5 Ways That Guy Who Made You Feel Like Sh*t Can Actually Make You Feel Better
As we all know, dating is the pits these days. And talking to someone about getting into a relationship seems on par with asking them to inject themselves with the Ebola strain. Everyone's running scared. Whether that has forced our hand to settle for even worse relationships (as if that was even possible) or not is unclear (meaning, we could have always been settling but it's just taken new, more obvious form today), but this Tinder culture sure makes it seem that the likelihood that we settle for a relationship that's beneath us is much higher.
The thing is, relationships, like crappy jobs or drunken decisions, are just another vehicle by which to learn more about yourself and grow. Unfortunately, a lot of said growth comes through really awful relationships with really awful guys (or at the very least, decent dudes who make terrible decisions).
Still, there's a silver lining, if you keep your eyes peeled. To help with cultivating that awareness, I've outlined a few scenarios below. Now, these are all less than ideal situations, but ones you may find yourself in nonetheless, because that is how life works, and this is how you learn the hard way, in a way that sticks.
The Ambivalent Cheater
This plays out in myriad ways, ranging from a more subtle screw-over (keeping things on the DL, scheduling nights out and trips in such a way so as not to elicit any suspicion from you, etc.) to the more gross misappropriation of your trust and low self-esteem (i.e., you've caught him cheating multiple times, and you continue to stay in the relationship). But one common thread is how shitty he makes you feel. Whether you suspect or straight-up know what he's been up to, there's a lack of self-respect, self-love, and self-trust that happens in these relationships. And, trust me, these are feelings you NEVER forget.
Should you break free from this guy (God willing), and mature through life and your relationships, the more you exercise your self-confidence muscle, the more you refuse to settle for those sh*tty feelings you once were all too familiar with. You're then more apt to bust out of a bad relationship with lightning speed and not waste your precious years on someone of this ilk.
The Crass Cool Kid
At the outset, you know this guy is not really the stand-up citizen you'd like to form a life partnership with (or any respectable, real relationship, for that matter). You know with him, it's not a matter of discovering his less-than-desirable characteristics, but merely the fact that he's essentially just an entire walking red flag. But you see in him something that ignites you. He's cool, he's powerful, he's smart, he's brooding, he's sexy, he does whatever the crap he wants. He's made himself an alpha male (although, news flash, it's really all a ruse, which he knows...). And you want what he has, and hope to get it by association. Because you secretly (or not so secretly) wonder if you are worthy of someone with the cool factor he's got. He could have anyone, but he wants you (at least for tonight, right now, for the time being). His attention validates your hotness, cool factor, bra size, IQ, bangability, etc.
What you'll come to identify are the qualities that you found so attractive, and then realize that you can work on cultivating those in yourself. Then you'll never have to feel like settling for a douchebag just to make yourself feel worth something. In fact, you'll start to require that your relationships not only possess these rockstar qualities, but amplify them in a positive way.
The Aloof Wanderer
He derives his sexy from never being pinned down. We don't know what he's running from, but does it really even matter? You're willing to hop on the back of that motorcycle, get lost in his beard, and ride off with him until he decides he can't do this anymore. (Or in the urban dating landscape, this is the emo creative who's too in love with wallowing in his 'art' to pull out of his comfort zone of perceived pain to risk a real experience of vulnerability.) But just because he's in the driver's seat of his two-wheeler doesn't mean you're meant to chuck your emotional helmet along with your extra baggage. When he fails to commit to you like he fails to commit to his life, that'll sting a bit.
The lesson here? You love his spontaneity, but you also crave the commitment of your wild partner. You can have seemingly conflicting desires, and that's ok. You're a complex woman. You'll find your adventurous spirit animal who lights you up without burning you to the ground.
The Barely Betrothed
Regardless of his exact relationships status, the takeaway here is that he's very much in one and unavailable to you. But you two have this insane connection that he's "never felt with anyone" since meeting his current mate. (PS., duh, that's how connections go.) He makes you feel amazing, helping you tap into who you were meant to be and teaching you how to live that day in and day out. And the best part you may not even be aware of is that he's still safe (because you know he's never leaving his situation, no matter what it is) so you don't even have to really risk being vulnerable like you would with a guy who has real potential.
So return to the core of you, the one you lost so long ago. Wake her up, heal, learn how to love again. Become ok with the concept of heartbreak. Realize that you'll bounce back from anything, and that you are, in fact, stronger than you ever thought possible. And when this door shuts, as it always does, know that you'll walk away a more whole version of yourself, and it was never really about him anyway.