We’ve all been there: a relationship that seemed very good at the beginning, possibly destined for greatness, somehow mysteriously unraveled over time and lost all the allure that drew us into it.
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Sometimes the things that attracted us to someone go through a dramatic metamorphosis and become the very things that repel us.
Not only that, we often also begin to experience the negative side of relationships – the loss of empathy, the endless arguments, the rise of indifference – and the bond into which we invested so much emotional energy becomes a liability, depleting us of positivity and hope. The break-up is enacted as a merciful escape from a situation that has become wholly intolerable.
What is it that changed between the partners to make all that happen? How do we go from making love to making hate? Why is it that relationships can bring out the best in us in some circumstances, but also the worst in us in other circumstances, the latter effectively negating the prior?
One of the keys to creating successful relationships is to take the time to learn from failed relationships. Much too frequently we go from one relationship into another, assuming that with someone new things will be different, and things will be better. What we don’t acknowledge for any number of reasons is that even if we may have a new partner, we are still the same person.
To paraphrase an old adage, the common factor in all your failed relationships is “you.” You are the common thread between all the different partners and various circumstances you’ve experienced.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the blame is all yours or that you are the unique factor contributing to unsuccessful relationships, but it does mean that there are likely a number of things about you that contribute to the same result time after time.
So what should you do? Should you engage in the same way in every new relationship hoping to get a different outcome? Intuitively we know that in order to achieve different results we needs to engage in relationships in a different manner.
Hopefully we also are humble enough to admit that perhaps we need to learn better ways of creating the emotional fulfillment we seek. If our ego is such that we assume we are always right, be damned any evidence to the contrary, we will most likely continue to create the wrong conditions in which to invest our emotional energies.
Personal growth requires the humility to accept the fact that we do not know everything, and thus open ourselves to learning from the lessons inherent in failed relationships.
What can you learn from a relationship break-up? There are at least five lessons you can take from a failed romance:
1. A relationship is not all about you, but your engagement in it is.
2. Challenges are not the obstacle, but your response to them can be.
3. Disagreements and arguments are testaments to differences in opinions and views, but not to your partner’s value as a human being.
4. You are not perfect and neither is your partner, but you can learn to be more accommodating to imperfections.
5. Failures are wake-up calls to focus on the things you need to change to begin creating the winning conditions for what you truly want.
We all want to be loved in a meaningful way, to be held and cherished like we are the most important person to someone, above everyone else. When we refer to a “significant other” it’s usually because we want to be considered significant to that person, and also because that person is significant to us.
So how do we signify our engagement in a way that our partner can understand and embrace in a meaningful way? The answer depends on who we are and what we want, but the commonality is typically found in our ability to learn about ourselves, about our partner, and about what the relationship requires for us.
Life is full of paradoxes, and love is no exception. We want to love and be loved. We want the fairy tale romance, even though we know it’s a fairy tale and reality bites. Something in us compels us to keep seeking that special something that will make all the past heartaches worthwhile.
But there is a catch, and unless we master our manner of engaging in relationships, we will continue getting caught. We need to ask ourselves the tough questions prompted by failure, and come up with the tougher answers inspired by our quest for success.
Imagine waking up one day to find that no one loves you the way you want to be loved. And you wonder why. It will be humbling to discover that it will be because you didn’t love anyone the way they wanted to be loved. Life is not fair in some ways, but in other ways we get back the very same thing that we project into the world.
If you want to avoid repeated relationship failures, learn to embrace the failures for what they can teach you. And have the willingness to learn all the hard lessons.
A failure in a relationship can be transformed into a win for your personal growth; a win for your personal growth can be transformed into a win in your next relationship. Your happiness and fulfillment in romance depend on it.