Real women share the things they learned from dating men they knew they wouldn't be spending the rest of their lives with
“I learned not to put myself last.”
The funny (and frustrating) thing about relationships is that it’s so dang easy to fall in love, or at least heart-pounding lust, with someone who make no sense in your life for the long-term. So what is the point of all these near-misses? That's something that's usually much clearer in hindsight.
Read on as real women share the things they learned from dating men they knew they wouldn't be spending the rest of their lives with.
“The only serious boyfriend I had before meeting my now-husband taught me one of the most valuable life lessons, which is not to constantly put a man (or anyone else for that matter) before myself. His slow grip on my emotions and psychotic, narcissistic behavior turned me into a woman that I wasn’t proud of—a woman that I never meant to be. Before every single thing I did, I thought of him. What would he think? Would he be mad?
Once we finally broke up and enough time went by that I was no longer feeling miserable and 'heartbroken,' I realized that in a good, healthy relationship, the other person doesn't make you feel like you have to put yourself last. They fill you with enough confidence to know that you can go out and live your best life and that they're along for the ride.” —Jenn, 27
“When I was 24, I started dating a guy I knew wouldn't be a forever thing from the start; he was 10 years older and felt positive he never wanted children, which I did. But he lived his life in a way that was just... beautiful. Not expensively, but with real style, in an apartment surrounded by great books and good art and vintage furniture he refurbished himself, where he threw fantastic impromptu dinner parties for all his best friends and mine. Being in his world was just such a pleasure. He really showed me what it meant to have personal taste, and how sweet the simple things in life can be.” —Kate, 31
Brush up on these mind-blowing orgasm facts:
“I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship when I met the guy who would henceforth be known as ‘my Latin lover.’ He had a completely different background than me (he was born in Chile, raised in Sweden, and studied in the U.S., whereas I was born and raised in the Midwest), and he was ambitious and adventurous, not to mention incredibly handsome. We had a lot of fun together, but I knew in my heart he wasn't ‘the one.' And from that fleeting romance (seven dates), I learned that it's totally okay to just enjoy yourself in the present without thinking about what the end result will be, as long as you're happy and not hurting others along the way.” —Allie, 27
“I was close friends with someone with whom I had intense chemistry but couldn't date because he happened to be in a long-term relationship the entire time. After their relationship ended, we started dating just weeks before I'd graduate college and move 3,000 miles away to New York. We tried to do long-distance, but both of us agreed it was too hard. I don't regret it, because I needed to see what was there between us since the attraction had been so strong. Looking back, had I stayed in town, I know it still wouldn't have worked out because we were and are just too different in terms of our personal life goals.” —Kourtney, 31
“It can be fun to get to know someone new, and their new perspective can help you broaden your own. But one thing I've learned (and still try to remind myself) after dating multiple guys I knew deep down weren't 'it' is that time is of the essence. A few dates might not hurt, and may help you better determine what you really want, but a few months or, especially, years can set you back and distract from who it is you're really looking for.” —Vanessa, 35
“I dated someone for two years who was handsome, successful, charming, well-traveled, and well-educated. Of course, he was also emotionally unavailable, untrustworthy, and above everything else, not the kind-hearted person I deserved. I thought that if I could be perfect, if I could love him enough, if I could be his dream woman, he would change. But he didn't, and as a result, I busted my own confidence and made myself feel less worthy. While people can change over time, fundamentally, you can't be the one to make them. It took me a while to accept that it wasn't me who wasn't enough. It was his own thing.” —Lindsay, 28
“I learned that being with someone you love should just enhanceyour happiness, not create it. You need to learn how to be happy on your own before you can be a good partner to someone else. I needed time to figure myself out: who I am, what I expect from a partner, and what I can offer in return. I think I was too young in my last serious relationship to really have that all figured out. I'm glad I know who I am more now and hopefully that will lead me to the right person.” —Tracy, 37
“I was coming off a grueling breakup when I met a man I’ll call Ben on the subways of New York. He was incredibly handsome, tall, and worldly. While I never anticipated us being together forever (he was interning in the city and would be going back to his home country shortly after), he was the first person I found myself attracted to, and who made me feel sexy, since my ex. He was the rebound that let me know that I would be okay. We’ve remained friends ever since.” —Megan, 25