The Importance of Past Relationships

(Photo by Selma Komisky)

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The Importance of Past Relationships
A Lesson According to the Hunchback of Notre Dame 

By Jehn Kubiak

Quasimodo and Esmeralda had the perfect love story going for them––but it didn’t end that way. Instead, Phoebus got the girl, and Quasimodo supported their relationship. You’ve probably dealt with something similar: a guy who seems just right for you––even when others say he isn’t––but the relationship didn’t last in the end, and that person found someone else instead.

Some people give up on love for quite a while after things like this happen, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Others might try love again, but consider that previous relationship a total waste. While I have not dated because I do not personally want to go out with guys until I’m ready for marriage, I can see the value in having past relationships.

First, former relationships can help us learn how to love. After talking with my friends who dated different guys in high school, I realized some of those relationships were often one-sided. It was either the girl liked the guy more, or the guy liked the girl more. Love is a two-way street; it cannot function well if both parties do not reciprocate the same level of emotion.

Second, we can learn more about ourselves as we have romantic relationships with others. Loving someone in such an intimate way can reveal both our strengths and weaknesses. For instance, one person might learn that they are too clingy or struggle with jealousy as a weakness. Regarding strengths, someone might find out that they’re naturally a good listener and act as a compliment to someone else who loves to talk. It’s highly likely that the person you’re dating will tell you about both.

Third, even if your relationship doesn’t work out, you can help each other find a new mate. It’s possible that you both have friends that you think would be perfect for the person you were in a relationship with before. This way, you can return the favor to each other and move on from any hurt that may have resulted from the loss of the relationship.

Fourth, we learn how to remain independent from what others believe is true about us and what really is true. Unfortunately, some boyfriends or girlfriends can become manipulative and tell lies to the person they’re dating. Due to this, the other person may believe those lies because they truly love the person they’re dating. As a result, they become submissive and have difficulties trusting people later on in their life. However, if a person can learn to separate truths from falsehoods, they’ll understand how to stand up for themselves instead of trying to please other people.

If nothing else, past relationships can still remain great friendships. There’s no reason you can’t stay friends with that person––as long as the relationship is still healthy. If it’s toxic, however, then it’s better to part ways. In the end, most conflicts dissolve after both people in the relationship have had time to move on. It’s okay to take a break from seeing each other, but try hanging out again after a while and see what happens.