Serena WilliamsYou can win 13 singles grand slams, you can rack up more prize money than any other female athlete in history, you can have one of the most lusted after figures in all of celebrity-dom and brandish what may very well be the most rapped about rear end in hip-hop history, but you can still end up salty and single like e’rybody else. That’s Serena Williams. Her romantic life has been public domain since, you know, she is Serena Williams.

So I guess that gave the inquisitive folks at Celebuzz.com the green light to ask her about it at the launch of her new line of Sleep Sheets. Poor woman can’t promote her product in peace without somebody bringing up the sore spot subject of love, singleness and foolish men. “I have given up on dating. It just hasn’t worked out well for me. I’m a really emotional person. I give my all and everything,” she admitted. 

For that reason, Miss Williams is planning to stay Miss Williams for a mighty long time, to the tune of taking a 10-year hiatus from the singles scene to focus on her career. That would make her 40 before her next dating invitational.

I don’t know if that’s frustration talking or if my girl is really dead serious about methodically putting her love life on pause for a decade, but she seems pretty adamant: “The last relationship just was too much of a heartbreak for me. I just can’t go through that anymore,” she said. Amen to that, Sister Serena.

It’s unclear which old boyfriend she was talking about, Common or Drake, or perhaps some mystery man who flew under the radar from the paparazzi, but we’ve all been there—at least I have—minus the string of famous exes. Suckish as it is to get over a broken heart and all of the questioning, wondering and sobbing that goes along with it, there are some valuable life lessons to be gleaned from the experience. Nobody wants to go through them, and wouldn’t it be nice if you could learn them all in one fell swoop? But there are still benefits to a bad breakup.

You figure out what you’re looking for. It would be easier not to use the process of elimination to figure out that, after three years with your ex, you refused to date another rapper or narcissist or guy who lived with his mama. But sometimes you have to experience it firsthand to know that it’s not your thing. Granted, that’s a lot of weeding out and some of us ain’t up to all of that, but getting a taste of what you don’t want will make you real clear—hopefully real fast—about what you do.

You get real reflective. A failed relationship is like love hazing. At some point, most women generally have to go through the muck and mire to get to the always-and-forever kind of stuff. In between the India Arie songs on repeat and the wads of snotty Kleenex strewn all over the floor during the process, there is time to think and ponder. So long as you’re not idealizing yourself or the now-ex-boo, you can come up with some good strategies to take back into the love battlefield.

With reflection comes healing and eventually, sweet blissful peace. But even if you’re sitting it out like Serena, which may be a good idea even if you don’t need the full 10-year bid, you can also allow yourself good memories about the ex, too. Most relationships aren’t all bad or there wouldn’t be so many babies running around here.

You learn your limitations. It was rough to get over ol’ what’s his name, and maybe you’re not even completely there. Still, you can shake a finger at certain self-deprecating behaviors for future reference. After pleading with my first love that we should indeed be together, I actually said the words “please baby.” Seriously? Who am I, Luther Vandross? File that under the girl-you-better-not-never-do-that-mess-again category.

But now you and I know better about whatever it is we learned, and the next time we run up on our self-imposed limitation, we can gather up our scraps of pride and roll out with our dignity intact.

What did you learn from your last (or worst) breakup?


Image via bfishadow/Flickr