We bet our fathers wish they could have protected their little girls from heartbreak forever. Unfortunately we ventured out into the shark infested waters of hurt and betrayal all on our own. While we might have felt like we were drowning in an ocean of tears at the time, we eventually washed ashore reborn.
You see, on the other side of those debilitating break-ups is a beautiful thing called clarity and honed experience in love. Yes, the pain does count for something.
Here are a few things we've learned from past relationships.
1. Love YOU first
It might sound completely selfish, but really, it's not. If you're not deeply enthralled in a love affair with yourself before entering a relationship, it will become all too easy to lose yourself. Furthermore, love begins within and then projects outward.
Love you and then you can love them.
2. Don't wait for an ex to give you closure
If you're waiting for them to apologize or explain, you're holding yourself back from moving on. Don't rely on your ex to give you a peace of mind. Move on without them.
3. It's not the end of the world
When you're going through a break-up with someone you fell madly in love with, it feels like your world has exploded. But trust us, it hasn't. It continues to turn.
4. You will love again
So you know how we said the world doesn't end when your relationship does? That also means you WILL fall in love again. We know it's hard to imagine at the time of your heartbreak. However, there is someone else out there that will capture your attention and affection. As with all things in life, it takes time.
5. Exes tend to resurface
Whether it's hitting your InstaDM to ask you to join their polyamorous relationship (true story!) or sending a harmless text to see how you're doing, exes have a habit of resurfacing in your life.
6. Set standards...and keep 'em
This is a mistake we made when we were rookies to the dating game. While we certainly had standards going into a relationship, we eventually tweaked them to fit our partner's desires. WHY? WHY did we do that? All that it led to was us putting up with things we said we'd never entertain (not to mention tons of resentment).
You should never be afraid to declare what you want out of a relationship. Never.
7. Unrequited love is real... very real.
Unrequited love is that thing we've read about through the work of legendary poets. But it's not a myth confined to ancient texts. It's real. In fact, unrequited love is probably one of the most painful sorrows a human being can experience. It's like grieving the loss of something that you felt was there, but never quite had. A miscarriage of love, if you will.
We've been there. It sucks.
8. His friends are HIS friends
After you've been together for an extended period of time, blending of friends happens naturally. However, it is important to remember that his friends are his friends, and your friends are yours. When it is all said and done, his pals don't really owe you their loyalty. They'll more than likely always stay true to him. And you know what? That's okay. Your girls are there for a reason.
9. Don't be afraid to speak up
What you accept, is what will continue. If you have an issue, don't hesitate to talk about it.
10. Know when to walk away for good
It is extremely difficult to determine when it is time to end a failing relationship. They're undeniably addictive and can keep you locked in a hypnotic trance. Know when to snap out of it. There comes a point when you have to decide that enough is enough. There are certain things that you should never put up with.
Just abandon ship.
11. Trusting is hard, but essential
Investing all your trust into another person is terrifying. We won't sugarcoat that. But relationships will sink without it. If your partner has betrayed the faith you had in them, actively work towards forgiveness. Don't just say it, actually do it. By choosing not to leave and holding on to the lie they told, you're harming yourself and the tenacity of your union.
12. You'll want to hate them, but sometimes you love them too much
And that's perfectly okay. Just don't go running into their arms the first chance you get.
13. Don't ignore your gut
Your instincts are never wrong. You'll listen to them more carefully next time.
14. Sometimes it was us and not them
It can be embarrassing, but it's true. Sometimes we naturally place the blame on the person who broke our hearts, and never stop to think where we went wrong. We're not perfect, therefore not immune to making mistakes. Just try to recognize when it's your turn to accept culpability.
15. Love shouldn't hurt
Movies, TV, and culture as a whole can mislead us to believe that love is supposed to be filled with endless obstacles and buckets of tears. Remember Dawson's Creek?! That's just not the case. Although nothing in life is a bed of roses, you shouldn't be in a constant state of unhappiness. It isn't love. It's unhealthy.
16. Have hobbies outside of your relationship
While it is essential to try new things with your partner in order to grow together, don't forget to have hobbies that are reserved solely for you. Whether it's going for a run or simply watching your favourite show without them, "me" time goes a long way.
17. Cheating isn't the only deal breaker
There was a time where we were naive, and thought that cheating would be the only thing that would serve as grounds for leaving. We quickly learned we were selling ourselves short. Many issues aside from infidelity can sprout over the course of a relationship. Namely: constant disrespect, emotional and physical abuse, and a lack of support.
18. Make sure you maintain your friendships
Don't isolate yourself once you've entered a relationship. Having your girlfriends around is a great way to maintain balance and perspective.
19. They will move on...often times more quickly than you
The good news? It's not how you start, it's how you finish. Although they moved on to the next pretty thing, it doesn't mean you're doomed. Sure it might've taken you longer to fall in love again. But Mr. Wonderful is well worth the wait.
20. Loving someone and being IN love are COMPLETELY different
That wasn't a fun lesson to learn.
What are some things you've learned from past relationships? Tweet us @wewomenCA!