When a toxic relationship ends, it’s easy to spot the lessons we should learn and take with us in the future. However, my last healthy relationship taught me a lot about myself, who I am as a partner, and what I need from my future relationships too.
I deserve to be treated like a queen. Whether I think we’re soul mates or we’re just taking things one date at a time, you deserve to be treated like royalty. My partner should be thoughtful, kind, and on the appropriate occasion, go well out of his way for me. I don’t expect him to bring out the full works every day, but he should be attuned to my needs and when I need some pampering—and provide it even when I don’t!
Taking time to myself is necessary. We might be each other’s partner in crime for everything—the gym, the bus to work, nights out on the weekend—but space is important. Even with the best guys, the one I can’t keep my hands off, it’s good to give myself some time apart—an evening once a week, a night out with girls, etc. The best partner for me will need that as well! We need to give ourselves time to miss each other and grow as individuals so we can grow together.
Chivalry isn’t dead. The little things do count. I want to find a guy who opens the door for me, who holds my hand as we cross the street, or who sends roses to my work on Valentine’s Day. There are romantics out there and if that’s something my heart desires at the time, I want to be open to it and express it. I’ll let future dates know that it means something to me and if he’s the guy for me, he’ll be covering those puddles with his coat for me in no time!
There are good guys out there. We get so used to dating downright a-holes sometimes that we forget that good men do exist! We have brothers and fathers and cousins and (some) male friends who aren’t trying to get into women’s pants 24/7 so we do know good ones are out there somewhere. I try to remember this whenever I get frustrated.
Good guys won’t make me doubt myself. If I learned anything from a healthy relationship, it’s that guys can make you feel good about yourself. I refuse to settle for the guy who gives backhanded compliments or criticizes my every move in life. I want the guy who admires me, who lets me know he finds me smart, thoughtful, kind, funny. If I have to doubt myself, I’m with the wrong person.
It’s not always easy. Every relationship has a cycle of ups and downs so just because things are difficult for a while doesn’t mean I should give up or throw the towel in. Relationships ARE difficult. When it happens, I plan to take a step back, breathe, figure out the problems and get back in there to see what we can do to fix it.
Communication is key. This old bit of wisdom is old and wise for a reason. You HAVE to communicate to have a healthy relationship. Keeping things bottled up inside only leads to toxic feelings and resentment. Likewise, when I’m making plans, talking about the future, or even sharing what I like in bed, I’m going to always be honest, open, and communicative! My partner may be brilliant but he can’t read my mind!
Chemistry is important. The spark isn’t everything and certainly not the foundation of a relationship, but compatibility is important. My guy’s physical presence should excite me and continue to do so months and months and (hopefully) years down the line. My sex life doesn’t need to be the be all and end all but it shouldn’t bore me either. It’s important to find a balance.
Not everything has to be an argument and sometimes it’s important to compromise. The best partnerships are built on compromise. One day it’s my favorite Italian place, the next it’s that Chinese takeout he loves. Last summer we hiked in the mountains of Cali with his guys, this year we’re going to explore the museums of France with my friends and their beaus. We need to be able to meet each other in the middle and not argue over every little decision.
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