We seem to spend a lot of time being bitter about the past. When we think of former relationships it’s usually with a sour taste in our mouths. But the truth is that I have learned valuable lessons from the people I have dated, and I probably wouldn’t be who I am today without them.
Here’s what my boyfriends have taught me.
The beginning of my obsession with love. Boyfriend #1 taught me what it was like to be adored wholly, completely and unbelievably. Unfortunately, I was nowhere near ready for the type of love that he gave. Although we were together for almost three years, I never grew enough to appreciate or reciprocate that love. Boyfriend #1 is the one that got away… Or, more accurately, the one that I stupidly threw back in pursuit of Boyfriend #2.
I like to believe that I learn from my mistakes. Boyfriend #2 was a gargantuan, monumental, disastrous mistake… But boy did I learn some things. Boyfriend #2 taught me what it feels like to be isolated, disbelieved, alone. He taught me that abuse comes in many forms, and that if I was going to survive in this world I needed to stop romanticising such behaviour. Boyfriend #2 taught me to be strong, to be resilient, to cut ties with damaging people… Actually, scratch that. Boyfriend #2 was a piece of shit and I taught my damn self these things.
Have you ever dated someone who is so obnoxious, so absurd, so goddamn fun, that you end up blissfully reminiscing over even the most horrific of fights? Boyfriend #3 and I were partners in crime. He taught me how to drink, how to fight, and how to fuck up. He showed me what true passion is… then he showed me true contempt. Sure, our relationship was a horribly damaging cycle of love and hate. But we had the fucking time of our lives destroying each other.
Ah, Boyfriend #4 was exactly what I needed after the cyclone that was Boyfriend #3. He was nice. He was loyal. He didn’t drink. He taught me that, even after everything I’d done to myself, I was still worthy of love… He also taught me not to trust a fucking soul. Boyfriend #4 was a nice guy. He was also a compulsive liar. While I’m still a little annoyed that he tried to convince everyone I had chlamydia, he taught me that most nice guys are ballsacks in disguise… And I appreciate that lesson.
Now known as ‘husband’, Boyfriend #5 was the beginning and the end of everything. I could write a book on all the things Josh has taught me, but for now let’s focus on the main points. By pestering me constantly, Josh taught me that I was desirable. By admitting to his mistakes, Josh taught me to forgive. By moving away, Josh taught me the value of independence. And most importantly, by never allowing me to give up on our relationship, Josh taught me how to work fucking hard for what I love. Because of Josh, I am stronger than I ever was before. It is with Josh that I will continue to learn and grow.