One day a few years ago, I was reflecting on my love life and realised that every boyfriend I had had was an improvement on the one before. By improvement, I don’t mean each boyfriend was richer than the last (I know that’s the first thing that will come to some people’s minds). I mean that each boyfriend was more my idea of a great boyfriend than the one before him. For example, after dating someone who asked me for money for transport to come and see me (yes, it happened), I dated someone who would leave his car, drive me home in mine (because I hate driving) then take a bus back home. I felt like a princess.
The day that I realised that my choice of boyfriends had gradually improved, I asked myself why that was, how it had come about. There was never a time when I sat down and decided that my next boyfriend would be better than the last but it happened. Somehow, I had unconsciously decided that that was what I wanted.
Now that I am at a different stage in my life, it is clear to me that I should have taken time at some point and actively decided to make my next relationship better than the one before. If I had done that earlier, perhaps I wouldn’t have endured so many rubbish relationships. Now that I am in a better place, I can look back and see what I did to make sure that every relationship I had was better than the one before it. The things I did might be useful for others in a similar situation so here they are:
- Realise that being constantly unhappy in your relationship is a sign that it’s a bad one. Every relationship has its ups and downs. No one is happy all the time no matter what they put up on Instagram but if the person you are dating brings you more sadness than joy, that person is not for you. When I was dating the ‘give me money to come and see you guy’, I was really unhappy. In fact, I was so unhappy, my brother asked what was wrong. I’m pretty good at hiding things so him saying that I looked upset told me I had to get out of that relationship and I broke up with him that week.
- Realise that the opposite of what is making you sad in a relationship is what would make you happy in the right one. For example, I hated whining to a boyfriend that he never called me. He didn’t even think there was anything wrong with the situation. As that relationship drew to an end, I knew that afterwards, I would only date someone who called me so often, I would almost be exasperated and that was what I got.
- Be more aware at the ‘toasting stage’. I think I just revealed my age by using the slang ‘toast’. If at the early part of a relationship, you’re the one doing all the calling and you don’t like that, it’s not going to get better as you go deeper into the relationship. As someone once told me, ‘Toasting stage is the best.’ If you’re not feeling loved at that stage, you’re not going to feel loved later on.
- Realise that you have a choice. The fact that someone calls you 20 times a day does not mean you should date them. That they buy you credit every week is not an indication that they will be a great partner. That they have introduced you to their mother does not mean you should marry them. You do not have to date someone because they are doing the ‘right’ things. Date them because it feels right in your gut.
All in all, if you are aware of what you didn’t like about your past relationships, you will be in a better position to make sure that your future relationship is the best you’ll ever have.
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