Sometimes it just takes a hot minute of necessary perspective and crying over a tub of Ben and Jerry’s to enable certain realisations. Life-changing realisations, if truth be told. 

You can be trapped within a toxic and abusive, manipulative relationship for longer than you thought possible. If it takes your friends telling you, or family being concerned, or even the mistake that broke the camel’s back, either way, it’s welcome. 

You finally saw the red flags for yourself and acted accordingly. That’s all that matters – it’s never too late to make that change. Also, remember that it’s never your fault. 

If they were gas-lighting you, it’s on them. That’s their decision, it wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t a matter of you not being strong enough or careful enough, but you have learned the lessons now. For better or for worse. 

Your ex wasn’t good enough for you from the start.

Not from a ‘men are trash’ standpoint that all your friends were thinking but never told you point of view. But from a ‘rubbish human being’ point of view. 

If you can’t remember the last time that they surprised you positively, then that was a sign. A sign that you can learn from, but also recognise that, moving forward, you want. 

Now, you know that you can communicate what you want out of life. Sometimes you have to write the wrong thing to know what the right thing is. Similarly, you often have to experience heartache and the wrong thing in order to know what you need.

To make you happy. 

This is such an important stage in our progress as human beings and overall growth after getting over exes. We have to recognise our mistakes too, to look them in the eye in order to not make those mistakes again. 

It’s easy to dismiss the breakdown of your old relationship as the entire result of your ex, but sometimes the uncomfortable reality is that we also made mistakes. That’s fine, we’re all human. 

But now you can decide what mistakes are forgivable, and can be learned from, and what can’t be recovered from. 

You can now align your true dreams and goals, and summon the courage to act on them. It soon became true that your ex was trying to stifle your passion and progress career-wise and in the relationship.

Now that you know what that feels like, you won’t let it happen again. Trust me. 

There’s time now that you aren’t spending every moment concerned about what nonsense your ex is up to in order to stop and smell the roses. You can take time for yourself and decide what you want to achieve on this strange green earth we call home. 

You’ll find that you aren’t competing with the people you thought you were. It may be that you may have uncharted hobbies you can pursue now, without fear of being scorned. 

Go and buy that typewriter on Etsy!

Write a novel! Escape to some obscure town in Norway without internet for a month and discover yourself again. Don’t let the small matter of another person’s opinion define what you do with your life. 

Your ex was holding you back and stopping you from developing as a human being. Think back not on the mistakes you both made, but the opportunities you now have to get into better relationships in the future.

Make 2020 the year that you find true happiness in relationships and in yourself. 

Thank your ex for the lessons that they accidentally imparted into you.

The lessons that you can’t be taught, but can only experience. Trust, once broken, cannot be restored. But you can learn to see the warning signs earlier to protect yourself. 

Thank them, but don’t forgive them. Not just yet.