Not to be terribly optimistic but I believe that you take something away from every relationship. Of course the quality of the knowledge gained varies dramatically. When some romances end, the only takeaway is ‘shit, people are average’ and ‘I will not be doing that again.’ Sometimes the latter isn’t even true. I’ve certainly made the same mistake more than once, dating the Wrong Guy on multiple accounts.
If you don’t know who the Wrong Guy is, you should definitely read my post 7 Signs You Should End It. Very clarifying. Can I say that about my own post? Well I just did.
Back to today’s post. This isn’t about all the gratitude I have for every guy that ever ended things. They have brought me here to my current situation. But let’s not give them much credit. They were immature and probably unaware of all the good they were doing. Today we are focusing on the men I dated who taught me really useful things about the world, myself and love. We’re done and dusted but their advice endures.
1. You are whole all on your own
None of this ‘find your other half’ business. Ugh.
Tell me: How are you surviving? Walking around like a damn fraction of a person. Oh that’s right. You are surviving and thriving, all on your own. And you know why. Because you are the whole package.
An ex-boyfriend and I used to say, “We are two awesome people coming together to be twice as awesome.” Have you stopped gagging? Great. I know confidence/arrogance is so unpalatable these days. But it’s infinitely preferable to poor self-esteem. We were right. We were awesome individually. We had our own interests, values and aspirations. We were happy within ourselves when we met.
2. You can’t change yourself to make someone love you
Listening to one of my past boyfriends talk about a current paramour (is that too old-school? I’m out of synonyms) reminded me: If someone else isn’t in to you, adjusting your behaviour and appearance won’t win their love. People know when you are not being genuine. And it’s not attractive.
3. You tell someone how to treat you
I dated a pretty lovely guy a while back. In the beginning, he would drive over to my area to spend forty-five minutes with me. He’d take a call with me when he was out with his mates. And he would put effort into our dates.
As we dated, he would encourage me to come to his house, never coming to mine. Initially all about the PDAs, he started to shy away from any public outing. I allowed all of this. I went along with it. I didn’t insist he come to my house because I wanted to see him, regardless of whether I was always the one being inconvenienced. I didn’t say no to a night in on the couch because I felt like that was better than no night together at all. All of my actions just said: I accept your treatment, keep going. In various conversations we’ve had after we stopped dating, he told me as much. My standards are much more defined these days. Stuff all that driving.
4. Given the choice of damsel in distress or superwoman, choose superwoman
I’ll admit that I don’t always pay attention when it comes to my car. When a mechanic was explaining something about my radiator, I may have acted a bit clueless. “I hate when you do that,” my boyfriend at the time told me.
“You’re better than that,” he said.
Vulnerability is a part of intimacy BUT when you’re choosing a partner, you want a partner. Someone who is capable. Someone who would be an asset in your corner. I had confused helplessness with attractive femininity. Pathetic looks good on no one.
5. Eggs taste really good with lots of pepper
One of my ex-boyfriends ate his eggs black. BLACK. He loaded on so much pepper, I was sure he’d choke on his first mouthful and die. But when I took a bite (if someone has food, I am having a bite) it was surprisingly delicious. If you want to spice up your life (I know, I’m hilarious) then try dousing your fried eggs in pepper and let me know what you think.
I know eggs are pretty profound. But I’ve also learnt slightly more trivial things from past boyfriends. The value of Triple Action Plus toothpaste (so minty) and Sorbolene moisturiser (in a pump. So handy). The pay gap exists but is a lot more complex than reported in the media. A baby rabbit is called a kitten. The western suburbs are actually pretty good. Some people really do aspire to be tax lawyers. Etcetera etcetera.
What’s the best advice an ex ever gave you?
Do you think you’ve learnt something from each of your past relationships?
Tell me in the comments below. Or DM me if you must. But comments are WAY cooler. Just ask Susan.
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