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Things I've Learned From Past Relationships

Updated on April 22, 2014

I may be only 23-years-old (from when I posted this), but I feel like I learned important lessons from each of the men that have had significant impacts in my life, regardless if I dated them or not. These lessons have shaped the rest of my life and I feel makes me a better person because of them.

I feel like my life lessons can help make you a stronger person and more sensible in the long run. I'm a firm believer in you don't learn anything until you learn it the hard way, and trust me I learned all of my life experience the hard way.


This guy was a huge part of my life for maybe 5 or 4 years and we slowly faded out. He was my best friend and even though we were miles apart, we talked everyday and we knew pretty much everything about each other. He confessed his love for me one night during a fight and I was totally taken by surprise. I knew he cared about me but didn't realize the extent of it. Due to the distance we never did anything about it and we were young so there was nothing we could do. We still saw other people but stayed close.

He knew I cared about him and because of this, if he was having a bad day, he would take it out on me, just being mean and saying hurtful things or just taking his anger out on me verbally. Because I was young and I cared about him a lot, I dealt with it and tried my best to make him happy, but sometimes that wasn't enough. It would make me sad and helpless that I couldn't make him happy at that time when it used to be so easy.

This is the first lesson I learned. I refuse to be someone's punching bag. There's a difference between someone venting to you and someone taking it out on you. It's important to know the difference and when a line has been crossed. It's also important to call them out on their shit and make them realize what they're doing. If they're knowingly doing this to you, repeatedly, that's not right and you need to make a change. Communication is essential and making sure you're on the same page is important. Don't be afraid to speak up. Who knows when the verbal abuse may become physical.


He came into my life shortly after Jason wasn't in it anymore. He slowly became my best friend and was in my life for a little under a year and a half. He's amazing and we could literally talk about anything. It was with him that I learned what it felt like to be in love. For me, being in love and being so afraid to tell the other person how you feel that it physically hurts your heart to not be able to tell the other person how you feel. But once again there was the distance, only three hours this time, but when neither of you have a car, it seems even farther away.

With Tim, it was me who was at fault. I was a freshman in college and even though he and I were not together, I guess in his mind we were exclusive, which in retrospect we should have talked about but never did. I ended up hooking up with my best guy friend from college (no sex) one night during a sleepover so we could work on homework and get to class at a reasonable time in the morning. At first I didn't think I had done anything wrong, but of course I didn't know any better. Well, I kept it a secret from him for a few months and felt really guilty and (because I was young and dumb) I said "it only happened because you weren't there." And I literally felt like I put him into a minor depression because he barely talked to me anymore and started talking to his best friend from back home in England (military brat) and come December he goes back to England for Christmas for the whole month, assures me that he's forgiven me and that he's coming back, and lo and behold I see photos of him on FB kissing his best friend from back home.

I learned that being faithful is the most important thing in a relationship, even if you're not dating yet and just in the talking phase and it's serious. If I had not messed around like I did, I may have dated the man of my dreams and be engaged to him right now. But now I'll never know. I still wonder to this day what would have happened if I had never did what I had done and betray his trust like I did. He did get me back in the worst way and I know I deserved it. He and that girl are engaged now so I guess it all worked out for the best. But I'll always wonder the big, "what if".

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Fast forward 10 months after Tim broke my heart and William comes into my life. William came at a time where I was very happy and content with life. He and I dated for over two and a half years. He and I were long distance the majority of our relationship with varying degrees of distance. I was away at college and he was back at home, and then he joined the military. And to be honest, I've yet to be happy and content with my life since it ended.

I learned many things while dating him:

  • My mental and emotional health are some of the most important things I have in this life. (I made my first hub post about this very lesson)
  • Open communication and effort is very important when it comes to long distance relationships.
  • Appreciate the little things because they won't always be there.
  • Once the relationship is over, embrace all of the things you didn't like about them and use them to understand why it didn't work out.

I'm not in love with him anymore, but I'll always love him.


Dale was the first guy I dated after William and I were over. I knew from the beginning that he was more into me than I was into him. I didn't want to rush into anything and he asked me out twice prior to us dating and I said no each time because I felt it was too soon. The next time he started complaining about how I said no twice I asked him out so he would shut up about it.

Prior to us dating he was incredibly sweet. While we were talking I woke up every morning to good morning text messages and we talked all day long and had great conversation. Literally the day after he and I started dating, the good morning text messages stopped and I felt like he had no idea how to talk to me anymore. The conversation was so bland and forced, through text messages at least.

He didn't have a car so I would need to drive everywhere, and he didn't have a lot of side money, so I ended up paying for nearly everything. He wanted to give me the world but didn't know how to.

I didn't want to spend money so we didn't go out to places. And when it came to picking him up, driving back to my place, driving him back home and then me driving home, it was 40 miles round trip. And I didn't really mind the driving all too much, but it was the fact that I never got a thank you for doing it.

About a month into the relationship I was unhappy and because I believe in communication in relationships, I told Dale I was unhappy. He immediately thought I was going to break up with him, but I just wanted to give him a chance to change and make things better. I just wanted effort from him and I explained why I was unhappy. He tried to make changes but went about it in the wrong way. He bought a car that was really a project and undriveable for the future months and started working at his Uncle's motorcycle shop to earn money, but then I barely saw him.

I still never got good morning text messages and during a week long trip to California, it was our 2 months. I'm from Florida so I was three hours behind him while I was in California so I had an expectation that I would wake up to a "Happy 2 Months" text message from him. Nothing of the sort happened. We had whale watching planned that morning so I really couldn't be on my phone. We didn't get back to our resort till about 2pm California time, 5pm Florida time and I still haven't heard from him. I was very disappointed ended up sending a Happy 2 Months snapchat so he could see and hear me say it. I didn't hear back for several hours and was even more disappointed because it wasn't the first thing he said to me.

I barely talked to him the whole time I was in California and once I was finally back he still was barely talking to me and wasn't excited at all that I was back. I knew that I couldn't take it anymore and I ended up breaking up with him after two months. Don't get me wrong, Dale was a good boyfriend, called me beautiful everyday even when I told him he was crazy for thinking that, and always asked me to text him whenever I got home from dropping him off. I know he cared, but the little things matter to me and the effort he put in wasn't enough.

He was heartbroken and apparently had fallen in love with me in those two months together (which totally took me by surprise). Shortly before me breaking up with him he was diagnosed with Leukemia and colon cancer. He didn't tell me until 2 days after finding out and during that time he moved an hour and a half away and didn't tell me until it had already been done. He completely alienated me and pushed me away. I knew that breaking up with him was the best option for my mental and emotional health because I knew I was still unhappy and I knew it wasn't going to get better anytime soon. I told him I would support him as a friend, but I couldn't be there for him as a girlfriend. He took it as abandonment and barely talked to me for the rest of his days and passed away in his sleep April 15th, 2014.

He died thinking I had stopped caring about him when in reality all I wanted to do was be there for him and hold him. The last time I saw him was in February before my California trip. I'll never get my closure because his family hates me for what I did because in their eyes, his happiness is the only thing that mattered, not mine. I never stopped trying to see him and I never went a day since breaking up with him to ask how he was. I wasn't in love with him, but I cared about him a lot and I always will. I still talk to him every night, hoping he's listening.

What I learned from dating Dale is that my happiness is important to me. Your own personal happiness should be important to yourself and I feel like many people forget that. If you're not happy in your relationship, talk to your partner about it and try to see if things can be better, don't give up on something that could be good. I know I could have fallen in love with him eventually if he hadn't have been sick our whole relationship, but obviously it's a bit too late to explore that option.

Relationship Advice

I haven't been completely discouraged by my unsuccessful love life. I've had some success with it and now I know what I want and need to be happy. I've learned a lot and I know my soulmate is out there waiting for us to find each other. Please let me know if any of my experiences has helped you see things from a different perspective when it comes to relationships. I wouldn't have wrote this hub if I didn't genuinely feel like it would help you. Please let me know =)


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    • floridacupcake profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Thank you!

    • Ryem profile image


      4 years ago from Maryland

      I really like this hub. Whenever I go through a break up, I try to find a lesson in it that will help me in the future. I agree with a lot of what you said here.

    • floridacupcake profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Thank you :)

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image


      4 years ago

      I like your insight. Great hub :)


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