I Got Dumped & It Was The Best Thing That Could Have Happened To Me

When we were together, I was happier than I’d ever been before in my life, but when it all came crashing down around me, I hardly knew what to do with myself. In the days following our breakup, I found myself picking our entire relationship apart, desperate to pin down that point where it had all gone wrong. But like they say, hindsight is 20/20, and looking back now, I know it’s true. When he walked out of my life, I shouldn’t have been crying; I should have been thanking him. Here’s why I’m grateful I got dumped:

  1. I was totally oblivious to my own bad habits. My clingy nature didn’t leave room for much else in either of our lives, and my jealous tendencies were a black cloud hanging over our heads on even the best days. What could have turned into an unhealthy codependency instead became a wake-up call: “Chill, woman. His world does not have to begin and end with you.”
  2. Everything I wanted was everything he didn’t. Our dreams and ambitions never quite seemed to match up, and when they did, it was in all the wrong places. When it came right down to it, the things that my heart yearned for were the things that his had no interest in. Things might not have seemed so bad between us when they ended, but if we would’ve lasted, we would have made each other miserable.
  3. I was going places where he could never follow. Call it destiny or fate or pure dumb luck, but when I look back on the paths our lives have taken since we split, I can tell that we were never meant to follow the same road. The direction I was aching to travel in wasn’t even marked on his map. Staying together would have only meant holding each other back.
  4. He taught me everything I know about how not to cope. Obsessing, repressing, acting like I was fine when I so clearly wasn’t — to say that I handled our breakup poorly would be a massive understatement. Facebook stalking? Please. That left me with nothing but hurt feelings and confusion, and downing an entire carton of ice cream in one sitting only gave me indigestion and regret.
  5. I learned what not to look for in a partner. Before him, I’d just been thrilled that someone even sort of fancied me. After him? When it came to men, I developed more discerning tastes. I never wanted to relive the shortcomings and disappointments of that relationship ever again — so I stopped dating the kind of guys who leave me in the same crappy situation.
  6. He ended things the right way. He could have cheated on me and forever ruined my trust in men or picked fights with me until I finally decided that I couldn’t take any more. But instead, even though he knew it would hurt me, he did things right. If our relationship was a campfire, at least he put out the flames instead of letting them go until they burned out of control.
  7. Without that breakup, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. As I sat back licking my wounds, I found comfort in the things that I’d forgotten I’d loved before him. The hobbies that I hadn’t had time for while I was with him were suddenly front and center in my newly cleared schedule. The emotional energy I had from the heartbreak became an infinite source of inspiration, and the bonding moments I shared with my friends while I mourned his loss are still some of my favorite memories to this day.
  8. Watching him leave only made me stronger. There was a time before him when I couldn’t even fathom being broken up with — so once it happened, I was, understandably, a wreck. They say the first cut is the deepest, and at the time, the words, “Let’s just be friends,” sliced right through me. But all that scar tissue has done me a lot of good in the relationships that have followed. Toughening me up for heartache was the best gift he ever could have left me with.
  9. I never really loved him — I only thought I did. The way that he looked at me never made my heart pitter-patter. He never took my breath away when he drew near. I’d grown up watching the rain-soaked women on the covers of romance novels swoon in the arms of the leading man, but if I ever felt myself grow faint in his presence, it was probably because my blood sugar was low. It was never, at any point, a whirlwind love affair — I just wanted it to be.
  10. He left me free to find someone better. There are few breakups in which both parties can say they’re totally satisfied, and ours was no different. But where we were both so poorly matched, so volatile and so painfully bad together, when he removed himself from my life it was like he was weeding a garden. The spaces he left in my heart once he was gone only made room for a new love — a better love — to grow.