I’ve been there. Boyfriend after boyfriend came in and out of my life while I tried to fit them into the mold of what I thought I wanted. I completely poured myself into my relationships. I loved the high at the beginning of every romance but was devastated when I began to feel the low creeping in.
Why did it always end? Why was I constantly disappointed and let down? Why did I keep making the same mistakes and picking the wrong men?
I kept thinking I was wasting my time and it was all a loss. However, our experiences in life are the very thing that shapes who we are regardless of if they may have been painful when going through them. Recently I have been making it a point to look back and identify good things about my past relationships. It’s funny what you can identify when you aren't just fixating on endings that weren’t “happily ever after.”
Discover new hobbies
When we open our hearts to other people we often invite in amazing new experiences we may have never stumbled upon. One ex-boyfriend loved sound healing which is an absolutely amazing and heart-opening experience and has helped me through trying times. Another ex was the most free-spirited person I’ve ever met. He pushed me past my limits, made me climb to the top of a mountain, and cultivated a love of hiking in me that is now one of my favorite things to do in the world.
Identify what vibes with you
I thought that what I wanted was simple. It is simple but it’s also not simple. I wanted someone who wasn’t jealous and controlling but was attentive and available. I wanted someone who was motivated but could take the time to make me a central part of his life instead of an afterthought. I dated hipsters who were artsy but we literally had no common interests besides drinking coffee. I dated free-spirited men who lived a fun lifestyle but did things that went against my morals. I had to figure out who was on my level and who I felt that special “something” with.
It’s okay to have high standards
I read an article years ago, I honestly can’t even remember where. But the author wrote about how she kept having bad relationships until she kept to her standards and wouldn’t budge on her deal-breakers. It’s okay to have rules for what you don’t want to tolerate. Cigarettes can be a deal-breaker. Work-ethic can be a dealbreaker. Conflicting religious beliefs can be a deal-breaker. Regardless of what it is, have standards and to identify what those are and where you draw the line.
Not everyone is right for each other
You can’t change someone. People can grow, and learn, yes. But if you’re trying to change the person that you’re with constantly then they probably aren’t the right person for you. I dated someone that was so kind and amazing but was an introvert and hated being in social situations which is what I absolutely love. Another partner was someone I loved deeply but he didn’t want to be tied down and ended up heading to the Peace Corps right after we graduated college. Although it can be heartbreaking two people can be wrong for each other and still be amazing people that care about each other.
Finally… change your dating patterns
Most of us have a type and we want to stick in that lane. However, it’s extremely limiting to only date people that are similar to who you dated previously. The person that I’m dating now is completely different than anyone I’ve ever dated in the past and it’s actually working! There’s usually a reason that things didn’t work out in the past and that things didn’t end up the way you expected.
Take a chance, step out of your comfort zone, and give someone a chance that you normally wouldn’t. Life may just surprise you.