I have had my fair share of unsuccessful relationships and settled for what I do not deserve. It took me a long time to learn to value myself and truly believe that I deserve love. Finding decent people to date these days is not easy. Until recently, I kept making excuses for the men I was dating at the time and overlooking all of their red flags because I was lonely.... and let's be honest I liked the attention. Only when I stopped looking and truly learned to love me for me did I meet someone decent. Now, I am happy to report that I am in the healthiest relationship that I have ever been in. 

The biggest thing I had to learn was to love myself first. Then, instead of just having a relationship-driven by lust alone is to look for your other half/best friend. At the end of the day, when you have no hobbies or nothing in common with each other other than intimacy the relationship is bound to fail. You cannot survive on just the physical alone. Look for someone who complements you in every single way possible. Having fun together is the most important thing. Find someone who can truly make you laugh and someone to share life with.

Finding my "person" was not easy in the slightest. I prayed for years to find him. It's important to remember that no relationship is perfect but you deserve to be truly happy.

Relationships take a lot of compromise and communication. If you aren't happy with something voice it to your partner. Talk it out. All relationships take work. Are you willing to put the time into it and see it through? Real love is caring about another's happiness more than your own. That's how I know that I am truly in love this time around. There have been many times when I thought I was in love but now that I look back I see it was just lust. Your partner should also be willing to work on the relationship and make compromises too for your happiness. As my mom also says, "Don't put the cart before the horse". A healthy relationship takes time do not rush things. Do what feels right. Each relationship is different.

No one can make you truly happy but yourself.

Here are some key things I have learned from my failed relationships and dating over the years:

1. Never forget your worth.

2. Listen to your gut.

- Nine times out of ten your gut is always right about people and situations. If something feels off then usually it is and the relationship will not last.

3. Boundaries are key.

- Don't let people walk all over you or take advantage of you. Stand your ground. You still need time alone away from your partner.

4. Don't give up hobbies or things you enjoy because of the other person.

- Your partner should complement your life and enjoy doing the things you love too. Encouragement from your partner is extremely important. You should not have to change who you are for someone else.

5. Still make time for your friends and family.

- All of your free time shouldn't just be for your partner only. Your friends are still important and your social life. Having a support system outside of your relationship is extremely important. Who is going to be there for you if the relationship fails? All relationships take work and effort on your part.

6. You can only change and control yourself.

- You cannot make someone into someone they are not. People are going to do what they want to do.

7. Stand up for yourself and your needs.

- You are the most important thing and your mental health. Stand up for what you believe in and do not change your morals based on what another person says. Never settle for abuse of any kind or manipulation.

8. Never beg the person to change or treat you better.

- There are many people out there that will treat you the way you deserve to be treated without you having to say a word. You shouldn’t have to ever ask for basic things that you deserve out of a relationship. Kindness is key.

9. You deserve to be taken care of.

- Both you and your partner should complement each other and equally take care of one another. True love is equally taking care of each other and enjoying it.

10. You come first.

- You can't take care of someone else if you are not taken care of first.

11. Learn to live with yourself first.

- You cannot truly give yourself to someone if you don't love and respect yourself first.

12. Don't run back to your ex.

- An ex is an ex for a reason. The relationship ended because you were not happy or things were not going well. Most people who end up getting back with their ex have the relationship fail again. People cannot change who they are down to their core. Getting back with my exes never worked out in the long run and I just ended up getting more hurt in the end.

13. It's OK to be single.

- Being single can be liberating. You don't have to answer to anyone but yourself. If you are not having fun in a relationship the majority of the time then you should end it.

14. Don't rush intimacy.

- The majority of the time when I rushed things or the physical while dating, I only ended up getting hurt in the end or regretting the choices I made with that person. The physical especially does not need to be rushed. Every single choice molds you into the person you are but the regrets are very real. However, don't put yourself down. All people make mistakes. When you open your heart up to someone and don't get love in return it can hurt more than anything on this Earth. You can't make people feel a specific way about you. 

15. The attraction is either there or it isn't. 

- Just because you like someone doesn't mean they are going to like you back. Learn to move on. Only go after people who are willing to pursue you.

Relationships are never easy and take a lot of time and effort from both people.
What have you learned from past relationships?