1. He made me raise my standards.
I am wise enough to realize no relationship is better than a toxic relationship. I will not put up with controlling, manipulative men. I will not wait around for someone to change when they clearly aren’t putting any effort into bettering themselves.
Because I have years of experience dealing with toxic, emotionally unavailable men, I can usually catch the signs early. I can usually tell the difference between someone authentic who genuinely has my best interest at heart and someone who is only telling me what I want to hear.
2. He made me adamant about taking care of myself.
I am stubbornly independent. I will split bills on dinner dates. I will put a cap on how much boyfriends are allowed to spend on me during anniversaries and holidays (to make sure we are spending around the same amount). I will never put myself in a position where a man can hold money over my head. I will never let someone buy my affection. I will never let someone buy my respect.
I want to be able to look around and say, “I did this all on my own.” I don’t want to feel like I owe anyone else. I don’t want to be guilt tripped into keeping someone toxic around because they helped me with a few payments.
3. He taught me how much I can handle on my own.
I might only be in my twenties, but I’ve already been through a lot. I have been screwed over and disappointed by someone I trusted not to hurt me. Someone who was supposed to be there for me. Someone I thought I could rely on.
My past is painful, but it is a reminder I can handle anything and make it through even stronger than before.
4. He taught me the truth about love early on.
People who love you can hurt you.
People who love you can treat you like shit.
Your love is not going to have the power to change someone. Your love is not going to convince them to turn their life around. Your love is not going to do a damn thing. They are in control of their own actions. You cannot save them. You cannot take responsibility for the mistakes they keep making again and again.
5. He made me realize how important it is to find happiness on my own.
Other people can disappoint me. They can leave me. They can screw me over. The only person who is guaranteed to remain around is myself. That is why I have to reach a place of self-acceptance.
I need to learn to love myself so getting hurt by someone else does not unravel my whole sense of self. I have to learn to be happy on my own because other people will come and go. Nothing is forever.
6. He taught me how to be selfish when I need to be.
I don’t feel guilty about cutting toxic people out of my world. Even when it hurts to say goodbye, I do what I have to do for the sake of my mental health. My upbringing taught me to put myself first.