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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

A few months ago, I went through what I considered to be the greatest heartbreak of my life. One day we were making plans for the future and the next I was talking on the phone with the woman I’d been cheated on the entire duration of the relationship. To say I was blind-sided, sad, and angry is an understatement. At the time, all I could think about was how I’d lost something so special and perfect. Now, I realize that I was mourning the loss of a “perfect” relationship that never existed. But now, when the emotions that filled me have subsided, I’ve come to realize that there was so much about myself that I’d missed, information that I’d never considered relevant about myself as a person. 

For starters, I’d allowed myself to become far too dependent on someone else; every thought, word, and action that the ex in question had or made was deemed far more important than anything that might come from myself by myself. Now I realize I allowed myself to become my own worst enemy; I actively betrayed myself. And for what? a mediocre relationship that, I know, we both came to regard as an obstacle in life rather than a source of true happiness. But I stayed because I was adamant that all that was needed was a little more effort, a little more time, before we could reach the epitome of a love story with a happy ending. And so the first lesson I learned was that if I’m not okay, the relationship won’t be either. 

The second thing I learned was to take the warning signs seriously. Seriously. So often would that little voice in the back of my head tell me to run, or a feeling in the pit of my stomach scream that something wasn’t right but I ignored it. My intuition saw what my own two eyes couldn’t. From the long stretches of time when I couldn’t contact my ex no matter how hard I tried to letting me know how good of a liar he was, as if it were something to be proud of, it was all ignored by me. The moment I found out the truth about what my “beloved” was doing behind my back was the moment I knew I had messed up by not paying more attention to myself. 

And the last, and by far the biggest, lesson was to take into account other people’s opinions. I know that sounds strange but bare with me. When you’re in love, you never really see the person as they really are. And we have to keep in mind that life isn’t like in the movies, where only you see the good in a person. Odds are that if you’re the only one seeing the good, then it’s a show being put on for you. This isn’t to say that you should focus too much on what others have to say on your relationship, merely that it should be taken into consideration because oftentimes it’s an outsider looking in that will have a fresh perspective. 

Life after heartbreak can be hard, especially when thoughts such as “I should’ve done this” or “if only I’d said that” come into play. But the thing to remember is that it’s not about what and how you’d change things, it’s about how you learn from past mistakes.

Maria is majoring in English Literature at UC San Diego. She loved reading, writing, and sewing. She hopes to one day become a published author in the YA genre.
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