Can Failure in Love Make You Stronger?

Anyone who has suffered any sort of heartache has wondered: What was the point?

I know that for me, the idea that heartache can be positive was a very difficult thing to grasp. Part of the reason this felt impossible was because I had not yet trained my mind to see that good and negative situations can in fact walk side by side. Trying to find that “silver lining,” so to speak, is what shapes the heartache into something positive.

In my past two relationships, I suffered my wants and needs for the other person, because I had yet to choose goals and values for myself. Looking back I now see just how lost and unsure I was of my future- which is not the best mindset when dating.

I always wanted a family, to be a mom, but beyond that I could never pin down what career I wanted or anything else in my life. Part of this was because of lack of experience, insecurity in myself, and immaturity. Now that I’ve been through my past relationships and become a single mom, I see that my life has provided me these experiences not to hurt me, but for me to grow.

For me, like so many people, my first love was exciting and terrifying at the same time. Knowing that we would have grown together was scary because of all the “what ifs,” but I also felt relieved that I thought I had found “my person”. When our relationship ended up not working out, I was doubly devastated. I was heartbroken just like anyone going through a break-up would be. But, because I was unsure about my plans for career and my future, I felt like my world exploded—at the time, this relationship was the only thing that I thought was “certain” in my life plan.

The result of this break-up and my uncertainty about my future only projected me into another relationship, one that reflected how I wasn’t taking time to take care of myself. I had put my self-worth and happiness in being with a man, and so the failure of one relationship made me vulnerable to choosing another relationship before I was ready. This time, the stakes were higher, and unfortunately the way out of that relationship was divorce.

With my divorce, as I’ve said before, I only focused on failure. The compartmentalizing I learned in therapy helped significantly, but a lot of healing had to come from becoming peaceful with the fact that there would be some things that just won’t work out, and that’s okay! I don’t know if I will ever be “okay” with being divorced, because it’s a road I never wanted to go down. I am glad, however I am out of a situation that I felt mentally unsafe in and that was prohibiting me from becoming the happy and whole person I’m supposed to be.

Instead of feeling bitter that these relationships did not work out, I discovered that the failure I felt—the loss of love—actually showed me that I’m capable of more than I knew. I’m in school finishing my degree, and fiercely loving my beautiful daughter, who motivates me every day. I want her to have a good role model in me, of what it means to be a woman who can stand on her own two feet. I know now that I don’t want a man who will complete me; I want a man who will become a part of my plan and me a part of his, so that we can grow together.

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