Let’s face it! Dating nowadays is hard. We are a generation that has been blessed by the internet with unlimited access to information, and the opportunity to connect with people through Apps, something that in past decades would have been impossible to do.
But we are also the most anxious generation! According to the American Psychological Association, 12% of millennials have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, which is nearly double the percentage seen by baby boomers. While other studies claim that 30 % of working millennials are classified with general anxiety, and I include myself in that percentage.
So, what the heck is happening with us? I guess it has something to do with social media. We face this pressure to be successful in all aspects of our lives. We want it all, and we want it now, but we clearly have problems managing all the stress. And that is even affecting the way we approach our romantic life.
So, I kept thinking about how we approach some situations in our lives. For example, I always found it curious about how my generation deals with failed relationships. In my group of friends, whenever a boyfriend became an “ex”, we decided to call him- in a friendly way- “Who should not be named” like “Voldemort” because after the death of a relationship there was nothing positive to say about them.
But, were they really so bad, or were we just in that grief process? Is there nothing positive to rescue from our past relationships? If you had asked me that 6 years ago, I would have told you that we should not waste time with what could not be.
However, thanks to the experience I have today, I will tell you that there is always something positive to rescue from a past relationship, and we should focus on what we learned after those failures.
That’s why today I want to share with you a few things I learned from my ex-boyfriends that I’m grateful for.
Communication It’s All
Many times we underestimate the power of words, and I think that is the worst thing we can do. We must be aware of what we’re saying in order to avoid misunderstandings on what we feel or think about something.
Some time ago I met this guy. We both came from opposite sides of the world, and the only language we had in common was English. We were young, impulsive, and dumb, but we liked each other.
Unfortunately, our lack of language, cultural differences, and our impulsiveness played a big role against us. There were many things he said that I read wrong, and of course, there were many things I said, that were taken out of context. Things I should have explained better to avoid misunderstandings.
What we say and how we say it is fundamental in any relationship
But thanks to that relationship I learned to be more careful with my words and to understand that we can not assume that the other person is on the same page as we are on a topic. Before assuming something, it is always better to ask, and in case of doubts, it is necessary to clarify it.
If A Guy Is Interested, He Will Find Time For You
Let’s face it! Alex (Justin Long) was right when he explained the rules to Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) in the 2009 movie He’s Just Not That into You.
“A man who wants to make a relationship work will move mountains to keep the woman he loves.” –He’s Just Not That into You
Many times we excuse guys simply because we like them. But the reality is that if someone is really interested in you, he will find time for you. So, to the guy who taught me that there are still men capable of moving mountains for you, THANK YOU! Because with you I learned that distances, nationalities, and cultures do not matter as long as there is interest. If a guy wants to draw your attention, and he’s really interested in you he will find a way, it doesn’t matter if he just got a job in Dubai. It’s all about motivation!
“If a guy is treating you like he doesn’t give a shit, then he genuinely doesn’t give a shit.”- He’s Just Not That Into You
Romanticism has not died yet, and there are still wonderful men in the market, we just have to learn to invest our time in worthwhile people. So, do not invest your time on guys who don’t give a shit about you, they don’t deserve you.
Stay True To Your Standards
Sometimes, when we like someone we try to find common interests, but we should never pretend that we like something simply because the other person likes it. I guess we all have done that at some point. Tell a small lie that seems innocent, but then becomes a recurring habit that bothers us.
“Breaking promises to yourself is one of the most damaging things you can do for your confidence.” – Matthew Hussey
There’s nothing wrong with not liking something in particular. If you do not like to eat sushi or do you smoke do not lie just to fit. Be faithful to your standards and let the other person know what they are, but do not fall into the game of trying something that you are 100% sure you do not like or you don’t feel comfortable doing it. Just be honest!
If the other person is doing something that bothers you, let them know, believe me! The right person will understand that and will love you just the way you are, no matter how cliche this may sound.
Don’t Hurry Up Things
There are times when we meet people with whom we make an instantaneous click. But if I have learned something from my past relationships is that often it’s best to take things slowly, and try to know each other better.
“ You may have chemistry and attraction, but if your values don’t line up…you will never stop clashing.” – Matthew Hussey
A long time ago I met this guy… We had wonderful chemistry at the beginning and we were so into each other that after a few dates we were already “exclusive,” but unfortunately over time, we discovered that we only had superficial things in common and that our long-term goals and values were not aligned.
Chemistry is not enough when you want to build a long term relationship. At the end of the day, we were just two people who wanted different things in life. Thank you, because with you I learned an important lesson.
Your Time Is Worth It
Every woman has in her record that bad guy who put her head over heels, and she knew he was trouble from the early beginning, but even though she insisted.
Over the years I understood that it is not worth wasting my time with someone who does not add anything positive to my life. Time is the most valuable thing we have in our lives and it is something that we can never recover.
My godfather always says that “if it’s broken don’t fix it, find something new.” Maybe it sounds cruel at first, but why insist on relationships that wear us out and that have already shown signs that are not healthy? Love does not have to be complicated. Of course, relationships require work but there is a fine line between what’s a healthy relationship and what’s a toxic one.
“If a guy makes your life more difficult, more stressful, more unpleasant, it’s a bad relationship”- Matthew Hussey
Let them know that your time is worth it. So! Do not waste your time with people who do not deserve it because you are depriving yourself of investing that time in someone worthwhile.
Bed Is The Mirror Of How Your Relationship Is
Sex is the canary in the coal mine! It might not be the most important part of a relationship but it plays an important role.
Miners used to take caged canaries underground when they did their work. So, if there was a carbon dioxide leak in the mine, the bird would be the first to fall dead. This was how the miners knew they should leave the mine.
Of course, we can all have bad days where the last thing we want to think about is sex. But when the excuses begin to be more frequent as “I’m tired,” “I have too much work,” or the classic one “I have a headache,” the alarms should turn on and we should start paying attention to the small details and see “what’s going on” in our relationships.
“Sex is an emotion in motion.”― Mae West
Usually, the problem is not just bed, there are other symptoms that show a lack of interest in the relationship, and at our age, that’s a red flag!
Don’t Keep Your Ex On Your Social Media
When it’s over, it’s over. And the best way to heal faster is to avoid looking at your ex’s stories on Instagram or his new status update. This is something I learned in my teenage years when I was in a relationship with my High School sweetheart.
Back then, I used to have thousands of pictures of us on my social media, like Facebook and Metroflog. And of course, in my account, you could read “in a relationship with …”, but when we broke up it was awful to have to delete all those photos. In addition to deal with questions from third parties when they learned about our split.
If it’s over give your mind a break.
Since then I have become more reserved with my romantic life and I try to keep things low-key with my current relationships. Finally, I also maintain a rule of not keep my ex-boyfriends on my social networks, just because I consider it healthier for my mental health! Besides, you can avoid conflicts with your future partners.
Finally, I must emphasize that this is what works for me, if it does not bother you to keep your exes on your social networks, it’s up to you.
You Can Be Friends With Your Ex Only If You Have Closed That Chapter
I think that after a break up the best thing is to spend some time apart. Keep in touch immediately after the split can be a tricky situation, especially if one of the parties still has feelings for the other.
Another factor to take into account is whether we really built the bases during the relationship to be friends after the split. In general, if it was a toxic relationship isn’t a good idea to turn that person into a friend of your inner circle because you can fall into bad habits again and it doesn’t allow you to close the cycle.
Being friends with your ex is not impossible, just make sure that both have closed the chapter and are friends for the right reasons.
Over time I managed to create good bonds with some of my ex-boyfriends. In exclusive terms of friendship, certain men of my life have come to have a positive role in my life, and we have been able to create a beautiful friendship where we can catch up and talk about silly things from time to time.
We Are All The Bad Guy In Someone’s Story
No one reaches their late 20s without breaking some hearts on the road. Sometimes we meet people who, although they are wonderful on paper, do not fill us completely. We can find on the path people who have good intentions, but sometimes they have a lack of something. That lack is what I like to call “spark.”
In my record, there were some guys who wanted everything with me, the house, children, and the “happily ever after.” They were perfect on paper and had many qualities that every woman loves to find in a man, but for some reason, I always had a voice in my head telling me “this is not the person.”
From those relationships, I learned to be more honest about my feelings and expectations. We do not need to spend years in a relationship to know if it is the right person. So, do not waste someone else’s time.
Learning To Forgive Is Important
There are people who mark a before and after in our lives. But if things do not turn out as expected, it’s not good to stay stuck in the past, much less in the remorse of “I should have done this or said that.” It is what it is.
Remorse and resentment pollute the soul, and although it is sometimes difficult to learn to forgive when we finally let it go, we take a great weight off. Forgive yourself for the mistakes made, and forgive him for the damage caused.
“May your heart remain breakable, but never by the same hand twice.”- Taylor Swift
Life is too short to live in the past. The important thing is to learn from the mistakes made and try to do things in a different way. If you work on yourself, you will be closer to find the person you want.
I always try to find something positive in each lived experience, even in those that were not so good. At the end of the day, when I look back and think about my ex-boyfriends, I smile because thanks to them I have become a better version of myself, and I have learned valuable lessons that I otherwise would not have learned.
“without your past, you could never have arrived so wondrously and brutally,
by design or some violent, exquisite happenstance…here.” – Taylor Swift
Never give up on love because is the most precious thing we have in this life. Stay true to your standards, stay true to yourself, learn from your mistakes, and live the now. Believe me, there are still great men out there.