5 Things I Wish I'd Heard After My First Long-Term Relationship Ended

At this moment, I'm comfortable enough to be single and appreciate time by myself. I've had a few long-term relationships that left me feeling disappointed and underappreciated, which ultimately ended with my wanting to be by myself. Through those experiences, I learned to love myself by looking at who I truly am with all my imperfections. It didn't come easily, but it came, and I for that I'm grateful.

The lessons I've learned from my love life thus far will pave way for the magnificent love that's on the way. Love that's based on respect, that isn't ego-driven, that allows me to be exactly who I am.

Here are five things that I wish someone had told me when I ended my first long-term relationship:

1. You don't need anyone to love you for you to love yourself. 

Loving yourself comes from you, not from someone else. The people you attract when you don't love yourself most likely won't love the real you — because you don't love the real you. When you don't love yourself, you hide what's inside. Relationships formed while you're hiding your true self will be based on a lie. Real love is based on the truth.

2. People love you because they want to love you.

You can't force someone to love you the way you wish to be loved. You're worth love that comes naturally, not love that's tarnished by force. People are allowed to choose how and if they'll love you, and it has nothing to do with you. When you force someone to love you, you're subconsciously telling yourself that you don't deserve to be loved. One day someone will come along who won't have to be reminded to call you back, who will want to buy you flowers, and who will always find a way for you to be in his or her life.

3. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want from a relationship. 

If your partner doesn't want the same from it as you, you can and will find someone who does. Getting what you want from a relationship isn't asking for a lot. Asking someone to take the time to respond to you, to be there for you or to be loved by someone isn't asking for too much. All of us deserve to be treated with respect.

4. If something feels like a drag, it's probably bringing you down. 

Happiness lifts you up, it doesn't bring you down. If you feel constantly down in your relationship, it's not a good sign. There will be difficult times, but there ought to be good times too. If you feel alone in a relationship, you probably are alone. The label of a boyfriend, fiancée or husband doesn't mean that you're being treated with the love and respect that you deserve. When people are in a healthy relationship, they are joyful.

5. You're human, not a hero! 

You don't have to save someone from their past heartaches. Your partner's pain isn't because of you. We all get hurt, and it's a part of the journey of life. Someone who takes out his or her past on you is clearly holding on to baggage. This type of person may not be capable of sincerely loving. It has nothing to do with you; it's merely because they don't want to let go of his past. The person who's ready to love you has used his or her baggage from past relationships and transformed it into wisdom. This person wants to love you.

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