You’re Not Ready For “The One” Until You Date A Total Monster—Hear Me Out

It’s pretty rare for your first boyfriend to be your real Prince Charming. Usually, women date a couple clunkers before meeting the person who’ll eventually become their husband. Even though you probably wish you could fast-forward through the bad just to get to the good, I think dating a monster or two is essential in the dating process.

  1. You’ll learn what you actually like in a guy. You need to date around in order to figure out what you want in someone. While some people like funny and loud “life of the party” guys, others are attracted to the quiet reader. And specific preferences relate to things that happen in the bedroom, as well. Sex isn’t just sex and sometimes it takes women a while to figure out what turns them on. If a guy is a total jerk but happens to be amazing in bed, you’ll bring even more to your next relationship.
  2. One monster will help you avoid dating another. If you happened to date a master manipulator, you’ll be even more cautious and know what to look for when the next guy comes along. Each person you date is a learning experience. You’ll learn a lot about people as well as techniques they may use to gain the upper hand in the relationship. It’s a hard lesson to learn but you’ll end up saving yourself a ton of time if your next boyfriend tries those same moves.
  3. Dating a bad guy will help you appreciate a good one. When you know how bad boyfriends can get, you’ll make sure not to take advantage of a great one. Even though every girl out there deserves a guy that loves and respects her, you also need to appreciate the man who treats you like gold. Sometimes the best way to do that is with a bit of comparison.
  4. You’ll get a good idea of the types of people out there. There literally aren’t any positives to dating an abusive guy really. Except for the fact that he might make you less tolerant of working with an abusive boss, or may make you stop calling your abusive mother every Sunday when you know she’ll just make you cry. Having a monster partner will make you stronger on the inside and help you realize that you can’t let them win.
  5. We all need that funny story. At the time, cohabitating with a guy who’s “between jobs” and doesn’t help out with housework may be your reality. Five years later, when you realize he’s still unemployed and probably taking up residence on someone else’s couch, you’ll be able to laugh at it. It’s amazing the things we endure when we think we’re in love. Thinking back to that guy will just show you how far you’ve grown and how much you value men who work hard for what they have.
  6. It’ll help you stop lusting after the noncommital guy and start gravitating towards the one that’s marriage material. Sometimes we bypass the guy who’s great since it seems like dating him would be less of an adventure. He’s never late on bills and doesn’t spend time in dive bars with his band on the weekend, like the brooding creative you have your eyes on. The second that guy breaks your heart (and he will), you’ll realize how sexy it is to be with someone who isn’t emotionally toying with you and ready to start something real.
  7. A monster will teach you how far you’ll go in a relationship. When you date someone who’s not your match whatsoever, you’ll learn how much you can handle in a relationship and how willing you are to bypass obvious red flags. He’ll also show you what you value in a partner. It might not feel that way now, but these are all things that’ll strengthen your character as an adult. Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom with love before you end up seeing the light.
  8. You won’t be able to define your soulmate until that monster comes around. Every person you meet is one step closer to “The One.” When you date a messy guy, the next will likely be a neat freak. If communication was a huge issue with another ex, you’ll make sure you’re always on the same page with your next significant other. Let’s put it this way—back in the day, your type was tall, dark, and handsome because you didn’t know any better. These days, it’s probably tall, dark, handsome, responsible, trustworthy, funny, and motivated. And that’s simply because you’ve had a bunch of failed relationships.
Karen Belz is a New Jersey native who is currently living in Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with a focus in Broadcasting and Print Media Studies from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has written for sites like LittleThings, HelloGiggles, and Scary Mommy and is currently an e-commerce editor at Bustle.

When she's not writing, she enjoys making her phone run out of memory after taking too many photos of her dog. You can find her on Twitter @karenebelz or on Instagram @karenbelz.