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Every Relationship You Have Prepares You for the Last Relationship You’ll Ever Need

Because Emo Love so Rules! Didn't you learn anything from Twighlight!?
Because Emo Love so Rules! Didn't you learn anything from Twighlight!?

Perhaps you’re sitting down at the bar, with a friend, and going on about how all men suck and need to be snipped. Perhaps you’re taking in the working single mothers of the night professing that the best type of woman is the one you can pay fifty bucks, get your rocks off and never see her again. However, it’s likely you’re at neither of those extremes and that you’re somewhere in the middle. You’re tired of being single, you’re tired of playing the game, or being played. It’s okay, we all get there. Even at the height of my dating I began to have doubts as to whether the whole business of dating and mating was really all that I’d made it out to be.

What’s my point? Dating sucks, but I want you to remember that there are nuggets (not pooh nuggets) to take from the relationships that eventually drive you to date in the first place.

Come again?

I’ve heard it said that the number of exes one possesses is simply an indicator that tells a person: “Wow, you fail at relationships n’ stuff.” Sure, an ex points to a relationship that didn’t work out; a failure, really. That’s okay, though. At least a person is taking a chance to succeed or to strike out, which is a lot more than some people are willing to attempt themselves.

If you could sit back, turn off the porn and put away your meth and booze, could you find a few moments of peace and quiet? Could you sit back and think on lovers past and learn something from each of them?

I can.

  • Janet taught me that I could be loved.
  • Brenda taught me greater appreciation for food, culture, and patience… and always watch your back.
  • Emma taught me to stand up for myself and not let people walk all over me, even though she wasn’t trying to… She sort of taught by example.
  • Lena, even though I was never with her, taught me that the faint of heart never wins the girl…
  • Melissa inadvertently taught me that I don’t need to change who I am to be with anyone…
  • Annette taught me about vegetarianism, Flight of the Conchords, even more patience and being okay with walking away when you know it's over…

Lessons in Love and Failure…

There’s a few other lessons that I keep to myself, though. I look at the lessons above. Some were from relationships that were and some that never came to be. It doesn’t make me sad. I don’t feel like a failure; I feel like I’ve learned a lot and that I’ve evolved quite a bit.

As many of you know, I have a girlfriend. As far as I’m concerned, she’s the last one I’ll ever have. She’ll be the last of many things. That’s a powerful thing to say, I think and I mean that down deep.

Were it not for my myriad failures in relationships I wouldn’t be where I am right now. That may seem a no brainer to you; however, it’s those failures that allowed me to search deep within and find nuggets of wisdom. Failure helped me prepare for this relationship I’m in now.

Certain arguments would have caused me to walk away ten years ago. Some things that get said to me, used to cause me to lash out in anger, whereas I can take a breath, calm the f*ck down, stand up for myself and get over it. I always speak my mind without fear of the consequences. That is, if something is bothering me I can talk about it, rather than bottle it up. I’m not calling people fat ass now. What kind of dick do you take me for?

Now it’s your turn. Take some time, think about your past lovers and share what you learned and how it’s helped you through the years, in the comments below.

Author profile

Alex is the founder and managing editor at the Urban Dater. Alex also runs: DigiSavvy, for which he is the co-founder and Principal. Alex has a lot on his mind. Will he ever get it right? If he does, he'll be sure to write.

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15 Comments

  1. The sensitive side of Alex is always refreshing. I need to keep reminding myself at every breakup that it's not a failure and I'm not doomed to roam the earth alone. It's hard to ALWAYS be positive.
    I learned a lot from my long term relationship. The good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes the bad out weighs the good in that one but I wouldn't be the same person had he not been in my life. In many ways he taught me that no matter how much you whole heartedly love someone, love isn't always enough and sometimes you HAVE to just walk away.
    Since then I have dated two very different men. One taught me how to love again and that I deserve more than I was giving myself credit for. The other helped me realize what I really want in a relationship. He helped me through some major life changes and I am so thankful that I had him to support me through it all.
    Excellent post my friend!

  2. Great post and this topic is the reason I don't regret ANY of my previous relationships or hook-ups, no matter how unhealthy or painful they may have been. However, there's another side of this coin…Being the next to the last relationship. Hrmm, perhaps that'll be my next blog post….

    1. Well thanks for the comment, Jenna. You know, I regretted a lot of the relationships I was in. True story. But it's funny how when the pain subsides you look back fondly and you forget the more dysfunctional elements that made a relationship go awry…. I'd say I don't regret a single one of em.

  3. This was a very good read, because it got me thinking of some of the very positive things I have taken away from each relationship.

    T, the one that ended very badly left me with the most good memories and lessons. From him I learned that by allowing someone to do things for you actually gives THEM pleasure. I learned from him that I can have really great sex with someone that I care about, even if he's not physically handsome to me. I learned from him what the three most important things for me to have in a relationship are: afftection, attention and good sex.

    I've learned to take each one as it happens and just let it evolve, because no two are the same at all, and boy, are they ever interesting.

  4. I don't think that "Ex- = Failure". I go into my relationships knowing that they will likely end someday. They're not meant to last forever. When they run their course, it's time to move on. Not failures; their work is done…so to speak.

    eleanore – The Spinsterlicious Life

    1. That's a bit depressing to think about actually. I don't know how it would affect me if I viewed each relationship as a something that would eventually end.

  5. A taught me not to be a doormat & how to stand up for myself.
    P taught me how to drink scotch & love sports.
    M introduced me to the West Wing & got me to sing karaoke.
    T taught me how to cook a good steak & how to appreciate not just where you are but who you are with.
    J taught me about beer & love. And how to slow down & enjoy the little pleasures. & encouraged me to move to NY.
    B taught me about music & how important passion is but without humor it's not worth anything.

    I don't think I am a failure or a relationship leper anymore. I think like you Alex, if it wasn't for all of them we wouldn't be who we are or where we are.

  6. Experience is the best teacher, so they say. My experiences in love taught me to be emotionally stronger. It made me a better person that I am now. Thanks for this great post. And more power to your blog.

  7. D taught me that I shouldnt try to change people, if I don't like the way they are then just leave.
    R taught me that if in the beginning I'm not into the relationship, don't drag it out.
    B taught me that if there isnt trust in a relationship there is nothing
    K taught me that if he doen't text or call then he's not really interested . lol

    I still hate being single, I hate the whole dating part and meeting someone.

  8. Hi 🙂 I really loved this blog. It is very true. I've beaten myself up a million times because I "could never get anything right" when it came to guys & romance. But something I realized is, how could i have done anything "right" when I simply was not ready to? Long story short, I've never had a boyfriend or been in a relationship. I'm 18 and I can happily say that I'm on my way to being ready! 🙂 I've learned so much in my "failures", not only about love, but about myself:

    ~Ryan taught me that when romance comes knocking, don't lock the door & curl up in a corner. That's exactly what I did. I was nervous & afraid of being hurt. Take. The. Chance!

    ~Steven showed me how comfortable it feels to like a guy AND have a lot in common. I loved his smile, how easily he laughed…he mirrored me in a lot of ways and it made me realize what i would like in a guy!

    ~Mark was a friend i fell for, & he didn't love me in That way. But he showed me what love truly is. he taught me how to really love another.

    ~Keath was my best friend, & we both liked each other. I learned that you have to take the chance to tell the person how you feel, or you'll stay stagnant. he often treated me poorly too, so i learned that i deserve better

    ~Jason came into my life literally when I Least Expected It! he showed me what opportunities can come to you when you let go of someone else not good/right for you.

  9. You write the truth. I didn’t like being single, and I dated ALOT. Every single relationship I had, until I met my husband, taught me something important and something that I needed, in order to find Michael. After about two and a half years of repeating mistakes (and many dollars/hours spent with my therapist), I started to actually learn from them. Once I “figured it out” I was on a much faster track to finding my the love of my life. So this goes out to all the ex-boyfriends: THANK YOU – from a VERY happy Sophy!! And to all the singletons out there: the best (and last) one could be just around the corner… Mine was.

    XOXO,

    Sophy Singer Says

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