After spending a year hopelessly in love with someone who was completely wrong for me, I was left scratching my head and wondering why I wasted so much time on him.
Michael was attractive and we had fairly good sex so my depressed self decided to take that combination and weave it into a fantasy on which I projected our relationship.
Sometimes I look back on 2014 and kick myself, wishing I could do it all over — and better.
However, if "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" has taught me anything, it’s that the wrong relationships are there to teach you the lessons that will make the right relationship so much better.
Here’s why it sometimes takes the wrong relationship to appreciate the right one:
You’ll learn what you want to find in common with your partner.
In the wrong relationship, you find yourself fighting with your SO over the pettiest things because you don’t have the same interests in common.
In the beginning of my relationship, I believed in that toxic maxim, “opposites attract,” and kept using it as an excuse whenever we bickered about small things.
It’s one thing to argue about what you want to have for dinner, but it’s another thing to argue about what constitutes as cheating when you’re supposed to be committed to one another.
In the right relationship, you’ll figure out what’s important for you to have in common with your partner, and what’s not important. You’ll still have the little arguments, but the big ones won’t be so destructive.
You’ll learn how you deserve to be treated in a relationship.
My ex had a habit of treating me like I was the only person in the world for him for a week or two and then suddenly averting his attention from me without any warning.
This left me incredibly insecure, and in the periods between the adoration, I kept remembering that "Perks of Being A Wallflower" quote:
While I knew that I hated being treated how I was, I still lived for those periods of adulation and I think on a subconscious level, I believed I deserved to be treated that way.
In the right relationship, you’ll be treated how you want to be treated, no matter what.
It’s not fair to expect to be treated like a princess 24/7, but you deserve to be treated with respect at all times.
You’ll learn that your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you’ll ever have.
Too many people fall into relationships because they think it’ll complete them; don’t be one of these people.
Your longest relationship isn’t the one you share with your SO or even your parents — it’s the one you have with yourself.
I’ve been the crazy, insecure girlfriend, and it’s easy to blame that my ex.
In reality, if I chose to focus on myself before I decided to jump into a relationship, I doubt I would have ever found myself crying at 3 am over something he did.
My ex became my whole world because I didn’t know who I was yet, and I ended up suffocating him and our relationship.
If I could go back in time and tell my past self anything, it would be to stop letting my relationships with other people define who I am.
In the right relationship, you’ll be content with just being by yourself, and you won’t need your partner to be able to live.
You’ll learn that you are a survivor.
When you’re young, you haven’t yet experienced a lot of life, so if you fall in love for the first time with the wrong person, you risk sustaining a unique set of emotional scars.
Ultimately, you’ll realize that those wounds heal. It's not the end of your world if your partner cheats on you or even leaves you. It was so obvious before, but it’s even more obvious when you come out of the wrong relationship.
You realize that you can land your feet, even when the unthinkable happens to you. In the right relationship, you’ll know that you’re a survivor, and you can live through the bad days and enjoy all of the good ones.
You’ll learn what the right relationship feels like.
After spending so much time in the wrong relationship, I became more adept at pointing out what I do and don’t like about a potential significant other.
Being in the wrong relationship made me more discerning about with whom I spent my time, and I think that’s wonderful.
I am open to love, but I am not open to being miserable. In the right relationship, you won’t be miserable; you’ll be content.
So, thank you to my ex boyfriend, whose name I changed in this article in order to protect his privacy. Thank you for teaching me all of these lessons without truly meaning to do so.
And to you, dear reader, I hope that if you’re in the wrong relationship now, or if you’ve just come out of one, you realize that life is all about the lessons that you learn from the people who come into your life. Use those lessons to make better decisions in the future.