It was Alfred Lord Tennyson who once wrote, “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
The heartbreak of a relationship lost can be one of the worst feelings you might ever find yourself forced to deal with.
And the worst part is that it can come out of nowhere—one day you might find yourself in a warm and loving relationship, and the next you are faced with the realization that your partner is no longer as devoted to you as you once thought.
It’s like an avalanche, and most of the time, you have no chance to prepare for the pain.
While there are cases where a relationship can be fixed or renewed after a heartache, in many cases, the only choice for both parties is to simply move on.
But what does it mean to move on? Here are 5 lessons you need to accept:
1) Give Yourself the Time to Grieve
Pain is real, and as the quote goes, pain demands to be felt.
Pretending that your heart isn’t in pain is much more counterproductive than you would think—you end up blaming yourself, hurting yourself, and turning your life into a miserable mess.
So don’t be ashamed to reach out and grieve in the ways that make sense to you.
If this means burying yourself in a pile of self-help books, listening to the same advice over and over from your caring friends and family, or even spending days at a time listening to your favorite songs, go do it.
You will fumble out of it eventually, because gradually you will begin to realize just how horrible of a state this actually is.
2) Forgiveness, Not Fear
If it was your partner who broke up with you, one of the most ludicrous ideas to accept is that you need to forgive them.
After all, if it weren’t for them breaking up with you, neither of you would have experienced these months of hardship in the first place, right?
But the option you choose when you don’t choose forgiveness is fear.
You run miles and miles in your mind, doing everything you can to get your partner off your mind.
You change your life, your mindset, your hobbies, just to avoid them at all cost. To you, you justify this by saying you want nothing to do with them, but in reality you are only afraid of what feelings your encounters with them might stir up.
Day by day, you must learn to understand and forgive. Inflicting pain is never easy, and you have to ask yourself: how difficult was it for my partner to do this to me?
3) You Can’t Skip the Pain
You might want to skip the pain altogether. You will spend days or weeks demanding a confrontation with the man or woman who broke your heart.
You will take every opportunity to demand, why? Why did you hurt me? Why did you leave me? Why did you betray my trust?
But chances are, just as you won’t be ready to let go of the pain and the anger gnawing at you deep inside, your partner isn’t ready to give you a great explanation.
They will avoid the confrontation not because they’re afraid, but because they might not know what to say.
Remember: just as you both loved each other, you will both be in pain from the break up.
4) The Anger Will Disappear
Day by day it will get better. Even if you must spend the first few days or weeks just going through the motions.
The pain will evolve you, shape you, and even mutate you in a way—the person you will be after the pain has gone will not be the same person you were before it arrived.
But so too will the anger disappear. You may bump into your ex months or years after the break up, and you will see them in a new light.
That same old light and charm that made you fall in love with them will still be there, and you will understand the reason even if they never explain it.
And through that understanding will come forgiveness.
5) You Will Make Mistakes, But You Will Also Learn
You will move on. It will be a long and difficult road, but you won’t be trapped in this cocoon of heartache and loneliness forever.
You might have made mistakes—you may have grieved too long, you may have demanded confrontation too soon, or you may have clung onto anger long after it was gone—but you will wake up and understand that they were mistakes, and know not to make them again.