Failed Relationships Are Life’s Most Brutal Teachers. Here’s What We’ve Learned from Them

Relationships help us grow. As we discover who we are and who our partner is, we also learn our values and boundaries and that not everyone is a good person. 

While scrolling Reddit, I encountered a thread asking users to share the most valuable lessons they learned from relationships that didn’t last. 

Perhaps you can learn from people who’ve been there so you don’t make the same mistakes. 

Abuse Won’t Stop

Angry man yelling and pointing his finger towards the camera
Photo Credit: StunningArt via

One user said they learned far too late that abusive people wouldn’t magically stop. 

Don’t endure abuse thinking they’ll suddenly realize they’re being abusive and love you more for staying,” they shared. 

Abusers typically know their behavior is abusive. They’re doing it on purpose because they want to control someone. And if they don’t know, they need therapy, not a relationship. 

Don’t Lose Yourself

Sad woman on a couch looking unsure of herself
Photo Credit: Olha Nosova via

Far too many people put everything they have into a relationship, giving up their own goals and desires to become what they think is a good partner. They often lose sight of themselves and no longer have an identity of their own outside of “so-and-so’s partner.”

One user shared a story about being unsure of their likes and dislikes after a breakup. 

After I left my first husband (musician/music snob), I remember listening to a new album I bought and wondering if I liked it. I genuinely didn’t know if I could ‘allow’ myself to because he hadn’t told me if it was good or not,” they said. 

You Never Know Someone

man and woman sitting awkwardly together on a couch.
Photo Credit: Voyagerix via

We can be with someone for years without knowing who they truly are. You may think everything is great while they’re off living a secret life. 

“This one kills me because one of you can try to communicate as much as humanly (possible), but it doesn’t mean a…thing if the other person doesn’t reciprocate,” explained one user. “If they refuse to talk to you about their thoughts and emotions, it’s never going to work. You’ll always be blindsided, and you’ll think you’re on the same page until it’s over,” they added.

People Change

couple sitting at a table. Man looks happy, woman looks bored.
Photo Credit: Ruslan Shugushev via

One day, someone can be your perfect partner; the next, they can decide they want something completely different. They can experience something, like an illness, family emergency, or even something far more mundane, and realize they want to change their life. 

“The person you’ve got together with may have been a lovely person. But a single event can change them into an entirely different person,” stated one user. 

“Sometimes people grow together, sometimes they grow apart,” said another, highlighting the wistful reality of humanity. 

Red Flags Don’t Get Better

Expressionless man holding a red flag.
Photo Credit: Ljupco Smokovski via

We often ignore red flags in the honeymoon stage of a relationship, thinking they aren’t a big deal, or it was situational, or the person will mature with age. 

Most of the time, that’s not true, and red flags often develop into even worse behavior as the relationship gets more serious. 

“Letting You” Be Yourself

trendy gen Z teenager on a pink background
Photo Credit: Dan Rentea via

All too often, people get together, and one tries to change every aspect about another, attempting to mold them into their “dream person.”

One user said this is a giant red flag. 

“If a person doesn’t let you be yourself, then they don’t want you, they just want something from you,” they said. 

Sometimes, You’re the Problem

Man sitting with his hands near his chin, sadly thinking and seriously thinking
Photo Credit: spixel via

It takes a lot of introspection to realize that you’re the toxic one. Relationships often end because we don’t do enough to maintain them or engage in destructive behaviors. 

“Looking back, I realize most of my failed relationship ships, if not outright my fault, had a lot to do with me. I’d most often blame them, and yeah, not all of my partners were great, or even good people, but I was definitely more at fault (than) I thought I was,” shared one user. 

Compatibility in the Beginning

man and woman. He's holding yellow flowers wearing yellow suspenders and a white shirt and looks happy. She's wearing a yellow dress and looks happily surprised.
Photo Credit: Roman Samborskyi via

Many relationships fail because of compatibility issues. But rather than move on immediately, far too many of us try to change ourselves to force compatibility. 

One user said that after too many failed relationships, they learned “to (choose) my partner and see if we are compatible instead (of) changing myself to fit them or picking the first one that’s interested in me.”

“My oh my, have I gone to some dark places trying to change my personality to fit a partner’s personality,” admitted another. 

Communication & Manipulation

couple at a computer looking stressed out.
Photo Credit: fizkes via

“Communication without action is just complaining,” shared one user. They added that they always tried to address the problems, and their partner only told them to be patient. The issues were never addressed, and they eventually ran out of patience. 

Another rephrased it as “an apology without change is just manipulation.”

Both partners must want to improve the relationship and be willing to work together to solve problems. 

Mental Illness and Abuse

woman wearing pink sweater on a blue bacground screaming in rage.
Photo Credit: Master1305 via

Mental illness is a serious problem, but far too many people suffering from it try to make it their partner’s problem. 

“If someone has mental health issues, it’s no justification for abuse,” shared one user. 

People need to take responsibility for their own mental health. It’s not a partner’s job to do it for them. 

“If it’s resulting in abuse and they refuse to get help for it…you can only do so much. It’s really up to them to want help,” said another. 

Love isn’t Enough

man smiling holding a heart cut out over his heart on a red background to show he's in love
Photo Credit: via

People always say love is enough and that there’s someone out there who will love you for who you are. Find out why that’s not true. 

Beware Wokefishing!

woman on a date facing camera with an expression of disdain about her date
Photo Credit: CREATISTA via Shutterstock

Online dating is a cesspool, and now women have to navigate yet another insidious scheme: wokefishing. Find out why men lie about politics and why women refuse to date them

Learn The Signs of Financial Abuse

profile of sad woman on couch looking away from camera
Photo Credit: fizkes via

Financial abuse is all too common, but often kept quiet because people don’t understand it’s impacts. Learn the signs of financial abuse to protect your loved ones

Ditch the Life Script

happy carefree woman in a field
Photo Credit: Maria Markevich via

You don’t have to get married and have kids to be happy. The life script isn’t for everyone. Here’s why you should ditch it and do your own thing

Is Your Relationship Toxic?

An angry man stands behind the couch, yelling at a woman who is sitting on the couch with her hands over her ears.
Photo Credit: LightField Studios via

Check the warning signs and find out if you’re in a toxic relationship

Source: Reddit