I have been in some pretty bad relationships. But despite how terrible they were I cannot say that I regret any of them. I may regret the way that I have acted in some of them or the fact that I stayed around too long, but I do feel that with each relationships there was a learning experience.
There are plenty of Christians that feel one should not casually date and that you should court only for the purposes of marriage (see my blog here on dating versus courting). For those who have only courted, I think that is a wonderful thing. But it is just not for me. With every date that I have been on good or bad I have taken something from it. I have been on really good dates that have set the bar high, and made me realize what dating should be like. And I have been on really bad dates where men have just tried to get me drunk and to a hotel to soak in their hot tub. This type of dating showed me how I do not want to be treated on a date.
I learned what to look for
I can recall going out on a date with a fellow PhD student. He had a good job, two houses, and a nice car; AND he was a total jerk. I literally felt like I was being molested on the date. I only went on one date with him, but it made me understand quickly that no matter what a man has or how successful he is, that does not mean he has class. And that I must learn not to be blinded by education, money, or material things. These things do not make a relationship, the people make the relationship. And if one of the people in the relationship is severely flawed, then there cannot be a healthy relationship.
I learned to be pickier.
There was a time that I use to date anybody that would asked me out on a date. It did not matter if they were a loser, had no job, no car, no money, or that I was not attracted to them. I would just go out on a date to say that I was going somewhere. The result of that was me wasting a whole lot of time with people who were not worth my time. Now instead of going out on dates with everyone, I go out with people that I am really interested in. And since I know what to look for while on that date, I am willing to cut things off much sooner if they show signs of being a psycho.
I Learned To Be Alone
I used to be a serial dater. Dating many men at once. I would have multiple dates set up in one day if need be. The reason for all of this was because I was afraid to be alone. I was afraid to be alone with my own thoughts because doing so would actually make me reflect on what I was doing in life. Being alone is one of the healthiest things you can do. It is my time to talk to God, it is my time to plan out what I wanted in my life, to work on my goals, to think about where I want to be in the next five years. It is hard to think about these things if there is always some man around you getting in your ear. If can be hard to think for yourself, if a man is always feeding you thoughts and telling you that to think.
I learned Who I Was.
This goes hand and hand with being alone. Have you ever seen a woman that changes the way she is for a man? If her man does not eat meat then she does not eat meat. If her man was Jewish, then she converted to Jewish. If her man thought there were aliens flying around in the sky, then she started to believe in the paranormal and began seeing aliens in the sky. There comes a time in relationships that you have to stop depending on other people for your identity and start depending on yourself. I remember I had a past boyfriend who had a serious porn addiction. That is when I had to put my foot down and tell him that I do not want to sit and watch porn and eat cheerios for breakfast. I had to open my eyes and realize that you cannot conform to what a man wants you to do or be.
I feel that every past relationship that we have prepares us for our ultimate relationship. In each relationship we need to take away something and find a way to improve ourselves. There have been times I have ruined a pretty good relationship because of my own securities and I had to learn how to do things different. I know I needed to learn thing things, so that when I get into a marriage I do not ruin them with the skeletons that I have tucked away in my closet.