There was once a point in time where you were deep in the throws of love, and it was as if your partner could do no wrong. You integrate into each others' lives, you laugh, you play... you love.
Then time goes by, and for whatever reason, the relationship doesn't last. You break up, separate or divorce.
The pain, the hurt, the rejection and the fear -- they bring out the worst in you. Soon a side of you reveals itself that you never knew even existed. And in the midst of another screaming match with your ex, you wonder -- where in the world did this all go wrong? How did love suddenly turn into... hate?
It is such a shame that couples choose to end a relationship in this way. It doesn't have to be. It's a choice. If you are honest with yourself and resist letting pride and ego take control, you will find compassion, empathy and care. Because love doesn't disappear just because the titles have. That love may take different forms, and it may hide deep in the trenches of your heart when you're hurt. But it's there -- even if it doesn't feel like it at the time.
You see, when you love someone, despite the arguments or mistakes, it doesn't make you love that person any less. True, that love may eventually fade through time, but it doesn't turn off like that of a light switch. If it did, then it probably wasn't real love to begin with.
So to those dealing with painful "ex" issues, here's some food for thought. The next time you want to exact revenge on your ex, disregard them, scream at them, or show other signs of disrespect and hatred -- try to stop for a moment and dig back in to your memory bank. Instead of viewing them as the "enemy", remember them as the person they once were to you ---- someone you loved, adored and shared happiness with.
Understand that they are human too, and just dealing with pain and loss the best way they know how. And even if they don't choose the higher road and react with hurtful words and actions, don't forget this: you cannot control the behaviour of others, but you can control yours.
So act with integrity and choose to respond, not to react. And if you need a gauge, think about what the "you" five years from now would think about your behaviour, or your children. Are you conducting yourself in a way that the future, rational "you" would be proud of? Would you want your children to emulate your behaviour? If the answer is "no", then it's probably a good indicator that you may want to rethink your actions.
Amy Chan is a relationship and lifestyle columnist. To read more of her blogs, visit www.amyfabulous.com