“Men are all the same—they just get done with you and move on to the next one.”
“Women only want guys who treat them badly. I did everything for her and it was never enough!”
“Fool me twice, shame on me. I’ve learned my lesson.”
We’ve all heard these words at one point or another in our lives, usually followed by “never again!” So what, was the song “Love Stinks” accurate? Is it possible to heal a broken heart?
It’s usually hard for people to open up about their emotional needs, but there’s no denying we all have them. Just because you’re hurt now doesn’t mean those needs won’t resurface at some point. As you slowly get back on your feet, you’ll likely find the strength and courage you need in order to find what will fulfill those needs once more.
However, to avoid falling into the same traps over and over again you need to learn from previous mistakes and not just settle for the first person you run into. Love may chew you up and spit you out sometimes, but don’t let one bad experience give you the wrong idea.
Many things shape our idea of love: where we come from, our cultural cues and the image of our own parents’ love. Couples who grow old together will tell you that love does have its romance and its beauty, but love also means working with your partner to be a team.
At the very least, you and the person you meet should share some of the same interests and they should have some of the qualities you’re looking for in a partner. Too many people still believe they can change the other person, which is straight up false. That other person may be perfect for someone else. They shouldn’t have to change just because they are not who you are looking for. Get with someone you want to be with, not with someone you feel the need to change.
Love is also a long-term project that needs to evolve as you go through things together. You have to be able to compromise, think before you talk, be patient and feel lucky every day.
If you’re not looking for a long-term relationship, that needs to be clearly established with any person you pursue. Maybe what you’re looking for isn’t actually love, but something else. In any case, love is a significant part of life and requires having a clear idea of what exactly it is you need.
Just because you’re hurt doesn’t mean anyone else has to pay for it. It’s not men versus women out there. Someone will come along, make you forget about the bad things that have happened and help you see how beautiful life is.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything and that love isn’t worth the sacrifices you must make to live with someone, you can stay single—there’s absolutely no shame in that.
Single moms, for example, always find their way. It means extra work, extra bills and no one to talk to as you fall asleep, of course, but if you’re a loner at heart and have enough friends to avoid solitude, it’ll allow you to follow your own path, learn new things and discover a sense of freedom that very few couples achieve. It’s important to see this as a choice, however, and not a bitter blow to your self-esteem.
Who knows? Maybe one day someone amazing will appear out of nowhere and prove you wrong.