If you're like the rest of us, you've probably had a thought at one point or another to just give up on relationships entirely (probably shortly after an awkward confession, an unrequited love confessing his love for someone else, or a soul-crushing breakup). And who can blame you? This finding-Mister-Right business is no joke.
It's hard going through the whole dating process and honestly, the thought of having to go through it all can be enough to make you want to swear off men and dating.
Because really, how many times can we fall for someone who isn't interested in us, ask a guy out only to be rejected or break up with someone we didn't think we'd have to live without?
It makes you long for the time when you'd hoped you would just meet your Prince Charming right from the beginning and never have to go through so much heartache.
With every relationship, you grow one step closer to finding real love.
Every heartache is a lesson: it shows you what you need in your man, what you cannot live with in a man, what you want in a man and how you want to be with a man.
Only by going through the pain and heartache can we really see the important things. Think of yourself as a phoenix who needs to burst into flames to be reborn from the ashes.
So wear each tear and heartache like a battle scar because it helped to shape who you are and what you want and every one of them is important.
Even better, take the opportunity of every single relationship to learn what works for you and what does not.
Keep a list, if that helps. What did you love about Phillip but didn't love about Mark? What made you laugh so hard when you were with Jacob, that just wasn't there with Asher?
And make sure you take some time off between relationships ... and maybe even between dates. After all, if you're going to learn from each one, you'll need time to process everything.
And jumping from relationship-to-relationship isn't healthy. It doesn't allow you time alone to grow who you are, and feel your own independence.
So even though it's tempting to go to extremes and either protect your heart by never dating again, or go from guy to guy in order to keep yourself from feeling the hurt, try not to.
Remember that sometimes the wrong guy can point us to the right one.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.