To All The Boys Who've Hurt Me Before, Thank You

To All The Boys Who've Hurt Me Before, Thank You

I am proud of who I see in the mirror and it's all because of them.

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The pain that stems from the hurt you feel from past experiences can cause you to change the way you trust a love interest. I can attest to that. I fell very hard for someone who I expected certain things out of which I was never going to get. Ending that was one of the hardest things I've ever had to go through, and for a while, I couldn't think about anything but him. Nothing seemed like it would ever get better and I didn't expect to ever get over him.

That being said, here I am today, shy of a year later, completely changed for the better.

Devastating pain from that past relationship forced me to come to terms with myself and who I wanted to be with in the future. I took months off from the dating scene and didn't talk to a single guy. No dating apps, no responding to a DM on Instagram, just me coming to terms with the person I no longer recognized in the mirror.

I've been broken up with over text, just to see that person date someone new the next week. I was broken up with because of "distance" which I perceived as someone no longer willing to try to make a relationship work. I just accepted it and moved on, but never stopped to check in on myself.

To fall in love with myself was the key to meeting who I really need to be with, not who I want to be with.

That last bout of hurt was the last straw. There was no way to meet someone new until I truly rejected the boy and all the others who have hurt me, and then let all of that hurt out. Harboring those feelings of sadness and anger were causing added pain that I do not need in my life. Now I will admit some of that pain still lingers, but it's such a small trace left and I do not let it affect me anymore.

I came out of the hurt and met someone who changed me for the better.

He may be gone from my life now, but the two months we had taught me more about maturity, respect, and self-love than anyone else I'd ever been with. God, as one of my best friends put it so perfectly, sent me him to learn how to truly heal from that past relationship that rocked me to the core. It's weird to think about it now, that I needed that hurt to meet my recent ex, and really grow as a person from every experience I've gone through.

I'm here looking for the real thing, with no more mind games or commitment phobia.

This time I'm here for someone who wants to be here for me. I've gone through my pain, and I can sincerely thank every boy who has hurt me since they have brought me to a point where I can finally put myself first and recognize who I see in the mirror. So thank those who have hurt you, because without them you wouldn't be the person you are right now.

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When I Experience These 15 Things, I'll Know I've Found 'The One'

It's all based on trial and error.

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It's easy for me to think that because I'm hitting my twenties, I'm behind romantically. Especially when people around me are entering serious relationships, getting engaged, or even married. I've tried putting in some initiative and had some failed dating attempts and I've tried to just let the chips fall where they may and wound up pretty lonely. Any mistake I've made has brought me closer to figuring out what I need. And I've figured out that loneliness isn't that bad if I let myself be good company. And through all of it, I'm discovering that I'll know when it's my time.

Love doesn't have an expiration date. I'm not behind, and people already madly in love aren't ahead. We're all on different paths with different destinations. Comparing my life to others' only makes me miserable. There isn't any one aspect of my life I should rush.

As with all things, finding "the one" will just be a thing that happens when it's supposed to and I'll be able to feel it. I've always paid a lot of attention to how people around me make me feel, and there are really rare occasions where the vibe is immediately electrifying.

1. My head and my heart will finally be in agreement about something

I always find myself getting in my head, or my heart takes full control of a situation and my head. They hardly ever work together to establish a happy medium where love and logic work together to make sure I'm happy. When I've found the person who is sensible and who my heart beats out of my chest for, I'll know he's the one person for me.

2. I won't have to hold myself back

I know I can be a lot sometimes. My friends and family are all too aware of how extra I can get. They bring it out of me because they love it. But around some people, I get nervous and can't be myself. I think I'll know right away who I can be my whole entire self around. They won't want me to be any other way.

3. I'll want to be my best self

Because he'll deserve the best of me. I won't change anything about myself that I wouldn't on my own, but I'll grow with the person I'm meant to be with. It's always bothered me when people think they have to completely change themselves or the person they're with so they can be happy, but I understand that growth is a part of life. Nothing stays the same, and it shouldn't.

4. I won't be afraid to cry

This one is huge for me. I can be such an emotional person, but I find myself holding back my tears if I have the slightest inkling I'll be judged. I've only cried in front of a few family members and even fewer friends. This is the ultimate way I can tell if I'm completely comfortable with someone. I want to be with someone who isn't afraid of feelings. There's a beauty to vulnerability and I want to have that.

5. He'll match my excitement level

The most gut-wrenching, soul-crushing thing I've experienced is having people I really care about making me feel pathetic for caring about something. I want someone to love the way my eyes light up when I hear a song I really like, or when I gush about my day. I get excited really easily about the smallest stuff, and maybe that is pathetic. But the right person will understand that I show my love by expressing my passions, even the smallest ones.

6. I'll tell him EVERYTHING

This ties into the last one. With how easily entertained I get, it's easy for me to ramble about things that don't really matter in the grand scheme of things, but that are important to me. The guy who's right for me won't mind carrying a conversation on for forever. I don't want to ever feel like either one of us is being ridiculous just because we really care about something.

7. My wildest dreams will seem attainable

This may be naive of me to think, but I want to be with someone who makes me feel like nothing is impossible. I guess that just means I want to be encouraged, which I would hope isn't a crazy idea. And I hope I give someone else that sense too. We should be a family that reaches for the stars. I was raised with the belief that I'm capable of anything as long as I think I am, and I want that mindset to carry me through the rest of my life.

8. I won't ever be embarrassed

We all deserve to have someone in our lives that we completely trust. I want to be able to relax and know that I have one person who loves me enough to accept every part of who I am. I don't want to take life too seriously with the person I'll be spending all of it with. I want to be able to make an ass of myself, or sing horribly in the car with full confidence, or burn an entire dinner shamelessly and fearlessly.

9. I'll want to spend all my time with him, but we'll both know that can't happen

The healthiest relationships are built on trust. I think part of that is understanding that you can be individuals and trust that when you're not together the bond is still there. There's nothing wrong with having full lives outside of one another; friendships, careers, and separate interests. I never want to forget who I was before I was with someone else because I'm a big fan of her.

10. I'll never be bored

I don't do well with not having something to fill my time. It's really easy to keep me entertained, so this isn't asking much of someone. And yet I've been out with guys who have left me wondering if I still had a pulse by the end of the night. I just want to be able to laugh nonstop or have a deep conversation that gets my wheels turning. When given the chance, I can talk for hours about the wildest things — aliens, the afterlife, songs I'm listening to, you name it. I've managed to stay amused without having someone around all the time, so I'm definitely not about to have less fun when there's someone else in the picture.

11. I'll never have to lie because the truth will always be okay

I hate lying, and that's a really good thing because I'm so bad at it. I don't want to ever feel like I can't be honest with the person I love, no matter how little the issue is. I want to feel confident that we can just laugh it off or communicate well enough for everything to work out. I feel really anxious about the future when I see people in relationships getting by on little fibs because I never want to take life so seriously that I think the truth will do that much damage.

12. Everything will be better

I think this thought has sprung from the idealistic side of my brain that is covered in glitter and wild daisies, but I'm gonna go with it. All our lives we're taught that love is the most powerful force in the world and that it conquers all. So for me, that always meant that when I'm in love, everything will be better than it's ever been. My favorite songs will sound better, my favorite foods taste better, and my favorite flowers smell better. I think I connect all those senses with the butterflies in the stomach or fireworks that people are always talking about. That's the feeling I've been waiting for and I really hope I don't have to settle.

13. I'll laugh my ridiculous laugh and he'll love it

Ya know how Jimmy Fallon laughs at basically everything? Well, same. That's probably why he's my favorite person on TV. I think my favorite thing in the entire world is laughter and I want my life to be so full of it. Laughter is like music in the way that it fills the world with color that you can hear. As an optimist, I choose to let things be funny instead of inconvenient or a mistake. Life, in general, can just be funny sometimes.

14. He won't be my other half

It's honestly gross to refer to someone's partner as their "other half" or "better half." As if they weren't a whole person before. Everyone builds a life for themselves before someone, and then there are add-ons to that if you choose to bring someone else into it. I want to be in a unit of two whole people who have formed one love and one family, but also as two people who completely know who they are outside of one another.

15. I won't be looking for him

I don't think you can track love down and pack it up to take it home. It has a way of getting to you when you need it, whether you know you do or not. Any searching I've done was not with the intention of finding "the one," but more to figure out what's best for me. I'm hoping that there's a higher power in charge of making sure each person finds who they're meant to be with forever when they're in the right place mentally and physically to take on such a serious commitment. I don't think age or time has anything to do with it, its all about personal growth and development.

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All The Things I Wish I Could Say To My Ex

But it's not worth pouring your heart out to someone who isn't listening.

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It's been sometime now since we've last talked, but you still cross my mind all the time. Sometimes I wonder what you are up to, how you have been doing, what your future plans are, and things like that.

Other times I wonder if you ever think of me, if you are sorry for how you treated me, or if you even care.

I try not to let you consume my thoughts, but it's hard not to when there were so many things left unsaid and so many questions that were never answered. Things I still wonder to this day.

I begged and begged you to be honest with me and to let me know what your intentions were, but I guess that was asking too much.

Before you, I never knew what it felt like to be abandoned. After you, I am too scared to get close to anybody I meet because I can't bear the thought of them leaving me the way you did. I barely ever put myself out there now and I close myself off anytime I think I start to like someone.

You caused me a lot of pain and hurt, and the saddest part is I don't even think you are aware of how shitty you were. To be treated with such disrespect and ignored by someone that you love with your whole heart is a different type of hurt. All I ever wanted was answers.

Although I still get sad sometimes, it's not because I miss you anymore. I get sad because of how I let you treat me, and for how long. I get sad for the girl I was then, and for how much better she deserved. I was so broken and you kept breaking me over and over again.

Eventually, I just gave up, which was one of the hardest things I've had to do. Because despite everything I really did still love you, and I have no idea why. I was in a constant battle with my heart and my head and I didn't know what to do anymore, and it was devastating to me.

As the days went by, it got easier and I thought about you less. I started to love myself more and work on becoming a better me. I now know that I deserve the best and I will never settle for anything less. I still have so much to work on, but I think I've come a long way.

I hope you are doing well in your life and accomplishing everything you wanted to. Thank you for showing me what I absolutely don't deserve, and for helping to shape me into the strong and independent woman I am today. I will never put up with a man like you ever again.

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