one of the more obvious signs that it won't get better in time.
Of course, by going through the breakup ringer, whether it was a mostly positive relationship or not, we can better prepare ourselves for the future by doing a little soul-searching and figuring out more about ourselves and what we really need in a romantic partner. What we may learn is that we're stronger that we seem, we deserve the very best for ourselves, we have some things to work on, or that right now we're simply not ready for a new person in our lives, and all of that is OK.
Here are a few of the hard-learned lessons that others have gotten from their previous relationships:
1. VF, 25
"I need to think more about the future. I need to consider my needs on a daily basis, like boring stuff like scheduling and spending money. I just wasn't with compatible partners in the past, or I was and I wasn't advocating for myself."
2. Alexa, 21
"That I am over-controlling and bossy."
3. Pedro, 26
"I will always have to fear infidelity in relationships."
4. Fan, 22
"That I am easily manipulated. Seriously poor self-confidence brought me to that point."
5. Suzy, 25
"That red flag on the first date will only get worse on the hundredth. I tend to ignore red flags when I really like someone, but I shouldn't because they won't get better down the line. I learned this lesson many times, but one example is that I thought my ex-boyfriend seemed a bit self-centered on the first date but I liked him and wanted to give him a chance, but I learned over the course of the two years we dated that he was REALLY self-centered. By the time I started to see how bad it was, I was too attached."
6. Scooter, 23
"If you're happy, you are a really excellent boyfriend. If you don't feel appreciated for being an excellent boyfriend, you very quickly become unhappy."
7. Agos, 20
"Watch out for 'red flags', have more confidence, and to take more care of myself."
8. Kylie, 26
"I learned to be who I am and to own what I want (in both the short term and long term, and both sexually, emotionally, and physically) in a relationship. If someone wasn't looking for the same things, bye. ~Life happens in the blink of an eye~ and there is no sense wasting time lying to ourselves and to each other. Trying to wait for someone to be ready to want the same things I did."
9. Gabrielle, 17
"To take it slow, that things in common don't mean we should date, and don't let anything get in the way when building your initial foundations (such as sex or drugs or anything, just really get to know each other first). These were relationships not built on love. Relationships founded on sex/someone to smoke weed with. We bonded over a few select hobbies rather than loving each others' entirety completely."
10. Rach, 25
"I have a finite supply of patience – I get angry with others super easily."
11. Melody, 17
"I definitely need physical affection in a relationship, a connection with someone you just can't get through words. I dated exclusively online for years and was unsatisfied nearly the whole time."
12. Tali, 28
"That I disappear into my partners."
13. Michelle, 28
"That I need to work on communication skills. Just because you're not arguing doesn't mean you're communicating well."
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