What Does Schadenfreude Mean For A Broken Relationship?

By John O’Leary

This article originally appeared in Tips on Life & Love from Simon & Schuster.

A three-year relationship I was in just ended poorly. Now I find myself hoping that my former partner struggles to find the happiness we once shared. John, is this normal? – KM

Dear KM,
I’m sorry your relationship ended. Anytime we lose something or someone important to us, there is a season of grief. So your feelings are not only normal, but also common and expected.

There’s an unusual German word that gained notoriety from its use on Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons and “Avenue Q” called schadenfreude. It means to take pleasure in other people’s misfortunes. KM, it is your right to hope that your ex realizes someday the amazing gift he had in you; however, hoping for his struggles and for those struggles to expedite his return would be a waste of your time.

Instead, I encourage you to focus on and be merciful to one relationship in particular: the one with yourself. Doing so will bring meaning into your struggles, joy into your days, and possibility into your future. It’s also certain to attract a vibrant new love into your life… the reflection you see every time you glance into the mirror.

This is your day, KM. Live Inspired.

 

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