It’s darn-near impossible to find a silver lining in a breakup. It’s even more of a challenge to think positive thoughts when you’re the one who got dumped.
But if you give yourself time and dig deep enough inward, you’re bound to discover that the breakup wasn’t for naught. Sure, things may not have gone exactly as you’d planned, but at least now you have a better understanding of what you want — and categorically don’t want — in your next relationship.
That’s what we were reminded of recently when a conversation broke out on Reddit asking people to chime in with the most valuable lesson they’ve ever learned from a past relationship. Some lessons were logistical (collect the stuff you really love prior to breaking up with someone, or be prepared to kiss that George Foreman grill buh-bye), while others were a bit more contemplative (“Your happiness and validation come within,” one Redditor said.)
The conversation was so good, we decided to keep it going on our Facebook andTwitter pages. See some of the most interesting responses below, then head to the comments and share the hard-won breakup lessons you’ve picked up from relationships past.
1. “A relationship involves two people. I used to put all the responsibility on myself whenever something would go wrong. When her actions would hurt me, I’d think about myself and what I could have done better. In the end, I stayed in that relationship way too long.”
2. “I learned to always keep my money separate and to have a backup plan.”
3. “Never settle. Love is a verb. People are who they are. Don’t expect them to change.”
4. “Your happiness and validation come from within. Relying on one person in order to feel happy is unhealthy for both parties involved.”
5. “I learned to cultivate me — my interests, my hobbies — and let the hobbies and interests I once shared with my ex fall to the wayside. I learned my own strength.”
6. “I learned that loving someone and loving the idea of being with someone are two very different things.”
7. “It’s a big ocean with many fish. You’ll find someone else. The heart is resilient.”
8. “Once you’ve broken up, cut all ties with that person. Delete them from Facebook, delete their phone number and send their email and text to a spam folder. Stay away from them and you’ll move on quicker.”
9. “Always read the signs and be aware of the red flags. They are there flashing and waving if you just pay attention.”
10. “I am worth more than what I accepted from the person I loved. I can make myself happy.”
11. “Don’t even think about falling in love again if your self-esteem is zapped post-split. Heal and love yourself first, then look for love again.”
12. “Being unattached is way better than being in an unhappy or unfulfilling relationship.”
13. “Get your stuff before you break up.”
14. “Your wellness is more important than the relationship.”