Every person who’s dated has one of those exes. Maybe he or she was smart and charming, maybe a great dancer, maybe made you laugh so hard your cheeks hurt, but you couldn’t quite put a finger on why the relationship wasn’t working. Or worse, you could. Sometimes, the reasons a relationship isn’t working are all too obvious. At least there are lessons to be learned, right? Here are some of the ones I wish I hadn’t had to learn.
Persistence in the face of rejection is not charming
Tim was my first venture into online dating. He approached being a boyfriend like he had a playbook: lobster on Valentine’s Day, his jacket on a cold night, and coming over to my house every day for a month after I broke up with him, walking back and forth on my porch. He sent emails to my family members. He enrolled in all the same classes I was taking at community college, even though he already had his degree. Eventually, I moved to a different country.
(He also cried after sex. Just putting that out there.)
Sharing is not caring
Andy was my first love. Our parents were friends, and I had a mad crush on him when I was seven. He moved away, and I didn’t see him again until I was twenty-five, and he was divorced. We had amazing chemistry, and before long I was curled up against his chest in his tiny Los Angeles apartment in the middle of Koreatown, whispering, “Tell me your fantasies.”
“I want to shrink you,” he breathed in my ear, eyes alight. “I want to make you tiny, run my tongue all over you, and swallow you whole.”
(The first time I went home with him, he used the bathroom with the door open. For several minutes. While speaking to me. There is such a thing as over-sharing.)
Not all touching is good touching
Have you ever had someone hold your hand really badly? Tim was like that (hi again, Tim!), but with my whole body. If he wanted to touch my hair, he’d lay a sweaty hand on my forehead. If he wanted to cuddle, he’d pull me so my ass was directly on top of his knee.
Sometimes, a gift card is just better
I can’t draw. Reid could. For my birthday, he drew me a picture of myself dressed as a farm girl, with breasts that hung to my knees.
Putting up with someone’s crap doesn’t make you noble
A list of things I’ve done for exes that I definitely should not have:
- Paid all the bills for a year while making less than $20,000.
- Laughed at terrible puns to spare an ex’s feelings.
- Agreed to an open relationship with a guy I was positive wouldn’t keep me around otherwise.
- Racked up a mythical-level phone bill calling California from London for 24 hours straight.
- Cleaned up a metric ton of ferret pee.
- (I don’t even like ferrets.)
- Put jobs, internships, and graduate school on hold because of a relationship.
Just walk away, kids. It’s not worth it. Take it from someone who wishes she didn’t know.