Dating lessons I wish my younger self knew

This is your Tita Mina speaking.

As you may already know, I am happily committed right now, and to be honest, I am already very sure that I have found the one.

But of course, I also had my share of messy relationships and pseudo-romances before getting this far. In fact, when I was younger, I was notorious for being stubborn. I was always unafraid to give people a shot, even if that meant getting hurt later on. And so I chased after a lot of problematic individuals, even though I had been aware of their flaws from the very start.

Although I learned a lot from my previous heartbreaks, I refuse to romanticize everything about my dating history. It was my stubbornness that led me to really problematic situations in the past, after all.

So, if you’re going to ask me if I regret some of the things I did when I was younger, my answer would be a big fat YES. In fact, there are so many things I wish my younger self knew.

If your new guy tells you all his exes were crazy, how sure can you be that he won’t say the same thing about you in case you break up?

Shitty men love to use the adjective “crazy” to describe their exes whose only mistake was taking a chance on them. These shitty men tell their new prospects about all those times their “crazy” exes acted in a certain way, of course without mentioning that the exes were simply reacting to their fucked up behavior.

Just a few weeks ago, I learned about how an ex of mine had told his coworkers about my “craziness” during our time together. What he forgot to include in his story, though, was how he had cheated on me many times. He did not even tell them about how he had taken advantage of me financially, especially during his unemployment days. And when I got upset, he simply took it against me. Wow.

Although I admit that I also displayed a couple of toxic behaviors back then and I am not proud of them, I hate that the guy never acknowledged the fact that those behaviors had simply been responses to his wrongdoings.

What a way to antagonize a woman, right?

When someone cheats on you, don’t put all the blame on the third party.

Sure, people who choose to get involved with committed individuals are problematic. However, we also have to remember that in many cases, third parties are not made aware of the other person’s commitment. Yes, think of those married men who still date single women, not telling them about their wives and kids.

Also, we can’t be really sure about what the guy has been telling the new girl, right? Who knows, he might have been assuring her that their marriage is falling apart anyway.

Don’t try to get over someone by immediately dating someone else.

To be honest, I don’t believe that we completely get over people, especially if we spent years with them. Whether we like it or not, there will always be remnants of them in our lives. To quote my favorite Filipino film Dagitab:

They leave a void. And you carry that void with you… You don’t move on. You just become a bigger person until the void doesn’t feel as big.

Issey (Eula Valdes), Dagitab

So, it’s kind of pointless to use someone else to try to get over a particular person. Of course, you can always distract yourself with the help of the new person, but that can’t assure you that you’ll be able to forget them.

I really had to learn this the hard way. After a four-year relationship, I rushed into another one and ended up with a toxic person. Worse, I realized that I wasn’t really doing anything to process my heartbreak. I was just making everything more complicated.

Don’t give your all without trying to see what the other person can sacrifice first.

Selfless love may sound cute, but let’s admit that it can be dangerous.

Remember, there are bad people in this world. You may not be able to sense it first, but some don’t really mind taking advantage of others.

Before you gamble on someone, try to see first if they are willing to make sacrifices for you as well. It’s not fun to be the only one who exerts effort in your relationship. It takes two to tango.

Sex is not always the answer to your dating problems.

It really isn’t. And, to be honest, if I could only turn back the hands of time, I’d definitely school my younger self about choosing the right people to share this magical experience with.

Just because it’s convenient doesn’t mean it is good for you.

I used to think that being able to always say yes would make me look cool, only to find out, eventually, that I was just wasting my time and endangering myself by not saying NO to the wrong people. Just imagine all those hours that could have been used for things that were more important. And all those risks, too.

There is never a good reason to cheat.

There’s never a good reason to tolerate friends and family friends who cheat, either. No matter how “shitty” the other party may seem, that’s not an excuse for you to make a fool out of them.

Set high standards for yourself, so you don’t easily fall for shitty men.

When you set high standards for yourself, you become more certain about your negotiables and non-negotiables when entering a relationship. That’s because you easily get a picture of what you will potentially lose if you pursue someone who does not meet your standards. Then, you can ask yourself: Are you really willing to make this sacrifice just to be with the person?


I know, my dating life was really messy. I hope yours isn’t as bad.

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