Unexpected Teachers: A Lesson From Each of My Exes. ~ Amanda Webster

Via Amanda Webster
on Apr 9, 2014
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Adult language ahead.

Here’s the thing about resentment: it feels shitty.

Letting go of grudges feels good. Taking away the good from past experience feels great.

Easier said than done, I know.

I’m not a Buddhist monk and I have a lot to learn about life. One thing I know for sure is that hoping that the past will change—hoping that someone will change so that you can be happy—is simply not going to happen. Take 100 percent responsibility for your own happiness. We always get to choose how we want to feel, even in the shittiest of situations.

Lately I’ve had quite a few discussions about finding the positive lessons in past relationships (sometimes this can be a real struggle). It won’t happen immediately; we may not be able to see the gift we’re receiving at the time, but trust me, it’s there!

My response in these conversations is to simply make a practice out of it. List your past relationships and find the lesson. Maybe you’ll see a few resemblances in my list below:

My First Love

We were high school sweethearts and I felt comfortable with him. That trust allowed my to be vulnerable as a young woman. Being young ,we learned a lot about possession of another person, and what it meant when the words “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” are attached. He taught me to create boundaries in a relationship and that jealousy and possessive behavior are not ok.

My Lesson: When someone presents the ultimatum, my answer will always be, “I choose me.”

The Exaggerator

He could be selfish at times, not only with me but with his friends too. I was strong and challenged his behavior, which he liked so he would do little selfless things for me that he never would for his friends. When our relationship came to an end I began to see how his selfishness was often a shield.

My Lesson: Selfish is not the same as self-love.

The Comedian

He was my creative inspiration. He made me laugh and encouraged me to be silly. I adored these qualities about him so much that he inspired me to find what helped fuel my creativity. He loved having fun so much that the honest, real, “serious” conversations were often overlooked.

He later told me, “I think I was afraid. Because I liked you so much I was scared to open up and tell you how much I really cared for you”.

My Lesson: You’ve got to be willing to risk your heart.

The Passionate Affair

Our love was wild and passionate and immature. His touch drove passion throughout my body. I was crazy in love… or lust. We would split, and find our way back to each other just to learn that it still wasn’t going to work. We wanted each other, but we also wanted different things.

My Lesson: Passion comes in many forms, but a passion for what we want in life can’t be substituted by just passion in bed.

The Renaissance Man

He was fantastically intelligent and independent. He would cook us wonderful dinners and we’d have intense conversations lasting late into the night. He didn’t need anything from anyone. He was so in-control that he didn’t need to trust anyone either. When he hurt, when he felt pain, he expressed anger. He was vindictive and would spit hurtful words to regain control of his own feelings.

My Lesson: Avoid anyone who tries to cut you down. He taught me how to rebuild self-confidence.

My Project

He was my wild card. We both had our issues, but he wasn’t in any rush to deal with his. He kept himself busy enough that he wouldn’t be alone to face his insecurities. I wanted to help “fix” him. Maybe all the other women he was sleeping with wanted to help, too.

My Lesson: You can’t help anyone who doesn’t want to be helped.

The Nice Guy

He was polite and a real sweetie. We struggled to ignite the flame between us. The chemistry just wasn’t there. We both knew but even though I didn’t want to give up, there was nothing to hold on to.

My Lesson: “Good” isn’t always good enough. Chemistry matters.

The Heartbreaker

He was everything I ever wanted in a man. If I could write a list of ten desired qualities, he fit nine and a half of them. He inspired me, challenged me, loved me. He dreamt up visions of our future, bright enough for both of our imaginations. I couldn’t love him enough. He needed someone who could love him more and that couldn’t be me. The time wasn’t right. He was my first heartbreak and the man who will forever be the one who woke me up. Some say that pain is your greatest teacher. He taught me what it means to really feel.

My Lesson: Pain is the Universe’s way of demanding that we keep learning.

The Gentle Touch

He came into my life at a very fragile time. I wanted simple; however, the new me and the life I was leading was far from simple. Loving a conscious woman is hard work. He told me that I inspired him. He believed that I came into his life to help him become a better man. At the end of the day we both wanted to hold on to each other. Laying in his arms was like a medicine for my bruised heart. So many things connected on so many levels, but still something was missing.

My Lesson: Don’t settle. Find someone who you connect with Spiritually, Emotionally, Physically, and Intellectually.

I’m grateful for each and every one of these men. They helped me become who I am today. Now more than ever I understand what I’m looking for in a partner.



5 Things I Learned from My Ex-Lovers.

The Laws of Breaking Up & Getting Over it.

What Happens in Fight Club: Arguing Fairly & Mindfully.


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About Amanda Webster

Amanda Webster is based in Vancouver, BC where she owns and operates Be Inspired Productions Inc., a personal development organization focused on leadership, neuroscience, and spirituality. She is passionate about inspiring others to live their happiest lives. In her free time, she’s a practicing book nerd, a yogi, a coffee addict, and generally just loving life on the west coast. Curious about life and connecting with other like-minded individualss she welcomes a great conversation; she’ll prove it, just message her on Twitter or Facebook, or follow her on Instagram at MandaInspired


17 Responses to “Unexpected Teachers: A Lesson From Each of My Exes. ~ Amanda Webster”

  1. Jill says:

    So connected with this Amanda. Every relationship has the potential to tear us down and disempower us or shine a light on what we truly want; what's really necessary for our evolution. Yes, sometimes there's a big F-you when the end begins but when you let that go you get to see the magic that happened.

  2. "We always get to choose how we want to feel, even in the shittiest of situations."

    Such a beautiful article. How wonderful it is that you have seen the gifts in each of these relationships. Well done, thank you.

    Hugs Lee

  3. bre says:

    Amazing ! Well said !

  4. Lo. says:

    It is my belief that all beings we encounter will teach us something pure; enhancing our own development. It takes great courage however to open the door to opportunities for growth and self-realization. But, when we do- we enhance our being for the next we encounter and the experiences just become richer and richer. My connections have led me to understand this, sometimes in very painful ways, but I don't regret them… wellllll.. most anyways 😉

  5. Stefanie says:

    This is amazing and perfect timing as I'm just getting over The Exaggerator and The Project. Hit it to the T and some days you just need to remember that EXES are there to just make you a better person for the next love… It can be hard to keep going through these heartbreaks, but in the end it's worth it.

  6. Kate says:

    Very well written. Having been broken up for one week with a man whom I love dearly, this article touched me. I love him, but could no longer live without setting boundaries around the way he treated me when he felt hurt and angry (disrespectfully, name calling, deliberately hurtiful with words). I see the lesson, now just have to deal with the pain of heartbreak over something that was on som many levels, so very right. Right now, it seems as if I will ever only be okay in his arms..

  7. The really painful ones take an extra long "realization incubation", I think

  8. The universe is kind of masochistic like that – Pain for pleasure… eventually right?!

  9. One week is still very fresh… remember to give yourself time to heal before trying to find the lesson. I did this right after "My Gentle Touch", tried to understand why I got into something I wasn't ready for… be gentle on yourself <3

  10. Lola says:

    Wow very wise and inspiring, thank you Amanda for sharing this, I’m sure it will help many broken hearts! putting things in perspective is always positive… And it´s essential to remember that light and love come within first!

    I will try to consider my past relationships as lessons as well and see their evolution and how they impacted my present- good luck for everyone trying to classify their sentimental past:-)

  11. Annabella says:

    Exes CAN = (platonic) XXX's 🙂 <3

  12. catnipkiss says:

    Great article, thank you. Maybe I'll try to do this if I feel brave and mature enough 😉 – Alexa M.

  13. Sharna says:

    Thank you.

  14. Beau says:

    I feel like there's a pattern of males at fault here.

  15. Roland says:

    I especially liked the part where "Nice Guys Finished Last".

  16. Ali Salad says:

    So true. Each person we choose to be in relationship with has significance in some way. Every relationship I have had has led me to the next one, and I like to think that due to what I have learned in each experience, I am able to make a better choice for me the next time. Hopefully, it has been the same for the men in my life: that I have been able to impart some sort of gift (even if it was unpleasant at the time) that has helped them discover who they really are and what they really want. Thanks for the reminder.

  17. RT says:

    There’s no such thing as a “perfect guy”

    True love is being selfless enough to look past the other person’s flaws.