If you've ever woken up five years after you broke up with your ex and realized that idiot was still affecting you, it's normal to wonder why that is. You haven't seen each other in years and yet, good or bad, you can't get him out of your head. Cosmopolitan.com spoke with Maria Bruce, LMHC, NCC, and founder of Maria Bruce Wellness, to help figure out the weird ways your breakups can still affect you years later.
1. You might be more empowered than ever before.
Bruce says she had a client who always saw herself as weak, but when her ex-boyfriend suffered a family death, she was able to be there for him and help with all the arrangements that needed to be made. Bruce explains, "She was surprised at how she handled things, as she never thought she had it in her. Afterward, she became more confident and also a better problem solver in other aspects of her life."
2. You might be better at compromising.
If you had a hobby you loved but your partner wasn't into it and you kept pursuing it anyway, Bruce says you might have learned how to compromise without giving up your sense of self. You can also take that super-important self-care skill into your next relationship.
3. You might have problems trusting future partners.
There are plenty of reasons to have some trust issues after a breakup, but if you were blindsided by your last one, Bruce says you might take that betrayal and fear into your future relationships. Bruce explains, "If you were head over heels over someone that seemed to reciprocate your feeling, and all of a sudden that person decides to break up with you, it is not unlikely that you might feel betrayed and blindsided. This can generate trust issues, as you might become overly guarded and afraid to open up, using this as a defense mechanism not to be hurt again."
4. You might have developed new interests that became a regular part of your life.
If your last partner loved hiking and you went along to support him and discovered you loved hiking too, that's something you can take with you no matter what happened with him. Yay, new, non-boring forms of exercise!
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.