Check this out: As a young man, I've seen many trials and tribulations regarding dating. You expect the tough lessons and failures to become easier as you get older — but they don't.
A while back, redditor u/EffablyIneffable asked the question, "What is the hardest lesson a woman has ever taught you?" It was a breath of stale air that so many menfolk were out and doing their best to turn the relationship woes into cautionary tales.
1."I learned that she is who she is and not who you want her to be."
2."Don’t get into a relationship just because you’re lonely. You quickly learn that being alone is way better than being with someone who annoys the hell out of you."
3."If she REALLY wants to talk to you, she will reply to your call/text within a reasonable time frame. Obviously, there are exceptions, and things happen, but someone interested won't leave you hanging. She wouldn’t consistently take forever to get back to you."
4."[I learned] I had a shit ton of unresolved trauma from childhood, past relationships, combat, and life in general. I was dumb and thought that’s what men do — lock it in a mental box and never think of it again. Because of all of that trauma, I felt like I didn’t deserve love and threw up barriers left and right, anticipating an eventual breakup. Because of this, I’d been treating her terribly for years when she decided to break up with me finally. And that I needed therapy and much work before I was in another relationship."
5."You can be in a relationship and still be lonely."
6."In a few words, and though they say it better on 500 Days of Summer, it was that her liking the same weird shit that I do, didn't mean she was my soulmate."
7."If she wants to hang out with you, she will make time for you."
8."Never put a woman on a pedestal."
9."Love yourself first and foremost rather than trying to seek validation from others. I feel we struggle the most with this one, as the one thing we all truly try to run away from or hide from is ourselves."
10."My wife taught me that my mother was flawed. I was 39. I completely re-evaluated my teen and college years, my first marriage, and most of my life. She didn't tell me she taught me, but she showed me that I was neglected by someone I thought was incapable of this."
11."Your parents do not always know best, or have your best interests at heart."
12."Even if you are everything she wants in a relationship, she still might say she doesn't like you. Her exact words were, 'You are everything I want in a boyfriend, but I just don't want to date you.' That hurt so much more than I could have imagined."
13."It takes two people to make it work, but only one to make it fail."
14."They can replace you within a day if they want to."
15."She can love you, care for you, and feel for you, but sometimes the terms of life dictate that you will remain merely two ships passing. Money, houses, kids, school time, and circumstances are what allow relationships to happen, not solely love or passion."
16."'I want someone in touch with his emotions' means only the cute stuff. Expressing any real vulnerability will be dismissed, or even worse, used against you at some point later on."
17."Communication. In this generation, the biggest concern is a lack of communication and respect. This goes a long way on how much they truly respect you."
18."How much abuse you tolerate is not a measure of how much you love someone."
19."No matter how hard you try, some things just don’t work out. Dust yourself off and move on."
20."How you perceive her when you're infatuated is nothing but an internal projection on to her. It's what your dumbass mind wants her to be, not who she really is. 'Feelings' for someone fade eventually and are just an emotional high. It's an illusion your mind creates. People much wiser than me say love is built, not found."
21."Don’t ignore red flags. Listen to your friends if they’re saying the same thing over and over about her. Act on that information or question what you see. Don’t sit and take it and become a victim."
22."That I am better off single. Great women are out there, but I never seem to meet them, or they are already taken. Just a few in the past that I met taught me that I am better off staying single."
These entries were edited for length and clarity.