Vital Lessons To Learn From Relationships (& Breakups)

Relationships, like most other things in life, are an unpredictable gamble. Billions of relationships happen and the majority of them fail. Yet, we all keep trying anyway. Even though I’ve suffered my fair share of pain and heartbreak, I still believe it’s “better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.” Here are a few important things I’ve learned in love and heartbreak.

Some Wounds Never Heal

I always cringe a little when I hear the notion that “time heals all wounds.” The truth is some heartbreaks may never fully heal. They may fade and morph into acceptance or be sewn up by another love, but the scar will always be there and hurt a bit, and that is ok. The comforting thing about heartbreak is that it happens to many people and yet we’re still able to move forward, lead productive lives, and find love again. No matter how much you’re hurting right now find comfort in knowing that billions of other people have felt similar pain. Pain and heartbreak is simply part of the human experience.

Some Issues Aren’t Resolvable

Humans have a tendency to try to fix everything. Our natural instinct when things aren’t going right is to fix, fix, fix. However, sometimes there is no solution to an issue and you can talk each other’s heads off and waste a lot of time on a futile cause. In this case you have to make a choice to either accept the flaw or leave the relationship.

You Can’t Fix People

We have a tendency to want to change our partners to fit our ideals, and that often comes in the way of wanting to heal or fix someone. Childhood scars, previous heartbreaks, abuse, addiction and other issues must be accepted and dealt with by your partner first. You alone can not “fix” their issues. If your partner is not willing to take steps to heal themselves with counseling or treatment, you’re spinning your wheels in the mud. You can be a supportive partner, but without equal effort from your significant other, nothing is going to change.

Don’t Waste Time

I know this is going to sound old fashioned, but if you want to be married and matrimony is not on the table or even a discussion within a year of dating, it’s wise to move on. No matter how much you love someone. After a year of dating, both partners should be fully committed and have a grasp on if they want to move forward with one another. Allowing someone to string you on for years without exclusivity or discussing marriage almost always ends up at a dead end street. Don’t waste your time on someone who is unwilling to give your their all -especially if you want biological children. The fact is women who want biological children do not have time to waste as they near 40.  Don’t waste time with someone who isn’t on the same page as you.

“The One” Doesn’t Exist

Sigh…the myth of “the one.” Everyone has heard this term and it’s damaging because mathematically, it’s just not true. There are nearly 8 billion people on the planet; it’s safe to say there is more than one match out there for you. So, if you’ve been dumped and are ruminating on the notion that he or she was “the one,” stop the madness. First off, if they were “the one” they wouldn’t have left. Second, it’s nearly mathematically impossible that there are not other people out there that would make an equally good, if not better, match. This is not to say some people don’t get back together after a breakup, but as the saying goes, “if you love someone, let them go. If they come back, they’re yours.” Regardless, don’t lead your love life with the idea there’s only one person out there for you. Especially if that one person broke your heart.

All Relationships End

Yes, all relationships end. Whether by breakups or death. This means that you need to make sure to build a life that is not centered only around your partner. We have a tendency to idealize relationships to the point where we forget to nurture ourselves. Then one day our partner wakes up and decides they’re not in love anymore or comes down with a terminal illness. Suddenly you are alone and without a partner. Regardless of your relationship status, always maintain your own identity and independence. So no matter what happens in your relationship, you can stand on your own two feet if they are gone one day.

Love Is Still The Greatest Human Emotion

Last, but not least, no matter what happens, to love someone wholly and unconditionally is still the greatest human emotion. A world without love is empty and cold. It can be easy to give up and become jaded after relationship pain, but loving others is still the most beautiful emotion. No matter what happens, don’t let heartbreak close your heart. Loving might hurt sometimes, but never loving hurts much more.

Molly Chan

Molly Chan is StyleFox's resident, no-nonsense dating and love columnist. Once single, now settled, she spent a decade in New York City's dating jungle and knows the singles scene inside and out. Doesn't miss it.

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