“A mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it.” Miley Cyrus said that once, pre-Bangerz. But it all holds true—where there’s loss of love or lust, there’s a lesson. Looking back, the number one thing I’ve learned is that all of these mistakes are avoidable if you can just see them coming.
1. Saying “I Love You” too soon
I don’t know where this bad habit came from but on more than one occasion has this phrase slipped out like word vomit way too early on in a relationship. This is a big mistake. In some cases your mouth is writing a check that your heart can’t cash in a moment when you’re too caught up to care. Other times, especially with college guys, you’re unintentionally sending him running for the hills. Save these words for the people who really matter in your life. The guy you’ve been hooking up with for three weeks doesn’t really matter in your life (yet).
2. Dating someone to become friends with his friends
I tried this once in high school, and then once again in college, and neither time did it work out. The two situations have very little in common other than the fact that I went in with the wrong intentions both times. If you don’t feel a spark or connection with someone right off the bat, don’t force yourself into one because it seems like a good move socially. True friendships happen naturally, so just wait for them to come to you instead of hooking up with a guy who you think can open doors (literally and figuratively.)
I can’t say I’m proud of this one, but I also can’t say that I’m the only one who has done it, and therefore I’m not going to shy away from admitting to it. What I know about cheating is this: if you’re thinking of doing it, or if you are doing it, then you don’t have everything you want from the person you’re with. Something, some quality or connection, is missing with him, and you’re looking for it elsewhere without clocking out of that relationship first. It’s not easy to suck it up and end a relationship before you do something stupid, but you’re not doing any good by sneaking around behind his back. Which brings me to my next mistake…
4. Not knowing when to walk away
It’s also not easy to realize that it has to end. I’ve been on both ends of this. I’ve wanted to get out of a relationship but couldn’t muster up the strength to break it off and felt completely stuck. I’ve also been with someone who showed signs of wanting to end things with me, but I brushed them under the rug because I couldn’t understand it and didn’t feel the same way. Moral of the story: be honest with yourself. If you’re looking at other guys with an interested eye, you’re not totally invested in your guy. If he’s pushing you away, don’t pull him back towards you. Sometimes you just have to let it go.
5. Dishing out the deets on your past relationships
It’s too late for me and Taylor Swift, but it may not be for you. The new guy you’re hooking up with does not need to know anything about your ex(es), and spilling those beans can lead to a whole string of problems. For one thing, don’t put it passed a guy to hold your past against you. Just because you’re confident you won’t repeat the same mistakes with him, doesn’t mean that he will be. For another, his insecurities may lead him to constantly compare himself to what you were used to with another guy. Annoying. Rule of thumb: don’t talk about an old relationship unless it’s necessary. Your new flame doesn’t care how funny your ex’s dog was.
6. Falling for an idea and not a person
Oh how easy it is to make someone out to be something great inside your head, and struggle when the real him just doesn’t live up. You can try and try and try, but here’s the ugly truth: he’s not going to magically transform into the wonderful guy you imagined. Forget about him and try again with one of the other million fish in the sea.