Have you ever asked someone about their past relationships and gotten a rant about how crazy and/or evil their Ex was? It’s a huge turn off, for a good reason. Bitterness and finger-pointing are signs that learning has not taken place. Some people never make the crucial step post breakup of recognizing that they were party to the mistakes that were made.
People who have failed in relationships and recognize their role in it are more humble. Rather than putting on an egotistic façade they tend to be authentic, preferring to disclose their baggage instead of hiding it. When you meet someone new, listen for the telltale signs of learning and growth. I had a role in my marriage not working out. I was just as much to blame as he was. I learned a lot about myself and I think I will be a better mate to someone new as a result.
Life and love are challenging journeys. Do you want to go on that journey with someone who can’t acknowledge failure, who is always right and never wrong, and who is never introspective? Or with someone who can, and does, learn from past mistakes?
Before I met my husband, I often had dates with men who weren’t the least bit curious about my past history. Instead of asking questions, they talked about themselves, work or personal interests. Conversations stayed on the surface. This exposed a huge gap.
With two divorces in my past, I knew I had a LOT to learn, even though I was an educator in the field of personal relationships. It’s one thing to write about love and to counsel others, it’s another thing to be suddenly divorced for the second time and have to figure out what went wrong. It’s grueling inside-out work, but one thing I eventually learned was that curiosity pays huge dividends.
The more questions I asked, the more I saw what I was getting into before I put my heart on the line. I learned to be fearless in my quest to learn more. I consciously looked for a man who was also curious about the “inside job” of becoming a better mate. When my husband, on our third date, asked me about my role in the failure of my two marriages I knew I had met someone who could learn and grow with me.
If you tend to ask few questions on your dates, you are probably making costly mistakes. Fear of offending someone may keep you silent, but assumptions pile up and the gap in information leads to poor decision making. Learn to push the boundary of what you think is socially acceptable. Question fearlessly, and be ready to answer with your own story of learning. Drop your ego, open up, be authentic, and watch the quality of your relationships zoom up.
People who fail and learn understand the power of looking ahead and planning, with a bit of pessimism. If you assume that finding someone new to love solves all of your life problems, you may be setting yourself up for another failure.