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The Ex-lessons: 10 lessons to take away from breakups

The commitment that love is requires hard work, sacrifice, teamwork, and a fully functioning mind and set of emotions. Even these are not a guarantee. You are dealing with a person. Not a computer. Love is a day to day journey that you set out on with someone. Not a destination to arrive at.

It’s not you, it’s me…

Been there, done that??

Here’s the lowdown: Five is MY big number.

Suggested read: 10 lessons only your first breakup will teach you

I am not going to sugarcoat it – breakups are always rough. Yet, behind all the swathes of cloud is a sun waiting to shine upon your lifescape again. As hard as that might be to believe, it is true. They say every cloud has a silver lining, I say every breakup has a golden lesson (maybe more).


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Here are some valuable lessons that come from bearing (and braving) the gut-wrenching pain that accompanies and succeeds every breakup saga:

1. Just because someone told you they are committed to you, it does not mean they are


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‘Commitment’ in today’s age is often a mere label or worse, a relationship status sitting on your Facebook profile. There is a great deal of ambivalence surrounding the dreaded ‘C’ word. What do people mean when they say they are committed to you? Committed to loving you? Does that entail feeling and sustaining that feeling of ‘love’ for life? Or to feel loving whilst texting ‘Love you, coochie poo’ twenty times a day? Or to feel love every couple of days? A reason why most relationships experience spells of perpetual ‘grey’ is the ill-defined precept of commitment. Everyone has a different understanding of commitment. Understand what it entails for your partner and assess whether it syncs in with your idea of commitment. Only when your core ideas align will you be able to co-create what you really want. Otherwise you might end up stuck in a commitment which your partner was formerly having with his hand!!

Suggested read: 10 tips to put your life back together after an intense breakup

2. You will learn a lot about yourself in the process, and you might not like it all

the self

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Most of us have stretched out periods of ‘grey’ in our relationships. Imagine a distant, unavailable partner who is always present for physical action but absent for everything else. In case you inch closer to someone else during this emotional dry spell, would you be cheating? Emotionally – YES. Is it wrong? Does that make you a bad person? Hard to tell. Life isn’t all black and white. We tend to act out of character from time to time. We take steps that aren’t easy on us and are hard to gauge with any tangible moral, ethical compass. But it is all a learning process. At the end of it, you’d learn that feelings don’t see reason. It is human to ‘feel’ whatever it is we feel and incorrect to judge. If it happened to us, it could happen to anybody. Allow yourself that. And others too.

3. Loving someone and loving the idea of being with someone are two very different things

love is illusory

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Perhaps the most difficult one to grasp – this one is VERY hard to roll with. We humans have such a fatal tendency to be ensnared in the vision of a forever-future together that we refuse to be fully ‘present’ in the present. As such, we make a commitment to the ‘dream’ much before we commit to each other and the relationship. This causes us to be blind to the gaps that shall inevitably emerge in the course of a relationship. The not-so-conspicuous lack of alignment between partners to be able to ‘commit’ to the vision and make it happen causes the gaps to split open. Sooner or later, the cracks widen and the vision falls apart. By that time, we are so desperately in love with the ‘vision of a happy future’ that we cannot accept the reality of breaking up. In our brokenness, we try harder to cling to that elusive image in our heads and tug at the ‘leaving’ partner harder for some more loving. But that ‘loving,’ even if bestowed, is pity. You cannot force someone to love you.

4. Being content is not the same as being happy

comfort zone

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A question whose answer lies with you and you only. Reflecting upon your situation and assessing if you are truly happy, somewhere in the middle or just plain content is important. Anyone who has stayed in a relationship well past its expiration date, out of fear of stepping out of the ‘familiar and comfortable’ will relate. A breakup that happens because you find yourself consistently yearning for something ‘more’ that might be out there for you is definitely a step ahead. The best things come to those who are willing to step out of their comfort zones and that would entail letting go of the ‘mediocre contentment’ that taints your relationship. It will hurt, but it will also open doors for being ‘truly happy.’

Suggested read: 20 stages everyone goes through after a breakup

5. Love is a verb

love is a verb

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I have often reiterated upon this one. It is a lesson I have learnt the hard way and one that I keep the closest. Despite what books and movies feed you, love isn’t magic. And besides, even that’d entail flicking the wand and casting the spell. Do not expect your love to just magically happen, coz soon you will grow out of it. You don’t spin ‘love’ out of thin air. It’s your actions which build and sustain the ‘feeling’ of love. Keep that going, coz magic too is not magic, unless you ‘do’ the trick. Efforts are important.

6. Be who you are, stay true to yourself

stay true to yourself

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Do not wear masks to fit somebody’s concept of an ‘ideal partner.’ Do not change yourself, ever. If somebody does not find you desirable for the real ‘you,’ leave. Do not morph yourself into somebody you wouldn’t recognize, merely to accommodate somebody else’s ‘vision’ of an ‘ideal partner.’ You will regret it. You are beautiful just the way you are. So, don’t settle for someone who isn’t willing to take what really is. Remember, it is only when you learn your true worth that you stop handing people discounts. Be you, and proudly so.

7. It takes two to tango

love is a two-way street

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A relationship is a two-way street. No relationship thriving on a lopsided dynamic can survive the vagaries of time. We tend to never ‘give up’ on the relationship because we delude ourselves with a potently ‘fatal’ image – the image of what the relationship was/could be. It is this erroneous step that keeps us in a toxic relationship that does nothing to help our personal levels of happiness. Continuing to delude oneself with what the relationship was/could be instead of accepting it for what it ‘really is’ becomes the reason we allow a relationship that is well past its expiration date to drain our life’s vial of its precious contents.

Suggested read: 8 ways to get off the one-way relationship highway

8. You can’t help someone who is not willing to help themselves

A person who fails to acknowledge and address his/her own shortcomings shall not be able to engage in healthy discussions about the ‘issues’ in a relationship. Communication sustains relationships. If a person is unwilling to help himself/herself, there’s nothing you can do about it. Trying to would be stifling.

9. ‘Labels’ on relationships don’t hold much clout

relationship status1

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I have already discussed why committing isn’t the same as being committed. Any label on your relationship, including those of being engaged or married do not hold much clout. Nothing in life is guaranteed. We aren’t promised a ‘definite’ future. Change is inevitable and nothing is concrete. All we can do is to learn to flow with the tide.

10. What is meant to be will be

que sera, sera

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This is something that I sincerely believe in. For each of my relationships that didn’t meet its ‘happily forever,’ I can now see and understand why. And I don’t regret it one bit. I would never go back, even if given a chance. Remember that you may not always end up where you were going, but you will always end up being where you were meant to be. So, cheers to each end that marked a new beginning! J

Suggested read: Telltale signs you’re not over your ex

It fell apart because it wasn’t strong enough to last a lifetime. All breakups are milestones you have to cross along the journey of finding ‘true love.’ The important thing is to remember that it’s a breakup, not a breakdown. So, keep at the journey. Do not mind the raging storms, the pelting rains, and the violent winds – coz the destination has clear skies. Keep journeying until you reach the land of light and love!!

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Article Name
10 lessons to learn from breakups
Breakups are hard and rough on anyone. But they do have a silver lining - you get to take away these lessons from breakups.
Sejal Parikh

Sejal Parikh

"I'm a hurricane of words but YOU can choose the damage I do to you..."