One of the things I have learned from being in relationships is that you learn not just how to be in a relationship, but you also learn a lot about yourself. Being in different relationships however, has taught me many lessons in life that I would have probably not learned about myself if I had been single. Each serious boyfriend I’ve ever had, has taught me tremendous lessons in life and helped my path to self discovery.
When I was younger, like most girls, I’ve always had a set of list that my potential boyfriend must qualify in order for me to date him. I remember making that list in high school, with most of my friends thinking how crazy I must be coming up with crazy shit like that, but deep inside, unlike most people who have a mental list in their mind, I had it listed out on an online journal (remember, I use to blog before blogging was even a term – this was between 1999-2001). I knew I was setting the bar high, but why not I thought to myself — I deserved it.
Like everything with time, expectations change, and as you grow and evolve to become an adult, a lot of the things that I had listed as a requirement when I was 15 had become superfluous, while other qualities illuminate as “must-haves”. But when you fall in love with a person, those items on the list becomes trivial – sometimes I even bend the rules a little bit to fit the bill. To be honest, most of the guys whom I have dated probably doesn’t even come close in passing half of the requirements on that list. If I could do a chart base on the different grades I would give to all of my ex-boyfriends and dudes I’ve dated, you would probably see a very inconsistent line that resembles a roller coaster ride. Let’s just say that base on my dating history, I went from having really high standards, to no standards, and finally to some standards. Do I still have that list or follow it? Of course not, but come to think of it, I still might have it stashed somewhere in a harddrive in the garage…
When you become intimate with another person, you don’t just learn about who they are, what they’re really like, you also learn how to be with that person. When you’re in love, there is no other feeling like it – the bliss, excitement, and rush of blood, and so on. But when it all comes to an end, there’s no pain like a sinking heart break. I am sure there are boundless literature and books out there that talks about the benefits of being in a relationship and how to deal after a breakup, but what I think I’ve learned the most from all of my relationships is that every day is a challenge to not only become a better person, but also a discovering of one’s innerself. Going back to lessons learn from the different people you become close with, I think it’s best if I just list it. For the purpose of this post, I will only reference the lessons I’ve learned from serious serious relationships.
No one will ever forget their first love. My first love changed me, and I didn’t know what being in love was like, until I saw myself changing before my eyes – and that’s a good thing. My first love was a boy who was a bit older than me and lived very far away. The idea of being with him was more fun than actually being with him to be honest. But being in love for the first time, for some reason, made me a much nicer person. I was friendlier, happier, and less stuck up – coincidentally, this is the same time I abandoned my list. I was so happy and stupid in love that I didn’t even care anymore about any “standards” I had previously lucidly concocted – and that’s a bad thing in hindsight. Even though it was brief, it left a lasting impression. Needless to say, I still have a lot to learn about love. My lesson from this boy however, was that some men are more cowardly than others. This one, well, he didn’t have the balls to breakup with me, so instead of breaking up with me, he just ignored me instead. So after a few weeks of constantly trying to find out what was going on and why he wasn’t returning my emails or call, I finally got the hint. But seriously, not even a word and just dropped off the radar? What a coward. Moral of the story: you have standards the first place, don’t let love blind you. They’re call “standards” for a reason.
The Dreamer (aka the Loser):
This was the boy that I was in and out of a relationship with over a span of 5 years. When you’re in your late teens and early 20s, 5 years is a long time to waste. However, of all of the ex BFs, I have to admit that he was the nicest to me. When I was ill and bed-ridden for a week, he didn’t left my sight and tended to me around the clock. Deep inside, he was a wonderful and kind person; however, his behavior and actions were the exact opposite. He was the liar, thief, con-artist, two-timing loser and shameless manipulator. With that being sad, what I learned from him is that you should never trust someone whole heartedly if you have a gut feeling deep inside, knowing that something isn’t right, and get the fuck out of that relationship the moment something is wrong. Some of the crazy stupid shit I’ve done while I was in a relationship with this guy made me realize how lucky I am to be alive today. Of course I didn’t learn my lesson of keeping the standards. Initially, the boy had potential, but when he started to downward spiral, I should’ve known better than to stick around. The lesson I learned was that, don’t ever go back to your ex because you still have feelings for that person, and hoping for the 30th time that you’ve broken up, that maybe this time, he will finally change for you. Truth is, he will never change. Moral of the story: It’s easier to move a mountain than to change a person’s character (Chinese proverb).
Of all of the relationships, this was the one that opened my eyes about a lot of things. The Thinker was a brilliant young man with a lot of potential. However, potential is useless if you have no ambition or perseverance to harvest it. Intellectually, I had the best time with The Thinker. We were always exchanging thoughts and ideas, and was always challenged to think outside of the box. Not many people can make me do that – and he did, frequently. Good thing about being with someone as brilliant as he (he was clinically diagnosed as a genius) is that you learn to have new perspectives. With The Thinker, I learned to become more tolerant, learn to respect, and see things from others eyes. I can’t say enough good things about The Thinker because he opened my mind about a lot of things, but sometimes he enjoys analyzing things so much, and a lot of times even over-analyzing things, made it cumbersome to be around. In fact, intimately, things were going downhill. When that’s all he wanted to do – to analyze a situation, a thing, a person, etc., it gets tiring, mentally draining, and you lose focus on the simple things in life that made relationships important. In fact, he got so comfortable with me as a companion and friend, than a girlfriend, I eventually fell out of love. At the end of the relationship, we were both in two different stages in our life. I was ready to take the next step, he wasn’t. He still wanted to be a kid. I remember our fights use to be volatile because we were both stubborn, opinionated, and unforgiving at times. I’ve never been called out so many times during our fights where I thought I could bs my way through a fight (being a girl, you bs a lot in fights to get your way). Maybe because I reminded him too much of his own mother, and maybe if certain situations had been different, he could have easily been the one. Moral of the story: A successful relationship should be a well-rounded one, just because the other person is a great person, doesn’t mean he or she is the right person for you. If something is missing, and you feel that there’s a void there that you just can’t fill, get out.
The reason I call this one the New York Stock Exchange because being with him was like a day at the stock market. You never know what’s going to happen. Somedays are great, somedays are terrible, and somedays you’re just barely getting by without losing it all. The NYSX and I have always had a thing for each other for a long time. When we first met, we instantly connected. In my mind, The NYSX was this glorious, unattainable, forbidden love that I like to fantasize about in my “what-if” situation thoughts. When we first met, we thought nothing serious could ever happen between the two of us because of the distance (we met when we were in our late teens, early 20s), so it all started with some shameless flirting when we were younger. Fast forward many years later, once we were reconnected thanks to mutual friends, we couldn’t help but give it a try – I mean come on, we’re adults now, we can do whatever we want! The NYSX taught me that to be with someone, you need to have patience, tolerance, courtesy, and don’t just hear the words your significant other is saying, you have to listen. Unlike The Thinker, The NYSX was a very giving and selfless lover. Some of our best times together were those very tender intimate moments. We made the most of our time together. We were so serious, that we even considered marriage. Maybe we were wiser when we were younger – knowing that it wouldn’t work the first place because of the distance – and ultimately, this was what broke us appart – the distance. That feeling of falling out of love had happened to me right before my eyes. As things took a turn for the worse with things not working out the way we had planned it (work, school, relocation etc), we knew the odds were against us. I always thought to myself, if we hadn’t actually try to have a relationship, The NYSX would have stayed beautiful, flawless and untarnished forever in my mind – something that I could no longer dream about. Now that we’ve experienced what it’s like to be together and get real serious, I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly side that I never expected to see. Moral of the story: No matter how hard you try, if it’s not ment to be, it’s not meant to be.
I hope you enjoyed my stories, let me know what you think!