Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Our 8 Best Break Up Lessons

Last week, I shared with you my best breakup lesson ever and invited you to share your own in the comments or over email. You all had some great ones, and in the interest of helping other avoid broken hearts in the future, I’ve culled some of the best ones here in one easy-to-read list, after the jump. Feel free to print it out and keep it somewhere safe for the next time you need a reminder.

1. “Don’t be mad or upset with yourself for feeling hurt or needing to shed a tear, even if it’s been some time after a break up. Allowing yourself to have and express those feelings is healthy, necessary and cathartic. If not acknowledged, these thoughts and feelings can continue to have a negative effect on your own worth and happiness and likely in your future relationships.”

2. “Give yourself time. It took me nearly a year to feel like myself again — happy and healthy, better and stronger than when I entered the relationship. I truly believe that my current relationship wouldn’t have been able to work before I felt truly good about myself again. ”

3. “Don’t try to mimic what ‘seems’ to be the key to happiness; make your own, however different it may be from everyone else’s.”

4. “Guys who want to be your boyfriend don’t waste a lot of time acting like anything other than your boyfriend.”

5. “Decide what qualities you absolutely cannot do without and, damn it, just let the other things go. Otherwise, you’re just setting yourself up for one dissatisfying relationship after another.”

6. “Never date the same person more than once. Whether you ended it, or they did, there was a reason it didn’t work out the first time. Apologies for what happened are great, but fundamentally, people don’t change, and those same issues from before will pop up again.”

7. “If you have to be someone other than who you are in order to date someone, it’s not the right relationship for you. Once I met my fiancé, I realized just how easy a good relationship should be. I have always been completely me, warts and all, and he never fails to tell me how much he loves me and how beautiful I am to him. He’s always been himself, too, and no matter his flaws, he’s perfect to me. Be true to yourself, always. Facades are hard to maintain.”

8. “Own up to your own shortcomings and flaws. Take some responsibility in your breakups, and acknowledge the mistakes you made in your last relationship so you can work on being better in your next one.”

12 comments… add one
  • JennyTalia March 4, 2011, 12:24 pm

    Forgot to share this last week, but the most important lesson I’ve learned from a break up is that life is too short to be with someone who doesn’t make you happy.

    Boyz II Men speaks to me *Don’t have to stay with someone who makes you cry/ You’ll end up killing all the love you have inside/ Can’t hope to see the sun if you don’t open your eyes/ Girl don’t let real love pass you by*

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  • Heather Girl March 4, 2011, 1:03 pm

    I disagree with #6. I casually dated/had a fling with a guy in college and it did not end badly. We just pursued other people. And now, over 4 years later, we are back together and happier than ever.
    And I fully believe that if we had not separated for 4 years, we wouldn’t be together today. We both needed to grow up.

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      fast eddie March 4, 2011, 2:45 pm

      Totally agree Heather, the first date and/or younger years, we’re all nervous hence we do and say things that really aren’t representative of our inner selves. Baring major character flaws like racist, violent, drug addict, etc. everyone deserves a second chance. At the same time never put your physical or emotional safety at risk.

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    • Amanda March 4, 2011, 3:42 pm

      Personally, #6 does not apply to me.
      My current boyfriend and I are 22/23 and we dated first when we were 16/17 for 7 months & again when we were 19/21 for just about a year months.
      This time we’ve been together for 2 1/2 years and we couldn’t be happier.
      The first breakup was petty highschool stuff. The second was due to him working out of town for 3 weeks and only having one week to share with me and his friends, which he spent mainly drunk with his friends.
      He’s changed with maturing and so have I. We decided on August 2008 that if we were going to do it this time we needed to live together. We;ve had ups and downs like every other couple but I truly believe we’re meant to be together.

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  • heidikins March 4, 2011, 1:49 pm

    #4 is absolute gold. Seriously, brilliant.


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    • WatersEdge March 4, 2011, 2:15 pm

      Thank you!!!

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      • ape escape March 4, 2011, 2:41 pm

        Agreed. I’m pretty much making it my mantra. That, and recording it to play on repeat while I sleep…I know it’s true, but I don’t KNOW IT. you know? 🙂

    • lee March 4, 2011, 2:36 pm

      I agree! I read it in the original post and it’s stayed with me since then. It’s just so true.

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  • HmC March 4, 2011, 1:51 pm

    Remember that no matter how well-meaning or smart someone is, their advice is never perfect, and they are not you. You have to make your own mistakes, and learn from them, because at the end of the day you are the one that has to live with them. It feels so much better to fail because you followed your gut than it feels to fail because you ignored your gut and headed someone’s advice.

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    • Amy March 4, 2011, 1:56 pm

      Very wise comments today HmC!

      This leads me to the next thought – that just because you may have ended up in failed relationships before because you followed your gut – does not mean that you don’t have a strong internal guidance system. You learn from past mistakes and can make better decisions in the future. Don’t think that a few bad relationships mean your destined for bad relationships… you’re just learning what you need and want.

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  • lmate March 4, 2011, 2:46 pm

    “Guys who want to be your boyfriend don’t waste a lot of time acting like anything other than your boyfriend.”

    Well-put and so true. Why do so many women settle for anything less than this? That catchphrase should be up there with MOA in response to many of Wendy’s letters. There ARE guys out there who will be the boyfriend you deserve!

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  • Simcha March 5, 2011, 6:16 pm

    #4 really got me. SO true.

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