How Having A Crappy Dating Past Made Me A Better Girlfriend When I Finally Found Love

How Having A Crappy Dating Past Made Me A Better Girlfriend When I Finally Found Love ©iStock/Wavebreakmedia

My life hasn’t been easy, and my love life was terrible for a long time. But although the rough years ground me down like coarse sandpaper,  I didn’t realize that I’d emerge from the experience shining more brightly than ever, especially now that I’ve found actual love. I know that I’m different because of all I’ve been through, especially in terms of how I love.

  1. I know what it’s like to be disrespected, so I won’t do it. The most important lesson I learned from my rough relationship history is that respect is a requirement in relationships. Unfortunately, I learned that lesson by being disrespected a lot and finding out firsthand how crappy it feels. Having experienced it myself, I absolutely refuse to treat anyone like that.
  2. I’m thankful for the relationship I have. My history of rough relationships broke me down. It made me bitter and jaded, but it also made me appreciate the value of a good relationship when I finally found one. If I didn’t know how bad relationships could be, I wouldn’t have such a strong appreciation for how good they can be either.
  3. I’ll fight for a good relationship because I see the value in it. I won’t give up easily, nor will I run away when things get tough. The hardest day in a good relationship is still so much easier than the average day in a bad relationship, and that reality keeps me in perspective because I know exactly how bad it can be.
  4. I’ll always be faithful. I’ve been on the painful side of an unfaithful relationship, and I know how much it sucks, which means that I can’t be that person. Because I know firsthand how much it hurts, I can’t possibly inflict that kind of pain on someone I love.
  5. I’m well acquainted with my trust issues and they can’t defeat me anymore.  I have to give my anxiety and trust issues some credit, because they almost successfully made me run away from what has become the best relationship of my life. Nice try, but now I’ve established control and I’m not letting them impact my life the way they used to. They still try, and sometimes it’s like having an internal civil war that I have to win every day.
  6. I’m still independent; I just expanded my efforts to include supporting him, too. The right relationship doesn’t take away your independence; it just alters it to include one more. The hard years I spent struggling to get ahead in life by myself seem worth it now because bossing up life is what I do, and it’s not so hard anymore. Because I’m so comfortable being a boss already, it’s not a crazy leap to include a partner in my empire. In fact, it’s refreshing; it makes me not want to be the lone empress ever again.
  7. I love hard and I give my whole heart because that’s how love should be. I’ve been in a relationship with someone who wasn’t giving me his whole heart, and it was obvious. It hurt a lot, but it was an important lesson to learn about love. If you find yourself unable to give your whole heart, it’s not the right relationship. If it’s the real deal, it’ll be a little scary but you’ll know it’s right, and you’ll be able to jump in with both feet, ready to embrace the madness and the joy.
Anna Martin Yonk is a freelance writer and blogger in sunny North Carolina. She loves hanging out with her goofy husband and two rescue dogs and can be found at the beach with a drink in hand whenever possible. You can find her on Instagram @mrsyonkdogmom or on her Facebook page.