20 Lessons Learned From Failed Relationships

The dating scene can be a rough place, but the hardest part of all are the breakups. While some relationships are built to last, some people have gone through strings of failed relationships. This pain is harsh on them, but after getting through it, there are many opportunities to learn from these experiences and try again.

Below is a list of some of the most important lessons taken from these experiences. For this list, we turned to Reddit to get a series of responses on valuable lessons for relationships.


“If you’re not happy, you’re permitted to leave.”

One sign of a poor relationship is when one is making the other miserable for prolonged periods of time. Sure we can rationalize it as a sort of “rough patch” that every relationship goes through. But there is quite the difference between being angry or bothered for a few days versus being sad around them for months.

Not to mention you want to actively avoid them.

In the case of a Reddit user, they were purposely avoiding their partner. They wrote:

“This was the exact reason I left my ex. I was no longer happy when we were hanging out…it got so bad that I would want to stay longer at work or take the long way home just to get more alone time.”

Remember, rough patches are temporary. If you know your relationship is emotionally tormenting you, then it’s worth considering moving on.



“Do make a line between the person and the relationship.”

We are all familiar with rebounds right? While rebounds sometimes are completely different people, in some cases the rebound is the person you were just dating. Of course rebounds like this never tend to work out at all, but there is a reason why people fall for these time and time again.

One Reddit user wrote the following:

“My ex and I ended things a little over a month ago for a number of good reasons, and I know it was certainly for the best, but that does not take away the feelings of missing being in the relationship. Having that level of companionship and intimacy with another human being is simply amazing, and it is hard not to miss that.”

At the end of the day, some people can’t live without being in a relationship. Rebounds happen all the time and if you are the person who jumps back to the same person, stop yourself and make that line. Remind yourself there are others out there.



“Listen to your head over your heart.”

Emotions are a powerful force and can often be the sole reason people push through and try to make things work. We see this all the time in poor relationships where things are still clinging together despite the relationship being detrimental to both people.

So why do people cling to these? Emotions is a big thing, but there is also that far of dealing with breaking up. It’s a powerful force and in some cases can result in people’s death.

But as one Reddit user put it:

“Sometimes it’s better to just suffer the heartbreak instead of hurting each other by dragging it on.”

Well said. Well said.



“Do it offline if possible.”

With social media taking over our lives, it makes sense that when you want to break up with someone you do it over Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or even through simple texting. This sort of method is better than the alternative of having to face the person and talking things out.

But one word of advice is to always make a point of meeting the person face to face and breaking up this way. Sure it’s dreaded and takes courage, but there are a few reasons to do that.

First reason is best put by a Reddit user’s comment:

“Don’t be a chicken and do it by text… Nothing says ‘We’re over and I never want to even hear your voice again’ like doing it via texting.”

Second reason is that no matter the pain of having that conversation will have, both parties need some kind of closure and explanation. Unless the relationship is an absolute train wreck, do it in person as both of you deserve this. So give them the courtesy of talking things over unless you really want the person to hate your guts.



“Loving someone harder doesn’t mean they’ll love you eventually.”

Relationships take time to grow and develop. Some take only a bit of time, while others may take a few dates or more. Whatever the case is, you need to be patient and give people the opportunity to catch up to where you are at.

Of course this isn’t a reason to be complacent. If you are bogged down with unrequited romance that leaves you sad, unloved, and uncared for, there comes a point where you need to move on. Similarly, loving someone more and putting in all that effort to love someone is not always the best move. Some people don’t like to be forced and as I said, like to take their time.



“Be vulnerable.”

Relationships are all about vulnerability. You are opening yourself to another person, so that you can confide in them and hope that they open up in return.

Of course, doing this can be incredibly difficult seeing as heartbreak can stem from trusting someone too much. After being scarred like that it can be hard to open up and begin trusting someone again.

But as a Reddit user stated, it’s worth taking that risk:

“If you want to have genuine relationships, be vulnerable. Let them have the chance of hurting you and trust that they wouldn’t. If they hurt you, it’s better to know early on anyway.”

They have a point. Getting the pain of betrayal early is worth it because you know they were bound to get to that point eventually. It’s easier to start sharing a little bit of information at that point as opposed to sharing more later.



“It’s easy to integrate people into our day than you might think.”

As crazy as you might think, people have a way of weaving into other people’s lives. Since we are social creatures in nature, it makes sense that we are capable of doing these things without even noticing.

That being said, just because someone is wrapped up in your life doesn’t always mean they are interested in who you are and what your life is like deep down. Some will be along for the ride. Those who are actually worth your while will be the ones showing as much interest in making arrangements and being excited for the events as much as you are.



“Don’t feel like you need to be in a relationship.”

There are so many societal norms out there with one of them being that we ought to be dating. The thing is that those who buy into that often end up in a tougher situation and are worse off than being single and “free”.

As one Reddit user put it:

“Being single is better than getting into a relationship just to avoid being alone, as being with someone when you don’t actually like them can make the relationship really awkward.”

The truth of the matter is – being single isn’t a crime and there is no pressure for you to get out there. What’s important is that you find your own happiness your own way. Whether that’s being with someone else or being alone is up to you.



“Let stuff go.”

One problem people run into all the time in relationships is that they want to stick around. Thinking that the relationship can last despite all the obvious signs. One piece of advice to keep in mind is to let things go and to take time to look at yourself and how you’re matching up with your partner.

There is little merit to be gained if you or your partner aren’t showing any interest or aren’t emotionally available. Trying to make things work in those situations is an uphill and miserable battle.



“Good communication is a must.”

Another cornerstone to a solid relationship is communication. As cheesy as it might be, you can’t deny that this is needed. Again, we’re social creatures here.

The only thing is that with every person how we communicate and how we see others is different. What we’ve said in past relationships may not work with new relationships.



“There is only so much you can compromise.”

They say that love can conquer all, but there are some things that are completely off the table for some people. Things like last names and kids are things that people won’t budge on and it’s in those instances to let the person settle with that opinion.

Sure it can put a strain on a relationship in some cases, but it’s often better to leave it like that. Think about it this way. What’s better: settling that deal breaker or forcing someone to do what you want them to.

Let me tell you, it’s better for the former, rather than the latter.



“When you’re in a healthy relationship, it’ll improve your mental state rather than hinder it.”

A good quality relationship is one that is meant to lift you up and improve your overall state of mind. Sure, relationships have ups and downs and twists and turns, but ultimately the relationship is meant to grow you throughout the process, rather than drag you down.



“Never persuade someone to date you.”

Similar to compromises, you don’t want to force yourself onto people or force people into doing what you want. At the end of the day, the relationship or results that have been gained from forceful tactics are not going to make things better.

In terms of asking someone out, only do so once. Two times is alright only if the person clearly was put off guard about what you said. After that move on as persistence in this case can turn into a lot of suffering for both.



“Always trust your gut.”

The old saying has a lot of truth to it. Make a point of listening to what your body is telling you. Think your partner is cheating on you? Or maybe that you’re not meant to be? Trusting your gut in those instances can help you in softening the damage. After all, continuing the relationship can lead to more pain.



“Being alone is not the worst thing. There are worse out there.”

Being single can suck and for many people they feel that urge to get back in there and start dating again. But it’s better to be cautious and to spend time showing gratitude in some cases, especially if you’re previous relationship was a toxic one.

This advice is incredibly helpful, as the last thing you want to do is be in another relationship that you absolutely loathe being in.



“Don’t make your partner the only source of positivity in your life.”

When people get into relationships, they can slip into a state of depending on that one person for their own happiness. As soon as that person goes on with their day, the other person’s day is a wreck, depressing and grey.

In those relationships, one person is in dire need of constant romantic affection in order to be happy and that sort of system is built for failure. After all, people have places to go and sometimes they don’t want someone always clinging to them.

So if you are the type of person who is too clingy, take some time to love and appreciate yourself and learn to be comfortable with yourself.



“Spend time together. It’s important.”

No matter how much is going on in your life, make sure that you have time devoted to your relationships. Like with friendships, time can strain relationships or strengthen them depending on what you choose to do.

If you want to grow it, spend quality time with your partner. Get to know them and get into deeper topics, rather than merely chatting and hanging out. Set aside time for vacations together or activities in town. These sorts of activities are simple, but they keep relationships alive day after day.



“The relationship should have the good outweighing the bad.”

Of course, relationships have their lows and there are particular qualities that can put dampers on relationships as well. But the truth is – everyone has their flaws and no relationship in the world will always have constant highs.

What’s important in the relationship is that the ups outweigh all of the downs of the relationship you have. There ought to be more good times than bad.



“Look at how they treat others in their life.”

The best way to get to know someone is to understand how they behave around their other friends and family. As one saying goes “If you want to know how a man treats their women, look to how they treat their mother.”

That saying has some nugget of truth to it. After all you don’t want to be hanging around someone who is cold or distant from other people and yet showers you with adoration. This is important because soon enough they’ll start to show their real colours and start treating you like they would with anyone else.

So make a point of seeing how they act around others.


“Everything boils down to timing.”

One thing with dating to keep in mind is this:

The right person for you is the wrong person showing up at the wrong time.

Sometimes we’re not in a place where we can commit to something or get involved with other people’s lives. Whether it’s pursuing a career or figuring ourselves out, there are many times we’re not ready for it.

Pair that up with the heartache of break ups and you can see why it can be challenging for people to find the right partner for them.

But remember this: the good news is that if you are being honest with yourself and you make a point of calling things off in a respectful manner, there will always be opportunities to reconnect when you are in a better spot.