10 Lessons Learned from My Last Breakup That Made Me a Better Person
Breakups are never easy. It hurts when things end with someone you cared about and enjoyed spending time with. But I’m an optimistic person and I l look at the bright side. If my dad were still alive, he would have said, “Christina – take it as a learning lesson.” I recently got over a breakup (successfully – due to these tips!) with a guy named Aaron and am loving life again. I not only learned from the relationship, but its ending also motivated me to acquire new hobbies (like creating YouTube videos!), perfect my tennis skills, and learn West Coast Swing.
So what did I learn from the breakup? Below are my top 10 takeaways.
Tip: If you recently went through a breakup, I highly recommend you write down what you’ve learned. I promise: It will make you feel much better. And remember: Nothing is a waste of time in life, including failed relationships. It’s all a learning experience.
10 Lessons Learned From My Last Breakup
1. Having Similar Interests Makes a Relationship Stronger
Aaron and I met through volleyball, so we have a mutual interest. I loved that Aaron not only likes volleyball like me, but he also enjoys running, hiking, and racquetball. I had never dated a guy who loves exercising as much as me, and I loved that our dates involved physical activities. A hike around Stone Mountain followed by dinner at a Mexican restaurant? Yes please! I realized that as you get older and have kids, your free time is very, very limited. It’s a great way to build a strong connection if you and your partner share hobbies and interests.
Takeaway: In my next relationship, I’ll seek a guy who is active like me. I don’t want a guy whose ideal Saturday is lying on the couch and watching TV.
Don’t live parallel lives with your partner. Make sure you spend time doing activities together.
2. Age Doesn’t Matter In the Dating World
When I first met Aaron, I assumed he was in his late 30s. Later I discovered he was in his 40s. Yikes!
Before Aaron, I had set my age limit to 38 years old. MAX. And the youngest I would go? 27. From dating Aaron, I learned that age is just a number. Having similar values, interests, long term goals, and energy levels is way more important.
Takeaway: If you are both active and physically fit, don’t let age get in the way.
And PS to you women out there. Is erectile dysfunction a thing after the age of 40? I don’t know the statistics, but according to a 60+ year old woman I met in the bathroom at Johnny’s Hideway in Atlanta, “It all depends on the guy!”
3. Everyone Has a Type They Are Attracted To
When my mom first saw a picture of Aaron on Facebook, she said, “Wow – he looks just like Scott." Scott was my college boyfriend. I can’t help it. I have a type. I’ve always had a thing for Italian men. All of my previous boyfriends were all Italian. Specifically, they all had Italian mothers. Crazy – right?! My Polish genes must make me super attracted to the Italian pheromones. I don’t know. It’s just a thing.
Takeaway: It’s okay if you have a type. Studies show that women are attracted to men who are genetically different from them. Different DNA = healthier babies.
4. Determine Whether You Want Marriage and Kids
Before Aaron, I assumed I would get married and have two kids. But I never wrote it down as a “deal breaker” if a guy didn’t want to have kids with me. It was always just in the back of my mind.
I got completely thrown off when I dated Aaron. He has three kids and doesn't want more.
I asked myself: Do I care more about the man, or about having kids of my own? Would I be resentful if I didn’t have kids of my own?
I had always thought of the guy as my first priority, and kids as the second. After dating Aaron, I learned I would love a big family with step-kids, and that I also need to have kids of my own. I am loving my single life – a lot!!, so I hadn't realized that I have a strong desire to have kids. But I can't help but smile and light up when I see parents with babies walking along the Beltline. I love kids, and I want my own. A recent YouTube video with Vanessa Van Edwards (an awesome body language expert – and my idol right now!) on life after kids further confirmed my desire for kids.
Takeaway: Next time I find a guy I like, I’ll make sure he is open to kids before I get emotionally involved.
5. Education, Career, and Intelligence Matter When Dating
Part of the reason I was so attracted to Aaron was because he has his own business. He is an entrepreneur in marketing. I loved that he had a strong drive to succeed. As an MBA with a background in marketing, it was fun talking to Aaron about work. I loved it. And he was the inspiration to create my first blog (thanks Aaron!).
Takeaway: I love smart men. I need to date creative, driven men. It’s what I’m attracted to.
6. Dating Someone Who Will Try the Things You Love Is Important
Dancing is a passion of mine. I love it. I don’t care whether I’m jumping up and down at Havana Club, learning west coast swing, doing the cha-cha, or shaking my booty at Johnny’s Hideaway. Dancing makes me happy. Aaron never wanted to go dancing with me, and it made my heart sink.
Takeaway: A guy doesn’t have to love everything I love to do. But, if I have an interest that I am passionate about, I’d really like him to humor me and accompany me sometimes.
7. Knowing Your Love Language Is Crucial When Dating
My love language is physical touch. I need it, and a LOT of it. The chemistry between Aaron and me was intense.
Takeaway: In my next relationship, I’ll communicate my love language to the man I am dating. Especially if his love language is different from mine.
8. Alpha-Male or Alpha-Female? You Need to Pick
I’m a pretty type A woman who takes charge and gets things done. You could call me an alpha female. But in relationships, I don’t want to be the alpha. I want the man to be the one to take charge and plan things.
Aaron planned our dates, picked the restaurant, and drove. I trusted him to make the plans, and meant that I could sit back and relax.
Takeaway: I need an alpha-male to be happy in a relationship. So ladies: Figure out what kind of role you want to play in a relationship, and find someone who complements you.
9. Take What Men Say Literally
On my first “date” with Aaron, he said, “I just want to have fun. I don’t want to get married. I already have three kids and I don’t want more.” And what did I do? I ignored what he said. I trusted my gut, and continued to date Aaron.
Side note: This is the only time in my entire life that my gut has led me wrong. Maybe my gut was on vacation the entire time I was dating Aaron because it just felt so, so right. I don’t know. :/
Takeaway: Ladies: If a guy says, “I just want to have fun,” he means it. Don’t try to change him. Don’t be optimistic that he’ll fall in love with you and change his mind. On dating apps, swipe left on guys that say they are looking for “something casual” or “don't know yet.” When a guy says something, he means it.
10. You Can’t Get Over Him If You Continue to See Him
It’s not easy to get over a breakup. However, I’ve found the dating quote, “out of sight, out of mind” to be spot on. We still had volleyball weekly when Aaron broke things off with me. It was heart-wrenching to see him. It stressed me out and made me anxious. Once the season ended, it was easier to move on.
Takeaway: It’s not easy to stop texting a guy and to stop seeing him. You may delete his number, but you’ll re-add it back to your phone. You may reach back out to him, even if you try really, really hard not to. It’s okay. Eventually your soul will know when it’s time to move on, and when you move on – you’ll feel happy again and regain your confidence.
Takeaway: Every Bad Break-Up Results in New Life Lessons
Did my recent break-up suck? You bet.
All relationships end in a break-up, marriage, or divorce. I put myself out there with Aaron and gave him my heart. Sometimes I look back and think, “WTF?! How did I fall for him?” I didn’t even realize my emotions and feelings were so strong until after the break-up.
As my dad would say, “It’s all a learning experience.”
As my friend Danielle told me, “Christina: You made yourself vulnerable. There’s nothing wrong with that. It shows how strong of a woman you are. You are capable of love, and that’s a wonderful thing.”
Remember that every heartache helps you learn more about yourself, and brings you closer to finding your person. I wish you the best of luck in your dating adventures.
Lots of love,
Christina Marie from Dating Snippets