They say that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes a relationship just doesn’t work out. More often than not, a person is in your life for a season. Whatever chunk of time that is, it’s a season. You are meant to learn from the time you two spent together as well as what happens after they have gone.
The Personal Relationship Tree Analogy
I think I must have heard this comparison in seventh grade, but it has stuck with me. Every thing is not for every one.
The roots are the people that are there to stay. They are dug deeply and intertwined so much that you sometimes find them to be too deep. There are fewer roots than anything else because they crave all of the nutrients (time, patience, respect, love, faith, etc.) and they support the rest of the tree. These are the special ones. They are buried deep so you have to dig to find them.
Branches are pretty great, too, they just cannot hold as much weight as the roots of a tree. Longer term, though not as permanent as roots, branches do lift you up in their own ways.
Leaves come and go with the season, bright and beautiful, then drying up and floating away when the weather turns cold. They are not meant to be depended on.
Most of these apply not only to romantic relationships, but friendships as well. “Failed relationships” teach us plenty, if we let them.
1 | You can’t always get what you want.
No matter what you (or your ex) plan for post-breakup, things happen. You two end it and decide to be friends afterwards, but for some reason you just cannot pull it off. Or, It’s a big messy blowup and you hope you never see each other again…and then you somehow end up in the same pottery classes. Life throws what it wants to at you, but all you can do is roll with it.
2 | It had to happen, for you.
I think that one of the hardest parts of breaking up is realizing that it is actually over, because this part happens well after “the end”. You get into a new groove without your ex and somewhere in there you realize that that person (and that relationship) have lost a place in your life. Loss is a tough one. Within that, though, there is all this room to grow! We try haircuts and sky-diving to fill a void, when in reality we could just embrace the space. It means that there is more room for you to develop as a person. Think about how much more awesome you’ll be in the next relationship (wink wink).
3 | There’s love everywhere.
You know that first trip you take without your ex? That feeling you had of doing something without them, without being able to share it with them? If you can get past it enough to see where you are and all the beauty in it, you can usually see the beauty in others, too. Now, I’m not suggesting rebounding into another relationship. I’m talking about the friendly person you chatted with at the grocery store, the new friend you met in an elevator, or the puppy you played with at the park. These tiny instances will quickly remind you that people are what’s important, and this one relationship “failure” should not ruin that.
4 | It’s nobody’s fault.
Relationships end because they are meant to. People are people, they are not permanent objects in your life. They are there to teach you about life, yourself, and the world around you. Once you have learned the lesson, it is ok to accept ONLY THAT and then continue living your life.
5 | There is strength in forgiveness.
Forgiveness does not make you weak. It really will set you free. You will find strength in forgiving yourself, and your ex. Forgiving does not require forgetting, but it does keep you away from bitterness and resentment. By definition, to forgive is to end that resentment. Let it go, regardless of who was wrong, eventually you’ll be glad you did.
6 | You really cannot be friends.
I know we would all like to believe we are mature enough to handle a truly friendly relationship with someone we can no longer date but, get real, the vast majority are not. Beyond that, should you really even want to remain friends? You two have had intimate moments together and looked at one another with googley-eyes and hopes of growing old together. If that is now over, just let it be over.
7 | This is for the best.
If you did not break up with this one, how would you ever end up with your Mr. or Mrs. Right? Not every one needs to kiss a few toads to find their soulmate, but that does not mean any one should limit themselves. There are literally millions of people on Earth. You would only be limiting yourself trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and for what? The word for that is: settling. There really are many more fish in the sea.
Don’t confuse this life lesson with a soul mate.
Love is absolutely worth fighting for, if you both are willing to fight. If one of you is not, recognize it for what it is. Accept the moment and learn from it, so that you can move forward to bigger and better things.