Often, patients speak to me about feeling like a failure because a relationship failed.
They take the fact that a break-up, or even a series of failed relationships, directly indicates something is deeply wrong with them.
They feel flawed and unlovable, and there is no hope for future success in romance.
As Scarlett O’Hara boldly declared in Gone with the Wind, failed relationships may leave scars, but they do not define us, for it is in the ashes of heartbreak that our true strength emerges.
Long-term relationships, especially marriage, can feel like an insurmountable failure as you have invested so much of yourself, your time, and your identity as part of a couple.
Many times, people have tried to work things out, gone to counseling, and even adjusted issues their partner was not pleased with.
But inevitably, the relationship still fails.
Check out these couple’s therapy quotes if you need help with the end of your relationship.
Failed Relationships Do Not Make Us a Failure
No one is perfect – hopefully, no one is claiming to be.
We all have things that we could work on.
However, if you genuinely did the hard work and things still did NOT work out, you should give yourself credit for your efforts instead of focusing on the inevitable outcome.
The truth is that, no matter what we do, relationships are sometimes not meant to work out.
Maybe it’s because the issues have become too great to overcome.
Often, couples go to couples’ therapy if this means that things will be fixed and they will move forward together.
This is the ideal outcome but is also not a given.
The national average of first-time marriages ending in divorce is more than 50 percent, even higher for second-time marriages.
Now consider that a couple that enters couples’ therapy is already largely teetering towards the negative 50 percent.
They do show strength and willingness to try by simply going.
But about 50 percent of those couples will divorce as well.
The benefit is that the couple is with a supportive and unbiased third party who can help them navigate an amicable breakup.
This is especially important if children are involved.
While you may have failed relationships, how you choose to navigate going forward can be your success.
What Failed Relationships Could Teach Us
Good or bad, lessons can be learned from our failed relationships.
That lesson is that you are not a failure.
A relationship not working out allows us to re-evaluate what we do and do not want in a relationship.
How we have grown and changed, how our needs have changed, what is most important to us, and what is not.
Often, and especially after a long relationship, we will discover that what we thought we once wanted has changed a great deal over the years.
To find an ideal match and greater success, we must adjust what we seek.
Our knowledge of what we have learned is most important.
This is also an exceptional opportunity for self-growth.
Many serial monogamists never really take the time to get to know themselves as strong and self-confident individuals.
They have always viewed themselves and their identity as part of a couple.
To these individuals, I express the importance and the essential exercise of being single for a while and getting to know yourself as an individual.
Also, as none of us are perfect, this is an ideal time to take stock of your half of a relationship and what you need to work on to be an ideal partner.
We attract more quality partners when we have a more secure and confident sense of self.
People pick up on how we feel about ourselves – whether from a place of strength or a place of weakness.
Coming from a place of strength sets us off on a strong footing from the start.
When we feel good about ourselves, we are more willing to speak our minds, ask for what we want, and communicate openly with our new partners.
When relationships go wrong, it hurts
However, we can become better individuals and partners when viewing them as learning and growth opportunities.
In that way, we have far from failed – we have shown great strength and success.
This article was originally published here.