We’ve all done it… Dwelling over past relationship mishaps and mistakes wondering, What the hell was I thinking back then? Instead of beating ourselves up over these, whether they were long- or short-lived, we should instead embrace them for exactly what they were (and are): a learning experience. They’re not something to celebrate, nor to roll your eyes over and take as self-admonition for all future relationships. Just accept it and grow from it. After thinking about this quite a bit lately, I’ve been mulling over five specific things that I’ve learned over the past few years:
1. Don’t date someone because you’re feeling emotionally vulnerable.
When you’re feeling burdened by mental illness (or even a period of tough times in your life), you can agree that it’s not usually the best time to make big and potentially life-altering decisions. One such decision is beginning a serious, committed relationship. This time of emotional and mental vulnerability means that you are less aware of the warning signs that would otherwise deter you from dating a specific person. Perhaps are simply looking for someone to lean on, a feeling of need that can become confused with the desire for support. In my opinion, it is best to wait until you’re of a clear mind before you start dating someone, so that you can feel confident in all of your reasons for doing so.
2. Don’t let the person you’re dating belittle your aspirations and/or career path of choice.
There is a reason that you want to pursue the path that you’ve chosen and you have every right to do so. DO NOT allow someone to tell you otherwise. I know it may seem more complicated than that when you’re in the midst of it, but I promise you, it’s not. You do what makes you happy. It’s your life that you’re living and no one should hold you back from all the greatness that you are capable of.
3. Date a good kisser.
Nothing destroys sexual chemistry like a bad kisser. It may sound bad, but I wouldn’t be able to date someone long-term if they were a bad kisser, merely because it destroys that ability to have chemistry with them. And, to put it bluntly, I wouldn’t be able to have sex with them. When it comes to a (dating) relationship, this is something you need. Otherwise, the connection is not much more than that of a friendship.
4. Don’t let your significant other make you feel not worthy enough to be dating them.
You are worthy enough and no one should tell you otherwise, especially someone who you are supposed to be in a romantic relationship with. It’s not okay to feel like you are less than. It’s not okay to feel small because of someone.
In other words, date someone who is kind. If they don’t want to date you, they should just break up with you, then. Someone who is so careless with your feelings is not worthy of you, and anything they say contrarily to that, especially if you’ve brought up how it makes you feel (which you should), is outright lying. They may not realize it, but they are.
5. Date someone who makes you truly happy.
This seems so simple… and so, it should be. When I say ‘happy’, I mean someone who leaves you content simply by being around them, in their presence. Someone who feels the same way about you, too. It really is the small things that matter, clichéd as that may sound.
These are all things you wouldn’t have been able to know for sure about yourself until you had the experience of it. For some of these things, I would have told myself prior to being in my first relationship that I’d never accept it, but then in hindsight, I realized that I did. Though difficult to learn the lesson, it ultimately helps you define both what you do and do not want for your future. It makes you set a higher standard for yourself.
What were some of the lessons you’ve learned from past relationships? Let me know in the comments!