Raise your hand if you have had a relationship that you wish you could press the delete button on and never have to think about it again. Aren’t you grateful that you don’t have to worry about people staring at you right now? Well, try not to feel too badly. I’ve certainly been in the same position where I had relationships that I wish I never experienced.
I’ve spent months and even years obsessing about whether or not I should reach out to men who I’d dated in the past to try to rekindle what we had. My reasoning was that maybe this time we could make things work. I’m proud to say that I am now firmly focused on planning for the future and having different relationships than the ones that I didn’t enjoy in the past. Here’s what I’ve learned about bad dating experiences and what you can do to achieve better relationships.
Figure out your values
It might seem silly to make a point to figure out your values because you probably think that you already know what your values are. However, it was through a lot of bad dating experiences that I was forced to discover what my values really and truly are.
Some of my exes were and maybe still are smokers, and I am not a smoker at all. I understand that addictions are very common. I have a serious love and possible addiction to soap operas and I doubt that I’ll be giving up my love of serial dramas any time soon. But, being exposed to second-hand smoke is not something I’m keen on. The sad thing is that during past relationships, I had accepted breathing in second-hand smoke if it meant being with the person I was with. That’s not something I’m willing to do anymore.
Some of my exes didn’t share my spiritual faith beliefs. You need to think long and hard about it if you want to build your life with someone whose beliefs are the total opposite of your own. While it’s possible that yours or your partner’s beliefs will change, it’s not worth it to invest your emotions in someone who makes it clear to you that they don’t want to walk in faith with you. You might have children with this person; do you really want to raise children with someone who will teach them to believe in a system that you don’t agree with? I’ve realized how important it is to be with someone who is like-minded.
Focus on the future
It’s difficult to focus on the future when your mind and thoughts are focused on the past. It’s easy to let your thoughts center on the things that didn’t work out in your former relationships. However, when you constantly focus on your negative experiences, what you are actually doing is cementing perceptions of relationships in your mind.
Forget about throwing a pity party for yourself! When all of your perceptions of relationships are about what you don’t want, you might forget to focus on what you do want. Worse, you might feel that you’ll NEVER get what you want in a partnership. You need to train yourself to see relationships with a positive attitude and expect to get a positive result. And the truth is that your exes helped you to realize your needs. Isn’t that a great way to look at things?
Choose good role models
Every person on the planet has experienced disappointment; it’s not just you who has had setbacks. And, because no man or woman is an island, you should aim to learn from others who have experienced similar heartbreaks. Create a system to help you build towards better, stronger, and more fulfilling connections. There are plenty of self-help books, audiobooks, and podcasts available on the market for you to gather motivation from. Your new role models have made mistakes with love and life decisions, but they have also bounced back from defeat.
Resolve to never settle
How much drama do you really need in your life? Admittedly, some drama can be fun, but too much of it in your personal life can haunt you, and not in a good way. When you meet someone new who you think you might want to date, listen to the information that he or she shares with you. If the conversation centers on past relationships and complaints about work, then politely steer it to other topics. If your date continues chatting about things you don’t want to hear about, then resolve to move on with someone else. It’s not a good sign when your date is more interested in talking about exes and work problems than talking about you.
Never settle for someone just because you are feeling lonely. There’s no point in being with someone who adds misery to your life instead of happiness. The patterns in your past relationships don’t need to be repeated in your future. Are you ready to passionately pursue the life and relationship that you desire? There is so much to look forward to.