in: Dating & Relationships

Why There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Relationship

When your heart’s broken or you’ve broken free, it’s easy to dismiss a relationship as a flop. But what if there’s no such thing as a bad relationship?

A perspective that gets us into difficulty is the idea that things are “good” and “bad.” Obviously, there are unwanted things and wanted things, but as I tread along on this human path, it is more and more obvious to me that lessons return until lessons are learned. It’s too simple to call something “bad” or “wrong.”

What’s more useful is finding the lessons in our experiences—and a relationship is the perfect crucible to boil down the essence of what we are looking for in a mate.

What’s the worst that can happen?

The worst thing we can do to ourselves relationally is to hold on too long. When the time comes we know our relationship is not fulfilling our needs, we must exercise the courage to pull the plug. The problem usually resides in our notion that we can fix it, or that we’re not “quitters,” or we fear the loneliness after the separation.

Pressure reveals our true selves.

An expression I like is pressure doesn’t create who we are, it reveals it. I feel this is also true of our relationships. When we experience a relationship that tests us, it brings out our strengths. We learn how capable we truly are. This serves us as we go forward and explore new possibilities.

Decisions are powerful.

Once the decision is made to move on we become liberated. Regardless of how that decision came about, there is a power in starting over. It’s cathartic. Suddenly, obligations are replaced by freedoms. We are confronted with open spaces teeming with exciting possibilities.

Dating is exploring.

Through our relationships we learn what is most important to us. Sometimes a person has enough qualities to commit to exploring a deeper connection with—this doesn’t have to be a life sentence, it’s merely query into the possibilities.

Dating gives us insight.

We learn who we are by how we are. When we date, we learn how we want to be treated, what we expect from others, and how to deal with difference. Even when a partner drives you crazy, it reveals our tolerances along with things we may need to work on.

It’s normal to be angry or saddened when a relationship doesn’t work out. There can be a sense of loss, perhaps even despair. Often our perspectives shift and we begin romanticizing the relationship in a way that’s not reflective of how we felt while we were in it.

It’s also difficult to transition from a relationship when we’ve been hurt. When that happens, it is easy to poison the whole experience in our minds. Even though these reactions are normal, it is important to realize we are dynamic people. We grow from relationships and we do so in ways that are unique to that experience. That’s why there is no such thing as a bad relationship.  

Love hard.

About the Author:

Jerry Mooney

Jerry Mooney is the author of History, Yoghurt and the Moon. He also teaches Language and Communications at a small, private college in Idaho. You can learn more about Jerry and his work at


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