15 Valuable Lessons You Learn From Dating An A-hole

Sometimes, it can feel like most men are a-holes. Most of us have experienced a-aholic behavior from a man, at one point or another in our dating history. Where did all the good guys go? Did the smart girls snap them all up back in high school, while we wasted time fooling around with the dreamy basketball captain? Who of course, turned out to be not so dreamy five years later…

But don’t allow yourself to think that dating an a-hole is a complete waste of months of your precious life. I promise it’s not. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here, and tell you that you should date an a-hole. We all should, at some point. Because how can you possibly know what you want from a relationship, until you discover what you don’t want?

You should date an a-hole because you’ll learn so many valuable lessons about life, about love, and about who you really are.

15 What a relationship shouldn't look like

Some people are lucky enough to meet the love of their life when they’re still in High School and end up marrying them, and living a real life happy ever after. Some people have the privilege of falling in love for the first time, and never falling back out again.

But having your heart broken, and falling out of love, teaches you valuable lessons about life and love. Heartbreak also teaches you so much about yourself that you never knew before. Being in a relationship that you know isn’t functional, and being mistreated gives you a very clear picture of what a relationship isn’t supposed to be like. So next time, you’ll pick up on the warning signs early. You won’t allow yourself to get in so deep again. You’ll know what real love is supposed to look like. And you won’t settle for less than that from now on.

14 Self-respect

There’s only so much abuse, pain and total s**t one person can take before it all blows up in your face, and you have a relationship epiphany. To begin with, dating an a-hole will make you lose any self-love and self-respect you once had for yourself. You might be the most confident girl in the world, but if you end up falling for a loser (don’t be too hard on yourself, it happens to the best of us), that confidence will quickly shrink. The longer you stay, the more and more he will beat you down.

But once you begin to see clearly, once you make the decision to break away, once you realize you are worth so much more - you will gain a completely new sense of self-respect. This time, it will be bigger, better, and stronger.

You will finally learn that no one can take away your respect for yourself unless you allow them to.

13 To give the guy a chance you usually wouldn't

Maybe he didn’t appear to be an a-hole in the beginning. The trouble is, none of them do. They’re very clever about it. They manipulate. They mind game the heck out of you. They reel you in with charm and style, and everything they know you’ve ever wanted to hear. But once they know they have you, the mask comes off, and the a-hole is revealed.

Dating an a-hole will eventually put you off going for your usual type. This will take some of us longer than others. We might go from one a-hole to the next, for the first ten years of our dating life, but eventually, we will see that the world has a lot more to offer us.

Cue the nice guy. The one you’d usually give the brush off. The one who maybe doesn’t give you butterflies instantly, but the one you could easily grow to love, if you just gave him a chance to show you how great he really is.

12 To love yourself

Dating an a-hole will destroy any love you have built up for yourself. Because the act of being with someone who is unworthy of you, is a clear message of you telling yourself that you are not worthy of someone better. Someone who actually loves you. And how could you love yourself if you are allowing that to happen?

You can’t.

Once that love is gone, you will feel hollow. You will be broken. And you will finally see that the love you have for yourself is far more important than having somebody else love you, or claim to love you. Love will always begin and end with you.

The truth is, when you do find an amazing guy who treats you like a princess, he won’t make you feel any better about yourself on the inside. His love can’t make you truly happy. That is completely down to you.

11 To pay attention to a person’s actions instead of their words

People talk. Some people talk more than others do. Words are extremely cheap. And I want you to see that on their own, they mean absolutely nothing.

A man can say that he loves you. He can shout it from the rooftops. He can say it a hundred times a day. But is he showing you that he loves you? Are his actions matching up to his words?

It took me a long time to finally understand that you have to pay attention to a person’s actions. Then you will really see how much they do or don’t care about you. Drown out the words. Take them with a pinch of salt.

After you date an a-hole, you will learn that he never really meant what he said. Because if he did, he wouldn’t have treated you the way he did. If a man truly cares about you, he will do everything within his power to make sure you are loved completely and are never in pain.

10 That you don't need a man to be truly happy

If you’ve gone from one bad relationship to the next, and never allowed yourself time to think and breathe on your own – please take a time out. Because once you do, you will see that it’s not anywhere near as scary as you thought it would be.

I see so many girls who can’t remember what it’s like to be single because they’ve always been in a relationship since they were sixteen. They have no idea how much they will have changed since then. They’re probably completely different people now, but how would they know? They’ve never given themselves the space to discover that.

Some people are afraid of their own company. They don’t know what to do when they’re left alone with nothing but their thoughts. But once you’ve reached the point where enough is enough, you will break free. And you will find yourself on your own. And you will realize that you can be happy that way.

9 Not everybody has your best intentions at heart

I want you to know that most people in the world are good. Most people don’t want to hurt others. Most people are kind. And most people want to share that kindness with you.

Maybe you’ve been unlucky in love. Perhaps you’ve been really unlucky. Maybe you’ve been left with scars that you can’t manage to cover, and wounds that are still open. Maybe somebody left your heart shattered into tiny pieces, and you’ve never been able to get all of those pieces back again.

While it’s important to allow yourself to open up and be vulnerable, and it’s important to be able to trust; it also pays to tread carefully. Don’t allow yourself to fall too quickly. Allow someone to show you who they really are, before you invest yourself fully. Because not everybody will be looking out for you. Some people are selfish, and their needs and wants will always come before yours.

Be careful with your heart, because you only get one. And while it has the capacity to break and heal over and over again, it doesn’t stop it from hurting like HELL each time it does.

8 You learn to appreciate nice guys so much more

There’s only so much a-holic behavior one girl can tolerate before she swears enough is enough. Girls might love a bad boy, but the thrill of spontaneity and an I-don’t-give-an-f attitude can only last so long before it starts to wear thin.

When someone is treating you or has treated you, like complete garbage, you will be at your very lowest. And then BAM. Along comes the nice guy, who gives you the most unexpected and heartfelt compliments, who says what he means and means what he says, who treats you like a Queen. And it feels all kinds of amazing. Because you’re not used to it. And you’d started to believe that guys like this don’t exist. But see, they do. And all of a sudden, the nice guy is no longer boring or safe. You realize that kind is all you ever really wanted. Because a good heart is everything.

7 You can't change people

As girls, we all like to believe that we’re the ones who will be able to change the guy. You know what I’m talking about. We want to be Landon’s Jamie from A Walk To Remember, we want to be Nathan’s Haley in One Tree Hill, we want to be the girl who makes a bad guy want to be good. We want to believe that we’re worth changing for.

But the harsh reality is, you are never going to be enough of a reason for somebody to change who they are. They have to want to change for themselves. It’s a painful realization, I know, but once you see this, you won’t continue to go after guys who need fixing. You’ll quickly be able to see that they’re not going to be able to love you the way that you want and need to be loved. You will learn that you are not responsible for other people’s actions. And you will learn that some people just aren’t good.

But remember that most people are.

6 Your friends and family have your back

Those people in your life who were there long before he came along, will still be there long after he makes a swift exit. When you’re in the middle of dating someone who’s not good for you, it’s hard to listen to the people around you screaming at you to dump his sorry a$$ and move on. Because you’ve let yourself fall for him. Maybe you think you won’t find someone better. Or maybe you believe he can change.

But after he’s gone, your family and your friends will be there to pick up the pieces. They will be there to console you, and they’ll refrain as best they can from crying out ‘I told you so.’ You’ll have a new spark of love for them. You’ll realize just how lucky you are to have people who truly care about you in your life. And you’ll remember to make a point of listening to them a little more, and always making time for them when a new man enters your life.

5 You learn to forgive yourself

When you make bad choices. When you end up falling for someone who is no good for you, and you probably knew it all along, you just didn’t want it to end. You didn’t want to start all over again. You didn’t want to see another relationship fail. Because who does?

You learn that you are not perfect – and nobody else is. Because perfection doesn’t exist. And you realize that’s okay. You will make mistakes. You’ll make a lot of them. The important thing is that you learn from those mistakes so that you don’t end up repeating them over and over again.

So you fell for an a-hole. And maybe you allowed yourself to love him against your better judgment. But that’s in the past now. You can’t change it. All you can do is make better choices today, and tomorrow, and the next day. Forgive yourself. And don’t stop trusting your gut instincts, and following your heart, while also using your head.

4 Everything happens for a reason

When a relationship ends, no matter how great or dysfunctional it was, it’s a sad feeling. Even if they were a terrible person, somewhere along the line you developed feelings for them. You got attached. And it’s never easy to cut those ties.

But once you’ve had time to look back and reflect, you will see that was never meant for you in the first place. He wasn’t your person. Maybe you had convinced yourself he was. Or maybe you thought you could shape him into the person you wanted. Either way, he wasn’t right for you. Maybe he’ll be different with the next girl who walks into his life. Maybe he’ll have grown up, and maybe he’ll want to be a better man. But don’t allow yourself to ponder about any of those things.

I believe with all my heart that everything that happens to us, good and bad, happens for a purpose. It’s all part of a bigger picture. Dating an a-hole sucks. But it had to happen. It was meant as a lesson.

3 You realize that nothing anyone does is because of you

On the whole, we are creatures who are obsessed with ourselves. Even if we like to believe we’re less vain and egotistic than the rest, it’s highly likely we’re more self-obsessed than we realize.

That’s why it’s important not to take other people’s actions personally. Most of the time, they’re not really thinking about you. I know that sounds terrible, but it’s true. We’re all so focused on our problems, our issues, our own lives. The amount of time and thought the majority of us to give to other people is minimal.

When you date a guy who treats you poorly, you might start to think that you deserve it. That you were doing something to make him behave that way. But please know that it was never about you. You just happened to be there, and his anger and frustration at himself and the world was unfortunately taken out on you.

2 You discover what you're really looking for in a relationship

Once you’ve spent time in a relationship that isn’t making you happy, you will learn exactly what you don’t want. This is the hard way to learn, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but you will still learn, and it’s a lesson that every single one of us needs.

You will learn so much about yourself, and what you really want from a man. Beautiful eyes, strong arms, and a six pack begin to not look as important as they used to. Because let’s face it ladies, if he’s kind, generous, funny, and loves the bones of you, does it really matter if he’s sporting a six pack or not?

This is the reason you will tend to see beautiful women with guys who you think are majorly punching above their weight. On the surface, that might be the case, but these women know. They know what’s truly important to them. They’re more than happy to be with the guy who’s attractive, but not the most beautiful. They’d rather be with the man who makes their world the most beautiful instead.

1 That nothing can break you

When you live through a terrible relationship, and you manage to pull yourself out of it, you will be so much stronger than you were before. You will find strength you didn’t imagine you could have. You will be resilient. You will, in time, be more confident, and sure of yourself.

Dating an a-hole will teach you an abundance about yourself, and about life and love. And above all, it will teach you that nothing in this world has the power to break you unless you give it permission to. If you continue to be present, and fight, and stay true to who you are and what you want, I promise you that nothing can touch you.

We are all merely people. No one is born better than anybody else. Nobody is born stronger. Strength is acquired. If you’re in a painful relationship, stand up, and get yourself out. I’m not saying it won’t be hard. It will be. It might be the hardest thing you ever do. But don’t allow someone to beat you down, physically or mentally. Your strength lives inside of you. No one can take it.

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