How To Learn From Your Past Relationship Mistakes

The lessons you learn from failed relationships can range from small to completely life-changing. So, even though breakups are painful, they actually make for great learning experiences.

According to relationship experts, these lessons can help you find a lasting connection when the right person comes along. Because in reality, every relationship you’re in moves you closer to the one you desire if you’re willing to do some reflection. Below we’ve listed some different ways in which you can begin to truly learn from your past mistakes when it comes to your love life.

Notice The Red Flags

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Photo Credit: Sam Rios / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Sam Rios / Unsplash

A golden rule for most relationships is to ensure that you don’t ignore red flags or let yourself be in denial about things that bother you.

We often choose to ignore things because we want the relationship to work so badly. In your new relationship, if you see or hear something that rubs you the wrong way, talk to your partner about it.

Worry Less About The Future And Focus On The Present

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Photo Credit: Justin Follis / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Justin Follis / Unsplash

We have no control over the past, and we can’t control the future either. Instead of thinking about you and your new boyfriend’s hypothetical wedding day, or when you can meet his family, take things one day at a time (especially at first).

If you’ve already learned that trying to manipulate the present in order to get the future you want actually brings you further from those goals, the relationship you’re in now is on a good path. That’s because you’ve learned to live in the moment.

Demand Respect Through Your Personality

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Photo Credit: Edward Howell / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Edward Howell / Unsplash

If you have been cheated on or used in a past relationship, make it clear to your new partner that you’re not the type of person who would even consider tolerating that behavior again.

Carry yourself as a person who knows their worth. Make an effort to be someone who has the confidence and the self-respect to turn down anyone who doesn’t see that worth.

Confront Issues With Maturity

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Photo Credit: NeONBRAND / Unsplash
Photo Credit: NeONBRAND / Unsplash

Perhaps in a past relationship, you’ve had difficulty communicating with your partner when you’re upset. Healthy relationships thrive off of good communication and respect.

When you and your partner develop conflict or disagree about something, don’t brush it under the rug. Avoid letting your frustrations build and cause resentment. Moral of the story: Don’t let small arguments destroy a relationship like they may have in the past because they were not confronted properly.

You Are More Than Enough

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Photo Credit: KE ATLAS / Unsplash
Photo Credit: KE ATLAS / Unsplash

Have you found that you often try to convince yourself that your partner makes you happy? Are you maybe the type of person who treats your partner as the “main event” in your life? In reality, all of your happiness shouldn’t come from being in a relationship. Learning how to be content on your own is one of the most valuable lessons you can learn after a breakup.

Remember, you are more than enough on your own. If you learned that in your last relationship, you’ll be better set up to have a healthy relationship in the future. Happiness and validation come from within, and relying on someone else to feel happy is unhealthy for everyone involved.

Intensity Is Not Intimacy

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Photo Credit: We-Vibe WOW Tech / Unsplash
Photo Credit: We-Vibe WOW Tech / Unsplash

In one of your past relationships, maybe you noticed that it takes time for love to mature. In the early stages of a relationship, it can be easy to confuse intensity with intimacy.

According to dating expert Laurel House, “Rushing into a relationship is like fireworks that quickly burn out, instead of a true flame that endures.” So keep that in mind if you feel yourself moving far too fast or wanting to say “I love you” on practically the first date.

Remember You Can’t Change Anyone

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Photo Credit: Allan Dias / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Allan Dias / Unsplash

Have you found yourself trying or wanting to change your partners in the past? I know I sure have. People can change themselves if they actively want to change.

But making someone do something, even if it’s for their own good, requires either coercion or manipulation. Trying to change your partner will damage the relationship, and it’s best to go your separate ways if you feel like you don’t fit.

Loving Someone Vs. Loving The Idea Of Someone

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Photo Credit: Gemma Chua-Tran / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Gemma Chua-Tran / Unsplash

This kind of has to do with the above lesson, which is reminding yourself that you can’t change someone. In the past, is all you saw in a relationship the possibility that s/he would change and turn into your ideal? If this sounds like you, maybe you fall in love with the idea of someone—a hypothetical version of a person.

At one point, we all must learn that loving someone is about accepting that they may never be exactly the person we want them to be. Instead, love them for them, rather than someone who doesn’t exist.

Exercise The Love Languages

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Photo Credit: Wolfgang Hasselmann / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Wolfgang Hasselmann / Unsplash

If you don’t know your love language yet, take the quiz! People have very different and unique ways of showing love or appreciation toward one another. Knowing your own love language can give you the words you need to explain what’s most important to meet your emotional needs.

Knowing and understanding your partner’s love language helps you see what is important to your partner so you can best meet their emotional needs, too.

Always Take Responsibility For Your Actions

woman reading book next to table that has apology sign on it that reads
Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

If you’ve been with someone who hates to apologize (or you are that person), remember that being accountable for your actions shows emotional maturity. Personally, I’ve learned that healthy relationships require both parties to be able to acknowledge when they’re wrong.

Sometimes, you just have to admit that you’re wrong, even if you don’t want to. At the end of the day, you only look like a fool when you’re constantly blaming other people for YOUR behavior.

Be Aware Of What Hasn’t Worked For You In The Past

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Photo Credit: Timo Stern / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Timo Stern / Unsplash

If someone has certain personality traits that have been difficult for you to mesh with before, be on the lookout. I know we all have a type, but instead of dating someone who is a carbon copy of your ex, maybe make an effort to branch out more. For example, maybe you know that in the past, you found that you don’t do well with someone who works all the time. So next time, try dating someone with a more flexible schedule.

You probably shouldn’t write someone off just because they’re slightly similar to someone you’ve dated, but it’s a good idea to be aware of what hasn’t worked for you and what has.

Stay True To Yourself

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Photo Credit: Allef Vinicius / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Allef Vinicius / Unsplash

We learn a lot about who we are, who other people are, and the kind of love we really want through bad relationships. Instead of always focusing on the negative, try to use the regret you have from failed relationships to your advantage.

Rather than becoming someone you hardly recognize in a relationship to try to please your partner, just be authentically you. And always remind yourself of who you are and what you want (and deserve!) in a partner.

Try Not To Let Your Past Control Your New Relationship

couple lying down outdoors and staring at one another
Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

It can be hard to trust again after a couple of bad relationships. Don’t allow your past to control your new relationships or how you feel about them.

In a new relationship, there are many things that you simply cannot control. However, what you do get to control is the way you choose to deal with things this time around.