8 Love Mistakes I Made In My 20s That I’ll Never Make Again

Your twenties are such a formative time in your life. For many, this decade cements your place in the world: you start your career, get married, have babies, and are fully settled by your 30th birthday. However, for a lot of us, the twenties are a strange and awkward decade of figuring yourself out and just sort of stumbling through life. Now that I’m closing in on my 30th birthday, I’m reflecting back on some of those big mistakes and finding comfort in the fact that I will never make these mistakes again.

  1. I sacrificed everything in my life to impress a guy. There were a couple of times where I was so in love with someone that I would do anything and everything for them. The extent to which I went to impress some of these guys is honestly embarrassing to even think about now because I can’t believe that I would put them on such a pedestal. When I first met my soulmate, I was completely shocked by the fact that he did all of these sweet, romantic things to win me over. The right person for you will never make you feel like you have to give up everything just to be what they want. If they let you do that, they’re taking advantage of you, plain and simple. The person who takes advantage of your huge heart does not deserve you at all.
  2. I changed key things about myself to appear more attractive. Oh, this one is pretty shameful too. You name it, I probably did it. I changed the way that I dressed, I dyed my hair blonde, I lost weight then gained some of it back, I changed the kind of music I listened to and the TV shows I watched, and so many more details. If I thought that I had a better chance at getting this guy to like me, I would change whatever I needed to. It’s so silly to think back on because your true person is just going to let you be you. You won’t even consider changing because they’ll love you just the way you are. It’s such a liberating and freeing feeling knowing that you can just be completely authentic and true to yourself all of the time.
  3. I dropped friendships and lost relationships for a guy. This is something that I think a lot of us have struggled with. When you start dating someone new, it can be difficult to find the perfect balance of spending time with them and spending time with your friends and family. Sure, when relationships are just starting out, you want to be with that person a lot but, the right guy for you will never make you feel like you have to abandon your friends to appease him. I’ve had relationships in the past where I’ve ended up completely losing friends because they got tired of me blowing them off to hang out with some guy who ended up being a total jerk at the end of the day. It’s sad to think back on those lost relationships now. However, it really provided a learning experience for me and showed me what can happen if you let a guy control you.
  4. I accepted poor treatment when I knew I deserved better. It’s so hard to speak up about or walk away from an unhealthy relationship when you are in love with the person but the fact of the matter is that if they’re not treating you the way you deserve to be treated, then you’re just wasting your time. You could be giving your time and love to someone who truly appreciates and cares about you. This guy who can’t even be bothered to be kind to you is just a loser who doesn’t know how lucky he is. You’ve got to tell yourself that you deserve better and have the strength to walk away. You’ll be so thankful you did once you meet your Prince Charming.
  5. I let guys control my emotions and determine my self-worth. We’ve all spent nights crying over stupid guys and it’s usually because we’ve allowed them to control so much of our confidence and self-worth. If they blow us off or make us feel insignificant, we let it make us feel like we’re the problem or that we’ve done something to deserve that kind of treatment. That is the farthest thing from the truth, babe. Don’t you want to be in a relationship with someone who calls when they say they will, shows up for you, and proves to you every day how lucky they feel to have you in their life? That guy is out there and he’s looking for you too but you have to cut that dead weight out of your life first so that you can find Mr. Right.
  6. I gave up my own identity. Another one of the huge sacrifices that I unfortunately made in past relationships was giving up any sense of individuality that I had because I was so wrapped up in how the guy was feeling and if his needs were being met. It’s completely unfair to you to allow your feelings for someone to swallow up your zest for life and the things that you enjoy spending your time doing. Even if you’re in a healthy relationship, you still need to make time for those things that feed your soul and make you happy. If your devotion to man is making it impossible for you to find time for yourself, that is not okay.
  7. I lowered my standards to justify his behavior. Every woman has an idea of the perfect man in her head. We have a vision of what our soulmate will be like and typically there is a set of standards that pretty non-negotiable for us. However, sticking to those standards can be tricky when you find yourself really falling for someone. We tend to make allowances for people when we’re blinded by love but if you find yourself compromising some pretty concrete standards you have previously set for any romantic prospects, that’s a sign that the relationship is unhealthy and you need to get out.
  8. I let myself believe that I’d never find anything better. Unhealthy relationships can take a serious toll on our self-esteem and after being with someone who doesn’t value you or show you what it really means to be loved and cherished, you might fight yourself thinking that this is all that life has to offer for you and you won’t find anything better so you might as well just settle. Nothing could be farther from the truth! You deserve a true partner who will make you feel special and loved every, single day. Once you find them you’ll look back on this time in your life and be so grateful to know what you know now.
Shelby is a journalist and fiction writer raised in the South but built for the big city. She's a book nerd (well, an overall nerd, honestly) and coffee addict and obsessed with all things leather and lacy.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Sam Houston State University and worked for her university newspaper, The Houstonian, as well as serving as a producer and part-time entertainment anchor for Cable 7 Huntsville. You can follow her on Twitter @shelby777.