When the spring semester began, I remember sitting in one of my new classes on the second day catching up with some of my English education friends that I hadn't had classes with in over a year. We were asking each other questions about life and then the topic of who I was dating came up. You see, they remembered me from back when I had a longterm college boyfriend, so they were asking what happened between us.
It's been a long time since they had seen me and it had been a while since I had even thought about my past relationship, so I found myself letting out every negative thing in the book. I found myself telling them about how harshly he left me and how broken I was for a while. One of my friends sat there just shocked. She couldn't believe someone would do these things to me. The other girl just sat there and looked at me, unfazed by what I was saying.
I kept wondering because of her reactions if I had said something wrong or literally any other excuse in the book. Then, she said to me something I have been thinking about ever since that day, "Well was it a good relationship at least?" It took me a second before I could respond because I had to think. I had to go back and think of the numerous good times instead of the few bad times.
I think this is something everyone struggles with when we go through a breakup, thinking fo the positive times. We tend to focus on the bad ways someone ended it or the little red flags we "should've seen coming" when really, once we accept it within ourselves that the relationship is over, we should think about the good things they may have done for us and what positive life lessons we may have learned from the relationship. No one has ever asked me something like that before. When you go through a breakup, everyone wants to know what they did to us. The world wants to know the dirt rather than the truth, and yes sometimes the dirt is the truth, but you can't just dwell on that one moment.
I've been trying to put that mentality into practice as I was healing from my abusive relationship. I can easily recall the horrific times, but I also have to remind myself what positive things I gained from that experience. For example, I learned some warning signs for the future, I learned how to speak up for myself, I learned about confidence and how no matter how many times he would compare me to his exes that I was worth more than he was worthy of seeing, and above all, I learned how to advocate for myself and how to rely on myself for happiness rather than from the help of a man. Now even though my long term college boyfriend was a completely different guy than my abusive ex, the mentality still is equal in both senses.
When you begin to think back on your relationship, think of what you gained from it. Relationships are hard and take work, but they help shape you into the person you're meant to be later on in life.