I Used To Be The One Before “The One” For My Boyfriends—Here’s How I Changed That

A while ago, I started to notice that most of my exes ended up marrying the girls they dated right after we broke up. When I looked back at our relationship, I started realizing a few reasons why this was happening. Thankfully, knowledge is power and I’m proud to say I’m no longer guilty of these things.

  1. I constantly tried to fix guys. There was something appealing about a lost boy that needed someone to take care of him. I wanted to be needed and I thought that’s how you showed love. I eventually determined that it wasn’t healthy for me to be giving all of my energy to dudes who’d never reciprocate. Instead, I started to seek out men that were actually ready for a relationship. If I wanted to be treated better, I could be, I just had to find someone that was in a position to do so.
  2. I thought that eventually, the good would come. I know all relationships take work, but for so long, I was under the impression that despite how crappy mine were, eventually it would pay off and the good stuff would come. Putting in a bit of effort is one thing, but there comes a point where I just had to accept that things weren’t going to pan out. I never seemed to find that line, so I just kept waiting and doing what I could to get us there… but I was always doing it alone. Thankfully, I’ve learned my lesson and I only invest my time and energy in relationships where we’re both in it to win it.
  3. I was too stubborn. Besides the fact I like a challenge, I also don’t like to give up on things easily. If it comes to it, I can swallow my pride and admit defeat, but not without a fight. I don’t want to make a fool out of myself anymore by staying in a bad situation simply to seem “right.” Sometimes things just don’t work, and it takes a bigger person to accept that gracefully. That’s the kind of lady I want to be.
  4. I was a massive enabler. As much as I like to push people to reach their full potential, sometimes that came with enabling bad behavior. I wasn’t even aware that this was something I did until most of my relationships ended. By not vocalizing my feelings, I allowed myself to continuously be treated like less of a person. I never called a single one of these guys out on any of their bad behavior, even though I let them tell me when I was being uncool. I’ve since realized that with the right person, my feelings will matter. I won’t settle for any less than that now.
  5. I never gave them the chance to be there for meI wasn’t one to speak up if I was feeling hurt, but I also never spoke up when it came to things I needed. If I’m dating someone, I should be able to rely on them if I need anything. These days, I make sure I’m a lot more upfront about my needs and expectations and I expect my partner to be on board. A good guy will help me when I legitimately need something done, especially if I’m doing the same for them.
  6. I sort of liked the uncertainty. As much as I hate admitting this, there was a small part of me that liked being jolted around. It was never boring and always gave me something to strive for. I can still appreciate the surprise element in a relationship, but now I have a much bigger appreciation for the comfort zone. I don’t consider it boring anymore, I consider it secure. Security was something I was clearly missing from all of my relationships, so once I had it, I could clearly define it as a good thing versus a bad one.
  7. I was honestly kinda desperate. I figured eventually the universe would have to give in and make one of these guys the real deal. I got to the point where I’d become so down on myself that I clung to the mere hope that one day, the man I was seeing would figure out I was perfect for him even though he was far from perfect for me. Anyone will tell you that desperation isn’t an attractive quality, and because I was in so deep, I just couldn’t see it for myself. After my latest breakup, something actually clicked for me and I didn’t want to feel like that anymore. I knew I needed to learn to love myself and be cool on my own if I wanted to stand a chance at finding something real.
  8. I made one bad decision after another. Some relationships are actually stepping stones to get you to the next one. I was that for a lot of men in my life, but they were also that for me. It took countless failures to create the kind of experience I needed to realize I deserved better. In turn, I’m also glad that I was able to help guys I once cared deeply for be happy. That made letting go of all these negative thoughts so much easier, and now I’m in a much healthier place to accept true love.
jordan is a writer from salt lake city who enjoys a good steak, her dog, and conversations about how radiohead is awesome. she hopes to be a talking head on some VH1 pop-culture show someday and can curate a playlist for any occasion. when she grows up she wants to be an olsen twin.