Before you eventually (hopefully) settle down with your long-term partner, you have to spend years navigating the dating world, and it sucks. It’s common to go through some terrible breakups and some not-so-bad ones, leading us to think back on our exes with different feelings. The important thing to remember is that all of our exes can teach us something, if only we’re willing to learn the lessons (and avoid repeating them). If you didn’t recognize any of your exes the last time we talked about this, hopefully you’ll find your former flings in the following list.
1. The Nuts Ex: You can’t cross paths with this one without something strange happening. Either the ex follows you around like a puppy, or he makes a scene about your breakup that happened long ago. You avoid this ex at all costs because you value your life.
What he teaches you: The overly attached guys aren’t romantic, they’re nuts and should be avoided.
2. The One That Got Away: Even when you’re happy, you can’t help but wonder what life would have been like if you were still with him. He made you happy and had all of the qualities you were looking for, it was just bad timing.
What he teaches you: Love is possible, but it’s not always enough to save a relationship.
3. The Platonic Friend: The breakup wasn’t messy; neither of you had enough feelings invested to hate each other. You still hang out as friends and you have no urge to be anything more. You just don’t have any romantic chemistry.
What he teaches you: Some relationships might not work out, but they could lead to awesome friendships.
4. The Ex With Benefits: Unlike the platonic friend, you still have chemistry in the bedroom. You might not be as interested in hanging out together in the daytime, but you certainly are at night. You plan on having your fun until one of you finds a real relationship.
What he teaches you: Plenty of new things in bed, because if you’re going to sleep together why not experiment a little?
5. The One-Sided Soul Mate: This one just can’t let things go. Unlike the nuts ex, this one doesn’t make you fear for your life, he just makes you really sad with his incessant, pathetic begging for another chance and insistence that you’re the only one he’ll ever love. You try to avoid him because you have run out of ways to say no.
What he teaches you: Even if you want to love someone as much as they love you, you can’t force your feelings. Letting someone go truly could be the nicest thing you can do for them.
6. The Forgotten Ex: You never really think about this guy. You often forget you even dated until someone or something randomly brings it up. You don’t have anything against him, it’s just that the relationship was so short or so long ago that it doesn’t really matter.
What he teaches you: You might feel really strongly about someone when you’re in the moment, but down the line you’ll probably realize he wasn’t as important as you thought he was, and that’s fine. Feelings tend to cloud this fact.
7. The Embarrassing Ex: You wish you could forget you dated him, but no luck. You see how weird he is in hindsight, but you were blind in the moment. People often come to you with new, stories about him and you die on the inside knowing that your mouths touched at one point.
What he teaches you: We all need a wake up call at times when we’re veering off track and making terrible decisions. This ex most likely was the one who taught you what you don’t want in life, and for that, you’re forever thankful.
8. The On Again, Off Again Ex: You’ve probably mistaken him for “The One That Got Away”, so you’re always up for giving him another shot. However, that shot is always blown. Common mistake, but if it’s not working time after time, chances are it wasn’t meant to be and you should break the cycle.
What he teaches you: Maybe he was a cheater who you thought would change but didn’t. Maybe he mistreated you but you thought you deserved it until you realized you didn’t. Either way, you hopefully walk away learning how to break an unhealthy cycle.
9. The Ghost: After you broke up, he fell off the planet by ghosting you. This guy made sure you weren’t friends on social media anymore,cut off your common friends and goes out of his way to ensure you never run into each other in public. Chances are, the break up wasn’t a good one and you’ll probably never speak again.
What he teaches you: You can’t be friends with all of your exes and that’s okay. Some people come into your life only for a certain time to teach you something and then leave.
10. The Overanalyzer: This one is still pretty damaged, and likely single. You’re on good terms, but this just allows the him to always go back to you for love advice and to see what went wrong in your relationship. It’s annoying, but you try to help because he really is a good person and will eventually make some girl happy, you hope.
What he teaches you: There is such thing as too much closure. Picking apart a relationship doesn’t really help because you’re stuck in the past instead of moving on and seeing what else is out there.
11. The Married Ex: That’s right. He’s moved on so far, vows have been exchanged with another woman. It’s weird whether you were still into this person when you broke up or not. You might even feel totally left behind if you’re still single and searching.
What he teaches you: If you really liked this guy, you might be a little heartbroken about not being the one he chose to wife, but learn to be patient. Marriage could happen to you, but things happen at different paces for different people.
12. The Gay Ex: You dated this guy before he came out the closet. You were probably surprised once you heard the news, but you’re happy for him.
What he teaches you: Someone else’s sexuality isn’t about you. Some people’s journey just involves trying out heterosexual relationships to figure out where they fall on the spectrum or to allow them to find self-acceptance.
13. The One You Burned: In this case, you’re the one who did something wrong. You try not to think about it because it just makes you feel like a bad person. Chances are, you don’t speak anymore and when you do, it’s really awkward.
What he teaches you: Not to make the same mistake in your future relationships and why what you did was wrong.