Failed Relationships (The Ultimate Guide + Image Quotes)

When relationships with significant others or friends end, we often find ourselves wondering how to pick up the pieces. We turn to friends and family for encouraging words and sound advice on how to move on with our lives, but there are some lessons we overlook as we work through our breakups. The following are key takeaways from failed relationships that no one will tell you about.

1. Excessive analysis is an impediment to progress

When a relationship ends, we may spend countless hours dissecting countless situations to figure out what went wrong. Our minds work like detectives, returning to scenes and hypothetical situations in search of clues and witnesses to what caused the relationship to end. As we relentlessly analyze our feelings about the one who is no longer a part of our lives, we recruit friends to become therapists. The hours we spend examining and re-examining the past are necessary for healing, but doing so excessively can prevent us from living in the present and moving forward. Instead of wasting hours trying to figure out why a relationship ended, we can use that time to figure out who we are without that person in our lives.

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2. Treat yourself as you would like others to treat you

If we leave a failed relationship feeling demoralized, disheartened, and undervalued, we may wonder if anyone will ever love and value our unique qualities, quirks, and uniqueness (of course the answer to that is yes, someone will). Rather than looking to others to validate what makes us special and lovable, we must look in the mirror and begin with ourselves. Treating ourselves the way we want others to treat us entails showing compassion, love, patience, and care to ourselves. It also implies that we create opportunities for ourselves to shine and be our best selves.

3. Avoid playing the blame game

When we end a relationship, we may try to assign blame by pointing fingers at ourselves or the other person. When we blame the other person, we may become enraged or feel justified in our own mistakes and transgressions. When we point the finger at ourselves, we feel guilty and ashamed, wondering if the breakup was our fault. However, each viewpoint prevents us from understanding the key factors that contributed to the end of a relationship and from learning important lessons that can be used to strengthen current and future relationships.

4. Healing is not a straight-line process

The end of a relationship triggers a range of emotions, ranging from grief to relief, sadness to joy, and anger to excitement. As we move along those spectrums, we may discover that one day we feel on top of the world, only to become distressed when we see reminders of a past relationship. We feel as if all of our progress has gone down the drain at that point, which is far from the case. Healing does not happen in a straight line. Instead, it is more akin to a roller coaster, where we can experience a wide range of emotions all at once.

5. It is acceptable for you to relapse

We may vow never to see the other person again and discard mementos and keepsakes that remind us of him or her after ending a relationship. However, a situation may arise in our lives that only that person will understand, or a holiday may arrive and we feel compelled to check in on him or her. Infrequent text messages lead to phone calls, which lead to coffee dates, which lead to regular hangouts. Then old harmful issues resurface, making us feel naive, guilty, and ashamed for attempting to rekindle something that should have remained in the past. When we beat ourselves up for relapsing into old relationships, we should remind ourselves that each step back teaches us about recovery because it allows us to know better the next time.

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6. Remember the good in addition to the bad and ugly

When we think about a failed relationship, we often remember how it ended rather than how it began, or we focus on the negative qualities of the other person rather than appreciating the positive ones. Even if we have something positive to say about a former friend or partner, we sometimes qualify our statement: “Marsha is so creative, but she was a terrible listener.” Focusing on someone's flaws demonstrates that we are still clinging to the anger and hurt that the relationship caused. Remembering the good allows us to maintain a more positive outlook on the relationship. It also shows that we've truly moved on from our failed relationship because we're no longer clinging to those negative emotions.

7. The greatest gift you can give yourself is forgiveness

True forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves because it allows us to let go of past hurts that limit our ability to be happy in the present. We give ourselves permission to recognize our humanity by forgiving ourselves for our mistakes or perceived transgressions. We understand that life goes on and that tomorrow is a new day to learn a new lesson. We can release the power that others have within our hearts and minds by forgiving them. That is not to say that we should try to be best friends with someone who has harmed us. It does, however, imply that we should allow our anger, hurt, and disappointment to be transformed into something brighter, lighter, and more meaningful so that we do not carry that pain within us.

8. Happy distractions are wonderful until they aren't

When a relationship ends, we may become preoccupied with work, housework, or hobbies. We become more social, looking for new experiences, activities, and people to fill the void left by the person we lost. We are happy and excited to pursue our interests and try new things at those times. However, if we have not dealt with the pain of a failed relationship, these happy distractions can bury feelings of hurt and sadness until they rise to the surface, leaving us in a state of despair. As a result, we should do things that make us feel good about ourselves while also dealing with the pain of a failed relationship.

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