It is said that relationships offer you the opportunity to grow. When you’re romantically involved with another person, you will discover things about yourself that you wouldn’t have had you remained single. New challenges arise as you balance your own happiness with that of your significant other and very rarely do you emerge from the relationship exactly the same as you were before. I’ve had my fair share of relationships, each with their own set of challenges and opportunities for growth. There is one that has changed me more drastically than the rest. Here are three important lessons I’ve learned from a past failed relationship.
1. Never Mix Business With Pleasure
As a working adult, most of your time will likely be spent at your place of employment. Unless you’re working at a temp agency, there is a high chance that you will be spending lots of time with the same group of people. Over time, it is natural that feelings of attraction can arise as you get to know coworkers on a deeper level. You’re likely to notice things about them that you didn’t pay attention to before and this can often lead to you finding them irresistibly endearing.
In my case, there was a power dynamic that added a level of intricacy. Working in retail, I had started out as a sales associate before quickly rising to the position of sales lead. With my new title, I was working more hours and building more of a personal relationship with my fellow coworkers. A particular coworker of mine suddenly took a liking to me. In the beginning, there was no spark between us. She probably didn’t even know my name since we worked separate shifts, only seeing each other in passing. Perhaps it was the rapport we started to build after my promotion, or maybe it was something less innocent. My flirtatious personality had gained me quite a bit of popularity among my female coworkers. In my mind, this is what increased my value in her eyes.
We started seeing each other outside of work, going on movie dates, shopping trips, and walks on the waterfront. Things were going smoothly outside of work, but I soon faced a dilemma. As her manager, I was constantly doing my best to maintain an air of professionalism. I couldn’t be as affectionate and romantic as I would have liked to been. I didn’t want to treat her any differently than I treated my other subordinates. After all, my job was on the line. We had a disagreement outside of work which put a hamper on our workplace relationship. I often acted out of character, clearly bothered by our topsy-turvy situationship. Needless to say, we couldn’t get back to where we had begun and it ended sloppily. She dumped me which led to me acting even more spiteful and overemotional at work. She soon quit the job which eased the pressure for both of us, but it helped me realize a vital life lesson.
2. A Man Must Control His Emotions
Notice that I didn’t say that men shouldn’t have emotions, nor should they show them. I specifically said that a man must control them. In any healthy relationship, it is the man’s job to remain strong; he should be his woman’s rock. When things start going south, he is the one to ensure that everything will be ok. He should provide the shoulder to lean on.
When a man is overemotional, it makes his woman uncomfortable. It forces her to move out of her natural feminine energy and into a more masculine state which is unnatural to her. If the guy she is dating can’t control his emotions, she will lose attraction because subconsciously she knows that she cannot trust him. Not only does an overemotional man come off as weak, but he can come off as dangerous. If a woman isn’t sure of how her partner will handle himself, she can’t feel safe and secure around him.
After our first conflict, I didn’t know how to express my feelings. I was caught up in the illusion that I had to act indifferent and uncaring. Despite my emotional pain, I was cold and callous towards her, unwilling to communicate my feelings like a mature person would do. Admittedly, I was afraid of losing her. I had convinced myself that she would leave me sooner or later so why not now?
This led to me being rude to her, ignoring her at times and intentionally flirting with other coworkers in front of her. I wanted to show her that I could easily move on. I didn’t want to let her know how much she affected me emotionally. In the end, this douchebag behavior caused me to lose a very special woman.
3. You Should Go Into a Relationship to Give
I was selfish.
I only cared about my feelings and what I was getting out of the relationship. I was proud and was so concerned with saving face that I wasn’t seeing how much I was turning her off. The more I put on the facade of not caring, the further I was pushing her away. I was immature and negligent, never paying attention to what was happening right in front of me.
When you go into a relationship, you should approach it with a selfless mentality. A relationship provides you the opportunity to care for and cater to another person. It’s not about what you can get out of it, it’s about what you can give.
You should be giving your time, your energy, your love, and your support in an attempt to help your partner grow and develop as a person. If you’re lucky, your partner should be dedicated to doing the same for you. This is how a healthy relationship should function. I didn’t know any better at the time and it cost me.
Do I have any regrets? Nah. I wouldn’t be who I am today and I wouldn’t be able to share my experience with you if I hadn’t learned these three key lessons. Have you had any failed relationships that have helped you change for the better? How did you handle it? Let me know in the comments below.