Breaking up sucks. You’ve invested time, money, love and a part of yourself, ultimately for nothing. But was it really all for naught?
It’s said that failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker, and ending a romantic relationship is no exception.
When you go through a breakup, you should ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” The consequence of not learning from our failed relationships is being doomed to make the same mistakes — and date the wrong person — over and over again.
It’s easier to hate your ex and be done with it, but here’s why you should turn your ex into an experience and be THANKFUL it’s over:
1. Exes make us better in our next relationships.
Often, we’ll find ourselves ruminating over an ex, asking ourselves, “What if” questions. What if I was more supportive, or, what if I never got upset over the little things?
Here’s the good news: You can find out the answers to those questions … in your next relationship. You can’t time travel an undo your past mistakes; the only thing you can do is make sure you never repeat them again.
So ruminate away (but wistfully) over your ex. Think about a situation where you really screwed up, and use the benefit of hindsight to figure out how you could’ve handled it like a rock star.
Constantly improving yourself as a partner is key in landing the love of your life. You have to become the sort of person you’d want to be with.
2. They make us better in the bedroom, too.
As much as we want it to be about love and passion, sex is very much a skill. Practice makes perfect. All things being equal, 19-year-old you is terrible in bed compared to 25-year-old you.
Imagine if you could go back to the first person you had sex with, knowing what you know now. How would the experience be different?
Every trick you learned, every talent you further developed with your ex, it all benefits the newest person in your life. Every time you learn from a failed relationship and become better as a person and better in the bedroom, you get one step closer to being the best version of yourself.
What if one day you meet the person of your dreams? Don’t you want to be the best person you can be for them? Well, that process starts NOW, not after you meet them.
3. They help us learn what we want in a relationship.
What makes a breakup so heartbreaking are the nostalgic memories of all the good times you had together. Most will say to push those memories from your mind, or that you broke up because the bad times outweighed the good.
But learning what went right in a relationship is just as important as what went wrong. Sometimes it’’ hard to know what we really want in life, but those tearful memories are basically a flashing neon sign pointing it out for you.
You can move on and let go, but it would be wise to take those nuggets of wisdom with you.
4. They help us learn what we DON’T want, too.
Be careful what you wish for — a true, if utterly useless, statement. We don’t always know that what we want is bad for us … until we try it.
Perhaps you’re attracted to an air of enigmatic, mysterious type. Then you later find out he’s too detached, and you need someone who pays more attention to you.
Disappointing, yes, but lesson learned.
5. They enter our lives to help us grow as a person.
You don’t have to wait until after the relationship is over to learn from it. Inevitably, being with someone for any significant length of time will change you as a person.
The ups and downs of being in a relationship cause you to learn about yourself and how to handle other people. Just like number two and your skill in the bedroom, emotional intelligence takes practice.
6. They leaving our lives so we can find someone better.
Have you ever thought, “Damn, I’m SO GLAD I’m not with [insert ex-boyfriend] anymore”?
You probably didn’t think that at the time of the breakup. But once you get further and further away from the comforting familiarity of the relationship, it becomes obvious that the two of you weren’t going to make it.
An even greater tragedy than a tough breakup is two people staying together who shouldn’t. So, thanks for dumping us so we could use that opportunity to lick our wounds, get back on our feet, and aim a little higher next time.
7. Seriously though, peace out.
This article originally appeared on Your Tango: 7 Things We Often Forget To Thank Our Exes For