While some people are lucky enough not to experience a trainwreck relationship – the kind that’s awful and gory and soul-sucking but impossible to walk away from – most of us have had or will have one at some point, and that’s actually a good thing. The pain, the anger, the rage are all necessary emotions that will improve your love life in the long run. Here’s how:
You learn how to recognize crazy in the future.
Once you see it for yourself, you can’t mistake it as anything else. There are, of course, variations and levels of crazy (not to be confused with actual mental health issues) – but those may come into play, especially if your ex doesn’t know about them or actively hides them. The point is, you’ll recognize selfish, narcissistic and abusive behaviors after you go through them with your ex.
You figure out exactly what you’re worth.
It’s easy to lose sight of who you are and what you deserve when you’re in a terrible relationship with someone who either doesn’t recognize or actively undermines your value. Once you make it through and come out the other side, however, you realize that you’re worth so much more than you ever demanded of others and you vow never to accept utter crap again.
Recognizing the red flags is easier after you experience them firsthand.
Little lies and half-truths, exaggerations, secretive behavior – the warning signs are so much easier to spot after a terrible relationship. That’s the upside of going through hell: you learn to see the fire before the flames actually break out and you can GTFO before it gets really bad.
Now you know what you can handle.
You can probably handle all sorts of issues, idiosyncrasies, and quirks. Everybody has their limit, though. Your worst relationship teaches you what you can and can’t put up with so you know in the future. That goes for the big issues as well as the small ones – and no judgment because seriously, everybody has a line.
Your problem-solving skills are probably awesome.
I bet you’re an expert at defusing volatile situations and avoiding confrontation, aren’t you? Those skills will serve you well in the future, but hopefully in more pleasant circumstances, being that you probably learned them while trying to dodge some stupid fight or passive aggressive drama with your ex.
Drama queens no longer intimidate you in the slightest.
Speaking of drama, given that you’ve made out with THE king or queen of drama, histrionics aren’t really even blip on your radar now – well, unless you were the drama queen in your particular trainwreck relationship, which is also possible. Hey, it happens.
You accept that you can’t change people and give up trying.
It doesn’t matter how much you love a person or how much you try — you cannot change anybody. You’re responsible for yourself, and you’re only responsible for changing yourself. Other people have to want to change, which means recognizing the need for it in the first place and that’s a whole other can of worms.
You realize that stability truly is kind of essential.
It’s easy to underestimate the importance of stability until you no longer have it. One of the trademarks of a trainwreck relationship is that you never quite know where you stand because your partner keeps you constantly on balance – purposely, a lot of the time.
No relationship can survive without trust.
See, that’s the funny thing about knocking someone off-keel – they stop trusting you. Eventually, hopefully, that lack of trust leads to the death of the relationship. Sometimes it’s a big blow-up and sometimes it just fades away.
Love isn’t always enough.
You can love someone so much and still leave them. Sometimes you have to, just to survive yourself. There comes a point where self-preservation takes over and you walk even though it hurts you because you know it will hurt more if you stay.
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