Exes To Be Thankful For

November 21, 2018  |  
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ex boyfriends

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It’s hard to imagine being grateful for these fools but, the truth is that your exes taught you a lot of valuable lessons—whether you realize it or not. In order to know what you needed in a partner, you had to first discover what doesn’t work for you. In order to learn what real love feels like, you had to see what it, well, does not feel like. Some of these exes might have even taught you what kind of partner you want to be. Perhaps it was you who let them down, and only after feeling terrible for breaking their hearts did you see how you can do things differently next time. I do believe that everyone comes into our lives for a reason—even the men from our past, who we now laugh about over mimosas with our friends. They hurt us, infuriated us, enraged us, and confused us, but they always taught us something. Since it is the season to be grateful, here are exes you can be thankful for this week.

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The one who said you were selfish

Uh oh. Maybe this ex had to check you. Perhaps you went out late and were hungover for brunch with his family too many times. Perhaps you always pushed for what you wanted to do on date night. He got fed up with it, and left. And it broke your heart. Something slipped away from you, and you weren’t sure why.

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Why you’re thankful

This ex taught you the very important lesson of compromising and sacrificing for a relationship. He taught you that, if you’re going to keep someone around, that you need to make decisions based on what’s best for both of you. At the time you thought he was overreacting or being needy, but now you see that he was just more mature than you were.

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The one who tried to change you

He tried to make you quieter, less social, more reserved, smaller. He tried to put your light out. He was controlling and possessive. Nothing you did was ever right. You tried so hard to please him. You lost friends in the process—friends who told you, “You’re not yourself when you’re with this man.” And you called those friends petty, jealous, and wrote them off.

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Why you’re thankful

You learned that if you cannot be yourself—fully, without making any amendments or apologies—that you cannot be happy in a relationship. You learned the value in setting boundaries and promising yourself to never again let a man edit you. And you learned to listen to your friends—they were right about that one. You’re lucky they forgave you for being so blind.

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The one who set your drama limits

Ugh. Nobody misses this ex. This is the guy who brought the drama. Everything was a big deal. He never let anything go—not a hug with a male friend, or a text that came in too late. He was exciting at first because he was so passionate, but eventually he was exhausting.

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Why you’re thankful

You learned a bit about yourself during that time—you were going through something. You needed a lot of attention. These men who bring drama will give you that attention, but they’ll also make your life miserable. You realized the value in loving yourself, and giving yourself attention, so that you don’t need those turbulent/dramatic relationships, just to feel wanted.

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The workaholic

Remember the workaholic? Some of your friends and family didn’t even believe he existed. He never made appearances at holiday meals or birthday parties. Your relationship existed within the teeny, tiny hours he could spare after work and between meetings.

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Why you’re thankful

You found his ambition attractive, sure, but in the end you realized that you want a life. And you want a partner who also wants a life. You value balance. You emphasize relationships. You work to live, and not the other way around. You didn’t really know where you stood on all of that until you dated a workaholic.

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The one who didn’t meet your needs

He didn’t initiate plans. He didn’t communicate his feelings enough, even though you tried everything to get him to talk. He didn’t make you feel like a priority. He’d invite his buddies to what was meant to be date night. He barely reached out. You felt taken for granted.

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Why you’re thankful

This man taught you to speak up about your needs. He wasn’t capable of meeting them—not even close—but he taught you not to feel insecure about stating, “This is what I need to be happy.” He forced you to say those needs—to practically scream them—and he showed you that saying them…didn’t kill you. It was alright. You’ve become a much better communicator of your needs since then.

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The cheater

I know, I know—how could you possibly be grateful for the cheater? What merit could this man possibly have? What good could have possibly come from all that pain he caused you? He literally made you feel as if your stomach fell out of your you-know-where and sent you into a depression for months.

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Why you’re thankful

Not that you were going to be a cheater before, but you certainly won’t be one now that you’ve been on the receiving end, huh? The truth is that, it’s those who’ve been the victims of infidelity who recognize the sanctity of a relationship the most. They would never wish anyone to feel what they’ve felt.

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The one who strung you along

Looking back, you cannot believe how long you let yourself sleep with this man without putting a label on your relationship. Six, seven, 12 months…he wouldn’t define the relationship. He’d be hot and cold, he’d be around and then he wouldn’t be. You didn’t feel you could say anything because “technically” you weren’t his girlfriend.

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Why you’re thankful

You met your limit for games with this man. He made you feel needy and clingy for simply wanting answers. Now you realize that no man who cares about you will ever make you feel that way, just for wanting to know what the hell is going on. If a man tries to be dodgy or vague again, you’re out. You’re gone at the first sign of being strung along.

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Happy Ex-Thanks-Giving

See, visiting the ghosts of hookups past wasn’t so bad. And maybe it allows you to look back on those relationships with not necessarily a smile now, but less of a grimace. Whatever tools, wisdom, and knowledge you have about relationships now, you probably picked up somewhere between these exes.

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