I've definitely been wrong about the guys I thought were right for me.
All too often, I held on to relationships that ended up being big mistakes after they ended (and, honestly, were mistakes before they ended, too).
I wouldn't go back and do anything differently, though. It's never worth regretting something you once wanted.
Thinking back, there was probably nothing anyone could've said to me that would've changed my mind. Some lessons I only learned after my relationships ended.
Here are nine things my past relationships taught me about love:
1. You shouldn't let your friends' feelings affect your own.
My friends absolutely hated one of my first boyfriends.
Disregarding my friends' feelings, he was genuinely a great guy, and we always had a good time together.
Instead of getting them to spend time together, I just broke up with the guy. I always think back and wonder what would've happened if I didn't break up with him.
As I got older, I learned it only ever mattered how I felt about my SO. After all, it was my relationship, not theirs.
2. The heart is amazingly resilient.
Your first heartbreak will hurt 10 times more than you think it will.
Even though it seems hopeless, things get better with time. Sometimes, it seems impossible to move on, and the pain might always sting a bit, but eventually, you'll find someone new.
On that note, there's no better feeling in the world than developing a crush on someone. It's the first sign you're ready to move on after a breakup.
It's a relief to know you're capable of having feelings for someone new, no matter how badly your heart was broken by the last person.
3. Letting go is better than forcing things with the wrong person.
The hardest lesson to learn (and the one I'm most reluctant to accept) is the right time to say goodbye to someone.
In my relationships, I've always given the other person the best of me, even when I know they didn't deserve it. I always hoped, one day, they'd wake up and realize what a great thing they had.
If you're continuously putting in 10 times the amount of effort your SO is putting in, move on. It'll be hard, but you'll learn to accept not everything can be fixed.
4. Expectations can be better than reality.
This is especially true when you like someone for a while before you actually date them.
You spend so much time imagining what a relationship with someone might look like that the relationship itself is a letdown.
I've spent many days dreaming about guys I saw at the gym. I imagined us meeting and pictured cute dates, strolling hand in hand.
What I got, instead, was hookups or guys who didn't want relationships, though, that's no fault of their own.
Basically, if you don't expect much, you won't be hurt if the relationship doesn't work out in the long run.
5. Who you were in high school means nothing after you graduate.
I dated several guys I went to high school with after graduating. They were, by social standards, completely out of my league before college.
Some weren't in my friend groups, and some were popular athletes I didn't have a chance at dating back in high school. But that all changed after graduation.
Even though those relationships aren't ones I look back on very fondly, they're relationships I never expected to happen.
High school was an interesting time, with lots of social circles, but I quickly learned none of what happens there matters after everyone goes to college.
6. You can't change someone's mind if they don't want a relationship.
Over the years, I've heard every possible variation of the phrase, “I like you, I just don't want a relationship.”
To me, it makes absolutely no sense to spend ample time with someone, do typical "couple" things and essentially be in a relationship with that person if you're going to refuse to call it an actual relationship.
If you're like me, you'll stay with these people for too long, hoping they'll change their minds. But they never will.
Odds are, eventually, people are going to realize they're ready for a committed relationship, but the realization must come on its own.
7. Most people don't deserve a second chance.
If someone disappointed you or hurt you once, chances are, they're going to do it again.
Don't meet up with the guy who ghosted you last month. The first time, you couldn't have seen it coming, but you'll only have yourself to blame if you let it happen another time.
There are so many people out there in the world. It's better to start fresh with someone new, rather than trying to have a second round with someone who doesn't deserve your time and energy.
8. For long-distance relationships to work, you both have to want it.
Long-distance relationships mean scheduling calls and Skype sessions, checking in with your SO on a daily basis and planning the next time you'll see each other.
It's a big undertaking, but it can be done if both people value the relationship.
Distance means very little when your partner means a lot to you. If you know being apart for a long time will be a part of your future, sit down with you SO and make sure you're on the same page about what you want.
9. You're not the only one with baggage.
At the start of a new relationship, you bring with you your past, your memories and all your experiences. And the other person brings the same.
They have their own histories, which can affect the way they act in a relationship.
Know you're both bringing baggage to the equation, and then, decide if you're ready for the commitment that comes with dating someone.