13 Things Everyone Should Understand About Breakups By The Time They're 30

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lessons about breakups
Heartbreak

There’s a certain point where we all have to grow up.

Breakups happen to the best of us, and regardless of what age we’re at, they still will hurt. Heck, even in your 30s and 40s there will be breakups that won’t make sense, and will have you asking why it happened.

That being said, there’s a certain point in your life where you will eventually need to understand the lessons about breakups a little bit better than before if you want to have a heathy state of mind.

The following lessons about breakups are things I struggled with throughout my life and only recently came to terms with. The funny thing is, when I finally did understand them, breaking up felt a lot easier than I thought it ever could.

1. Toxic people might really love you, but that doesn’t mean you should stay with them or that you “owe” them anything.

Toxic is in the eye of the beholder, which is why toxic people never really think of themselves as toxic. If a person is toxic, they are not good for you, and you owe it to yourself to cut things off.

Breakups can be an act of self-preservation, and this is always the case with people who are toxic to you. If you find yourself dealing with someone who drags you down, you shouldn’t feel guilty about leaving them. After all, you wouldn’t feel guilty about running from a burning building, would you?

2. You can do everything right and still be dumped.

Yes, it’s true. You can be a “by the books” great selection, only to be dumped for the stupidest of reasons. You should never think that it’s always something you did, especially if you tried your hardest to make the relationship work.


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3. However, if they have a specific reason why they’re leaving you, you might want to listen.

At times, being dumped can be the kick in the ass you need to become a better person. Most people, deep down inside, know when a breakup is partially or entirely their fault. If you know you could have done better, it may be time to do some serious soul-searching.

4. A breakup is a unilateral decision.

You do not have to have a person’s agreement to dump them. You just dump them.

If you are the dumpee, you need to understand that they have already passed the point of no return. You trying to keep the relationship alive is a moot point; they’re not going to love you back, regardless of what you do. It’s wiser to move on than to try to force a dead relationship to life.

5. Breaking up with someone doesn't make you a failure.

Oh, I struggled with this, big time. Single is not a four-letter word, and the fact is, a breakup just means that you two were not matched well together. It happens for a variety of reasons, and sometimes, it’s something as simple as just growing apart.

6. You may think someone is an idiot for rejecting or dumping you, and you may be right, but it’s not your call to make.

There have been a lot, and I mean a lot, of people who I have repeatedly tried to win over, only to have them reject me harder. Simply put, they did not see the value I offered and it felt like nothing I could say or do would convince them otherwise. The funny thing is that I was right; nothing I could say could make those people accept me.

What took me so long to realize, though, was that it was their path to choose, not mine to dictate to them. If it ended with them making decisions that hurt them, it was their decisions. If it ended with them finding better matches, good for them; they may have been right to choose so.

Everyone has their own life paths, and each person has to choose for them. What results from that is totally on them, and you can’t force others to see things your way.

7. If a relationship is wasting your time, you owe it to yourself to cut things off sooner than later.

Life is too short for sh*t relationships, bad sex, and bad matchups. We all meet people who are in soul-sucking relationships that they refuse to get out of, simply because they “spent so much time” on that person. Had they just bit the bullet and mourned the loss of the time already spent, they would be in a much happier position in life.


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8. You cannot help everyone and you should never set yourself on fire to keep others warm.

This is something that’s not necessarily about breakups, but understanding this concept often will lead to breakups. Simply put, you need to help yourself before you help others.

If you notice your life deteriorating because you’re constantly helping your partner and putting them before yourself, it’s time to break up. Similarly, not everyone can be helped and it’s up to each of us to be able to do what we can to make a better life for ourselves. Expecting someone to play hero just doesn’t work.

9. We mourn the loss of the person that could have been there for us, rather than the actual person in the relationship, during a breakup.

This is particularly true with abusive relationships, simply because most victims want the nice-acting façade they first met to come back. For many people, the loss of potential or the idea that you may have lost out on a far-away future is far more devastating than losing the person you were in a relationship with.

The truth is, we all get plagued by the disease known as “What if?” The best source of comfort is knowing that you tried, but the fact is that the end result was not a good one. Rather than “What if?” take a long, hard look at the “What is,” and you’ll often find that there’s a lot that you may have been overlooking due to the rose-tinted glasses love puts on you.

10. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, but it does put things in perspective.

Sometimes, it takes us years to see what’s really going on with a person we’re dating. More often than not, taking a step back and seeing how that person evolves will make you thankful you’re not with them, or will make you realize that you may have made a mistake leaving them. Either way, there’s a lot of truth to hindsight being 20/20.

11. You don't have to justify a breakup to anyone.

This was a hard one to deal with, especially when people wanted me to stay with partners I absolutely hated. While there are breakups that look terrible to outside viewers, no one can really know what’s going on behind closed doors but the two people in the relationship.

Anyone who demands an explanation need not know anything other than “It’s not working out.” Their opinion doesn’t matter, because they won’t be living with the consequences of you living your life — only you will.

12. It’s possible to be with someone for years and not really know who they are.

Breakups tend to show people’s true nature, and it’s often shocking how cold, icy, and vindictive people can get during this time. In fact, a lot of secrets tend to be spilled during the time of a breakup, too. So, don’t be shocked at what you learn.

13. Lastly, it’s important to know that love alone isn’t enough.

You both need to be healthy. You both have to pay the bills. As nice as it is to think that love alone is plenty, it’s not, and sadly, sometimes that means that breakups can happen as a result of it. 


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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a Jack-of-all-trades writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. When she's not writing, she's drinking red wine and chilling with some cool cats. You can follow her @bluntandwitty on Twitter.

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