I think dating and breaking up a few times are essential experiences. You truly learn a lot about yourself and others when you experience a break up. Many people say that you shouldn’t bring old baggage to new relationships, and I believe that to a degree, but I definitely think we should be using our past experiences to guide us through our new ones. Bad relationships help you notice them the next time around. Here are 5 things you learn from your first few break ups:
Your first true love seems like it’s forever. You’ve never had this feeling before of absolute admiration and desire for another person. You’ve never before talked on the phone for hours with a smile on your face, or fantasized so much about holding someone’s hand or being close to them. Everything is so new and it’s all for the first time.
Then, it slowly begins to fall apart, but you can’t see it. It’s also a first. You think their moodiness is simply temporary. You find excuses for their rude behavior or blatant disregard for your feelings. You never see it coming that first time, but after the experience, you get better at identifying these signs. You realize when someone is acting distant and moody. You notice when they no longer want to talk to you or be around you. This then makes it easier to put in the towel and agree that this just isn’t working out anymore.
After that first break up, you feel lost. This was your first time submerging your life into someone else’s until you could no longer see who you were. Age also makes a huge difference at this stage, because teenagers are still figuring out who they are. So a break up highly disrupts this formation of identity that then must be thrown to the wind and completely given up. You learn that your codependency on this other person was never truly healthy, and your independence is very important to you. Your stability in your own life by having your own friends, hobbies, and goals, that are separate from your significant other, is incredibly important. You make sure will never fall apart again and be left as a shell of a person. You begin the steps of establishing yourself as an independent person who doesn’t need a significant other. You will be just fine on your own.
Family and Friends
While in a relationship, sometimes you get stuck in the bad habit of depending on that person for all your social interactions. This person becomes your best friend, your rock, your – well, everything. Once they’re gone, you begin to realize the people in your life who are irreplaceable. Your friends and family. Those people who are with you when things are going great and will continue to be there when things are going terrible. They are the ones you know you can always depend on and turn to. They’re more important than a significant other. You never forget that initial lesson learned when your first longterm relationship comes crashing down. Who was there for you? Who always will be?
This is an important lesson. During the relationship, this person checked in with you and you checked in with them. You two revolved your lives and time around one another. Realizing that will never again be the case between you two and all you can do is let go of them, teaches you major lessons. It doesn’t matter when the moment was, but once you have that reassurance that everything is going to be okay, you truly feel at ease. You survived having your heart stomped on. You’re letting go. You don’t need them and don’t want them. They’re not important to you anymore, even though you’ll look back fondly on the good times. And that’s okay. It wasn’t all bad, but it’ll never be again.
There are other fish in the sea. It may seem impossible to have feelings for another person during the relationship and directly afterwards, but you finally have a moment where you can actually see yourself getting closer to another person in a romantic way. You realize that even though these experiences will be different, and your heart will be at risk again, you’ve survived it before and you will survive.
The lessons learned from past relationships can benefit us in new ones. We decifer what went wrong and how things could be improved next time with another person. We know now that people don’t always meet their soul mate early, or if they meet them at all. Relationships now take a lot of trial and error before finally getting it right or deciding they’re just not for you.
My Personal Experiences
My first experience with love was my freshman year of high school when I was 14 years old. We dated for a year before we just grew out of each other. I was shocked and confused. The break up hit me like a brick to the stomach. I laid in my bed for three weeks and told people I didn’t want to talk. He messed with my head for a few months afterward until I realized we weren’t in love and he definitely didn’t love me, because you don’t treat people you love that way.
I dated a few other boys throughout high school and they all kind of ended quickly. None of it really felt right and felt forced.
My senior year, I dated one of the nicest kids in our grade and he turned out to be one of the biggest jerks. He was controlling, obsessive, neglectful, and critical. I was at a dark time in my life when we started dating and I just let him and his friends emotionally abuse me for a full year and a half. I was so trapped and felt I couldn’t break up with him because I would have no one else. He finally ended things with me because he realized “eh, you just don’t do it for me anymore.” And then continued to try and control my life for a few months afterward until I finally had to forcefully tell him to leave me alone.
He left me as a shell of a person with the lowest self esteem possible. I was then single for a year. I wouldn’t consider it that long, but it was helpful for me to establish myself as an adult. I met my current boyfriend two and a half years ago. I won’t go into too much detail because this post is about breaking up and I don’t see that happening for us any time soon.
Question For You
What have been your learning lessons in romantic relationships?