Be Grateful For Your Exes — You Wouldn’t Be Who You Are Without Them

It’s amazing how differently we feel about someone once we’ve crossed the line from love to heartbreak. Suddenly we notice every single little annoying thing about them and we wonder how we ever were attracted to them in the first place. Our past relationships shape us and inform who we are and who we become, but they’re not always pleasant to think or talk about. Still, each person we commit to gives us an important learning experience, even if we hate to admit it. Here are 10 reasons why you should be grateful for your exes.

  1. They taught you what love is. Our only concept of romance when we’re growing up is from the movies, and we all know that Hollywood isn’t exactly super realistic. The guys you’ve dated have each showed you exactly what love is, most likely in vastly different ways.
  2. They taught you what love isn’t. If it was true love, you wouldn’t have broken up, right? You should be glad that you can look bad and realize what wasn’t working and why. Maybe you two had major communication issues or you were faced with a ton of red flags but chose not to deal with them.
  3. They showed you that not every breakup is bad. You’re truly a grown-up when you realize that you can end a relationship and still be completely fine. You’re mature enough to realize that sometimes, life happens and gets in the way, and it’s simply not the right time for a couple, or you’re just not the right fit anymore. Maybe one of you moved away for college or grad school or a job, and you weren’t into long-distance. Whatever the reason for each break-up, you know that when love ends, it’s not always devastating.
  4. You learned something about yourself. What you want and need from a romantic partner, how to have a serious talk without fighting, how quickly you get mad and when you need to chill out – it’s important to know how you act in a relationship, and each of your boyfriends has helped you see that.
  5. You know that attraction is relative. Remember the first time you saw an ex – you were pretty into them. Fast forward to the break-up scene and you probably weren’t all that physically attracted to them anymore. Chemistry is an elusive thing and it changes based on how you feel about the person. It’s so much easier to want to be with someone in the beginning when the stars are aligned and sparks are flying – and it’s a whole different story when they’ve done something to piss you off.
  6. A difficult relationship never gets easier. You can tell a lot about your impending relationship from your first few dates. If your guy is always rescheduling with a million excuses and seems checked out, you’re probably never going to be his number one priority. If he’s super clingy, it’s only going to get worse. Whatever problems you and your BF have in the beginning are going to stay the same or deepen. Now that you’ve been through it, you know that the best relationships start out smoothly.
  7. If you can survive a bad breakup, you can survive anything. Think back to the worst breakup you’ve ever faced. It was probably the first time you were dumped, and it was probably the first guy that you fell in love with. You cried 24/7 and wondered when the pain would ever end, and you were totally convinced you would feel that awful forever. But you didn’t, right? Be glad that your ex taught you how strong you can be.
  8. You’re getting better at reading people. Dating can be so tricky because we’re dealing with people who are different than we are and don’t always see a situation in the same way (like when you think a guy wants to commit and he laughs at the thought). With more exes comes more experience, and by now you’re a pro when it comes to figuring out someone’s intentions. The more guys you date, the faster you can weed out the commitment-phobes and the real deals.
  9. You can give your friends awesome advice. What would we do without our girlfriends? They are the best source of love advice because they want what’s best for us and can see the bad in people when we’re convinced that there’s some good there. You can use your experience and help your BFFs out when they’re confused about a guy’s intentions or are dealing with a major relationship issue.
  10. You’re capable of loving and being loved. This is a pretty big thing. While you’re lamenting the fact that your relationships ended, change your focus and realize that people loved you. And you were able to return that love. So of course you can love again – just be patient and when it happens, you’ll never another ex ever again.
Aya Tsintziras is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor from Toronto, Canada. In addition to writing about dating and relationships for Bolde, she also writes about movies, TV, and video games for ScreenRant and GameRant. She has a Political Science degree from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Journalism from Ryerson University. You can find her on Twitter @ayatsintziras and on Instagram @aya.tsintziras.