Love Lessons From My Exes

By: Morgan

By: Morgan

For being only nineteen I’ve lived through some intense relationships and learned some valuable love lessons from my exes.  I would feel selfish not sharing what I’ve learned with others because not everyone has experienced what I have at such a young age. Having so much experience is bittersweet, when I think about it, because I don’t want to be jaded about love. I want to keep that butterflies in your tummy, optimistic feeling as long as I can. After reading what my aunt learned from her exes, I realized the best way to do that is to learn my own lesson and move on after each breakup. And share what I’ve learned with others. Auntie Venom is all about advice, insight and “cautionary tales,” right? So let’s do this.

*Disclaimer*

These lessons are in no particular order and I’m not here to bash anyone. I regret nothing (except staying in an emotionally abusive relationship too long) and appreciate the good times I had with these guys and what I learned from the experience.

That being said, here are my favorite love lessons from my exes:

Your first love will most likely not be your last (Thank the baby Jesus!)

Your first love is exciting and scary and if it lasts for longer than four months, you think “wow this might be the one.” In reality, though, it’s probably not. Especially if you’re 15 like I was. Imagine how I felt, dating someone seriously for an entire year and then some, and for the majority of that time, things were going wonderfully. A doting boyfriend and constant Valentine’s Day feeling fogged my vision of reality. So as soon as it ended, I was destroyed and thought for the first time “I’m never going to get over this.” I’ve always been one for the dramatics, so there’s that. But obviously, I made it through and on to the next boyfriend. And more love lessons.

The rebound guy should not become your boyfriend

I’ve dealt with this twice because, for some reason, I didn’t learn the first time. I rebounded after my first break up and thought I was ready for a new boyfriend. I wasn’t. I felt needy and suffocated at the same time. Everything felt off. I ended it quickly but hurt someone in the process. The second time was after another breakup and once again I tried to turn a rebound into a relationship but the guy was not boyfriend material. Honestly, rebounds in general, probably aren’t a good idea now that I think about it. You’re too vulnerable to make good decisions.

Emotional abuse is real. It hurts badly and scars deeply

I used to think abuse meant punches and bruises and physical pain. So did a lot of my friends. When I was in an emotionally abusive relationship, I cannot tell you how many times I heard, “Well, at least he didn’t hit you.” Have you ever been hit in the heart? Hurts too. Threatening suicide as a bargain for you not to leave is emotional abuse. Telling you to shut up because your opinion doesn’t matter is emotional abuse. Getting mad because you won’t sleep with them IS emotional abuse and also disgusting. I was in an abusive relationship about four months longer than I wanted because I was worried about the other person. But also because I felt worthless and powerless and broken, just the way he wanted me to. When you tell someone in an emotionally abusive relationship “Break up with them,” just know its way more complicated than that. (Post coming soon talking more about this.)

Some breakups are a blessing in disguise 

I was in a relationship for a while and I thought things were going great because they were! Then suddenly with no warning it was over because he “didn’t love me anymore.” Surprisingly I was only sad for about two days and moved on. Of course I missed all the fun times and what a great person I thought he was, but I realized I felt the same. There were just too many things we both couldn’t put up with about each other. So I realized it was for the best. Of all the love lessons I’ve learned, this one may have been the hardest.

Distance is possible but HARD

Now I know those of you who haven’t been in a long distance relationship are reading this and are saying “Duh, it’s hard but if you love them you can make it work.” And sure that’s somewhat true but it takes a lot more than that. My distance was only a three hour one but we rarely got to see each other. We both loved each other so much and were willing to make it work but sometimes you stop wanting to try because it’s that hard. Sometimes FaceTime just doesn’t cut it. After this short long distance relationship, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want to do that again. I’m not discouraging anyone from trying it, because let’s face it, the heart wants what it wants. I am however providing you a cautionary tale that it’s a lot harder than you really think.

Timing is everything

Someone I dated in high school was two years older than me and we had a short four-month relationship. We knew he was leaving for school but decided to date anyway. We talked about continuing the relationship but realized we were at two different points in our lives. I was gearing up for junior year and thinking about homecoming and he was focused on rushing a fraternity and adjusting to his new life. We were smart enough to quit while we were ahead and now he and I happen to be extremely close. Had we tried to date while he was away and going to parties and hanging out with friends and getting too busy for a high school girlfriend, I don’t think we’d have experienced the same outcome. See, some love lessons come easily.

There you have it. Six hard-learned love lessons from my exes. Got any you’d like to share? Sound off below!

The Aunt-bassadors Share Their Love Lessons: 

Don’t be afraid to walk away when you know it’s a sinking ship. You WILL survive without him. – Karen K.

To listen to my gut more than I did (though, arguably, at 21 or 25, my gut didn’t scream as loudly as it does today, figuratively speaking, of course). Don’t cater to random hobbies of someone else that bore you or simply don’t make sense. It’s not worth it. Like Karen just commented, you’ll survive without him or her, and remarkably, the Earth has given us (almost) unlimited amounts of potential partnerships. Explore. Find passion beyond just one person. – Heather N.

If someone wants to spend time with you, they will and there won’t be lame excuses. Also, your gut is always right. – Amanda H.

I like that one too! I was going to say that if he likes you, you’ll know it. You won’t have to ask or wonder or drive your girlfriends nuts dissecting each word or each text. You will know where you stand, and it will be a wonderful thing! – Jennifer K.

Make sure a friendship is there otherwise you have nothing. – Kristie D.

If they’re not OK with you making the first move, they’re not the one for you. – Clair M.

Oh. Thought of another one–Don’t think they’ll change. They won’t. I know that from previous failed relationships AND from being married for almost 15 years. THEY. DO. NOT. CHANGE. Love my husband. But, no. He’s never going to change. – Karen K.

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2 Comments on “Love Lessons From My Exes”

  1. “I want to kill myself.” I’ve read some of the destructive comments on this post. Everyone seems to think that suicide is about the other person. But it is about the PERSON who attempted and no one else.

    Those five words are a shock to hear, a dreadful pronouncement from a friend or family member you do not want to lose. You recoil at the thought. How could they want to die? As unwelcome as those words are to your ears, your loved one has handed you a gift. He or she is letting you in. By telling you they want to die, they are giving you the opportunity to help. What you say next is very important. It could lead to your friend or family member letting you in even more – or shutting the door. Understandably you are full of emotion, and you might have many thoughts, some helpful, some not. Here are 10 common responses that can do harm.

    First, a caveat: In general, these statements can convey judgment and foster alienation. But, depending on the context, some people might respond positively to at least some of these responses.

    “How could you think of suicide? Your life’s not that bad.”

    Perhaps on the outside the suicidal person’s life does not seem “that bad.” The pain lies underneath. It can greatly help a suicidal person to feel understood. This sort of statement conveys disbelief and judgment, not understanding.

    “Don’t you know I would be devastated if you killed yourself? How could you think of hurting me like that?”

    Your loved one already feels awful. Heaping guilt on top of that is not going to help them feel soothed, understood, or welcome to tell you more.

    “Suicide is selfish.”

    This inspires more guilt. Two points are important here. One, many people who seriously consider suicide actually think they are burdening their family by staying alive. So, in their distressed, perhaps even mentally ill state of mind, they would be helping their loved ones by freeing them of this burden. Two, isn’t it a natural response to excruciating pain to think first of helping oneself escape the torment?

    “Suicide is cowardly.”

    This inspires shame. It also does not really make sense. Most people fear death. While I hesitate to call suicide brave or courageous, overcoming the fear of death does not strike me as cowardly, either.

    “You don’t mean that. You don’t really want to die.”

    Often said out of anxiety or fear, this message is invalidating and dismissive. Presume that the person really does mean that they want to die. It does more harm to dismiss someone who is truly suicidal than it does to take someone seriously who is not suicidal, so why not just take everyone seriously? “You have so much to live for.” In some contexts, this kind of statement might be a soothing reminder of abundance and hope. But for many people who think of suicide and do not at all feel they have much to live for, this remark can convey a profound lack of understanding.

    “Things could be worse.”

    Yes, things could be worse, but that knowledge does not inspire joy or hope. I compare it to two people who are stabbed, one in the chest, one in the leg. It is far worse to be stabbed in the chest, but that does not make the pain go away for the person stabbed in the leg. It still hurts. A lot. So even if people who think of suicide have many good things going for them, even if their lives could be far worse, they still experience a seemingly intolerable situation that makes them want to die.

    “Other people have problems worse than you and they don’t want to die.”

    True, and your loved one may well have already considered this with shame. People who want to die often compare themselves to others and come up wanting. They may even feel defective or broken. Comparing them to others who cope better may only worsen their self-condemnation.

    “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

    I do know people, especially teens, for whom this statement was tremendously helpful. It spoke to them. But it also communicates that the person’s problems are temporary, when they might be anything but. In such a situation, a realistic goal for the person might be to learn to cope with problems and to live a meaningful life in spite of them. The other problem with this statement is it conveys that suicide is a solution – permanent, yes, and a solution. At a minimum, I recommend changing the word “solution” to “act” or “action,” simply to avoid reinforcing that suicide does indeed solve problems.

    “You will go to hell if you die by suicide.” Your loved one has likely already thought of this possibility. Maybe they do not believe in hell. Maybe they believe the god they believe in will forgive their suicide. Regardless, their wish to die remains. Telling them they will go to hell can exacerbate feelings of alienation.

    1. Thank you for your comment. This is a very complex subject and I think it’s important to note that this was not an attempted suicide but repeated threats, which left Morgan hurt, confused and feeling manipulated. (She definitely did not offer any of the responses on your list.) She plans to write more on the difficult subject of emotional abuse, not from the perspective of a therapist or counselor (which she is not) but as someone who experienced this type of toxic relationship. Her feelings are her own and are valid. Anyone looking to read more on the subject should check out this article: http://www.thehotline.org/2014/08/when-your-partner-threatens-suicide/

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