5 Things I’ve Learned From Dating People Who Were ‘Wrong For Me’

Brunette woman with blonde highlights a blue floral dress beside a stone wall under a gray sky
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Dating exists for a reason — it’s an internal methodology we use to test what we do and don’t like in people and identify what they do and don’t like in us until we find the things we want to deal with in a person and lock them down for good. Some people never lock it down, and that’s okay, too. Whatever makes you happiest and healthiest! Those of us who date often, often know that relationships may not complement those ideologies.

Some of us choose love with our first attempt, while others kiss many frogs before they find their endgame. Dating the wrong people does not mean they’re bad people or you’re bad people, though. In fact, it means this and a whole lot of other things …

Relationships will always teach you something

Whether it’s a crush and you’re the one who got crushed or is being crushed on, you will learn something from every relationship you have in life, if it’s mutual, platonic, friendly, romantic, or something else … when it ends, there is always potential to self-develop and grow. Breakups are the perfect time to focus on a renewed self. Don’t submit to the negativity you may feel because of a bad ending. No one wants to be a cliche Tom via “500 Days of Summer,” smashing plates, or, in equal and opposite direction, Jess from “New Girl” crying and eating tubs of ice cream. But, hey! If you have to do that a few times to get over people, you do you, just don’t sacrifice yourself in the process. Get through the bad, and come out on the other side better, clearer than before, more aware of what you want and need from someone. This is a new chance for you — Look forward to the fresh start when possible, but let yourself feel before you get there. Just don’t live in those feelings too long. Life’s too short to wallow, and, cheesy as the saying is, there are plenty of fish in the sea. You know, unless global warming kills them all first … Sorry, had to!

You will get stronger after going through more breakups or other bad endings

Though things will probably get worse before they get better, the more you open your heart and yourself up to vulnerability, the easier it will be to get over heartbreak in the future. Be good to yourself in knowing what you need during a breakup. If they want to be friends, but you’re not ready, maintain open communication. Move forward for you, in the direction you best see fit. You can’t worry about what is best for them before what is best for you. That probably got you in trouble in the first place. Remember?

When it ends, you will realize they are just as “wrong” for you as you are for them

So don’t be hard on yourself when things don’t work out. It ALWAYS takes two. Relationships are never one-sided, and even when the other person is acting one-sided, your choice to leave or love them makes it a two-way street. Your life and who you love is up to you, whether you believe it or not. You can decide to listen to your gut, heart, or brain. Maybe you just got dumped or a friendship didn’t progress the way you wanted it to, into something more … It’s not your fault or theirs. You can’t fight who you are, and you shouldn’t have to when it’s healthy. You two just weren’t meant to be together. It’s a simple, hard truth. There’s no such thing as bad timing or other excuses. The right person will be there for you regardless of time and because of everything you are. Though it may take a while for you or them to warm up to a great, solid place, they’ll stick around and you’ll know their right when they are. Trust your gut. Follow it like it’s your physiological love bible.

Don’t harp on the past

Whether you think about the good or bad moments, it’s important to not linger on them too long. The present is what’s right in front of you, and thought your past got you to today, it doesn’t have to lead you to your tomorrow. Let your renewed self shine through. You will see you can be there, and living well within that positive self in no time. Love doesn’t hurt. Rejection hurts. Loneliness hurts. Jealousy hurts. Love is the only thing that doesn’t hurt.

Recognize your flaws, and accept them — show yourself the love you want others to show you …

Whatever parts of you that didn’t make this relationship work are part of what make you flawed, part of what make you human. Cherish those. They are not failures. Everyone has places within themselves they need to progress and be aware of. Vulnerable, lonely, harsh periods of time in one’s life are inevitable. The right love will love you through it. Sometimes they may turn into different people than we expect, but as long as we accept ourselves without judgment and embrace ourselves with love and confidence, we will see a clearer path to achieving our ultimate goals in romance and execute them conscientiously in our present. Our romantic pasts are not our presents when it comes to dating. We can always make a change, the change we want to see happen. Though you may feel the need to put a guard up for a while, you will know when it’s time to let it down again. Let yourself feel it through. Be patient with your process. Love yourself first. Watch out for yourself. Stand on your own two feet next to the one you love when you are ready and it’s healthy. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. TC mark

Julia isn’t afraid to embrace new challenges.

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