After one year of dating long-distance, my boyfriend and I just broke up during quarantine. Like most others, we’re holed up at home as the coronavirus pandemic stretches across the world. Truth be told, by breaking up I’ve learned a lot about the way I should view relationships and what I consider to be a true relationship.
Here are 7 lessons to keep in mind:
1. Hard times may show if a person truly loves you.
Difficult experiences naturally put stress on an individual and – if they’re dating someone – that relationship. However, if someone really values the relationship, they’re willing to work through the struggles you might face as a couple. If not, it’s probably a red flag they won’t be there for you in the future.
2. A relationship can’t be whole if you don’t put your self-worth first.
There’s a difference between being selfish and valuing your self-worth. If your relationship makes you feel loved and supported, then being a good partner to that person is ultimately the best way to care for them and you. Moreover, if this person makes you question yourself or makes you feel unworthy of their attention, it’s time to reconsider.
3. Others might not agree with your choice to break up, and that’s OK.
No one knows your relationship like you do. It doesn’t matter if they’ve hung out with your former partner or not. A friend or family member may have the best intentions when telling you to reconsider your decision, but don’t let that sway you. Do what’s best for you, not them.
4. It’s healthy to identify the boundaries you need before entering a relationship.
Breakups suck, but they force you to reflect. Before loving anyone else, you should define your limits and boundaries when it comes to being in a happy and healthy relationship. Ask yourself and write down what a good relationship feels and looks like to you. Ask yourself what makes you feel safe and what makes you uncomfortable. Then, use this as a guide for your next relationship.
5. Think with your head as well as your heart.
It’s important to think through if you could see yourself with someone in the future, or if there are circumstances that just make it impossible. If it’s the latter, it’s important to go into the relationship with clear expectations for them and for your heart. That way, they aren’t led on if you want something casual. Plus, you can avoid getting in too deep emotionally if you’ll eventually have to part ways.
6. It’s OK to leave loose ends during a breakup.
Sometimes it’s better to leave things unsaid after a breakup than to try to resolve every last issue. You don’t need to have the “last word.” Ultimately, if the relationship has been a toxic cycle of uncertainty and selfishness in which issues were never resolved, you should just cut your losses and move on.
7. Use singlehood as an excuse to pursue your dreams selfishly.
Sometimes you’re not able to grow individually because you’re too focused on building a relationship. If you’re newly (or serially) single, take the opportunity to be selfish about what you want out of life. Don’t make decisions based on what you think someone else would like or want. Your life is for you.
Quarantining right now is difficult, especially if you’re also going through a breakup. The good thing is that it’s an excuse for self-reflection and growth. Use these lessons to consider your current relationship or prepare for your next one.