20 People Share What They Learned After a Failed Relationship
Sometimes, it's better to suffer the breakup than hold on.
Breakups are hard, and sometimes the pain you feel is so great that you feel like you might literally die of a broken heart. But once all the anguish subsides, you also have the opportunity to engage in some deep self-reflection, and take away lessons that will better enable you to get into an emotionally healthy relationship with someone who’s really right for you.
There are tons of Reddit threads in which people share what they learned once they had time to consider why things fell apart, and the fact that so many people come to the same conclusions means there’s some real wisdom in these whispers. So read on if you want to learn from their mistakes. And for more personal testimonies from the crazy world of relationships, don’t miss this one woman’s agonizing account of how she cheated on her spouse.
“If you aren’t happy, you’re allowed to leave.”
If the person is making you miserable for an extended period of time, it can be easy to rationalize it to yourself as a “rough patch.” And while every relationship has its up and downs, if you’re actively avoiding spending time with them, it’s better to just call it quits.
“This was the exact reason I left my ex,” one Redditor wrote. “I was no longer happy when we were hanging out…it got so bad that I would want to stay longer at work or take the long way home just to get more alone time.”
“Stop listening to your heart and instead listen to your head.”
If you really love someone but you know things aren’t working, it’s natural to try to keep things going simply to avoid the soul-crushing despair of splitting up. But, as one Reddit user put it, “Sometimes it’s better to just suffer the heartbreak instead of hurting each other by dragging it on.”
“Do it face to face if you can.”
Once you manage to get up the nerve to have the dreaded breakup conversation, “Don’t be a chicken and do it by text… Nothing says ‘We’re over and I never want to even hear your voice again’ like doing it via texting,” one Reddit user cautions. Remember, no matter how painful the conversation may be, the other person deserves an explanation and closure, and they’re less likely to hate your guts in the long run if you give them that courtesy.
“Separate the person from the relationship.”
“My ex and I ended things a little over a month ago for a number of good reasons, and I know it was certainly for the best, but that does not take away the feelings of missing being in the relationship,” one Reddit user wrote. “Having that level of companionship and intimacy with another human being is simply amazing, and it is hard not to miss that.”
It’s no fun, but sometimes it helps to remind yourself that you miss being in the relationship more so than you do the person you were with. Otherwise, you might end up getting back together and getting stuck in a vicious cycle of emotional turmoil. There are other fish in the sea!
“You can’t make someone love you by loving them harder.”
Reddit user Fear_of_darkness couldn’t have said it any better. Some people develop feelings more quickly than others, and sometimes it’s worthwhile to be patient and give the other person time to catch up to you. But, at a certain point, you have to face facts, and you might be surprised to find how relieved you feel about letting go instead of being mired in an unrequited romance that constantly leaves you feeling uncared for and unloved.
If you’ve had your heart broken before, it’s hard to truly open up to the next person you’re with, and you might end up acting aloof with someone you really care about to avoid the possibility of getting hurt. But, in the long run, it’s better to take the risk than losing out what could have been a good thing because you didn’t have the courage to tell someone how you really feel.
“If you want to have genuine relationships, be vulnerable,” one Reddit user wrote. “Let them have the chance of hurting you and trust that they wouldn’t. If they hurt you, it’s better to know early on anyway.”
“It’s really easy to sweep someone up in your own little whirlwind of activity.”
“It’s really easy to sweep someone up in your own little whirlwind of activity and sharing and interest, and not notice that you’re the motive force and they are only along for the ride,” says Reddit user Prisoner-of-Paradise about what she’s taken from former flings. “Anyone worth your while will be showing as much interest and making arrangements and calling and being psyched to do things with you as you with them.”
“Good communication is everything.”
One of the foundations of a solid relationship, says Reddit User upandonmyway, is “good communication.” And seeing as every person is different, they also noted that “you have to adjust the way you speak to different people—[you] can’t just assume something that [what] worked in your last relationship will work in this one.” And for more helpful advice, don’t miss the 40 Old-Fashioned Relationship Tips That Still Apply Today.
“You can only compromise so much.”
People claim that love can conquer all, but there are in fact some things that love cannot—and should not—overcome, as Reddit user Nycifix points out. “If I do not want kids, I don’t want kids,” they wrote, “and I shouldn’t be guilt tripped or bargained with to get any.”
“A healthy relationship will help your mental state, not exacerbate it.”
“Even though [my] relationship ended, I was able to learn how partners should respect each other and support each other,” notes one Reddit user. “A healthy relationship will help your mental state, not exacerbate it.”
“Don’t get into a relationship because you feel like you’re supposed to.”
There’s nothing wrong with being single. In fact, as one Reddit user explains, being single is better than getting into a relationship just to avoid being alone, as being with someone when you don’t actually like them “can make the relationship really awkward.” And if you’re scared of being single, then you need to read the 30 Reasons Why Being Single In Your 30s Is the Best Thing Ever.
“It’s the best thing I’ve learned from [the] past: letting go,” says one man about what he’s taken from his failed relationships. “If someone becomes disinterested in you, let her go. Someone isn’t emotionally available? Let her go. I have made the mistake of not letting go for years, [and it] made me miserable.”
“Don’t talk someone into dating you.”
If the person you’re into very vocally doesn’t feel the same way, then one Reddit user says to just move on. “Ask once, maybe twice if they seemed to be caught off guard the first time and are now showing signs of looking at you differently. But after that, move on,” he says. “They’re saying no for a reason.” Evidently, this person learned the hard way when his persistence turned into a long-term relationship between two “incompatible” people.
“Trust your gut.”
Worried that you and your partner aren’t meant to be? Suspicious that your significant other is cheating on you? Trust your gut, says Reddit user DG155. “If you don’t think it’s gonna work, end it as soon [as possible],” he advises. “Otherwise it’ll just lead to more pain.” And if you’re worried that your partner is unfaithful, then familiarize yourself with the 30 Subtle Signs Your Wife Is Cheating.
“Time is important.”
No matter how busy you are, you have to make time for your relationship if you want it to work, according to one Reddit user. “If either of [you] doesn’t devote enough time to the relationship, it will stagnate and decay,” he writes. “[You] need time to develop as a couple.”
“Make sure the good outweighs the bad.”
Every relationship has its fair share of ups and downs, but successful partnerships are defined by an overwhelming amount of pros compared to a minimal amount of cons. As one Reddit user notes: “No relationship is all good times… [but] if you’re spending more time unhappy than you are happy, then it’s time to take stock of the relationship.”
“Pay attention to how they treat other people in their life”
“Don’t fall for somebody who is cold to everyone else [but is] showering you in affection and adoration.” one Reddit user wrote. It might make you feel special at first, but it’s only a matter of time before they start treating you the same way they treat everyone else, so how they relate to their friends and family is often a strong indicator of who they really are.
“There are worse things than being alone.”
“Being alone can suck after a while, but every day, I’m thankful that I’m no longer in a toxic relationship,” one Reddit user wrote. “I see people around me in relationships they hate and I’m so glad to not be living their lie.”
“Don’t make them the only source of your happiness”
“If you do, as soon as they leave, you’re going to be crushed,” one Reddit user wrote. “You need romantic affection to be happy in the long run [but] you don’t need someone’s specific affection. If you know that you have value intrinsically and not because you are validated by someone, it is easier to handle all breakups (not easy, easier). You don’t feel worthless because you get rejected.”
Timing Is Everything
“My dad tells me this all the time: The right girl is the wrong girl at the wrong time,” one Reddit user wrote.
Sometimes, you’re just not in a place where you can really commit to or get involved with someone, even though you know they’re great. These breakups can really suck, because you don’t have the comfort of knowing you’re better off without them. But the good news is that if you’re honest and call things off in a respectful and courteous fashion, there’s always a possibility of reconnecting at a later time. And if you don’t believe me, read these 20 Adorable “How We Met” Stories.
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