What Have You Learned From Past Relationships?

8 years ago

Last night, I zoned out. Not surprising,eh? I started to think about the past….past relationships. If you knew me and you knew my past, you would know that it was extremely complicated, painful, and onehell of a learning experience. Growing up in an unpleasant environment where my parents literally hated one another, there was no example of real love, commitment, communication to follow. I had to figure it out all on my own…don’t we all? With each relationship, I picked up something new and carried it to the next one….almost 15 years later, I finally grasped the ingredients for a healthy relationship. What have you learned from all of your past relationships? Let me fill you in on what I took from them:

1. Love is never enough:  My definition of love was somewhat demented in the beginning. I don’t really think that I knew what love was for years but when I finally figured it out, it wasn’t enough. I thought love conquered all. I thought love stood the test of time. I though love was enough. It wasn’t. While love is important, other things need to be in line, in balance for a relationship to work out. You can have love but if the relationship lacks compatibility, communication and compromise…it’s destined to be doomed.

2.You can’t really love unless you love yourself: I searched over and again for love. I just wanted to be loved. Over and again, I found myself in the wrong relationships and couldn’t figure out why. I had no idea that the answer I was looking for was with me the entire time. How can you truly, 100% love someone if you don’t love yourself. In order to experience true love, you must experience self-love.

3.Always go with your gut: I denied my gut feeling for years. I would see red flags, one after the other and I would  make excuses..I would ignore them. I didn’t trust my own intuition. I learned how to listen to my own feelings, my own instincts. Most all the times I had gut feelings about a certain relationship, they were right. I learned to be in tune with my intuition. I learned to trust myself. I learned to listen to my gut.

4.You can change noone: I was a fixer. I didn’t really see it as trying to change someone at the time. I would always date the dudes with all sorts of problems and I would swoop down to protect, to fix and to change. When  I think about those guys now, none of them ever changed. I realized that I was actually putting so much focus on bettering the other person that it took away from me bettering myself. No matter how much you love someone, people don’t change, unless they want to.

5. Sex can either confirm or complicate a relationship:There were certain relationships where sex either brought us closer together or it just made things really weird. There is an appropiate time for sex. It’s all about timing. It’s what is good for the both of you, not what is good for one or the other. Getting pressured to have sex too soon is a great way to feel resentment and complicate things. Have sex only when you are ready.

6.No one deserves to be abused:It’s typical for most of us to make excuses for an abuser. “I deserved it” “He just is having a bad day” “I should have done this” “I should have done that”. Look, I don’t care how psycho you are, how clumby or forgetful you are, it doesn’t matter what your faults are…no one deserves to be abused. To me, I think mental abuse is the worst kind there is. My first abusive relationship was mental and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I just knew that I felt crazy, questioned my logic and my sanity…it was extremely damaging and it took a number of years for me to figure out that it was mental abuse, took an extra number of years for me to recover. No one deserves to be abused.

7.You teach people how to treat you: All the times I let them get away with abuse…calling me names, cheating on me, hitting me, spitting on me…all of those times I turned the other cheek…I was basically telling them “You can treat me like this and I will stay”. I had no idea this is what I was doing. I thought I was being the bigger person by letting it roll off of my back but now (looking back), I realize that I was teaching them how to treat me. Don’t ever settle for bullshit like this. The first time it happens, you can either walk away or give them one more chance…the second time it happens..you better head your ass to the hills.

8.Doing it for the kids: For some reason, when people have children out of wedlock..they feel as if they have to get married to make it better. I got pregnant without being married. I had a tremendous amount of pressure on me, coming from my father, family members and my own fiance to get married. This is one time I listened to my gut and didn’t do it. I knew one mistake had been  made and there wasn’t a valid reason to make another one. In the end, I was right. The fiance and I didn’t work out and no piece of paper, no “I do”,..nothing could have made us compatible. Marriage doesn’t fix things. It only amplifies. Tying the knot will not make the relationship better if it’s bad, it will only put more strain on the relationship. Do what your heart tells you to do.

9.Growing up and out of love: Sometimes you don’t need a extreme reason to end a relationship. Sometimes people just grow out of each other. I dated a guy for four years and within that four years, I went one way and he went another way. We were young but growing up together. Sometimes couples grow separate ways and what they wanted before is likely to change to something else. It’s okay to just end it because you want different things.

10. Men can’t read minds: This one I’m still battling with but I’m starting to get it. Men don’t get ‘beating around the bush”. I’ve been beating around the bush for years and no one has YET to get it, probably because they just don’t….get it. Hell, sometimes I don’t even get it. If you want a man to know something, tell him-straight up. If you want him to spend time with you, don’t assume and don’t beat the bush. Tell him upfront, otherwise he is not going to have a clue.


These are my top ten learning experiences. Of course, there are several others but I didn’t want to write a novel today. We’ve all learned things from past relationships but the  most important is that you implement what you have learned. You will not get anywhere in your relationships if you do not take something from each one and use it. Your relationships should get better with each one that you are in. What have you learned from your past relationships? How has it affected your current ones?

This is an article written by one of the incredible members of the SheKnows Community. The SheKnows editorial team has not edited, vetted or endorsed the content of this post. Want to join our amazing community and share your own story? Sign up here.