Just about everyone out there seems to have dating horror stories. Seriously, ask anybody; chances are they’ll tell you that they have a relationship that they wish had just never happened. I myself went through a pretty nasty break up earlier this year. Not only was I with the guy for over 3 years, we lived together and were planning a wedding when I realized that what we were doing was a mistake and called everything off.
I’ve spent the past 7 months trying to put my life back together and pretty much hating my ex for how nasty he got post-breakup.
Recently, however, a friend and I were talking about living without regrets. She said, “I don’t regret anything. Sure I’ve made mistakes and have had rough times, but all of that made me who I am today. And I love what I see in the mirror, so why bother with regrets?” I love my friend for her incredible amount of self confidence, and she really made me think. I realized that instead of hating my ex and wishing that I’d never met him, not EVERYTHING about our time together was bad.
From every relationship I’ve been in, I’ve taken something away and learned from them all:
Chris, you were my first boyfriend. We were pretty darn young; possibly too young to really date considering we had curfews. You drove me up the wall with all of your outrageous lies. You really think I believed you when you said that your mom was dating a millionaire and that he promised to wire you money for a car when you were old enough? You drove me up the wall over those months but from this, I learned the wrong way to break up with a guy. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you to your face and had my best friend tell you. I don’t blame you for never talking to me again.
Evan, you were the epitome of mixed signals. You flirted excessively and told people you liked me, but when I asked you out we only dated for a few weeks… if you can even call it that, because you avoided me the whole time. You are the only guy I’ve dated who broke up with me. And it hurt. But you taught me that just because a guy is older than you, it doesn’t mean he’s more mature. I also had to learn the hard way that just because a guy will sneak out of a play with you to go make out in his truck and says he’ll call the next day, it doesn’t mean he will.
Jake, I think you were nuts. You told me you loved me entirely too soon and I was not ready for it. After I broke up with you, you left 6 voicemails within an hour that were all of you crying. Talk about wayyyyyy too heavy for high school. But there was some good. Because of you I love laying out and watching the sky at night like we used to do on the high school’s track. And I learned that there is such a thing as falling too hard, too fast. Like every other naive high school girl I thought I would one day meet the guy of my dreams and I would be love at first sight. But I realize now that love happens gradually and it shouldn’t be rushed.
And finally, Matt. I was with you for almost all of my college career, and my senior year has been quite an adjustment without you around. Like I said, I’ve spent the past 6 months hating your guts because you got so hateful towards me after I broke up with you, but now that I look back on it I can understand why. I broke your heart. You had the biggest impact on my life. Thank you for introducing me to sushi, Band of Horses, and East Texas, all of which are some of my favorite things now. You taught me that even though you really do love somebody, that doesn’t mean they are the one. I couldn’t be what you needed and vise versa. I also know now that you really need to love yourself first before you can love someone else; that’s something we both needed to work on.
So even though I went through some stupid/rough stuff with these guys, I can’t hate them. I value every experience each one gave me and I believe I can be a better girlfriend for whoever I date next. Here’s to living life without regrets!
Now it’s your turn! What have you learned from your exes?