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Hats Off to Our Former Lovers

Updated on February 18, 2009

Giving Credit When it's Due

It is very human to be angry with our past lovers, especially those who have recently departed from our lives, though maybe not from our hearts. In fact, the more recently a couple has separated, the more animosity there is sure to exist. However, as time heals, as time is prone to do, we often become more reflective, logical, and less attached to our emotions regarding our former lovers. It is here that we are able to glimpse not how that person wronged us, but how they set us aright in certain areas of our life, and this is key to healthy growth.

Someone recently said to me “We’re with women because they make us better people.” This was amazing to me, as a man, to hear from another man. Though many men are indeed quite complimentary of women (even when no woman is within earshot), it is always refreshing for me to hear this sort of statement nonetheless. It is certainly better than the misogynistic statements that so many immature men are prone to spurting out without thinking. As a brother to 8 sisters, I always prefer the former attitude.

Moreover, I don’t see relationships or the treatment towards the opposite sex as a one-way street. Rather, I think that men and women, when receptive to it, are open to bettering themselves both during and after a relationship. Optimally, one should make oneself as good as possible for a man or woman of one’s interest, but even if a relationship goes sour, it is good to reflect upon what our ex’s have taught us.

First, there are the little things. These are the millions of miscellaneous habits that men and women do that annoy the living shipwreck out of their lovers. Whether it be tracking mud into the house, not cleaning up after making a mess at the sink or the stove, not doing the dishes, leaving the cap off of the toothpaste, discombobulating the shape of the toothpaste tube with unconsidered squeezing, poor tipping at a restaurant, shoddy dress habits, picking one’s nose or ears in public, or any such habits.

Next come the middle-of-the-ground habits that lovers so tend to detest. These have a more important standing upon not only whether or not a relationship will last, but also as to how long that relationship may stand. These secondary bad habits are often of a social nature, such as treatment of restaurant servers, treatment of a lover’s friends, where one’s eyes go when a buxom woman or brutally handsome man passes by, and the way a lover’s parents are avoided or reacted to.

Finally, there are the bigger issues. These make or break a relationship, sometimes creating fissures at the very beginning. These include cheating (which lovers tend to sense over time, even if they haven’t got absolute proof of the infidelity), maltreatment or cruelty to animals or one’s children, daily pornography or excessive video game habits, drug and alcohol issues, and more and more, tobacco usage, particularly in light of having children.

Of course, there are a myriad of examples of habits that we might exhibit (or even secretly try to hide, though lovers tend to catch on to these fairly rapidly).

Many times it is difficult for people to cease such habits while still in a relationship; though this may be a great point of discontent with a lover, it is not until the relationship is no more that change can be affected. Though this is a bit sad, even pathetic depending upon the habit, the point is that change may still take place and the next man or woman that becomes a lover gets a better you. That’s nice about life, isn’t it: there is always time and room to improve, though the best time is now. It is a great testimony to our past lovers that we are able to make any change at all in many cases. Hats off to our former lovers, for despite their own possible shortcomings, they have made excellent teachers.


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