“You know, looking back, I’m so glad he broke up with me!” she exclaimed. It was our last session, and my client was reflecting over everything she’d learned in just a few weeks of working together. She’d gone from no dates in 5 years, to 3 dates in one month! The biggest secret to her dating success was that she’d discovered how to learn the lessons from her past relationships. “The most powerful thing you showed me how to do was to let go of the unresolved pain I had from the past,” she said. “I was carrying this burden around for 14 years! I feel like a different person now.”
I want you to be set free from the guilt, shame, anger or disappointment you may be carrying from your past by sharing with you 5 things you can learn from your bad relationships. Through these 5 lessons, you’ll understand that you didn’t waste your time: you learned something!
Lesson #1: You were attracted to the wrong person
If you’re really honest with yourself, you’ll discover that your ex wasn’t all that great. You may have fallen in love with his personality. Maybe there was off the charts attraction. But when you take a deeper look, you’ll discover that he was emotionally distant or just completely incompatible with you. His character flaws led to your breakup and if you accept this truth, you’ll see that he just wasn’t the right person for you.
Lesson #2: Passion isn’t enough to overcome problems
Your past should show you that you need more than passion to overcome problems in a relationship. You need skills that will help you communicate effectively, connect emotionally, and create everlasting love. If you look back over your history with men, you’ll discover the areas where you need to grow so that you can be ready for love.
Lesson #3: You can spot “red flags” faster
When you look at your past relationships, what patterns show up for you? Did all of your exes come on strong and then become distant? Did you notice they all had anger problems or were irresponsible with their lives? Were you attracted to them because they looked successful, drove nice cars, and had swag for days, but you soon discovered they were selfish, jealous and judgmental?
Write down the answers to these questions, because when you connect the dots, you’ll be able to identify red flags that can predict future heartbreak. When you meet someone new who has these same behaviors, you’ll know you should run!
Lesson #4: You now know what you need to be happy
Take stock of what was missing in your last relationships:
- Did your ex refuse to travel with you?
- Were you the one who always supported him, and he never showed up for you?
- Did he try to change you through criticism and anger?
Then this means that you must have someone who is adventurous, supportive and accepting of who you are, flaws and all. Write these things down on your must-have list and do not settle for less.
Lesson #5: You deserve to be loved
This lesson may seem surprising since your relationship failed and it left you feeling unloved. But if you lean into the pain, you’ll discover a truth that Brene Brown shared in her book, Rising Strong: “Just because someone isn’t willing or able to love us, it doesn’t mean that we are unlovable.” Your bad relationship should help you celebrate the fact that you had the ability to give love. Moving forward, you should realize that you deserve to receive love, too.
There’s wisdom in your wounds! If you can get another perspective on your bad relationships, you can have peace with your past. Release the hurt and disappointment and move forward with your head held high! Your future love is waiting for you.