Relationship lessons are hard to learn, but some are harder than others. Many of the best lessons come from the least successful relationships. But if you didn’t find lasting love, at least you can say you learned something from the relationship.
Looks and brains rarely come in one package
Mark was gorgeous – a perfectly chiseled body, bluish grey eyes, a smile that makes you feel like you’ve won the lottery. He’s exactly what I envision E.B. James was thinking with Christian Grey, except for the successful businessman part. He was a total looker, but when it came to smarts, well, he wasn’t. I told myself it was fine to have a boyfriend who provided physical but not intellectual stimulation. Turns out it wasn’t.
It’s not the timing
Zack never had time to talk, he was too busy to plan things, and his favorite phrase was “it’s not a good time.” He didn’t want to commit, but he didn’t want me to leave either. The timing was bad because he was looking for a job, or he had just started a new job, or he hated his current job. After years of the conversation we needed to have never happening, I realized it wasn’t bad timing; it was a bad relationship.
There are no rules
Calling Mike an ex is a bit ridiculous. He’s an eccentric artist I met online and went out with four times. I thought there was some unwritten rule to online dating that you shouldn’t bring up the exclusive dating subject until, and only IF, he brought it up first. Mike never brought it up. He did call me to say he had been dating someone else and was going to be exclusive with her. I still wonder if I would have been the girl he chose had I not been so concerned with the “rules” of online dating.
Romance is overrated
Everyone wants a long walk on the beach and a candlelit dinner, right? Wrong. Steve followed all the romantic clichés. And while flowers are nice to have, it started to feel like I was living in a greenhouse. He also had a bad habit of calling sex “making love,” and sometimes sex is just sex.
My parents were right
I distinctly remember standing in my parents’ kitchen yelling “but I love him,” as they told me why my high school boyfriend wasn’t right for me. I told them they were wrong and he was my soul mate. Trying long-distance finally broke us up, but my dad showed me Jeff’s arrest record a couple years later and I realized my parents were right all along. My mom still calls me every time he gets arrested to rub it in.