Failed relationships can be extremely painful experiences, and it can seem that, in having them, we waste time on something that in the end seems to have been futile and pointless.
But frustration brings growth, and crisis transformation. Failed relationships have a lot to contribute to our personal growth if we’re only willing to be conscious of the parts of ourselves that they bring us into conflict with.
1. Failed relationships reflect your character back at you
When there’s conflict in a relationship it can show you as much about yourself as the other person. If your relationship with someone is troubled, the frustration should make you think.
Once you get past blaming them and start to see how the other person reflects your character back at you in a critical light, you start to ask questions about your nature and behavior. We can’t change others, but we can better ourselves.
2. They make you try harder
Failed relationships make you first reflect on what might need changing in you, but they usually shock you into action as well. If you’ve found yourself lacking on reflection, then you can become aware of the behavior that contributed to the problems and try to check it in future.
3. They show you you’re not who you thought you were
Before we have a failed relationship or two in our lives, we’ve no reason to look at ourselves more deeply and address some of our character flaws. Relationships aren’t perfect at the best of times, but it we have issues compromising with others and relating, it will eventually show if the same themes repeat themselves in different relationships.
4. They make you think about how you relate to people
If failed relationships are down to communication problems, they force you to make the effort to try to relate your feelings to others in a more effective way. This can help you have better relationships in future. It can also give you the tools to help your partner with strategies to build bridges and prevent communication breakdown.
5. They help you recognize what you could cultivate to make yourself whole
Sometimes relationships act as hooks for our own unconscious wishes and desires. If you have your heart broken, it’s good to ask yourself what that relationship represented for you, and try to cultivate the qualities in yourself that you were searching for in the other person.
6. They make you aware of what you are willing to put up with
Failed relationships can also teach you a lot about what your values and your boundaries are. The experience and pain of a relationship failing can make you acutely aware of what you don’t want from life. They make you realize that some things are more of a priority in relationships than you thought, and make you more demanding of your relationships in future.
7. They make you aware of how you can be better off alone
Failed relationships can also make you aware of how being alone can be preferable at certain times in your life. Sometimes you are so focused on one area of your life that you’re not in a position to make the sacrifices necessary to share your journey with someone.
8. They give you a more refined sense of what you want out of life
After a few failed relationships, you start getting an idea of what kind of arrangement doesn’t fit you and the reasons why. You start being more aware of the things you’re looking for in a partner, and you start to make better choices based on reasoning rather than on impulse.
There are all sorts of benefits of unpleasant experiences if you’re willing to do the reflection and work necessary to take something from them. After all, what’s the point of awareness of your own suffering, if it’s not to better you?
Have you taken something from your failed relationships? Would you delete any such experiences from your life, or did they contribute to the person you are now?