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Advice on Gaining Perspective/Learning from Mistakes?

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When going through break ups, I want to make sure I learn something every time and come out a better person for a future partner (otherwise, like, what’s the point?). My first major breakup, I learned a LOT about what I wanted from a partner, and I learned a lot of great communication skills related to openness and honesty.


But my more recent break up has just left me feeling sick in a way that the first really didn’t. Quick summary of what went down:


We dated for about a year (including 3 months “friendship,” explained later.) Our interactions became slowly more and more strained over time, and sometimes we just couldn't communicate. About 8 months in, he cheated on me because we had a fight and “he thought we would break up anyway.” I, of course, stupidly got back together with him. A couple of weeks later we decided to try taking some space over a long weekend, during which cheated on me with not one but TWO different people (one of whom was the same guy he’d cheated with the first time).


Cue a few months trying to be “friends” where we just act exactly like we’re dating, minus the title. He finally asks that we not talk for a month. After a week he sent me a letter making it clear he considered the relationship over. I sent a goodbye letter back and beginning NC, and now it’s been \ about a month.


Now, I'm looking back, and I’m trying to see what I did to contribute to the relationship breaking up. I’ve portrayed him as the villain here, but I obviously wasn’t perfect. I would get too angry sometimes, and sometimes I was kind of mean when I brought up something he did that hurt me. He was a sad person, and sometimes I think that I wasn’t supportive enough, and that I was too short-tempered with him being mopey all the time.


I guess my point is this: does anyone have any advice for what I can learn from this?! I’m trying to acknowledge the things I did wrong, but I feel like they pale in comparison to what he did. But I don’t want to come out of this with a completely skewed perspective, I want to have a realistic viewpoint on what went wrong and how I contributed to it.


Does anyone have thoughts about how I can look at this from a fresh perspective, both to help me move on and to help me grow?


PS. I don't need advice on this but I wanted to vent that we have a LOT of mutual friends and I see him tagged OFTEN in pictures with that guy he cheated on me twice with. Why must people be like this!?

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There's no sure way to know how a relationship will go in the beginning, but I think one valuable lesson you can take from this is "don't give a cheater a second chance."


Your perspective will improve with the passage of time, and you'll be able to see more clearly when the raw pain of your emotion lessens. I agree with your assessment that your contribution to the failure of this relationship was minor compared to his indiscretions.

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Sometimes, it's just not meant to be. After a few months the infatuation wears off and some incompatibilities become clear. Often there isn't much to learn from that other than be aware of it. Watch for habits and patterns.


However in this case, as mentioned above, cheating is a deal breaker.


Go slowly. Dating is the observation phase, not the future-planning phase. Avoid over-investment and over-attachment. Watch out for red flags and end it when major deal-breakers appear.


Never date with the intention to fix or hope to change someone. Your love can't change someone's personality.

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