LESSONS FROM EXES


Not too long ago I was at home, drinking water and minding my business. Suddenly there was a ping from the messenger app on my phone. To my surprise, the sender was a dearly departed, former male acquaintance - from an old relationship. A relationship that ended a long time ago. I mean, way back when T-Pain was popping and guys were wearing white tees and snap-dancing in the club.


My first thought was naturally, "what does he want??" Afer ten years of no contact whatsoever, I couldn't fathom why he would invest the time and energy into looking me up, composing a message and slithering his way into my inbox with regret, remorse, and explanation. Chile, please.

Don't take amiss, there weren't any hard feelings on my end. I mean, I had ten full years to purge all of the offense. I was just perplexed that he was still stuck in the past (and assumed that I was too) - but as you would expect, I kindly sent him on his way and gave him the closure that he may have needed.

After that happened, I couldn't help but look back at all of the relationships and complicated-ships, I had encountered in my twenties - and my oh my it's been a bumpy ride. I've dated some characters - everything from the womanizer, to the starving artist, to the commitment-phobe. There was even a time when I found myself on a "date", in a tent, in somebody's mama's garage (I wish I was making this up!).  Although it's pretty embarrassing, I can sincerely admit that my dating life has been a hot mess.


I've said it before, dating is hard - but it teaches you a lot about yourself. As you go through this journey with different suitors, you begin to realize what you're really looking for in a companion. It can be draining, but the lessons you learn along the way are well worth your while. With all of that said, here are a few lessons that I've learned from my exes.



1. ALL THAT GLITTERS ISN'T GOLD.

A lot of times, a romantic companion may look perfect on paper and appear to be everything that you want initially - but time will always reveal true colors. I have this theory that you really don't know a person until about three years. Once the honeymoon phase is over and you begin to peel back the layers of the onion, that's when you get to the core of who you are truly with - and sometimes, that person may not be right for you after all. They may be toxic, or selfish, or detrimental to your happiness. Once you realize that, you have to be brave enough to let go, which is a very valuable lesson that I've learned in my dating life. All that glitters isn't gold.

2. DON'T BE THE UNDERSTUDY.

I'm a strong believer in taking the time to get to know someone pre-courtship. That is the primary purpose of dating (or collecting data, if you will). What I do not believe in, is going through the motions of the dating process without an intended end. After a few months of dinners, phone calls and coffee house conversations, I believe that you can decipher if you would like to seal the deal and make your relationship official with someone. Unfortunately, some men don't agree with that concept, and I think its wack! How many women out there have had to hear the infamous, "I'm not ready for a relationship" cop-out time and time again? 

I think we've all been there. I've wasted months acting as an understudy in hopes that one day I'll get the part - until I grew tired of feeling like I had to prove myself. Time is valuable and it shouldn't be invested into a bottomless pit of possibility. Move on!


3. DON'T IGNORE THE RED FLAGS.



I ask for a sign, from the sweet Lord above. I know the answer is in front of me - but when you think you're in love, you only see what you wanna see.


Word to Auntie, Mary J! This is the quintessential plight of many women. We see the red flags but often fail to acknowledge them. As you go through a relationship, you start to notice certain character flaws in your partner that you aren't quite comfortable with. Then we make the mistake of believing that we can make him a better man or that he'll change. Stop trying to make fetch happen! You'll never have the ability to change a man who doesn't want to change himself. Trust your intuition. Take heed to the signs:


Is he a habitual liar?

Does he have anger issues?
Is he bad with money?
Is he insecure?

then RUN, SIS!


4. THE PERFECT MAN DOES NOT EXIST.


I remember going to youth group at church on Wednesday nights. One night, my youth pastor encouraged us all to go home and make a list of everything that we wanted in a mate. I sprawled across my bed and composed the perfect man on paper. Fifteen years later, I still haven't found that negro. That's because the perfect man does not exist. Now, there is significance in being aware of the qualities that you seek in a mate but it's just as essential to understand that you'll never find someone that obtains each and every quality you're looking for.


Just last weekend, my girlfriend and I had a great conversation over dinner about a woman being a helpmeet to a man. She said, "girl, we are a helpmeet because we have to meet them where they are... and help them!" we laughed about it but that was a true statement, indeed. A man will never have it all together. Stop waiting for perfection, it's an illusion that will have you single and miserable. Thus far, that is the most important lesson that I have learned in my dating life. My mother once said to me, "If you have ten things that you're looking for in a man - and you find a man with six, or seven of those things, you can work with the rest." Word, mommy, word!


In the end, I walked away from every failed relationship with a lesson. I didn't make me bitter, it made me better. Shout-out to my exes!



Thanks for reading,

✌❤









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