7 Important Things You Can Learn From a Bad Relationship

While getting out of a toxic relationship can leave you with mixed feelings of relief, stress, grief and everything in between, we prefer to focus on the positives.

It's easy to feel like you wasted a lot of time and energy and put yourself through unneeded pain to find yourself on the other end, but chances are that you also learned a whole lot about yourself during the process, even if you haven't realized it yet. There's so much wisdom you can pick up in the aftermath of a bad relationship, and here are seven things you should focus on.

The Things You Require From a Partner

Sometimes, not having our needs met in a relationship can make those needs clearer than ever. The things that hurt the most are the ones that truly matter, and while that pain may take a while to heal, it can help you understand what you need to demand in your next relationship. Rather than putting someone new on a pedestal and forgiving them for not being who you need them to be, you can make your expectations clear. Understand that if they can't do the simple things you need to be happy in a partnership, they're not the one for you, so you don't repeat the same mistake.

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Also read about: Why You May Be Sabotaging Your Relationships


The Things You Won't Settle For

While people tolerate a lot of bad behavior from toxic partners, everyone has a limit, and this can show them precisely what they won'put up with the next time around. Maybe your ex had a lot of red flags that you ignored, teaching you not to look past them in future relationships. Maybe they taught you how to identify red flags that were once invisible to you. If you fell into an "I can change them" mentality and saw that it only drained and exhausted you as the relationship deteriorated, remember to start seeing who potential partners actually are, rather than who they might be in the future. Don't settle for gaslighting and manipulation, endlessly sacrificing yourself for someone else. Realize that if you're going to be with someone, it should be because they're actually good for you.


What You Value

Some relationships are doomed to fail simply because both people's values don't align. If you have vastly different ideas about the importance of things like friendship or family, are on different ends of the spectrum when it comes to politics or religion or you have opposing lifestyles, you'll likely find yourselves disagreeing on absolutely everything, lacking enough in common to maintain a healthy relationship. If differing values caused you to butt heads with your ex, that might mean it's critical that your next partner share the values that matter to you in order to create a more balanced and harmonious relationship.

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Also read about: What to Do When You Dislike Your Friend's Partner


How to Set Boundaries

Bad relationships often see a combination of struggling to set and maintain boundaries as well as a lack of respect for established boundaries. There's much to learn from both situations. Protecting yourself and your inner peace with strong boundaries is one of the most important skills you can master, so as you move forward with any relationships (both platonic and romantic), understand what works for you and what doesn't. Look at how you want to be treated and create important ground rules early on, always remembering that boundaries can grow and change with time. And, most importantly, if someone disregards your boundaries, don't give them the opportunity to continue to do so.


How to Love and Be Loved

Love can be a complicated thing, and sometimes, leaving behind even a toxic relationship can be difficult when you both cared about each other and thought that love conquered all. There might have been positive aspects of your ex that you genuinely appreciated, and it's okay to continue looking for those things in a new partner, and even telling someone new that those things make you feel special (without ever having to bring the ex into the conversation). At the same time, being giving and generous in your old relationship may have made you feel good. Continue to express your love in a way that brings you joy, while listening to this new person to learn more about how they love and want to be loved in return.

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How to Ask for More

When you get out of a relationship and you're single, you can finally feel like you can put yourself first—but that doesn't mean that this should stop when you enter a new relationship. In fact, prioritizing yourself isn't as selfish as you might think. It can help you better understand your own wants and needs, and being able to communicate those things in an open and vulnerable way with a partner is a powerful way to better a partnership as a whole. When you communicate what you need, you'll be less willing to be walked all over, or to simply placate them in fear of making them upset. In fact, with the right person, honesty will actually bring you closer and increase your intimacy, rather than pushing them away.


Your Own Worth

It can often take getting out of a toxic relationship to help people finally understand their own worth. Bad partners might try to bring you down, but when you're on your own again, you can start working on yourself. Once you start seeing what you bring to the table independent of the relationship, your self-esteem also improves, and you can see, at last, that you deserve so much better. You are worthy of so many things, including love and respect, so forgive yourself for not seeing through it all earlier and do not settle for someone who doesn't also see your worth from the get-go.

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