I’ve Let Guys Destroy Me Before, But It’s Never Going To Happen Again

They say that love hurts, but let’s be real here — love doesn’t hurt, it’s the rejection and betrayal and loss that destroy us. I’ve been a victim of that kind of pain far too many times, and before, it left me a broken shell of my former self. But after being single for a while and learning a few harsh lessons from men who did me wrong, this is why I know I’ll never again let a guy be the reason I hit that emotional low:

  1. I’ve learned to rely more on my head than my heart. In the past, I’ve been hurt because I let my feelings get the best of me. Even when I knew a guy was bad news, I stuck around because, hey, I really liked him and wanted to believe he’d change. Now, I know better. If my brain and heart are at odds over someone I’m dating, I’m going to listen to my head no matter how much it hurts.
  2. I’ve let my bitterness make me stronger. I’m definitely not the girl who once believed in fairytale love, but I don’t just sit there stewing in my own anger about how I’ve been hurt. Instead, I’ve chosen to transform my pain into learning experiences. I’m not just going to go around making the same mistakes; I’m going to be a smarter, stronger woman the next time I feel myself falling for someone.
  3. I’m not the same girl I was before. The old me was naive and way too hopeful. She’d cry and pretty much cease to function whenever a guy broke her heart. But that woman is long gone. The person I am now knows that even the people you’d least expect to hurt you are still capable of it, and she’s prepared for anything even when things seem like they’re going perfectly.
  4. I’m not letting anyone tear down my walls until I know it’s safe. It makes me sad that I can’t trust anyone enough to be vulnerable around them, but if that’s what it takes to keep me sane, then so be it. It’s not that I’ll never trust a guy again— just that I’ve learned to be way more careful about who has access to the deeper parts of my heart.
  5. I know what to watch out for now. Losers don’t always let you know that they’re losers from the get-go, so it’s up to us to look out for the more subtle signs that a guy is going to hurt us. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?), I’ve encountered enough jerks in my dating career to know when a guy’s sweet nature is artificial, and the next time I notice those symptoms in a man I’m seeing, I’m going to be prepared to run as fast as I can.
  6. I’m so much more than the people I date. Guys once had the power to make me feel worthless or ashamed of who I was. The time spent post-breakup would be filled with self-loathing and anguish over whether someone would ever find me worthy of love. Thankfully, though, I’ve recreated my self-worth since those days, and now, there’s no one out there who could convince me that my value is determined by who wants to love me and who doesn’t.
  7. There is no guy out there worth my happiness. Life is short: definitely too short to spend weeks on end being miserable over a guy who doesn’t care about you. It took a while for this to be drilled into my skull, but I’ve finally reached a point where I’m not going to allow any man to take away my enthusiasm for life. Even if he ghosts me or cheats on me or humiliates me, I’m going to take a little time to be upset about it, then get right back on my feet and continue being my normal, happy self. I simply don’t have time to be upset over people who don’t care about me.
  8. I know I’ll get through it. I’ve really been through the ringer when it comes to crappy guys, and yeah, I’ve let a couple of them really mess with my head and heart. There have been a couple breakups that made me think that this was the end, that I’d never feel happy or loved again. But each time, I eventually picked myself up and continued on with life. I know if I can make it through that kind of pain, there’s no one who can keep me down for too long. If it happens again, I’m going to embrace the crappiness knowing that while it sucks now, it won’t suck forever.
  9. I’ll never ignore my gut feeling again. I’d be a rich woman if I had a dollar for every time I ignored that sensation deep inside me that said I was about to get hurt again. Even when the signs aren’t right in front of our faces, our guts are pretty good indicators of whether we should really be concerned. I’ve turned the other way far too many times and paid the price for it, but I never will again.
  10. I’m going to leave before I get left. As things start to turn sour, it can still be tempting to stick around and try to work it all out. Hope is extremely powerful, and it can convince you to stay even when everything in you is telling you to run. But if I ever get those signs that he’s got one foot out the door, I’m going to be the first to leave so I can walk away with my dignity intact.
Averi is a word nerd and Brazilian jiu jitsu brown belt. She's also a TEFL/TESOL-certified ESL teacher and an equine enthusiast. Originally from Pennsylvania, she lived in Costa Rica for a while before moving to Australia. In addition to her work as a writer and editor for Bolde, she also has bylines with Little Things and regularly writes for Jiu-Jitsu Times.

You can follow Averi on Instagram @bjjaveri or on Twitter under the same handle.