A Decade Of Failed Relationships: 3 Things You Can Learn From My Mistakes

I was born an innocent and trusting child. But somehow, somewhere, everything got all jacked up. And I don't have daddy issues. Or mommy issues. So you can shelve that hypothesis. As an eternal pessimist, I am particularly mesmerized by the messiness of life. And mine has been pretty messy. 

I only became more jaded as I entered the dating world, where I spent fifteen years overwhelmed with unbridled tears, sleeping pills and boxed wine, confusion, broken engagements, and some of the best moments of my life. The moments that you can't even believe you lived. All of those experiences were horrendous and necessary, as I was able to slowly piece together which parts of those relationships would work for long term and which wouldn't. What kind of man I needed and how that was different from what I kept choosing.

Now, in my thirties where the hindsight is clear, I can look back and see key themes of why my relationships ultimately failed. Obviously, I can't possibly gleam ALL the lessons I learned from an entire decade into this blog post. What do you think I am, some kind of editorial magician? This could be like a 17 part series. 

First - don't accidentally date a heroin addict. There will NEVER be ice cream in the fridge because they will sneakingly eat it all at midnight. I won't count that as a legit point, but I felt it was at least worth a mention.

Things You Need To Learn:

1. You're trying too hard. No really, relationships aren't THAT much work. 

Since my jaded nature has difficulty believing people, I never listened when they said that the right relationship will be easy. Effortless. Not in the aspect that you won't have to TRY, but effortless in that there aren't any major things in the back of your head saying, "If it weren't for THAT, things would be perfect." This applies to the big things like religion, where you stand on children, where you want to settle down, how you spend money, etc. People rarely compromise or change on those ideals so they should be lined up. 

But it also applies to the little things. Do you constantly bicker? As much as that might be considered cute and flirty NOW - it won't be in five years. That's what we call a communication problem. After being with someone with whom I bickered non-stop for three years, it's an exhausting life. And it doesn't necessarily mean there's anything wrong with either one of you - it's just a matter of personalities meshing. Or not meshing.

Are you breaking up every other month? Breakups happen for a reason and don't try to force something if the other person isn't there. Bottom line: if it's right, it's easy. You won't be trying to change pieces of that person so you can fit better together, because you just will.

2. Passion is important. But it will screw you up and cause you to make horrible decisions.

Passion isn't over-rated. It's amazing. And without it, life would be a snoozefest. I'm like a moth to a flame with passionate people. Or Kayne West to mirrors. Or my dad to clearance rack plaid shirts. I just can't get enough. But we all understand the emotional haze that passion puts us into, yes? I just wrote a post on passion and my love/hate relationship with the little bastard. Passionate relationships are fiery and intense and unforgettable. But can you make a future out of them? 

I cannot let you burn me up, nor can I resist you. No mere human can stand in a fire and not be consumed.
— A. S. Byatt

I've experienced both extremities  - and I can confidently tell you that neither work. You must have some sort of passionate connection - but that can't be all you have. Unfortunately, passion has a way of consuming us to the point where we lose the inability to think rational thoughts. 

You will excuse almost anything to keep that feeling around. It's so intoxicating, in fact, that it leads to a lot of cheating by a lot of people. Anyway, so on you will go in your passionate, living off love, all-consuming bubble - oblivious to any rationale, until one day when something will happen that forces you to snap out of it. Then follows the harsh realization that there's nothing substantial to keep this thing going. I know this isn't what you want to hear, but it couldn't be more true. 

On the other hand, you can't just be with someone and not have any sort of passion in the mix. Like, I married him because he's a great person. The End... Naw, that ain't gonna work either. Although the fire may fade over time, it needs to be there. But in balance. 

3. People always reveal who they are. We just fail to listen. Or maybe we do, but we hope they're wrong.

Let me straighten something out. People know who they are. You don't. You only know what they tell you, and what you can see. And all of that could be a lie - that's kind of the chance you take. But, is there really that much guesswork involved? Toward the end of my twenties, I realized that people really do tell you who they are. We just don't want to believe it. Do you know how many times I told guys I was a paranoid commitment-phobe who didn't want to settle down? And do you know how many of them chose to date me anyway? And how many of them tried to get engaged anyway? Well that's too complicated a topic - you need to read my old blog.

I once dated a guy who charmingly said, "I'm not the guy you should go for. I'm like dating the stock market - I'm a big risk." And if you're a woman reading this, you know exactly what I did. Because it's exactly what you would have done. Especially when you add the fiery passion haze as described in point #2.

So we dated, and as you might imagine - it was a risk. And it did end, very badly. But do I blame him? Oh HEAL YES. I'm not some kind of martyr.

But then again, he had alluded to many things that let me know our little relationship would likely end with me crying into a giant bucket of Hagen Daaz. Which, by the way, isn't cheap and doesn't taste nearly as good when tainted with salty tears. And thankfully that was several years ago, because now I couldn't even do that. #dairyallergy. Point being, I didn't listen. And that was my problem. Because of the haze. Because I had lost my ability to think rationally. And because I just didn't. want. to. I wanted to believe in him. That my gut was wrong - which by the way, it has never been. Don't ignore your gut. And don't laugh it off when people tell you who they are. 

4. There are two types of people in the world: those who love Neil Diamond, and those who don't. I can't stand him. Again, that was just something I thought was worth a mention.

Yelling at you because I care,


Wondering who's the mysterious wordy genius behind these posts? Follow this little rabbit trail to read more About Me! The use of the term genius is open to interpretation.