I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversations with my friends that revolved around one question: “Is he the right one?” And after spending loads of time convincing them one way or another, often what I really wanted to say is, “Does it matter?”
Our college experience is a time in our lives for experimentation. For many, it’s the first time that they are truly on their own, and for everyone, it’s a great period of time to figure out who you are and what you want. So when I dated my ex during my sophomore year of college, I thought I had finally figured out who I was and what I wanted. But damn, was I wrong. You see, some people say that you can’t truly be in love with the wrong person. I disagree. I think that I was fully and wholeheartedly in love with my ex, and let me tell you—he was definitely the wrong person for me. But despite all of the pain he caused me—all of the grieving and the heartache—if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a thing, because he taught me so much more about life, love and myself than I ever thought possible.
Here is what dating the wrong person can teach you.
1. You are not crazy. You just care.
My ex would constantly tell me that fighting made me cry, or that the silent treatment pulled me into depression, or that his hurtful comments made me angry, meant that I was crazy. But let me tell you right now, being emotional—caring about what happens in your relationship and reacting in an emotional way—does not make you crazy. It makes you human, and it makes you vulnerable, and it makes you beautiful.
2. If it feels wrong, it is wrong.
I can’t tell you how many times I tried to justify his wrongdoings: “He didn’t mean it;" “he won’t do it again;” “he’s just upset about other things." But the truth of it is, it doesn’t matter. If your gut is telling you that something is wrong—listen. Don’t make excuses. Don’t justify it. Listen.
3. If you’re fighting to keep him, he isn’t yours to keep.
No one should have to break themselves into tiny pieces to try to keep someone else whole. If you’re struggling every day to prove yourself to him or to keep him around, he isn’t worth it. Stop chasing the wrong one. The right one won’t run.
4. Manipulation isn’t always glaring.
People tend to think that a manipulative person is easy to spot, but that’s not always true. Sometimes the manipulation is subtle and easy to miss. Sometimes, it feels like you’re making choices and decisions of your own volition when really he’s the one in control. Be careful. Don’t let yourself fall into his trap or you’ll look back and regret it.
5. You can’t satisfy someone that doesn’t want to be satisfied.
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. If he isn’t ready to settle down, if he wants to explore his options, or if he just needs constant validation from every halfway decent girl in the room, you’re not going to change that. You could be the perfect girlfriend and do everything right, and it still won’t matter, because he’s not ready. Don’t put yourself down for someone else’s issues. You matter. You are worthy. No matter what.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite sayings regarding love, and it goes something like this: If you can love the wrong person that much, imagine how much you can love the right one. Now go make mistakes, date the wrong person, who cares! Just remember to learn from whatever happens, and be patient. One day, you’ll be with the right person, and everything in your past will seem worth it. I promise.