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What you learn from a past relationship

When a relationship doesn’t work out, it’s tempting to focus on the negatives: He was a jerk… he didn’t get you… how could anyone be so selfish/childish/arrogant? While those things are probably all true, learn what you can from those past relationships — then move your fabulous self on!

Woman writing in diary

Get a grip on your flaws

We may hate to admit it, but none of us are perfect. Author and philosopher Sam Keen once wrote, “You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” And it goes both ways. If your past beau mentioned your flaws, sort through them yourself. Once you know what your flaws are, you can focus on finding someone who loves you for them, not despite them.

Know your non-negotiables

To make a relationship work, sometimes we sacrifice our preferences for the sake of compromise. And that’s okay as long as you’re not giving in all the time or giving up on things you really believe in. What sacrifices did you make that you are no longer willing to make in a relationship? These non-negotiables can be big — like choosing not to date someone who doesn’t go to church, or they can be small — like eliminating suitors who just don’t agree that Friday nights are for sweatpants, take-out dinner and reality TV. Identify which compromises made you feel resentful in your past relationship — and let that knowledge empower you to be upfront in your next relationship.

Spot those Prince Charmings

Relationships don’t work out for a reason: Not all guys are good enough for you! If you take nothing else from a past relationship, take the knowledge that you’ve eliminated one more Not-Quite-Prince Charming. Even better, spend some time figuring out what it was that didn’t work for you, so you can avoid making the same dating mistake twice.

Put yourself first

Your needs are important. In general, women tend to put the needs of others first, which isn’t healthy in the long-term. You wind up feel neglected and bitter. Now, this doesn’t mean that we should always have a “me first” attitude. But take a long, honest look at your past relationship. Did you put his needs before your own? Did you make compromises that left you feeling drained? It’s easy to get in the habit of putting someone else first, but once you realize when and how you did that in your past relationship, you’ll be less likely to repeat the same mistake in your next relationship.

More relationship tips

Getting over an ex
5 Signs he’s not the marrying kind
Get what you deserve in relationships

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