December 11, 2013 by aggiesez
The upside of breakups/transitions, I’ve learned, is that they build my relationship & solo skills.
I was just reflecting: Over the last few years, I’ve had a few very bad, painful, jarring breakups from highly emotionally invested relationships where I felt profoundly betrayed by those partners; and one unacknowledged, unexplained abandonment by someone who’d been one of my closest friends for years; and one very gentle, amicable transition from a long-term former primary partnership to a close nonsexual but still deep and affectionate connection. Plus several fairly quick and painless transitions out of budding relationships with people who proved themselves incompatible with me.
Going through a lot of relationship endings and transitions has taught me much about how to be more rooted and stable in myself (regardless of my relationship status); how to make better decisions at the appropriate times; the importance of nurturing a robust network of loving, supportive connections (including nonsexual and nonromantic ones); and how to communicate more clearly with lovers, friends, partners and metamours. Plus, how to appreciate what I have, while accepting and not fearing (too much) that someday that will change/end.
I used to assume that the “right” thing to do was to hang on to my important relationships at nearly all costs, including sacrificing myself, trying to control others, or living in pain or denial. As much as breakups and transitions can suck, they’ve taught me that even though I don’t necessarily like change, and getting through change can suck, I am actually pretty good at dealing with it. I even thrive because of it. That makes me a better person — and partner, and friend, and lover, and family/community member.
And I’ve also learned to enjoy less emotionally intense or deeply invested connections, because they’re also wonderful. Not every connection needs to be a Major Romance (TM) in order to be wonderful. There are lots of kinds of wonderful. I’m not saying I don’t fear loss, get jealous, or possess 24/7 equanimity. But painful, stressful feelings and resentments are a much smaller part of my life today. I’m much happier much more of the time. That’s a major win.
What have you learned through shitty, painful breakups that’s made you better, especially in terms of thriving in solohood/autonomy?