What My Break-Up Has Really Taught Me About Myself

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So, I'm about to get really sappy on you guys.

Just last week, my girlfriend of one-and-a-half years abruptly ended our relationship, moving out of our shared apartment and breaking things off because of our conflicting schedules and constant arguing about our future together.

As you can imagine, my initial reaction was anger, pain, and, as of eight days later, still a hell of a lot of heartache.

While my mind races to think about what the short- and long-term future holds for both her and I, it's hard not to wonder about the things I need to learn about myself as the painful reality sets in. Gone are the kisses. Gone are the laughs. Gone are the days of fun together. Gone is my best friend.

So, as I continue to piece myself back together, I figured I'd share some of the things that this break-up has taught me—which, hopefully, can help you in any future relationships.

I Love Her. Dammit, Do I Love Her

This coming from a guy who is extremely picky and complex when it comes to letting someone into his "weird little world"—to paraphrase Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting. What my relationship taught me was that, yes, it is possible to love someone more than you love yourself, sacrificing a lot to be happy together.

But, Sometimes, Love Isn't Enough

It's a harsh reality of being an adult—love doesn't always win. Sure, we'd like to think giving someone else our heart is enough to maintain a happy and healthy relationship. Problem is, there are literally millions of other factors that prevent that from being the truth.

Compassion Is Real

To escape the weight of the break-up, I traveled about three hours to a city where I used to live—and, ironically enough, actually met my ex—trusting that my friends who are now like family could help me cope. They've each treated me like a brother, proving that, once again, when you surround yourself with good people, they'll be there for you in a time of need.

It's OK To Cry

I'm not afraid to admit it: I've cried... a lot. Hell, I've cried a little bit while writing this—which, I think, is understandable considering it's my "final farewell" to her. Rather than be angry at what happened, question things or fire back hate towards her, showing my true emotions have helped me forgive and remember the good things we did together.

Sacrificing Is A Two-Way Street

You can't change people. I always said that, during both the good and bad times, my ex's and my love for each other was the root of a lot of our problems. She wanted me around more, I needed a bit more freedom. I wanted her to show more feelings, she would rather be more reserved. In the end, we were unable to make enough sacrifices for one another to make it work—and it takes me until now to finally admit that.

Now, I'm sure that some of you are just sitting there rolling your eyes at me, not-so-secretly whispering to man up, head to a bar and drink my sorrows away. Believe me, I wish it were that easy. Unfortunately, breaking up really is hard to do—and, even while in the depths of sorrow, there can come some underlying lessons that can help you understand yourself a little bit better.

I'll forever love her, of course, and hope that being honest with myself can lead to some sort of relationship in the future.

MORE: 'Break-Up Study Shows Just How Anxious Men Are To Get Back Into The Dating Pool'