6 Things I Learned from my Past Relationships

I’ve only had one proper, official relationship where I can call him, my boyfriend. Other than that were a few relationships here and there, always muddling around but never quite reach the point of an official commitment.

In my first relationship, I learned about loyalty. I was naive back then, I was also the other woman. What I had intended to be a sexual learning experience with no strings attached turned into an emotional relationship with this guy. We started developing feelings for each other; a month or two passed, and we planned our first night together. It was sweet. That sweetness lasted for a week, then Easter holidays came along and he went home.

When he came back, he told me he chose her, because he loves her. I was devastated. But I couldn’t find it in me to give it up. I told myself at least now I know where I stand, and this time around I can be more casual about the whole thing. But who am I kidding? The week before summer break, I broke it off with him, because he couldn’t decide which he wanted to follow, his head or his dick. His girlfriend did eventually find out and although they stayed together for a while, they broke up in the end.

This relationship that lasted for a couple of months taught me the importance of loyalty. And that will always be the base of my relationships. Without loyalty, there will be no relationship. There will be no second chances.

In my second relationship and officially my first boyfriend, I learned about trust. During the course of our relationship, there wasn’t a single doubt in my heart or in my mind about him. I trusted him 110% at all times, every time. I know he had his doubts about me (in one conversation he casually mentioned it) sometimes, but he said he trusted me nevertheless. And that is the solid foundation of our relationship.

But, I also learned about understanding each other. And although he tried and he tried, he just couldn’t understand me. Why was I depressed? How could I suddenly be sad and just sit there moping about it? Why couldn’t I snap out of it?

He did try, but he broke up with me in the end. We had a lot of fights.

This relationship lasted for just over a year.

In my third relationship, I learned about maturity. I met him at one of those music festival, he was 6 or 7 years older than I was. Great looking guy, well-trimmed beard, neat and clean. We kept in touch after the festival and met up for weekend getaways once every three weeks or so. And I did most of the planning. Even when we got there, I had to look up the address of the place we were staying. Where to get food, what activities we could do.

I felt like I was wearing the pants in the relationship, and I didn’t like that. I was the more matured one when we had fights. He would be passive-aggressive, and with gender norm, that is what most girls do. We say something to get you to say something else, then we’d say ‘well, you said this, so you must mean this, this and this’. (Mind you I’m not that kind of girl). And I was tired of this. I was struggling to be on my own two feet at that time, I was looking for a job as well as a place to sleep. I was 22 and crashing on my friend’s couch after being kicked out from my previous tenant.

So, maturity is important in a relationship. As we age, we should mature as well. That’s why there is a relationship labelled puppy love, and another labelled marriage.

This lasted for 3 months.

In my fourth and last relationship, the one I ended a couple of days ago, I learned that time and timing is essential.

With this relationship, it was really tricky to put a finger on what went wrong, and that was the question I kept asking myself. He was almost everything I want. He was loyal, he practiced maturity, he was a go-getter and had ambition; when he brought me around, he’d drive, he’d pay for accommodation, he’d bring me to places to eat and play — he took care of everything. But then he got busy. He shared with me whatever leftover time he had for himself, but I’m afraid it just wasn’t enough.

I wanted to stay, I truly do, he was one of a kind, but he just didn’t have enough time for me. We live in the same area and sometimes we don’t meet for a month. He couldn’t tell me if he was free this Saturday, sometimes all he could say was, “We can meet up for dinner next week if I’m free.”, and that just wasn’t good enough for me. Not having enough time is also the reason why we dated for 9 months and he still has not asked me to be his girlfriend; he said it is unfair and will only bring me down because he doesn’t have enough time for me right now.

If a man gives you $10 but $10 is all that he’s got, and another man who gives you $20 but he’s got $100 stashed away, who will you pick? I feel bad that: although there was no other man, I walked away from him. He called me every single day, whenever he could find time in his busy schedule. But I did not want to have a relationship with my phone, I did not want what felt more like a long distance relationship. It wasn’t the kind of relationship I wanted.

I believe there are three elements that determines a long-lasting relationship: it has to be the right person, at the right time, at the right place. It was the right place and he could have been the right person, but it wasn’t the right time. Sometimes you’d go back and think about the relationships that have passed you by, then maybe at the present, you can figure out if it was because of place, you’re travelling East and him/ her West? Or was it bad timing? Or maybe he/she was just not the right person?

The last thing I learned from this relationship and all the relationships before this, is that it is necessary to be the one to take action. There were other bumps in our relationship that contributed greatly to the severity of my anxiety, and there have been times where I picked up the phone and I wanted to end it, but he did not answer and I got soft. And the cycle continues until one day, you can’t take it no more, and you explode. Don’t let yourself explode. So let it be if you are labelled the ‘bad guy’ for being the one who takes action and say, ‘I know I deserve better” or “We don’t suit each other” or “Our timing is just not right”.

In my first relationship, I had to make the decision for the both of us. The dude just couldn’t make a decision and commit to it, which pissed me off tremendously because a relationship is a two-way thing, and it was me who had to be strong and cut ties.

In my second relationship with my first boyfriend, I was scared, of being alone, of losing the sense of companionship, and though I knew we were fighting constantly and though I knew the sad times have outweighed the bad times, I didn’t want to be the one to break up. He did it in the end. And I half-heartedly used it as a shield to say that ‘you were the one who left me’.

In my third, it was fairly straightforward, I was leaving the country and we knew that from the start, so it wasn’t too bad. And lastly in the most recent relationship, I said it, I wanted more time with him and he doesn’t have more time for me (among other less pivotal things).

Every relationship is different, heck, every person is different. We learn from each encounter and experience, so we can be better and learn to be happier as we grow.