Getting broken up with or even rejected by a potential romantic interest is never fun, regardless of whether it’s your first heartbreak or your tenth. Naturally, when people think of heartbreak, they usually think of sadness, loneliness, and general bitterness with the world––which is often very true. But what a lot of people may not realize is that having many heartbreaks can give you knowledge, experience, and better ways to deal with feeling hurt. So really, heartbreak is like anything else: it has its plusses and its minuses. Since I want to end on a positive note, I’ll start with the negative stuff.
Breakups can stick with you for a while, and the more exes you have, the more people you’ll miss. Maybe there’s a coffee shop you used to go to all the time with one ex, and a certain neighborhood you used to frequent with another former partner. You may end up staying away from those places either because you think too much of them when you go, or they simply make you too sad. The more people you date, the more places you go, and the more memories you have associated with those people in those places. This could even happen with songs playing in public and songs that you introduced to your ex while dating. I remember very clearly what song was playing when my first ex broke up with me, and I know that I introduced my other ex to a favorite song of mine. When I hear those in public, I can’t help but think of them, and it sucks.
Breakups can kill your optimism and alter how you look at other people. After experiencing several breakups as a young adult, you may feel like you will never be able to find love, or like there are no good people in the world. This one hits especially hard for me, having been optimistic about several crushes and a handful of relationships that ended up in flames. I now feel like it is impossible to find a good guy who will stick around for a while, and I’m beginning to doubt that there even are good guys. With my bad experiences with guys and great experiences with girls, I feel like it gives me a biased perspective of the world and I really don’t like that. As a feminist––not a misandrist––I want to see all people in a positive light, but unfortunately, my experiences are making it very difficult for me to do so. This could happen to anyone, and not necessarily in a gendered way. Being broken up with many times can make you see the people around you in a negative light, which is an awful way to live.
It may make you more jealous of people who have had one long-lasting relationship. There will always be people you run into who have been with the same person for three, four, maybe even five years–– and if you’ve had many heartbreaks, chances are your relationships have lasted at most a year, but probably less. Because of this, you may be constantly wondering why you’ve had short relationships that ended in pain while someone your own age has been in a consistent partnership that has lasted years. What you may not consider is that in some ways, you may even have more experience than someone who has been in a steady, long-term relationship.
Even if all of your relationships only lasted a few months, you are experienced. You have dated different kinds of people and figured out what you like and what you don’t like so much from each partner you’ve had. As you interact differently with different people, you can also reflect on yourself and what you can improve for your next relationship, or what kind of personality pairs best with yours.
Also, since you have experience, chances are you will be better able to deal with different ways your heart can be broken––by cheating, by rudeness, by simply not wanting to be with you anymore––or even without dating at all. Of course, it will be painful, but you can draw from your experience to appropriately handle the heartbreak depending on context and situation. You may find that you can get over heartbreak quicker or with minimal sadness––and you can thank your experience for that.
Photo Credit: Polyvore
Another major plus of having many heartbreaks is the moment when you realize you deserve better than the people who have hurt you in the past. Someone who wanted to leave you is not a person who you want to keep around. A partner should be someone who enhances your life and supports you, and if they leave you or you break up with them, they weren’t the right one. After each breakup, you will raise your standards and get to know yourself as well as your preferences; this will ultimately thicken your skin and help you find a better match in the future.
The last “plus” of having many heartbreaks that I’ll mention is that you can give great advice to your friends. Whether it’s a breakup or a romantic rejection, you can help your friends deal with and recover from their heartbreak. By being able to draw from your own experience, you will relate to your friends and provide insight that works based on what you know firsthand.
So yes, heartbreak sucks, and it makes sense that people generally tend to view it in a negative light. But going through many heartbreaks teaches us about ourselves, what we like in a partner, and gives us valuable life experiences that can be applied in other ways. Stay strong, stay positive, and HCXO!
Cover photo credit: EHarmony