Home Featured 5 Lessons Learned from Failed Relationships that Made Me a Better Man

5 Lessons Learned from Failed Relationships that Made Me a Better Man

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thinking black man

The other day, I realized that I’ve learned some of my best relationship lessons from my worst relationships. Sometimes, good relationships end simply because you’re not meant to be, the timing isn’t right, or some other arbitrary factor completely out of your control triumphs. Other times, you become a better partner because of the relationships that failed. Today, I want to share some of the good lessons I learned from my relationships that didn’t last.

5. It’s Ok to Fight

If you used to follow my personal site, then you know I used to never argue. Never. If I felt an argument brewing, I would simply opt out, become dismissive, passive aggressive, or a combination of all three, but the one thing I wouldn’t do was argue. There are a few reasons I wouldn’t do this: 1) I don’t like to argue as it is; 2) I thought arguing meant the relationship was over; and 3) I didn’t know how to argue like an adult.

Regarding the last point, have you ever gotten into a heated debate with someone and the FIRST thing they say to you is already TURNT UP? I mean, how do you START an argument at a 10? That doesn’t make sense. Some people start every argument like it’ll be the last one they’ll ever have or they can apologize later and that disregards all the horrible things they said to you earlier. Ummm, yeah, no. I didn’t like to argue, but as a result, by the time I finally got angry enough to say anything, I wasn’t trying to have a civilized discussion, talk about the issue at hand, or resolve anything. I was in it, to “win” it. Meaning whatever finally came out of my mouth was meant to dismiss you or shut you up, but it definitely wasn’t meant to continue the conversation.

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Over the years, I’ve learned that small, control burns are better than scorched Earth. If I have a problem, I bring it up rather than hold it in until I’m ready to go nuclear. In other words, I give the person I’m with an opportunity to know what’s bothering me, to discuss it, and possibly correct it rather than simmer silently while they do a lot of small little things that eventually make me blow up in a fit of rage. It’s a simple, yet novel approach.

4. Xs are Xs for a Reason

One of my X’s and I lost a child due to a miscarriage. Separating later for different reasons, we’ve both gone on to live full, happy lives, but every now and then it randomly hits me that this could have been the mother of my child. It’s only natural that I reflect on what impact being with her or having a child might have had on my life if things turned out differently. Unfortunately, things happen in life that are completely outside of your control and you’ll never truly move forward if you don’t accept this fact. In order to move forward, I’ve had to accept the closure of past relationships, regardless of how they ended, because reconciling how a relationship ended isn’t always as important as accepting the fact that the relationship has ended. From there, you can truly begin to move forward and find the happiness you want and hopefully recognize you (and they) deserve.

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Click over to the next page for lessons 3 – 1.

1

Like most young men, I went through a “women aint sh*t phase.” However, in reality, I was attracting and dating a like-pattern of aint-sh*t women because I was less than sh*t myself. The common factor was me, but because no one likes to hold a mirror up to themselves I felt more comfortable projecting my insecurities and blame onto everyone but myself. You settle for the types of relationships you think you deserve. Eventually, instead of blaming these women for acting less than lady like, I took a look at myself and began asking the right question: why did I keep going after the same type of promiscuously inclined women in the first place? After some much needed self-reflection, I realized that if I wanted a good woman in my life, I should probably stop settling for anything less than a good woman.

Back in the day, I used to think: “she’d be a good woman for me if only she…” This mindset was flawed from the beginning. In contrast, I should have accepted women as they are and if she changed for the better great, but if she never changed at all, I should be fine with that too. This is referred to as dating the “potential person” rather than the person standing right in front of you. Neither way is really wrong but I’ve found the better route for me is to accept a woman as she is instead of waiting for who she might be.

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Contrary to popular belief, although they shouldn’t feel like a job, relationships take work. When you’re single, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want and as long as what you’re doing isn’t illegal, it really doesn’t matter what you do, because you’re not going to have much impact on anyone beyond yourself. When you’re in a relationship, if you’re financially or emotionally reckless within a relationship, it no longer just impacts you. Your actions or inactions can – and usually do – have a direct impact on your partner. Realizing this took a certain level of maturity that I lacked when I was younger. Whether I was in or out of a relationship, I didn’t change very much because I championed the BS statement that “I shouldn’t have to change.” I became a better man when my first thoughts weren’t about myself but they became centered first and foremost on the relationship, since as the name implies, a relationship is about two people not just me as an individual. It’s true, I shouldn’t have to change, but if I don’t want to change, I either wasn’t ready to be in a relationship or I wasn’t in a relationship with the right person. It took me a long time to realize the subtle difference. This lesson will become more important as the impact of my decisions affect more and more people in the form of an expanding family I hope to one day be apart of.

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What have you learned from your failed relationships that made you a better person?

Comment(38)

  1. 1. Know when to fold em-My failed relationships shed a light on what exactly I wanted, for a while I was getting in relationships because I felt I owed it to myself to pursue every possible lead. A good 50% of them should’ve ended much earlier or simply never happened.

    2. She’s going to hate me- Like ur point, exes are exes for a reason. I always try to be the good guy stay relevant stay civil but it does more harm than good. Every woman won’t be accountable, every woman won’t be rational, some are going to hate me, and I just have to take that L

    1. 'was getting in relationships because I felt I owed it to myself to pursue every possible lead. A good 50% of them should've ended much earlier or simply never happened. "<——

      Something’s aren’t supposed to go pass a few dates, shared laughs and a possible friendship. Good people aren’t always good partners.

    2. "She's going to hate me"

      That's truth right there. Sometimes, there's just no way to be the good guy in a situation. If yal are breaking up and she still likes you, then there's no real reason you can give her that will keep you as a good person in her eyes. It doesn't make you an evil person, but I've had to accept that not everybody's going to stay liking me.
      My recent post Approximating the Set Cover Problem

  2. 1.X’s are X’s for a reason… Learned that hard way smh. Something’s don’t need a second go around, just end it and move on.
    2.Accept people for who they are and not who you want them to be. Sometimes we see a few characteristics we like in a partner in a potential interest and begin to build this image of them. We fall in love with this image we built instead of really getting to know and understand who we are dealing with. Then we get mad when they don’t live up to an image they never promised or showed to us.
    3.Go slow. I’m learning that it’s best to just go slow and get to know men on a platonic level and see how they do there. Just be “friends” no “o well we talk “nope just friends. If he’s genuinely interested in me he won’t mind building a friendship first and moving from there. If things don’t go any further at least I have a new friend if things do progress that’s great.
    4.Go in with standards and not expectations. Goes back to point 2.

  3. Although the hurt and pain is something that we do not want to go through, failed relationships are very beneficial. When you have a list of what you would want in a desired partner, a lot of it you learned from previous relationships. When you finally meet that person, you will recognize a good partner (hopefully) and focus on creative a relationship with them.
    My recent post You aint gots ta lie Craig…..

  4. Cosign on all five.

    "What have you learned from your failed relationships that made you a better person?"

    1. Right person at the wrong time is the wrong person.

    2. A great person isn't necessarily a great person for you. Or as Most once put it, a better catch isn't necessarily a better match.

    3. This should be common sense, but don't date solely on appeareance. My experience has taught me the prettiest girls are often the craziest. Or maybe it's just me and I just went after crazy, pretty girls, but that's my experience.

    1. "My experience has taught me the prettiest girls are often the craziest. "

      Hugh, don't be calling me crazy here in front of all these people! I thought we were better than that! 😉

  5. I'm trying to write a comment that makes sense, but all i'm doing is staring at the picture of the man… Dude has the best smile in the world!!! AHHHHH!!

  6. Its very commendable of you to point out your flaws. That truly shows growth. I think if we all took the time to reflect on who we really are, we could all be better people and possibly have healthier relationships. But unfortunately, no one wants to take the blame. This was a very humbling post as I have started to get back into the dating pool and this was just what I needed to hear. I will definitely take a look more closely at myself before I point the finger at someone else.
    My recent post 10 Unusual Places To Get It Popping!!

  7. personally i'm not with all that fighting. i think if you got common interest with the person you with then that wont be an issue. in my life, its the ex GF's that keep trying to come back that come with the arguing. i'm good. everything else i agree with. accept people for who they are and dont go into the situation trying to make modifications. it never really works anyway even if u think it does.
    My recent post BLACK KIDS – YOU CAN DO IT TOO!

    1. "personally i'm not with all that fighting. i think if you got common interest with the person you with then that wont be an issue. "

      Sounds good but in reality is simply unrealistic. Disagreeing/arguing/fighting is a natural part of every healthy relationship. If you are in a serious relationship and you never get into any serious disagreements then you can be sure one of the two of you is being fake. Think about it like this. You are two separate people with two separate minds coming from a life of two separate experiences. Do you really believe you are going to agree with everything?

        1. Well the difference between the two are sometimes nothing more than labelling. One might call it a "disagreement" while another call it a "fight".

        2. that all depends on your mentality. if you think the appropriate way to resolve conflict is by acting out, yelling, screaming, etc., then there would be no real difference between a disagreement and an argument. in a disagreement, two people can have a civil conversation about whatever it is that they have a grievance over. in an argument, it becomes an emotional contest. who can yell louder than the other, who can over talk the other. who can hurt the other. then afterwards use the aggression that was exuded in the fight for passion. thats why alot of people like to fight and see nothing wrong with it for real.
          My recent post BLACK KIDS – YOU CAN DO IT TOO!

        3. We may have to disagree on this. On some occasions, from time to time, I've gotten into fights with my wife. They don't involve yelling, screaming or any insults. But there are most definitely fights. I could also call them strong disagreements or even situations. Point I was trying to make is circumstances will come up where the two of you are going to have very contrasting feelings/opinions about something and it won't be a situation that will just fade away. It will be a storm that has to be weathered. But that is natural and usually (at least it should) lead to growth.

      1. "If you are in a serious relationship and you never get into any serious disagreements then you can be sure one of the two of you is being fake." PREACH!

  8. I think todays was a very good post. I agree with all 5 points. The two that jumped at me the most…

    #5 Fighting is normal and natural. You aren't always going to agree. The key is knowing how to argue/fight/disagree without insulting, offending or hurting one another. Learn how to express you opinions and/or feelings in a way that will be received. This is something that MUST be learned if you plan to get married. Trust me!!! You are NOT just saying whatever you want in a fight and thinking you are gonna have a good night sleep in that bed with that person tonight. Oh Noooooo!!!

    #1 Its almost a damn full time job. But if you pu in the appropriate effort it doesn't feel like work and is incredibly rewarding.

  9. Great post!! One thing I learned from my failed relationships was how to handle my anger issues and fight fair. I was always quick to get up in someone's face, destroy property, or call you every name in the book if I felt like you did something to hurt me. What I realized what that every relationship is going to have some hurt in it, it's about knowing how to effectively communicate your emotions, even when you're upset. Angry outbursts just further lead to the deterioration of the relationship because you won't be able to get over all the hurtful things you said to each other in those heated moments.

  10. Great post; each one of these lessons are golden!!

    Lessons 1 & 2 are important KEY rules. Also in addition I like to add — "TO THY OWN SELF BE TRUE".

    Knowing that relationships are work, and learning to accept people as they are and not who you want them to be or hoping you can change them in the process and being true to yourself 1st and foremost and not trying to conform to what you or others think is acceptable or politically correct will cut out ALOT of unnecessary bullshyte during the selection process.

    1. I agree with GirlSixx right here: "being true to yourself 1st and foremost and not trying to conform to what you or others think is acceptable or politically correct will cut out ALOT ".

      I've been single for awhile and there is always that nagging thought that I should just date guys, even ones I'm not initially attracted to or have no chemistry with the goal that perhaps they will "grow" on me. They NEVER do. And I"m no closer to a committed relationship or marriage than if I had just said "no thank you."

      I wasted my time and theirs, just to be able to say "I had a date" or so I wouldn't reject the guy who asked. No one deserves a pity date. I wasn't being true to myself, my motives weren't in the right place, and that is why it didn't work out. Lesson learned: You just can't force chemistry.

  11. Introspection, and being reflective tend to teach us many lessons from failed relationships. What I've learned is that sometimes, situations just are not meant to be. No matter how much I've care for a woman, or she for me, if we couldn't get it together, then there was a reason for it.

    Another lesson I've learned is that contrary to popular opinion, time has no bearing on the success of relationships. One of my closest friends was in an on again, off again relationship with a woman from our senior year of high school until they got married a few years back. Within two years, he came home one day, and she had cleaned out the house and left him. THEN wanted to stay friends!? TIme

    1. Conversely, I've seen people get married after 4-5 months, that have been married for over 15 years. Folks have to work at it there relationships, if they're going to be successful.

  12. Good post Wis. I agree and also commend you on having learned so much at such a young age. Props for that.
    What have I learned from my failed relationships that made me a better person?
    I learned that time is one of those things that once it's gone you cannot get it back. That fact in and of itself makes it very precious. Time can either work for you, or against you depending on the situation and circumstances.
    I've seen far too many people complain about how they've wasted years of their life with the wrong person. Their feel like their spouse or partner stole their youth and years they they can never ever get back and they are very bitter and angry and have a hard time getting over it.

  13. So I've learned Not to waste my precious time with the wrong people, in the wrong situations and under the wrong circumstances, and unnecessarily tolerating bullsh**. I invest my time in the right people and invest it wisely. I learned that before I could successfully do that though, I had to First invest time in myself and with my creator.
    Most importantly I've learned that when its over and done you must move on because life goes on with or without you. I also learned what Not to do and what mistakes not to repeat.

    1. ^^ This all day.

      After seeing how dirt some people can get after a breakup is sad. Yea moving on is hard but you have to. Focus on you and your needs to ease up. Shit spend some loot on yourself #aintnobodygontell

  14. I've learned to trust myself! No matter how good it is, or how cute he is, or what every one else thinks – you gotta trust yourself! No matter how much he puts your concerns at ease – if the same concerns keep coming up there is a reason. I am notorious for trying to convince my mind it doesn't see what it sees b/c of what I want things to be…BAD MOVE

  15. another key one is prayer, plain and simple. Now I'm not going to preach I'm sure we have prayed on situations involving relationships and things worked out the way they were intended to. You also have to practice the simple art of give and take. Many people get in relationships and have this sense of entitlement, either because they feels the world revolves around them, or they had people in previous relationships enable them. Those same people take and never give whether it be financially, sexually, spiritually (when someone sucks the life out of you you have no more to give).
    My recent post Tell Me He Didn’t Just Do That!…Unspoken Rules Men Should Follow

  16. This was a great read with good comments. I agree 1000% that our worst relationships are intended to bring out the best in us, if we are willing to undertake the task of unbiased (lol) internal reflection.

    I will share my lil secret : When I'm dating a man and I inquire about his previous relationships. why they ended or his why he's single spill. I'm simply listening for accountability, lessons learned, versus just blaming the other individual. I'm instantly intrigued by that "acquired" level of maturity and humility.

    As for the arguing VS disagreement debate in several of the comments. I did enough arguing in my worst relationship to last a lifetime. I HATE it now. As a former blade spitter, neck roller, bucking always had to get the last word fool its really unnecessary regardless of what he did! Now as a 32 yr old woman I can disagree with you calmly and then "let things go". You really can't bring it up ever again…that's not resolving the issue nor is it fighting fair.

    1. It's immature to carry on for days/weeks/blah blah because we don't agree on a particular matter and I REFUSE to play the ohhh he ain't getting none tonight card. I'm about to lose some women with my next comment but that's the dumbest thing we've been taught. It only adds fuel to a fire. One may think I'm typing through rose colored glasses.. Not at all…trust me this comes from enough drama to fill a library wall to wall with novels.

      People will never agree, be honest, thoughtful, respectful, considerate, read our minds enough, make the decision we think is right, so and and so forth (whatever gets your goat) 100% of the time in a relationship. Its a tag-team effort with both individuals deciding to take the "L" on various occasions for the betterment of a more positive relationship. I have a saying " I'd much rather EXCLAIM our love than PROCLAIM who's right" 🙂

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