I still remember mine; it was the summer of 2007. On returning home after finishing my last exam, my result was already waiting there for me.
No, not the academic one, life’s result. Honestly, at that point, this result mattered more than any of the results combined.
The existence of my relationship was on test. Somehow, I sensed the arrival of the breakup but still hoped for things to turn out otherwise. After all, I ‘thought’ I was in love, it was my first relationship, and for the upcoming 20–30 years everything was perfectly planned for both of us.
“How can you do this to me?” , I screeched with pain on the phone.
“Am sorry, I don’t know what to say, please take care of yourself”; with a crystal clear voice and intention, that was pretty much how she turned me down cold-heartedly.
And there I was, in shock, in denial, and in an intense pain of the heartbreak that life has gifted me without me asking for it.
The person who once claimed to be head over heels in love with me, hardly a week before, just crushed my heart with the same heel. Promises to be with me forever suddenly got translated into “don’t contact me ever” , the one responsible for my bright shining life had just dimmed it and left me to deal with the darkness alone.
The pain declined to depart, and happiness refused to arrive. Sleepless nights followed with hopeless days, dwelling into the past and her thoughts, with the heart still planning ways to get her back and the mind desperately wanting to move on. Everything appeared lost and blurred.
From being a sincere student to scoring good grades, respecting elders to riding a motorbike, keeping myself safe from bullies, cooking eggs, or be it ironing clothes, my closest people taught me everything but ways to heal a broken heart. After all, anybody can get away with cooking eggs and save himself from the efforts of ironing, but it’s impossible to immune ourselves from a heartbreak. Everybody experiences it once in their life. Isn’t it?
Nevertheless, after endless teary sessions, hulky anger outbursts, baseless self-judgments, amusing bird watching experiences, over-the-top Zig-Ziglar, Louis hay, and Brian Tracy book sessions, I somehow got past it gradually with time.
And now, 12 years later, here I am, a serial breakup survivor running a blog on how to survive breakups. Gladly, I don’t believe in carrying the burden of past anymore, neither do I believe in being a preacher who knows it all. But, there are some lessons I did carry with me from the past, that still hold equal importance, and even shape my present decisions and relationships with other people.
After all, a relationship brings you closer to another person, but a breakup brings you closer to yourself.
I wish I had learned them before, or if I had someone who could teach me these back then, but am happy that I have my fair share of experiences and lessons to share with you now, that might save you from hurts of a breakup.
Although I still struggle to Iron my clothes, I do manage both the “sunny side up” and sunny-shady sides of breakup exceptionally well.
To some of us, a relationship is more like an addiction; it takes a minute to get into, but take a lifetime to get over with it.
Once we get into a relationship, we put the entire burden of our peace of mind and happiness on our relationship and withdraw ourselves from all the responsibilities. We start to believe that from now onwards it’s our partner’s duty to keep us emotionally content and satisfied. We stop being an individual and begin to draw our identity from the behavior of our partner towards us.
And rather than treating our partner as a part of life, we crown them as life itself.
We get severely addicted to their presence that imagining a life beyond them seems meaningless. They become the origin and also the medium to all the pleasures of life. Self-dependence becomes a topic of the past, over-dependence becomes a new mantra, and we happily choose to warm the passenger seat by letting our relationship to drive our life.
But never to forget, every drive seems enjoyable till it’s on-track and every addiction seems pleasurable until withdrawal symptoms kick in. The moment things go off-track, we start to panic and helplessly see things turning out bad as it’s already too late to take the control back.
A relationship should be like bungee, where you jump off the cliff to live the experience of a lifetime, but with a harness on your back ensuring your safety and to pull you back upwards if things go wrong. Likewise, In a relationship that harness is being self-content and self-dependent. A relationship is meant to experience love and to attain the pleasure of belonging, but for that to enjoy to the fullest, you must keep your harness on, so that if anything goes wrong, you have your spirit and self-worth ensuring your safety, and to pull you back to life.
Takeaway: Maintain your individuality. Have a life outside of your relationship too. Never forget; your relationship exists because of you, you don’t exist because of your relationship.
“Love yourself first and foremost.”
It was during the times when Orkut had just arrived in the picture, and everyone was clinging to it day and night. I was still recovering from my first breakup and somehow managed to enter in a second relationship.
Everything was going smooth, and she was everything one could ask for; good-looking, smart, full of warmth, and care.
Almost everything finally made sense, but just one thing…I hated her Orkut status, which said; “Love yourself first and foremost”. It appeared to me as an act of selfishness.
I was like; “Come on! She should love me the most, I am his guy, and she should put me before her”.
I had just come out a painful relationship, and now here I am dealing with a self-obsessive person. I expected her to love me first and foremost, after all, that’s why most of us enter in a relationship, i.e., to seek utmost importance, attention, and love. Isn’t it?
*Not surprisingly that relationship didn’t last any longer*
And it took 4–5 breakups for me to understand the real crux of that status. Loving yourself first and foremost doesn’t mean to put ourselves before anyone else, and love no one but just ourselves.
It simply means to accept ourselves for who we are and find peace within it. It’s foolish to expect others to love and accept us for who we are when we are having a hard time doing the same for us. Most people never realize it unless breakup hits them, and they end up feeling low self-worth and low self-esteem.
Takeaway: Your Self-worth and self-image should not be built on other people’s opinions. And before you go out and claim your love for someone, make sure you are in love and peace with yourself.
Balance is the key
It may sound strange to many, but a relationship should not be on top of your priority list. Indeed, it should take your focus and should hold a higher degree of importance, but utmost priority? Naa
Relationships should exist and fit into life without you stressing about it daily. It should keep you relaxed from the emotional and mental front so that you can channel your energy and productivity on other vital areas of life.
If you are in that phase of life where you should focus more on your studies, then give it the required attention. If you are working your ass off to get your dream job, then do that with more focus. If you are a budding author and working tirelessly to finish your first draft, then bring your attention towards it. Do not ignore other important aspects of life just because your relationship is taking a major chunk of your time and focus.
No, am not saying that a relationship doesn’t demand time; it does. But you must know how to balance things. A relationship should fit in your life smoothly, it should be there, it should hold importance, it should provide you mental peace, love, and security, but it shouldn’t divert you from your goals. Instead, it should give you a reason to stick to your goals and conquer all your dreams.
Takeaway: Do not ever make your relationship the only focal point of your life, keep yourself equally indulged in other parts of life too. Never withdraw yourself to enjoy the small happiness that life brings to you; like having dinner with family, roaming with friends, practicing your skills, etc.
A relationship should not hold you back. Instead, it should let you loose and motivate you to give your best shot at life.
Compatibility lasts longer than love
For sure love is a binding agent in a relationship, but there are times when it fails to glue people, then it’s the compatibility that takes the front and decides the course of your relationship. Two people who are compatible but not in love would share a healthy relationship than a couple in love but having zero compatibility.
Each person shares different interests and behaviors. And, for a relationship to be successful, it requires both of the partners to look into the same direction and to gel up with each other smoothly even when things turn slightly grey with time.
It’s completely fine to order different flavors of pizzas, sharing different opinions on choice of colors is fine too, debating about the most powerful Marvel superhero is acceptable too (although we all know iron man is the most powerful), but having completely different emotional expectations, future goals, basic nature polarities, is something that is sure to bother you in the long term.
Takeaway: Having good compatibility lets you allow to communicate with each other without fear of being judged, and to understand each other on a deeper level by making things right when love fails to do so.
Blind trust is for blinds
Trust is the foundation of any relationship. A relationship built on the right amount of mutual trust indeed goes the extra mile. For anyone to enjoy being in a relationship, trust is the most crucial ingredient. You can’t love a person whom you don’t trust. However, having blind faith is suicide.
Many people dealing with low self-esteem fall for this. In spite of being in an unhealthy relationship, even after knowing that their partner is cheating on them, they chose to stay quiet because they aren’t sure if they will find another one. Also, when they confront their partner regarding the same, their partner successfully slips into victim zone and manage to reverse the whole blame game and then thrash the real victim for not showing enough faith in them.
Takeaway: Have the courage to speak up and stand for yourself. It’s a lot better than being single and love-deprived, rather than being with a person who is unworthy of your trust and love.
Don’t force your expectations
When love fails to keep people interested in each other, they try to change each other as per their expectations, specifically in the name of love. And, when it doesn’t happen, they get frustrated, and in no time they fall out of love. And the time that should be spent enjoying the perks of being in a relationship get wasted into changing each other.
The point is that accepting yourself as who you are isn’t enough. You have to accept your partner too for who he/she is. Don’t expect them to love you and express the way you want them to. Let them maintain their individuality and expression.
Just because they differ from you on a few things or have different ways to express their love and care, it should not be the parameter to question their love. Don’t try to change people as per your need and comfort.
Takeaway: For any relationship to flourish, it should be free from unnecessary and impractical expectations. Cultivate a relationship that is based on friendship, because when you are friends with someone, somehow everything about the relationship just becomes easy.
One of the reasons that friendships are so easy to handle just because they don’t come with a long list of expectations. And, as a friend, you immediately fall into a supportive role and always look for ways to make each other happy.
Love is to grow, not shrink
A healthy relationship works to provide you peace of mind, and a toxic one steals it.
If you are in a relationship that’s halting your progress as a human, and if the majority of your time is going into fixing things than enjoying it, then be wise enough to call it off. There’s no use to drag a relationship just for the sake of it.
Likewise, it’s not wise to be in a negative relationship to save yourself from the efforts to find another one, or just because it might be impossible for you to find hotter prospects.
At any time you feel that your relationship has turned toxic and it’s not what you pictured your relationship, be outspoken about it. A healthy relationship will help you to grow as a better human. It will act as a medium for you to experience joy and belongingness, rather than turning you cynical and frustrated.
Takeaway: Don’t get too attached with a tag of relationship, it’s okay at times to let go of a few people so that right one can arrive. And as I always say; never compromise with less than you believe you deserve.
Little secrecy is always good
One of the best perks of a relationship is to have someone by your side to whom you can share anything anytime. Be it your gloomy past or sloppy present, opening up to your partner, and pouring our heart out feels such a blessing.
We believe that our partner has a right to know everything about us, and we don’t step back from sharing even the intimate details of our life. And, in turn, we expect from our partner to take it healthily. Luckily, it happens too sometimes.
And fast forward some months or even years, we find our partner thrashing us for the same intimate details we once shared with our partner out of trust. It happens often. We are human, we do get judgemental sometimes. We often create a big mess out of small things.
Now, what should you do?
Not much, but try not to vomit each and everything in front of your partner just because he/she deserves to know it all. Always keep a little part of yours hidden until you have spent a good amount of years in a relationship with him. Unless you are sure that he/she is mature and understanding enough to take them healthily, don’t vomit.
Takeaway: Let your partner explore you layer by layer, once at a time, rather than you voluntarily stripping your life and gifting it to your partner as a token of trust.
You will regret this, and you know why? Because we are human, we make mistakes, we do get judgemental sometimes, and ironically, your partner is a human too.
Don’t make a place for the third person
You may have been very close to some of your friends, or even with a few family members. And, if you are someone who finds peace in sharing the latest happenings of your life with them. But, that also doesn’t qualify anyone to know every detail of your relationship too.
A lot of things are expected to remain just in between you and your partner. Many people don’t mind sharing even the intimate details of their relationship. And that’s disrespectful not only towards your relationship but towards your partner too.
It takes lots of courage for someone to share something very personal, and least they expect from you is to maintain a little secrecy. Is that a lot to ask for? Of course not.
A lot of things we share with our partner out of emotional trust and no third person qualifies to know them but just you two. Even If you trust your friends more than your life, restrict yourself from sharing blooms and glooms of your relationship.
Even when there is tension in your relationship, don’t cry it out in front of everyone. First, try to resolve things on your own before letting others intervene in between.
Takeaway: There should be no space for “Others” when it comes to handling your relationship and maintaining it.
Not just it will help your relationship to grow stronger, but mutual trust will also grow.
Reality is different than dreams
Don’t let #relationshipgoals pictures fool you; the reality is often different. Love is not about sipping coffee 24x7 in a cosey café, or holidaying together on some beaches, or even about shutting yourself from the outer world and living romantic moments in the bedroom all the time.
Maintaining a relationship for the long term takes effort and a serious commitment. Don’t expect it to run on auto mode, while you relax and experience the sunny side of a relationship.
Entering into a relationship is the smoothest part and takes just 10% of it, rest 90% goes in maintaining and nourishing it. Every relationship put thorough test in thicks and thins, not always you will find yourself sipping coffee in some exotic café, not always you will get to flash #loveforever #madeforeachother tags on your social handles, your love for each other will come under question too sometimes, and that time, all that will matter is just one decision; do you want to quit and move on or to work on your relationship in spite of everything?
Takeaway: Don’t let the #relationshipgoals glitter to fool you, my dear.