After being together for years, it’s heartbreaking to have it all end in an instant. It’s like you’ve wasted all that time. You feel cheated and want it back. I’ve been there, but I look at it differently. Failed long term relationships are never a waste. You get quite a bit out of them — it’s just hard to see that at first when you’re upset and trying to acclimate to being single again.
Whether you were together six months or six years, you have something to gain from every long term relationship. Think of them as jobs. You earned money and learned new skills. The same logic applies to a failed relationship.
- You learn how to relate. The more time you spend with someone, the easier it is to relate to them. This relationship might have failed, but when you fall in love again, you’ll be able to relate to them quicker. This means feeling more comfortable together and understanding each other more quickly.
- You know what compromise means. You don’t really get how much you have to compromise in a relationship until you’ve been together for a while. It might come easy to some people, but for others, it’s hard. At the very least, you’ve learned how much compromise is needed in relationships and how much you’re willing to do.
- You realize if you’re ready or not. You might want a long term relationship, but are you ready for one? It takes a lot of hard work. Going through one, even if it fails, helps you to see if you’re ready for that type of commitment. Maybe you’re not ready for marriage just yet or maybe you know you want to settle down.
- You learn what your pet peeves really are. Being with the same person every day for years teaches you what you pet peeves really are. Things you thought annoyed you aren’t so bad now. Somebody leaving the toilet seat up or splattering bacon grease all over the kitchen without cleaning it up might just be the most annoying things ever.
- You realize what you want most in a relationship. This relationship failed for a reason. Maybe you realized you needed more. Whatever happened, you can look at this relationship to see what you did and didn’t like. Then you’re able to better recognize early on if a relationship is giving you what you want and need.
- You’ve enjoyed the time together. Okay, so the end sucked, but you have to admit you enjoyed most of the relationship. For a while, this guy was one of your closest friends. You laughed, you tried new things and made memories you’ll never forget. That’s a lot better than forgettable short term relationships.
- You learn how to keep the passion alive. People who’ve never had a long term relationship don’t get that the struggle is real. Stress and complacency tend to suck the passion out of the strongest relationship. You have to get creative and work hard to keep the passion going. Knowing how to do that will help prevent the passion from ever dying in future relationships.
- They’ve helped you grow as a person. You can’t be with someone for months or years without it changing you. Whether they cured your stage fright or introduced you to your new favorite hobby, they’ve helped you grow in some way. Be grateful for that.
- You’ve gained new friends. While you might not get to keep all the friends you made as a couple, some will stay. Without this relationship, you would’ve never met them.
- You often have a friend for life. Long term relationships don’t always end tragically. Sometimes you just realize you’re going separate ways or the chemistry just dies. It happens. You agree to end the relationship, but you still work great as friends. And yes, it’s okay to stay friends with an ex sometimes.
- You learn to be vulnerable. You can’t do a long term relationship without being vulnerable. It’s just not possible. I know the relationship ultimately failed, but now you know how to let yourself open up. Next time, it’ll happen quicker which makes the whole relationship smoother.
- You’re prepared for the last long term relationship. Each failure is just practice for your last relationship. One day, the relationship won’t end. Why? You’ve figured out what you want and you’ve learned what it takes to make a relationship work.
Go ahead and cry, but when you’re done, know that it wasn’t a waste. You lived, you loved and you learned.