"Shout out to my ex, you're really quite the man / You made my heart break and that made me who I am!" is the triumphant cry of British girl group Little Mix, and oh how true it is! While breakups are a source of stress, tears, rage, and all manner of hugot, they also offer valuable lessons on love and life that hopefully make you a better person in the long run.
Breakups come in all shapes and sizes, just like relationships. They can be messy or amicable. Some are heartbreaking, caused by rage or betrayal. Some are inevitable falling-out-of-love experiences, and others are simply (or complexly) the result of incompatible personalities, goals, or lifestyles.
Whatever you've experienced, ending things with Mr. Wrong (or Mr. Right-at-the-time-but-not-anymore) may be painful, but it also gives you the opportunity to take stock of what you want out of life and any partners you will want to share it with in the future. We asked a few Pinays to share the lessons they've learned from their exes—read through them, and comment to share your own hard-won wisdom!
"Finding your own individuality while accepting individual differences does not happen overnight. It comes with a proportionate amount of work and willingness to compromise which leads to seeing the good in every single moment of your lives no matter how bad a long day went. Adulting is extra difficult, but when all else fails, gracefully let go and carefully move on with both your heart and head strong." —Marian Villanueva, 31, Workforce Specialist
"Trust my gut. I wish I trusted my gut or was sensitive to red flags sooner. But the moment I realized he was lying to me, that little twitch in my gut, I felt it in my belly. And it made me curious. Within minutes, I found out he was cheating on me.
Walk away when you're done and don't look back. You can have closure by yourself. You don't need the other person's permission to close a relationship. You don't owe them an explanation or to hear their apology. Just because you gave them your past, doesn't mean they own your future. Your future is unwritten and you have the power to write your story.
Never be afraid to start over. Start over a new job, a new life, in a new place. I did all of that when I left my ex-husband in the middle of the night. I didn't have a set plan. All I knew was I had to leave and that I deserved not to live in that relationship anymore. Whatever happens, it will be better than your current situation. I never regretted it." —Dyn Lubio, 38, Auto Insurance Claims Adjuster
"[The] best lesson I learned [is that] there are no regrets, because at that point in time, they were exactly what I needed—the good and the bad, the laughter and the tears. All that brought me to who I am today, and I can say it was all worth it." —Michi Carrillo-Rañada, 34, UI/UX Officer
"Looking back, one thing I learned was that just because my ex didn't work out as my significant other, that doesn't mean he can no longer be in my life. My ex and I are good friends to this day, and maybe that's exactly what fate wants us to be! We still bond over the similar things we like, because that's what drew us to each other in the first place. I've always believed that people come into our lives for a reason, and in this world where good pals become harder and harder to find as time goes by, it's certainly a welcome friendship.
Besides, my husband believes that we ought to be grateful to our exes, because if they didn’t become 'exes,' then we wouldn't be together right now. It's an interesting take, isn't it?" —Cat Lo, 31, Writer
"We need to have the same vision of our future together. Our beliefs and values (in all areas of life) should be aligned or at least similar. Else, it will be one hell of a fight keeping the relationship tight and strong. Most importantly, every relationship is always a work in progress. So in order for 'us' to work, we gotta do the work." —Hazel June, 32, Training Consultant & Course Developer
"Honesty is something that we usually take as a given, right? Something that is already expected. But, we don't admit how hard it is to be honest about things that matter and things that affect other people. No matter what people say, honesty comes at a cost and sometimes, it's even harder if you're not the one footing that bill.
He taught me the importance of having the courage to stand by that honesty. Honesty, like love, without agency is nothing. No matter how difficult it is, it's best to tell the truth rather than dragging out a lie. It's not fair for anyone. Take the sting of an honest truth over the decay of a rotting lie any day (no matter how sweet it smells at the start)." —Louise De Luna, 23, Community Manager, Freelance Writer
"The best lesson I have learned from my ex(es) is that my capacity to love and care for someone is great, and [I] am also capable of enduring the harshest of pains and the lowest of lows. I also learned that I, being a transgender woman who once fell in love and got hurt, don't need a man to define my womanhood. My worth as a woman is not dependent on a guy's words, gifts, or attention. I can be my own person, with or without somebody by my side." —Jules Veloso, 32, Communications Strategist
"The best lesson I learned from my ex is that I should have my own dream, my own life. A dream that he may be part of but is not necessary. I just broke up with my ex after an 18-year relationship, and when that happened I panicked because I don't know how to start over—all my dreams included him. Now that he was gone, I didn't know where to start. Because of that, I’ve had to learn to pick myself up, to value myself more. To follow my own path, to follow my dreams. If he or my future partner really loves me then he will be supportive of my goals and dreams. I wasted decades of my life supporting his dream, only to realize that he didn't value my efforts anyway. So from now on, I will think of my own dreams and will pray to find someone who has already figured out his dreams and is already in the process of reaching for them, rather than relying on me to do it for him." —JP Espino, 37, Architect & Freelancer