Lessons learned

Categories:Body, Dating
Charlene

i never lose

Quite honestly I’m aware of how many ‘failed‘ relationships I’ve had and some of the people in my life are very good at pointing them out and asking questions such as, “don’t you want to get married and have children now?” My answer is always: What’s the rush? I’d much rather have 100 failed relationships than end up married with children to the wrong person and find myself trapped and miserable for the rest of my days with no valuable knowledge to pass onto my offspring and no fun stories to share with them either. For me it’s about finding the right one, not just settling for what you know but kissing all the frogs you need to in order to find your prince.

In regards to meeting the ‘right one’, the ‘perfect partner’, with every relationship I’ve had there’s been a lesson to learn from it because every single boyfriend has been miles different from the other! They never worked out because I realised they weren’t for me and I’ve never been the type to just make do with being unhappy or to settle for less than I desire but I took the lesson from the relationship as a positive and chose not to repeat the same lesson twice. Thankfully I’m a quick learner and saved myself the trouble. Some may call these lessons mistakes but I don’t believe there is such a thing. from every negative there is a hidden positive, ALWAYS. So this is where I tell you to remain patient. Don’t begin to believe that because you have come into your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s or 60+ that there’s little time or hope left for you. This is a lie, a false belief installed in you through fairy tales, from repeating the same lessons or from other peoples comments and opinions. Don’t listen to them. If it didn’t work with the last guy it’s probably because there is something better for you out there or you had something else to learn. Take note of what you have experienced, how you were treated, how you felt and compare these to what you actually want to experience and feel then accept nothing less! Here are some of the lessons I have learned from previous relationships in the hope that this will prevent you from wasting further time with the wrong one. Take the short cut and learn from my ‘experiences’ instead.

Lesson one:

I got with my very first boyfriend at the sweet age of 15. Before him I hadn’t really noticed boys all that much. I hadn’t thought about what it should, could or would be like to have a boyfriend. I was more interested in playing with my sisters, friends or going to my dance lessons. I was very naïve and innocent, open to manipulation and had made some new friends to hang around with after school who weren’t quite as naïve as I was. He was only a few months older than me and rumoured to have been around the block a few times. He was the cool kid that all the girls in our group were into and he happened to like me. The new innocent chick who was untouched. We ended up being together for 4 years so as you can imagine, I lost my virginity to this guy. This is how our relationship went: He cheated on me with one of our friends within the first 3 months we were together but because I found out about it through him directly I chose to stay with him and trust him with another chance. From here he only ever called me when he wanted something and because I feared he would cheat again I always ran to him when he called. He used this to his advantage and learned knew ways to get what he wanted out of me such as using criticism, comparing me to other girls and complaining that I wasn’t doing things in a certain way. He complained about the way I dressed, how I didn’t wear enough makeup, then I was wearing too much makeup. He made me feel so small, always pointed out my flaws. He was mentally abusive and belittled me at every opportunity. I had little confidence left in me and zero self worth. This went on for some time and got to a point where even his parents would join in with the bullying and not only bullying me but their sweet new kitten edition too all because I showed her some attention and love.  They thought I was strange but chose not to see that my strange behaviour was because their son had destroyed all that was left of me. I was nowhere near my true, bubbly self anymore. Along the way he cheated on me again. He had me wrapped around his finger so tight that he had me believing that it was my fault he cheated. Looking back I don’t know how I lasted with him for so many years, how easily he manipulated me. It seems I was persistent in changing him and wanting him to love me. I did anything and everything for him and in return he only wanted to hurt me. I did eventually crack and let him go. I cried the hardest tears I have ever cried and more so because I couldn’t believe what I’d let him do to me. Then I walked out of his life along with his family kitten and never looked back. He chased me for a few months promising he’d be different and he was sorry but I had woke up and could finally see the darkness in him. I regret none of it because out of all my relationships, this was the biggest and most valuable of all. From this, I learned never to take shit from anyone and I also learned to never give anyone a second chance to disrespect me. This has never changed. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t do second chances. After I left this relationship, I also realised what a catch I actually was. My confidence came back fast. I noticed all the beautiful things about me he was clearly ungrateful for and I could see my strengths again. I realised I was way better off without him in my life. He was blessed to have met me! I’m pretty sure he discovered this not too much later either. From this relationship, the other positive thing I retrieved from it was the love of my life: my little Ed the cat. She is my baby girl and I’m truly glad I saved her from what could have been a very painful life. She shares a wonderful life with me and even at 12 years old she’s still as playful as the kitten she once was. Do not put up with any kind of abuse, ever! Recognise it and remove it from your life. it’s neither healthy nor an easy journey to come back from.

Lesson two:

Only two years later I met my next lesson, only this time he was a gem! I had never been treated better for the next 3 years of my life. This guy really took care of me and showed me what love was supposed to feel like. We got engaged and began the hunt for our first house. Life was coming together for us only as soon as he got the ring on my finger everything changed. His job allowed him to travel a little and on one particular occasion he returned as a completely different character.  Not the guy I agreed to marry. He led me to believe he had cheated on me while he was away, he was resistant in telling me he loved me and then ended our relationship in a text message. Turns out the commitment scared him too (all of which was his own idea) – the engagement and the pressures of getting a house which explains his behaviours. Perhaps it was all moving too quickly for him resulting in him treating me disrespectfully. I accepted his break up text and never responded much. I had already been dealing with his new cocky behaviour and trying to figure out what actually happened while he was away that week with work that was making him behave completely out of character. He was never much of a talker. Found it difficult to explain his thoughts and feelings right from the beginning so in this situation he was just confusing me.  A few weeks passed and he got in touch telling me he had made a mistake and that he was sorry, he still loved me. Not only had too much time passed for him to be getting in touch but also getting back with him was mentally unmanageable for me. He had disrespected me whether he had cheated or not. He hadn’t tried to convince me otherwise or deny it either just to make me feel horrible and keep me in a confused state. He did not treat me with love, he did not try to talk our issues out. So he never got a second chance because I’d learned that lesson in my previous relationship. The lesson I learned here was that as much as I thought I’d found the one for me, his true colours showed in difficult times. This was never going to be the hardest moment if we’d eventually got married either! If a man cannot continue to treat you like a respected woman in hard times, he does not deserve you. There is no excuse for disrespect. Lesson two was more of a confirmation that I should not put up with disrespect and if there are issues big or small that need resolved they should be faced and discussed. He too tried to get back with me for some time after but it was too little too late, the damage was done, I’d learned and accepted what I needed to from our time together.  Yes I can accept that people make mistakes and that he too had to learn from that experience but the way I see it is that if I can demonstrate treating others with kindness and respect no matter what then I should expect the same treatment in return. No exceptions. Now I also choose to talk about things that upset me rather than let them build and lurk. Choose respect and communicate with each other  sooner rather than letting things build up and erupt. You may do or say things you’re likely to regret.

Lesson three:

There was a time post engagement where I actually cheated on a short term partner. This guy had done absolutely nothing wrong, nothing to upset me or drive me to do this. Clearly I just had to learn for myself the value of respect. I ended our relationship the day after my wrong doing because I couldn’t face him with my guilty conscious. I knew it wasn’t fair on him. How could I have done to this person what has been done to me?! I didn’t love him but all the same, this poor guy did not deserve for me to go behind his back with another person. The lesson I learned here was the true understanding of what respect was and that I didn’t want to be that kind of person. It didn’t feel good at all. I had disappointed even myself.  Never have I behaved in this way since, it is disgusting behaviour. This experience strengthened my feeling that I’d never put up with someone actually cheating or considering it! He did eventually figure it out (the truth always shows up) and expectedly he’d taken a huge dislike to me. KARMA! I did not like being judged as a cheater. DONT CHEAT! It’s the worst kind of disrespect!

Lesson four:

I don’t need to say much more than this as it’s self explanatory: Use protection!! If you don’t want a future with this person or you can’t see one, get some reliable contraception to avoid unwanted pregnancies or STI’s. You don’t want to learn this lesson the hard way and far too many people do. Protect yourself and your future!

Lesson five:

I’ve had several short term relationships that never got much further beyond 3 months. In these relationships the ‘honeymoon’ period  never lasted which is why I never stuck around any longer. What I discovered was that I wanted to have a relationship where I felt valued, attractive and cared for. Someone who would treat me similarly to how I was treating them by putting in the effort I was putting in and yet these relationships were just  letting me down, not up to scratch and simply a waste of my time. Some of these guys should never have had as much time or attention as I gave them.  They clearly weren’t that into me or looking for a committed relationship. Others would try to buy me with gifts and pay for all our dates. As much as this made me feel spoiled at the time, I was becoming too familiar with it making me more vulnerable and my gut was telling me that this would test my trust for him some day and I didn’t enjoy feeling like I owed anyone anything. I couldn’t help but feel like I was running up a large debt where I would end up in one of those shameful arguments. Equally I got with guys who let me pay for everything and spoil them and make all the decisions, arrange all our dates and this just made me feel like their mother! I had a lot like this! Mama’s boys with zero ambition or motivation and often no income! Neither relationship type was good or balanced. Being single was way more fun and productive than being with any of these guys. From these I learned that I needed to gain my own independence. I needed to be able to take care of myself while on my own before I could ever rely on a man. I also discovered that I needed a partner who was also self reliant. By this point I am realising what I actually want out of a relationship and what is essential for it to be lasting. Balance is essential.

Lesson six:

My most recent lesson has to be this: If a person brings out the worst in you then get out! They are no good for you. An ex boyfriend of mine tried to control me in many ways and this kind of behaviour wasn’t spotted until after we moved in together. It was the first time I’d lived with a boyfriend so I expected some growing pains within the first few months. My experience however was no growing pain.  We met through the mutual hobby of dance and  were both looking for dance partners. It was all rather romantic in the beginning and I felt like some of my childhood dreams were coming true because I was learning Latin and ballroom dance styles which was something I’d always wanted to do yet never had the right opportunity until this point. So I often said that we fell in love on the dance floor except after we moved in together, one thing after another slowly turned that love into resentment. He decided he didn’t want to dance anymore so we no longer went to classes and our practise had suddenly came to a halt. It had been our goal since we met to get to competition level and then compete and now all of a sudden he wants to quit completely and this is no longer his goal? this was how we met, he knew this was an important part of our relationship, our passion, it was important to me and made me happy. He knew this and yet it didn’t matter how many tears I cried, he refused to dance with me. It was all downhill from there. He then started to do the opposite of anything I asked of him such as bringing his dirty dishes to the kitchen, instead he’d deliberately leave them for me to fetch and clean. He’d make us late for events and appointments. There was no team work anymore. He learned how to push my buttons and would deliberately upset me or make me angry which led him to shut me in a room with him refusing to let me out to cool off. Our arguments would end up as actual fights and not to brag but he was the one on the floor every time. I didn’t like the person I was becoming. This was not me, it was a side of me I never knew existed. I was starting to see that he was trying to control me and he enjoyed getting a rise out of me so I packed up my things and left. No one has ever managed to make me so angry that I’d behave in such a way.  I believe he used dance as a way to find a girlfriend and once he had what he wanted felt he could be selfish and pack it all in and actually believe I’d stick around. Older and wiser I am all thanks to my previous lessons in love! Naturally I am not a violent person but I do believe that some people can bring out the worst in you and this was one experience I had to go through in order to learn this. An angry, violent relationship is not a healthy one.

Why waste time being unhappy, confused or criticized? If you feel any of these things in your current relationship, either have a word with your partner and work on repairing things, or if this is not an option get out and go find happiness and real love. You deserve nothing less! Spend time and energy on you and enjoy your life experience on your own if you must, there is no rush to settle down. Who convinced you that it’s the happiest way of life anyway? The grass only looks greener on the other side but there is more to life than living someone else’s dream. I enjoyed every moment of my single life so don’t be  scared to embrace your own. I recently wrote a blog on what to do when you’re single which you can catch up on here. If it is your dream, when you are ready make a list of all the qualities you want to have in your partner and in your relationship and settle for nothing less. An example of the qualities on my list are:

  • trust
  • passion
  • laughter/humour
  • balance
  • health consciousness
  • non-smoker
  • affectionate
  • thoughtful
  • attentive lover
  • ambitious
  • hard working
  • good listener
  • team player
  • supportive
  • good communicator

These are just a few but they are qualities I’d never be without in a relationship now. I have completely upped my standards since I was that 15 year old girl with thanks to all these lessons I have learned. It may have taken me to my 30’s to understand but I’ve had so much fun in the process. I don’t think I’d be a happy person if I’d got married and had children with any of my exe’s do you??! I am now currently learning to trust again because I am with someone who has been working on earning my trust since our first date. He applies effort and understanding at all times to our relationship, there is no rest and he enjoys making me happy. I equally enjoy making him happy too. We are a team and if there is anything troubling me I talk with him about it.

If I can advise one more thing in which I have learned from my own experiences, its never a good idea to get back with an ex boyfriend. An ex is an ex for a reason and if your separation was because of something negative or a mishap that betrayed your trust then stay away. Remember the saying, ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me‘? That applies here! There are exceptions to this advise such as perhaps you parted ways due to distance, this would probably be quite a romantic reunion. I’m not here to question your judgement but you should always weigh out the pro’s n cons if considering returning to an ex partner.

Wishing you all much love, happiness and abundance as always! I hope this article was helpful or if nothing else at least interesting – you did dive a good bit deeper into my love life history there! I would love to hear about your love life lessons if you have any you’d like to share, please leave a comment or get in touch, you may just inspire someone to make the right move.

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