“EX”pert Advice: 15 Lessons Learned from Exes (Pt 1)

"If you're brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello" - Paulo Coelho

“If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello” – Paulo Coelho

Everyday someone meets a potential life partner, goes on a first date, or falls in love. The very potential that fills those experiences is able to race our hearts, stall our senses, and leave us yearning for happily ever afters. However, one of the biggest commonalities between adults is the unfortunate reality of how those once-promised relationships evolve into dating disasters and broken hearts. Often we discard the pictures, mementos, and anything that could possibly incite memories of the ex. But maybe we should first spend a bit of time contemplating the lessons they taught us through the good, the bad, and the are you kidding me?!?!

I’ve compiled 15 lessons, based on reader submissions and a few of my own, of EXpert Advice (Part 1):

  • Being pursued is not an exception but the rule. I had an ex that made me feel as though I was the only woman in the world. He met me on a Sunday, asked me out for that night and proceeded to court me daily for a week. On Friday he asked me to be his girlfriend because he knew he’d found something special and didn’t fear committing or feel obligated to chase ‘potential’ with other women. Obviously there were other dynamics between us that caused him to be in the “ex” pile however, making me feel like a priority and a special catch was his most appealing asset. Having a man know that he knows that he knows you’re special is powerful. #WorththeChase #EXpertadvice
  • Sometimes the person you swore was the ONE, doesn’t wind up in your Top 10. Trying to force a future with the wrong one will never produce the right outcome. Sometimes we do things that make our relationships complicated and sometimes it’s just not meant to be. After I divorced my first wife, I took a step back and realized how much I’d tried to force fit our relationship.  I’d worked so hard for two years justifying us being together. However, when my current wife came along, I saw how organic everything seemed and how right it felt even during the down spots (which all relationships have). Even when she frustrates and challenges me, no other woman could come close to being as amazing as her. I’ve been fortunate to be happily married to my bestfriend for the past ten years. #THEonenotanyone #EXpertadvice
  • Assume nothing. I am the queen of reading into things and overanalyzing – this has been a bit of a killjoy in past relationships. So now, I clarify. “Are you saying yes or no?” “So what you are saying is…” Never assume. #Assumptionfreezone #EXpertadvice
  • Life is not a movie. Romantic comedies and ‘Hollywood’ happy endings have warped our expectations for relationships. No woman (or man) is perfect – so it’s really important to prioritize what you REALLY need in a partner. I’m not saying you can’t have it all, but it’s better to know and be able to communicate what you absolutely need so it becomes probable that you get it. #RealLifeLove #EXpertadvice
  • I like guys who make me feel special. The last few guys I dated hooked me by making me feel as though I was their most important priority.  Buying flowers and chocolates, taking things off of my to do list, holding my hand, date night, birthday presents, listening to me when I ramble, polishing my toe nails, scratching my scalp, rubbing my feet after a long day of walking, working out with me when I felt like I’d gained a bit of weight, encouraging me in my personal and professional endeavors, etc. These are the things that made me feel special.  Learn them, do them early and often, repeat! #Specialdelivery #EXpertadvice
  • If he doesn’t see “wife potential” in the first few months, he probably never will. Don’t waste your time because men know a good thing, or at least what they think is a good thing for them, when they see it. If he doesn’t see your potential, move on to someone who does. #Neverajumpoff #EXpertadvice
  • I don’t like threesomes. During a relationship with a guy I honestly thought I could have a real future with, I learned an important lesson. The burden should not be on me to prove why a guy should choose me. For him, we were in a ‘serious relationship’ that ironically had no titles and allowed us to date/sleep with others. For me, it was an uncomfortable dynamic that quickly made me yearn for an ex that was better in bed and more committed to making a life with me. Regardless of his faults, the ex knew the most important lesson for winning a woman’s heart-don’t try to include her in a threesome. #Nosandwiches #EXpertadvice
  • Love is not pity. I once blurted out during a counseling session that I pitied my boyfriend and was still with him because I felt sorry for him. I spent far too long mothering a man versus dating one and once he heard those words, we both knew it was over. #Pitylove #EXpertadvice
  • Don’t trap yourself. After dating a girl for less than two months, I moved her into my apartment and basically surrendered my life to her. Within a month, I knew I didn’t want to be with her but felt bad for kicking her out after I was so pushy about moving her in. Key lesson for me was to never put myself in a situation where I can’t make the best decision for me and my life. I was my own barrier to happiness and freedom. #Nocagedbirds #EXpertadvice
  • Be inconvenient. When you’re convenient and always available, like the 711, it’s hard to see how little you’re getting back. All you see is the person there which keeps you happy until you realize they aren’t there necessarily because they want to be, but because you’ve made it so easy to be there without doing any of the heavy lifting. Why would he/she go elsewhere? Try to stop calling, texting, being home, paying, driving, etc. and see if they take the lead. If not, exit stage left. You’ve been alone this long why not fully invest in yourself without the half-assedness of another. #Mytimeaintfree #EXpertadvice
  • Insecurity is a disease akin to clinical depression.  There is really nothing you can do to help someone through it! It’s really up to them to become aware of it and treat it accordingly. #Joinagroup #EXpertadvice
  • No repeats. If you broke up once before, don’t get amnesia…there was a reason. #Norepeats #EXpertadvice
  • The beginning isn’t reality. People are imperfect and therefore, so are relationships. Every time I date someone new, I have to remember I’m dating a representative for at least the first few months. As great as the person seems, as perfect as they sound, and as ‘peaceful’ as things appear – life/time has a way of bringing out the best and worst in people. If I stop myself from getting attached too quickly and just allow things to unfold, I’ll soon see who/what the person really is and whether that matches up with what I want in a life partner. #Representatives #EXpertadvice
  • Control is a hindrance to happiness. We all enter relationships with our own baggage and our own perspectives. It isn’t fair to always try to make someone do/say what you want, how you want, when you want. No one wants to be critiqued all the time. #Learntoletgo #EXpertadvice
  • Learn to take feedback. If you get defensive every time I say something you don’t like, it makes me less likely to comment and more likely to leave. #Learntoevolve #EXpertadvice

Thanks to everyone that submitted EXpert Advice!


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