No one likes pain. Yet fearlessly, millions of people dabble in love and relationships without regard for the potential heartache that’s often just around the corner. Everyone wants their partner to live up to their romanticized ideals. Here’s a list of reasons to be grateful in the midst of heartache.
1. YOU ARE WIDE AWAKE
That’s right. Gone are the days when you could be called naive, green, gullible or foolish. You’ve abandoned your idealistic expectations and you’re fully aware of the truth; no one is perfect but most people pretend to be. Congratulations. You’re ahead of the curve. You’ve left the lofty land of idealized love; where teenagers and inexperienced adults dwell, believing that life and relationships are rosy and fluffy and oh-so-swell. You’ve grown up. And you’ll be damned if someone pulls the wool over your eyes ever again.
2. THE ABUSE IS OVER
Unless you have chosen to linger in a bad situation, you can finally say goodbye to whatever kind of abuse you’ve endured. You made it! Emotional abuse, physical abuse, manipulation, financial abuse, verbal abuse, crazy-making, arguing and accusing are in the past! In bad relationships, abuse can range from being deceived, used or ignored to being violently attacked. All abuse hurts. Even if you only endured lies, that’s enough to drive a person crazy. So be glad it’s over now.
3. Your “Job” Here is Done
Relationships take work. Surely your lifestyle included more duties, tasks, responsibilities, worries, and concerns when you were committed to someone else. Now you can relax! Take a look at your life and examine how much time, money, energy, brain space and thought power you will conserve and redirect toward yourself or other loved ones. Be glad there’s no extra person to consider when eating, sleeping, cleaning, etc. Haven’t you lightened your workload? If you have children, aren’t they glad that you’re more “available” to them? Ending a bad relationship feels like you just got rid of a part time job that probably didn’t pay at all. Without a mate, there’s no one to “serve.” Be glad to be free. No? Then call one of your married friends one weeknight and see if he or she even “has time” to talk, let alone hang out or relax. You’re free!
4. YOU WON
In most bad relationships, one party gives and the other party gains. Have you been giving, giving, giving and receiving nothing or not much in return? Has your parter taken advantage of you? Did your partner expect you to sit idly by while he or she lived a great life with lots of fun and flirtation? If you caught your partner taking advantage of you and ended the relationship, you won! Your partner planned to use you up until there was nothing left! But you caught on. You stopped it. As much as you cared for him/her, you foiled their plan to keep you as his or her pet dummy; a charade that could have lasted forever. The joke’s on him or her because now they have to find a new fool. Although, it will be hard to find a fool as great as you.
5. YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO HEAL
How can you heal what you don’t know is broken? Most people in bad relationships never stop to realize that their choice of partner is a reflection of subconscious pain. Although it sounds mystical, psychology is not a myth. Are you the girl who chose a man like her father or mother? Are you the guy who keeps “attracting” the same “type” of mate? The reason is psychological. What does this mean in terms of gladness? Suppose your mate is an alcoholic, and so was your parent. As the alcoholism destroys your relationship, think back to your childhood traumas involving alcoholism. Resolve to never choose alcoholism or alcoholic people to occupy your space again. Failed relationships reveal childhood trauma, which can be healed if you choose to remove yourself from trauma in your adult life. As your relationship ends, now is the time to conduct a therapy session with yourself. Your relationship was a mirror to indicate the areas in which you should take care to heal and protect yourself. How many people take the time to perform this kind of introspective work on themselves? Not many. So be glad the heartbreak led you to this particular set of insights.
6. YOU CAN FINALLY BE FRIENDS WITH YOUR EX (SOMEDAY)
Maybe you can’t see it today, but one day you and your former mate will be friends. In many romantic relationships, people wear masks. They want their partner to see only the best in them. Therefore they temper their attitudes and behaviors accordingly. They conceal their flaws and exaggerate their positive attributes. They hide their dark sides. Some people are in “happy” relationships with people that they don’t even know. For example, George isn’t going to tell you about the time he and so-and-so did such-and-such and almost ended doing whatever the hell. He will only tell that story to a friend; a person with whom he can be his true self without having to present a desirable character. One day, you might find yourself being that kind of friend to George. But only if you break up. If you force George to “stick it out” he will become an expert at deceiving you. So if it’s over, and you truly care for George, be glad that one day, after he’s sure you aren’t trying to trap him in your commitment cage, he may very well end up being your best friend. He will see you as a pal. You’ll take pleasure in his stories of deception and debauchery after he finds a poor idealistic soul to marry. Be glad the show’s over and the two of you can remove your masks.
7. YOU KNOW YOURSELF BETTER
Chances are that you’ve learned some very valuable information about YOU during the course of a failed partnership. Maybe you never knew how much you hated the smell of nail polish or hair spray. Did you know you can’t sleep if someone snores? Maybe you learned you hate to share a bed. Whatever the lesson, you wouldn’t have learned it without the relationship. Did your child really like your partner, or did the kid tolerate said person, at your insistence? What did you learn about your money? Did you depend on your partner? Did your partner depend on you? Did the two of you function like roommates? Like spouses? How did that feel? Maybe you’ve always dreamed of white picket fences with a wife, two kids and a dog, but you realize you don’t really want that at all? Whether you tried a serious relationship and loved it, or decided that the relationship shoe just doesn’t fit, be glad to have learned something new about yourself. And don’t forget what you learned!
8. YOU CAN NOW GIVE GOOD ADVICE
We’ve all heard the cynical statement, “All men/women are the same.” Although blanket statements like this are never completely true, there’s a certain wisdom that comes with having survived a failed relationship. Even though every person is unique, the warning flags of heartache are often the same. After learning your love lessons, you can give sound advice to the man whose wife has a male “best friend” and the woman whose boyfriend “just won’t answer the phone at night.” You can rightfully tell the young lady in love to take caution; even though she “was invited to meet his parents.” You’re wiser now. And although you’re not bitter, you have a realistic take on life and love. You can warn the young couple that wants to marry after having known each other for two weeks. Likewise, you can advise people who genuinely want to be together and need tips on making it work. You’ve learned. Be glad, because now you can teach. Take pride in helping people avoid making the mistakes you’ve made.