Ex-Boyfriend Types and the Lessons They Teach Us

Exes are exes for a reason. It may have been good for a bit, but then issues start to creep up, things start to change, then all hell breaks loose. If you’re smart, you’ll immediately cut and run. If you’re someone who has high hopes for the future, then you’ll stick around for a bit. Either way, it will come to an end eventually. And once you’ve reveled in the loss and sadness (because even the worst of the worst can make us cry), you’ll come to a realization that in addition to all the crap they put you through, they taught you one hell of a lesson that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

1. The Cheater

Lesson: You can’t stop a cheater. You know that saying, “A tiger never changes its stripes”? Well, that sums up a cheater perfectly. For him, it’s a compulsion, and even if he regrets it, he still won’t change his ways. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but one that’s so necessary, because “once a cheater, always a cheater” isn’t a myth; it’s a fact.

2. The Loser

Lesson: You can’t succeed if you’re tied to a loser. At first, dating the guy that your family and friends actually refer to as “the loser” seems almost endearing to your perpetual teenage rebellious self, but it gets old fast. Eventually, being with someone who never has his act together, doesn’t care to get his act together, and is just a heap of waste will make you realize that if you’re ever going to amount to anything yourself, you need to cut the dead weight.

3. The Freeloader

Lesson: You’re not financially responsible for someone else. Unless you’re more than happy to be some grown man’s sugar mama, then the fact that you hung around after having foot the bill for three meals in a row is just shocking, to be honest. The freeloader has no desire to make his own money, because as long as you’re paying, why should they? If you provide a cushy, financially secure situation for someone, then he’ll never contribute his part. Not only does that make him a freeloader, but it makes you an enabler.

4. The Substance Abuser

Lesson: You’re not a babysitter. Sure, getting drunk once or twice a week is totally normal and fine! Hell, smoking a little weed when you’re out partying with your friends isn’t the worst thing in the world, either, but someone who abuses any sort of substance is just putting in you in the position of being a babysitter. It’s not your job to babysit someone else or have to cut him off after three beers, because if left to his own devices, he won’t do it himself. You have better things to do with your time.

5. The Hot Mess

Lesson: You can’t take him anywhere. Whether he’s a hot mess because he enjoys the sauce too much or if it’s just because that’s how he came into the world and that’s how he’ll leave, a hot mess is just a walking disaster. You can never trust him to behave, you can always assume he’ll make a scene, and you know for a fact you’ll be issuing apologies to at least five people before the night is over because he did something obnoxious. Again.

6. The Workaholic

Lesson: You will always be second. It’s one thing to have a strong work ethic and truly love your job, but it’s another thing to be so obsessed that everything else comes second. Once you’ve competed with a job for the attention and affection of your significant other, you’ll realize you just can’t win that one. Even with all your amazing qualities, a workaholic is always going to love his job more than you.

7. The Commitment-Phobe

Lesson: You will never feel secure in your relationship. The thing with relationships is that you want them to last, but if you’re with someone who’s scared of commitment, especially to a point where he can’t even think ahead to a couple months down the road, you’ll just always feel like you’re running around in circles. You’ll never feel secure and you’ll never know when he’s going to freak out and take off running in the opposite direction of you.

8. The Liar

Lesson: You will never be able to trust a single word they say. If you’re constantly second guessing everything your partner says, even stupid little things like whether or not he legitimately forgot to buy milk on the way home or was just straight up lazy about it, then that just sucks.

9. The ‘Whatever’ Guy

Lesson: You will spend 90% of your time trying to figure him out. He can either take you or leave you, his texts are always indecisive, and you’re pretty sure that if he never heard from you again, he’d shrug his shoulders and move on. You don’t have time to try to figure how this guy feels about you or if he’s even capable of feeling anything besides “whatever” for anyone at all.

10. The Romantic

Lesson: You should appreciate what you have. The problem with the romantic is that you don’t appreciate him until he’s gone. Your breakup was probably even romantic to a degree and involved handwritten poetry on napkins from your favorite bar or something equally sweet with a dash of creepy. No matter why the relationship came to an end, your lesson is to appreciate things while you have them.

11. The Yo-Yo

Lesson: You two don’t have a chance in hell. You break up for a reason, then you get back together for a different reason, then break up again for probably the same reason you broke up in the first place, right? So you’re forced to realize that you’re just not meant to be, like, ever.

12. The Cheapskate

Lesson: You will constantly be making up for his shortcomings. It’s one thing to be frugal, but it’s another thing to be totally cheap, because cheap people are the worst. You don’t want to spend your life doling out more because he only believes in giving a 12% tip or watching him figure out group dinner bills down to the very cent because he felt he was getting ripped off in some way. You just don’t.

13. The Narcissist

Lesson: You will always feel a little bit embarrassed. Although admittedly, the overly confident, cocky guy is always a turn on at first, he’s not good for the long run. It’s exhausting to always have to talk about him with him because it’s his favorite subject and eventually you start to notice that you’re not getting invited anywhere, because your friends are sick of talking about him with him, too.

Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.