1. You’re figuring out now, rather than years down the line, that this person was not right for you. Just because you’re in an extreme amount of pain doesn’t mean this person was the one for you. It’s better to go through this now than to build a life together, only to discover that you’re not right for one another.
2. It teaches you that your self-worth does not come from being loved by another person. Being loved by another person is a beautiful, precious, and amazing feeling. But it does not validate your existence or give your life meaning. Breaking up with someone, though it will be extremely difficult, will also show you that with or without them, you still contribute to the world, you still have people in your life that love you, you still need to get out of bed in the morning. You probably won’t feel this way in the beginning, but with time, you will learn that you have purpose and dignity simply by being a living, breathing human being.
3. You often discover new hobbies or passions that you wouldn’t have found otherwise. Maybe they will change your life and your career path, maybe they won’t. But either way, they will only contribute to your happiness and help you on your path to fulfillment. Whether your heartbreak leads to tap dancing or improv classes or a dodgeball league, it will only help to remind you that there are so many things you can do with your time besides sulking in bed. Granted, you may need to give yourself some sulking time in the beginning. And that’s fine, as long as you don’t allow yourself to drown in your grief.
4. You develop a much deeper sense of empathy for others. After you’ve gone through a tremendous amount of pain yourself, it’s easier to understand and connect with someone who is suffering. Maybe you have never gone through exactly what they’re going through, but you do understand what it’s like to feel helpless, alone, scared, distraught, and just about every other negative emotion you can think of. You don’t need to go through the exact same situation as someone else to be able to understand how to help them and how to make them feel less alone.
5. You learn what the phrase “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” actually means. While this breakup is not going to kill you, it will get pretty damn close. It’s not something you bounce back from, but is instead more of a slow, steady crawl. But with every inch, slow as it may be, you really will get stronger.
6. A breakup reminds you that so many of the things that you used to worry about are actually extremely trivial. After you’ve gone through an emotionally trying time, you learn that pretty much everything people worry about and/or obsess over is stupid. Clothes, social media, job rankings, social status. This breakup will open your eyes up in a way you could have never imagined.
7. You learn how to cook for one. Sounds depressing, but having a large amount of leftovers in your fridge is a game chager, in the best way possible.
8. You (eventually) learn that an entire world exists outside of the one in your own head. In the world we live in, it’s no surprise that we often get accidentally self-absorbed in our own world and our own problems. But when you’re heartbroken, and everything seems dark, and then you realize that everyone around you is still functioning and doing things and maintaining emotional stability, you get the necessary reminder that the world does not revolve around you and your problems. A harsh – but good – lesson to go through.
9. It helps you to understand who you are when you’re not in a relationship. It’s easy to use a relationship to categorize yourself. You’re somebody’s boyfriend or girlfriend or fiancé or even spouse. Soon that becomes the most important, and often only, way to label yourself. But when you’re alone again, you discover that it’s not necessary to label yourself at all. You’re not a significant other. You’re a person, ever-changing. Constantly growing. Consistently shaping yourself. You can be in a relationship, a very important one. But it does not make up who you are.
10. It teaches you that you can actually put up with a lot more than you originally thought. You don’t fully comprehend how strong you are, physical and mentally and emotionally, until you go through something that turns your world upside down. And once you do go through it, and get through it, you learn that you’re much more tough than you originally believed yourself to be.
11. You appreciate the light moments so much more. When your friend makes you laugh so much that you spit out your drink, or the weather outside is particularly sunny that day, you appreciate it so much more when you’re in pain than when you’re not. Because you need it more.
12. You find the friends who you can truly count on during difficult times. It’s nice to have friends you can hang out with at work, or go to happy hour with, or reunite with at wedding or parties. But the ones who are your true friend-soulmates are the ones who are going to wipe snot from your nose when you’re balling on their couch on a Friday night.
13. You find yourself making deeper connections with other people. People that see you in pain often become more willing to open up to you, to share with you the things they’ve been through, and to show you that it’s possible to get through anything.
14. You often work a lot harder if you eventually enter into a new relationship, and it pays off. You remember what went wrong the first time – if you were too closed off, or too lazy, or you were unwilling to compromise, or you were searching for the wrong type of person. You’re usually much more self-aware and much more willing to do anything you can do be a good significant other and to make it work this time around.
15. And if you do find love again, you’re so much more appreciative of the love and happiness that you’ve found. After everything you’ve been through, you know a good thing when you see it.