If you’re lucky, you learn a little something every time you leave a relationship. Sure, sometimes that lesson is less ‘life is beautiful’ and more ‘don’t date EDM DJs,’ but still. A recent AskReddit thread prompted users to answer the most important things they’ve learned from past relationships and the results are definitely worth implementing with your next/current boo.
1. If they’re committed to you and they’re still on Tinder, run. Even if your S.O. tries to makes jokes about his still being on Tinder even though you’re in a committed relationship, he’s still on it. Misternuttall explains: ‘It means they’re bored … and they’ll move on the second they find something they like better.’ Sad, but potentially true.
2. Communicate openly and at the right times. Telling your partner about whatever’s on your mind and being open about your feelings can only help your relationship. That said, ham4radio adds that bringing up those issues when your partner hasn’t eaten yet or you’re both tired is super-unhelpful. Odds are you’re both not at your best at those times, so bringing up a potentially delicate subject when the cards are already stacked against you should be avoided. Plus, this solution involves eating first, which is always a fun thing to do.
3. Be happy with or without a relationship. No matter what happens in your romantic future, spending all of your time being terrified that you’ll end up alone only results in you feeling miserable. Plus, if you end up with someone later, you spent all that time being scared and sad, which is kind of a waste. Heya4000 says that making peace with the possibility that sure, you might live your life alone, is a lot easier when you learn to be happy alone.
4. Put all your cards on the table from the get-go. Sure, it’s easy to pretend The Godfather is your favourite movie because you want him to think you guys have sooooo much in common in the beginning. Problem is, if things work out with him, you might get a ton of Godfather-themed gifts for your six month anniversary and then things will be awkward. Just be real from the start and admit your favorite movie is Mean Girls. Not only will he have an easier time trusting you if you’re always honest, you’ll also up your chances at getting Mean Girls-themed gifts, which is a personal dream of almost all people.
5. Don’t lose yourself (or your friends) in a relationship. It’s normal to meet your perfect person and just want to spend time with them and them alone forever more, but it’s not healthy long-term. UnlikeMyself says that keeping your friendships and hobbies going alongside your relationship will help keep you feeling good no matter what happens. UnlikeMyself explains: ‘The relationship with your SO will benefit when both parties have a full personal life. Convos will be better, you being happy will make you more fun to be with, and you will not put all the focus on your relationship.’ Plus, when it ends, your life will still be full of people and fun things that make you happy.
6. Seriously, don’t ignore the red flags. We hear people say this all the time, but then we ignore the hell out of those flags anyway. Donkey_Xote says, ‘Red-flags are easy to miss when all you’re seeing is the exciting new person with all of these cool things about them.’ Being blinded by how great someone is is refreshing and cool, but also be mindful that they’re going to have red flags, because all people do. The trick is figuring out how red those red flags are, and whether or not it’s too red for you to handle.
7. Don’t be afraid to settle. A lot of people will tell you not to settle, and that’s super-valid, but so is settling to some degree. Wizardidit explains: ‘There are seven billion people in the world … You can never know for certain that what you have is the best you could find. So love is making the decision to say “This is good enough. I’m happy and I don’t need to look for more.” Plus, “good enough” can be really, really good.’
8. Just because someone looks good on paper doesn’t mean they’re the right someone. We’ve all had boyfriends who checked off all the right boxes but still left us feeling like we were settling anyway. It’s awful because you end up feeling like you’re too picky because how could you want someone better than the kind of guy most of your friends would kill to be with? SpeedPeeler puts it best, saying, ‘Just because your partner has all the qualities that, on paper, could create a perfect future … it does not mean you should sacrifice the present.’ If you’re not happy, you’re not happy.
9. Sometimes your ‘type’ is the wrong type. Sha_of_Depression says, ‘I like crazy. Crazy girls are not good in the long run.’ If you know your type is wrong for you, try dating the total opposite just to see what happens.
10. If you’re not happy, there’s no magical ‘right time’ to break it off. It makes sense to want your breakup to be perfectly timed, but that perfect time pretty much doesn’t exist. And even if it does exist, OrangeGills notes that ‘Waiting for a “good moment” takes [an] eternity, there is no good time to do it.’ So just do it.
11. If they make you feel like you don’t have a right to your feelings, let them go. If someone is trying to tell you that you shouldn’t feel hurt when they just hurt you or never wants to apologise for doing something crappy, it’s better to just leave. You can’t train someone to understand that your feelings matter and you’re not a burden because you have feelings. Plus, it’s totally possible that the next person you date would never do that to you. It’s worth waiting for that person.
This article originally appeared on cosmopolitan.com