Break-ups are tough, especially if they feel one-sided. Usually, it’s not really one-sided, but the person who feels they’ve been blindsided by the break-up might feel their ex-partner abused their feelings. We tell ourselves things like “She must have never really loved me,” or “I’ll never find someone as good as her.” These are two very different, but both very damaging, thought processes – and those who “bounce back” the quickest are the ones who can put these thoughts to rest.

It’s not just about sharing the blame, though. There are a million things to remember when your relationship ends – but we’re going to focus on some of the bigger ones today.

It (probably) wasn’t all her fault.

When we tell ourselves that the other person was playing games throughout the entire relationship, we’re putting all the blame on her – and denying any fault to ourselves. But unless you guys broke up at the first sign of discord, it’s highly unlikely that you did nothing wrong.

Instead of justifying the break-up by telling yourself that it was all because she ____ … Stop. That might have been why you two broke up, but that wasn’t the only problem. Acknowledge these problems to yourself, in your journal, to your best friend… Just admit that there were things you did that weren’t the greatest.

Once you’ve admitted your own imperfections, you are actually ready to improve them.

It (probably) wasn’t all your fault, either.

On the other side of the coin we have the woman who thinks that she just wasn’t good enough for her partner – that she would never be able to get someone “so perfect” again. Truth be told, this may be the reason some women have such a hard time with break-ups, too. If you take all the blame on yourself, it seems so simple to just fix everything about yourself – and then all the problems will be gone!

But usually, it’s not like that. Just like the Blame Game in #1 up there, blaming yourself for everything isn’t going to help things. Sometimes, people are terrible – and it’s OK to say she was terrible! Admitting that she had faults is not the same as denying that you had faults, and it’s important that you realize that all factors for the incompatibility matter. You won’t likely want to be with another woman with the same “deal-breaking” flaws.

Once you’ve acknowledged what you don’t want, you’re ready to avoid those things in the future.

The road to happiness is paved with a lot of hard work.

Sometimes, you just want to get over whatever you have going on and get back to “normal life”. But when you’ve been through a particularly harsh break-up, many of us just want to curl up in a little ball. This is a completely appropriate reaction to the pain, but you can’t live in it – you have to put forth the effort to get better. You’re not going to magically get over your ex.

Reflecting on the relationship can be a good place to start, although everyone will reflect in a different way. Personally, I like to log things in my journal, and hash stuff out with my friends. Of course, my besties like to tell me that my worst mistake in any relationship was my “partner selection”, but that’s just because they’re my friends. They’re not supposed to kick me when I’m already in pain.

Other people may choose to work through their pain with art, or music, or meditation. Whatever works for you, you just need to evaluate why you’re hurting and what you can do to avoid hurting this way again.

Once you reflect on the relationship as a whole, you can begin to choose the path you follow next.

Humans learn by experiencing.

Some people seem to have tremendous luck – they marry their high school sweet heart, they stay together for forty years, and everything’s happy. But for most of us, it’s incredibly unlikely that your first relationship is going to be any good at all – especially if it’s your partner’s first, too. I’m definitely not saying it can’t happen, but a break-up isn’t so much a failure as it is a do-over.

With each heartbreak, each mistake, and each challenge we face, we learn a little more. Some people learn very quickly, but others need more time. Some people even have a natural intuition (which I suspect of those who marry their first love). But most of us learn by doing. If you haven’t found out what not to do, how can you know what you should do?

Once you consider your break-up an experience rather than an affliction, you can start to apply it positively to your life.

Destiny isn’t yours to decide.

For those who believe in destiny, it can be tough when something you thought was perfect… Well, wasn’t. (If you don’t believe in destiny, feel free to ignore this section.) But even if you thought she was your soul mate and everything fell apart… Surely you must understand what this really means. Right?

Just because you thought she was your soulmate, or maybe you even wanted her to be, the idea of destiny pretty much says that you can’t control it. You have no power over your destiny – what’s meant to be is going to happen either way. If she was meant to stay with you forever, she would have.

Once you understand that the universe doesn’t always ask permission, you can start to forgive yourself for demanding control.

Timing is everything.

There’s also a chance that the timing was just off. It doesn’t mean either of you was a bad person, or necessarily that either of you was to blame for the end of the relationship. Timing is a fickle creature and even a day too soon or too late can make all the difference. I think that this goes hand-in-hand with the idea of destiny, but it deserves its own special place, too.

The idea that you can beat time is, at best, arrogant – and at worst, ignorant, depending on the specific subject. It’s something we’re all guilty of from time to time, but it takes wisdom to admit it’s something we have such little control over. Everyone has the same amount of time in the day, even though not everyone has as many days – and it’s really impossible to tell how long anything can last.

Once you relinquish responsibility for the time, you’ll release the pressure to rush through life.

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