What I learnt from taking back my ex


When I got back together with a romantic partner I'd broken up with, I felt a lot of judgement from people around me. They asked me why I would do such a thing when there are so many fish in the sea.

The truth is that there's no real reason I got back together with him. I could ask myself why I did it, and I could label myself or try to turn back the clock. But it happened, and I believe that there was a reason.


Our relationship eventually fell apart, but I learned a lot from it, and for that I am grateful.

Here are six lessons that taking my ex back taught me:

1. Love is not enough.

Don't get me wrong, love is magnificent. Love can make amazing things happen. Love is the foundation of a healthy relationship. However, if your future, happiness or health are at stake, it's not enough. When a relationship is going through a difficult time, love by itself won't keep the relationship intact. Respect and considerate behavior also do.


2. When someone says that they understand you, they will try their best not to make you cry.

We often say that the person we love understands us like no one else does. If your partner really understands you, they have no reason to make you feel badly about yourself. People who understand you are aware of how they can impact your life, and for that reason won't intentionally bring pain and agony upon you.


3. Just because you miss something doesn't mean it's good for you.

We all have that feeling of emptiness when we decide to eliminate something (or someone) from our lives. That doesn't mean that what we let go of was healthy for us. We're creatures of habit, so it only makes sense that we will miss something that we've become used to. Missing someone isn't an indicator of whether you should give someone a second chance; how they treat you is.


4. Everything in life changes and evolves, including people and relationships.

I'm a sucker for nostalgia, and I often find myself getting stuck in the past and wanting things to be the way they used to be. The truth is that things will never be how they once were. It isn't possible to recreate the past in the present. Things change, and in that process, people grow together or they grow apart. The energy spent forcing things to be how they used to be can be spent on more significant and progressive aspects of your life.


5. All of your friends and family can't all be wrong about one person.

Sometimes our desire for things to go our way distorts the truth. Your family and friends have your best interests at heart. If they all disapprove of your relationship, that's a red flag. It might be phrased through judgement and command, but their concern is something to listen to. They want you to be loved the way you deserve to be loved.


6. Someone's love is not owed to you by the amount of time you've invested in your relationship.

You may have given many years and invested a lot of time into a relationship, but that doesn't mean that you're owed someone's love. Mutual love is easy. Sometimes it requires work, but constant work is exhausting. A relationship shouldn't be a burden; it's a beautiful blessing that two people want to give to one another.

4 things that I will never do again in a relationship.

We've all been there. Been in a relationship where we have woken up one day and wondered what happened and how we ended up there. 


Ended up being in a relationship with someone that we don't like and who doesn't like us. I am a firm-believer in learning from every situation and whether the fault was mine or someone else's, this is what I have learnt from the mistakes made in my past relationships:


1. Do not settle

Truth be told, none of my exes were people that I truly wanted to be with even though all of them are genuinely good people, I found myself settling for behaviour and characteristics that I didn't like because I just wanted to be in a relationship. The biggest problem with settling is that you never feel like your relationship is worth being with because deep-down you know and feel that you can do better. 


2. State truly what I want from the beginning. 

I have had my fair share of relationships where a lot of things were in the grey area. I didn't want a label, I didn't want to tell them that it hurt me when they didn't call me back or I was afraid of telling them that I wanted to be the only female in the picture. Because of my fear, I only ended up ending relationships way longer than they should've ended. While I appreciate the memories, it sometimes upsets me to think of how much time I wasted on something that wasn't working. 


3. Next time, I will believe my partner when they describe themselves to me.

In my past relationships, I would deny when a partner told me that they were a certain way. For example, if one of my exes told me that they were not over their ex, bad with time or don't want to be in a relationship, I will believe them. I formerly used  to think that if a man told me that he wasn't ready for a relationship, it was because he wasn't into me so I would try to be the best 'girlfriend' material so that they would have to love me- which was untrue. When someone says that they are not ready for a relationship, believe them, let them go and find someone who is ready to be in a relationship. It will make being in a relationship easier than being in a relationship with someone who doesn't want to be in one to being with. 


4. Put up with games

Loosely phrasing a biblical quote, as you get older, it's time to put away childish things. Meaning that if I like someone, I will welcome them whole-heartedly into my life and if someone that I like doesn't call or text me back, I will move on. There are enough challenges in life to not need to have extra ones in your relationships that are based on immature behaviour.

'Failure is another steppingstone to greatness' Oprah Winfrey

7 reasons to love yourself.

I have a confession to make: loving myself has rarely come easily to me. So I made a list of reasons why I should love myself. I wanted share it because I think you should too:

1. Love yourself because there's no one else who has your smile.

2. Love yourself because there's no one else who has your laugh.

3. Love yourself because wishing to be someone else is a sentence of misery and exhaustion. Regardless of where you may go or what you do, you will be who you are for the rest of your life.

4. Love yourself because it isn't up to others to love you; it's a blessing when they do love you. When you love yourself, you allow yourself to let go of the expectation of others to do so.

5. Love yourself because you've been blessed with the skin you're in, so wear it comfortably.

6. Love yourself because while people come in and out of your life, you will always remain.

7. Love yourself because life becomes easier when you work with what you have.

Forgive him

Image by Getty Images

Image by Getty Images

Why do I want to forgive him?

 Because it is not healthy to hold onto anger. I want to forgive him because I am tired of questioning why he hasn't responded or put forward actions, instead of merely talking. I want to forgive him because I am tired of feeling rejected and he doesn't have as much power in my life as I have previously given him. 

I want to forgive him because he is not a bad person- merely human and, just like I, he has issues. I want to forgive him because it is the best way to move forward from this. I want to forgive him because I cannot force him to change, I cannot re-write the past and I don't want to. I learnt so much about life and loving, which is even more reason for me to forgive as I am grateful and pleased with the outcome.

I want to forgive him because my next chapter is too promising to be ruined by feelings of bitterness, worry and uncertainty. I want to forgive him because I am certain that I deserve a love that is not heavily burdened by insecurities; that reassures us when we are not sure. 

I want to forgive him because I cannot force the truth. It is not forced or jaded. I want to forgive him because he has served his purpose in my life, it may not have been how I wanted it but I am here. I am here to forgive because there is nothing more beneficial.

Dear X- a letter to my ex-boyfriend.

image by Getty images

image by Getty images

Dear X, 


I know that I should forgive you but where do I start? Surprisingly, I have been able to go about my days just fine since we have part. I think because towards the end, it was so obvious that you and I weren't meant to be. My life is simpler and better without you in it. So, I find it difficult to understand why it's so difficult to forgive you. 

Maybe the hardest part is what I'm forgiving you for. Am I forgiving you for disappearing on me and saying that you were asleep? When I know that you were lying. Am I forgiving you for having your ex in your life as though you guys were still dating? Making me feel second place every time she liked your picture on Instagram- she did like every single picture you put up. Am I forgiving you for not being ready for a relationship like you told me you weren't in the beginning? Am I forgiving you for leaving me in one of the loneliest positions that I have ever been in?

It's difficult to nail it down to just one thing to forgive you for. So, I think I'll start with forgiving myself first. That might be easier. 

I forgive myself for allowing you to do the way that you did- to me and to others in front of me. I forgive myself for being weak and not adamant enough with you because I knew the second day in that you were not for me. I forgive myself for keeping quiet and trying to rationalize with someone that clearly isn't able to be rationalized with. I forgive myself for not showing you that I was angry when I was truly angry with you sometimes- any women would be. I know now that I have liberty to be upset if I feel a certain way. 

Now that I have forgiven myself, I will start with forgiving you for not loving yourself. I forgive you for not seeing that you deserve love because people that deserve love don't treat someone that loves them the way that you have treated me. 

In that case, I can forgive you because you will need a lot of forgiveness moving forward if you continue to act the way that you do. Something that I have learnt is that love requires honesty, consistency and stability. Meaning, you and I never had a chance. 

I could give you advice but I'm sure that you don't want to hear it. And I am enjoying only being there for myself at this moment in my life.

However,  I must just say thank you. You taught me a lesson that will forever will be remembered: that the person that I can love can hurt me in one of the worst ways possible and I can learn from it, grow from it and, in time, move on from it.



4 empowering things that I have learnt from dating

from Getty Images

from Getty Images

I've had a few long term relationships and dated in between them. But only since my last break-up have I been able to understand what I did wrong in them. 

After seeking professional help through therapists and mentors, I was shown why my relationships didn't do well. 

It has empowered me. And, whether you are female or male, I would like you to feel empowered too. Therefore, I would like to share what was revealed to me to you: 

1. Don't sleep with someone before 60 days. 

This may work for some people but it definitely didn't work me. I read Steve Harvey's 'Think like a man, act like a lady' and his rule can be applied to both men and women. He says that we should wait 90 days before having sex with the person that we are dating. I think everyone's time frame may be different; however, we all know that when you sleep with a prospective , it may cloud your judgement at a very critical time: the formative stage. I recommend keeping things simple and sex-free in the beginning of every relationship to find out if you really like someone. 


2. Don't make up excuses for someone that you are dating. 


There is a clear difference between an excuse and an explanation. If the person that you are dating's behaviour doesn't align with what you think is acceptable, give yourself permission to ask yourself what might happen down the road if that behaviour continues. For example, someone not replying to your texts or not calling when they say they will could be a symptom of a deeper problem and, as a result, probably might happen again. Don't excuse it in the beginning, hoping that they will see the light and change. See the person for who they are not who you want them to be. 


3. I don't need to convince someone to be with me. 

I recently made date arrangements with someone who I saw as a potential romantic partner; however, he flaked on our first date twice . I have learnt from my past that, if the other person is not willing to meet me halfway, I will find someone who will. Instead of me allowing him to potentially flake on  me again when I am emotionally and physically invested, I empowered myself by blocking and deleting his number as soon as he flaked the second time.Simply onto the next, nothing personal.


4. Love yourself first.

In the dating world, we become afraid to have preferences because I think that we fear not being loved. If you love yourself first, you don't need to fear not getting it back from someone you barely even really know or who isn't treating you with the respect that you deserve. One of my mentors, Iyanla Vanzant says, 'You alone are enough'. If you love yourself, you are able to depend on yourself more than you would someone else and don't really need to depend on others. It may sound isolating but it is very empowering to understand that you are enough for yourself and for someone else and you don't need to desperately cling onto people and relationships that aren't healthy for you to fill a void that you can fill for yourself. 

5 quotes that helped me through the biggest heartbreak of my life.

Until that moment, I thought that I had had enough heartache for the 27 years of my existence on this earth. However, I was incorrect. The biggest heartache was about to happen to me. 


I was in a seemingly loving relationship with a man four years my senior. He had recently moved to Savannah to pursue his career. I only wanted the best for him so I was the supportive girlfriend. Shortly after his departure, I suspected that I was pregnant. I became heavily nauseous with certain smells, became extremely tired and had other symptoms.


I took a test and found out that I was pregnant. A day after I informed my (then) boyfriend, he disappeared. I texted, called, e-mailed but no reply. I spent a few days waking up and going to sleep crying. I would take breaks at work to ball my eyes out. 


I cried my heart out fearing having to raise a  child by myself, I cried about whether I would be okay and I cried out of confusion because he had told me that he would be there for me and that he had wanted my child. 


I received a brief e-mail about five days after his disappearance from him, saying that we needed to talk. I agreed to it but no reply from him. The next day, I woke up with a pain in my abdomen and bleeding. I rushed to The ER and texted him on the way. Still no reply. I ended up miscarrying from emotional stress. 


In a week, I went from having a baby and boyfriend to being alone. A lonely hole filled my life so I reached out to yoga, gospel music, friends and family. 


And, I found five magical quotes that give me salvation everyday:


1. It's not over, it's only the beginning- Israel & the new breed.


Given the fact that this situation is still fresh in my mind, I wake up listening to this song everyday . It's a gospel song by Israel & the new breed. Experiencing such heartbreak can sometimes make me think that my life is over. That the next guy that I date will be worse than the last, that I will never be a mother again or that I am running out of time to have my own family. This song reminds me that all of that is a lie because I know in my heart that the universe ultimately saved me from a relationship with a man that I didn't want to be with. So, my heart is at ease knowing that this is the beginning of better days. 



2. When people show you who they are, believe them- Maya Angelou


Looking back, I saw many signs that the relationship that I was in was not the one that I wanted to be in. I am not here to dog him out. However, there were many situations when I was there for him during difficult times but he was rarely there for me during difficult times. He showed me time and time again that he was incapable of being there for me. This time, I listened. Moving forward, I will accept everyone's behaviour as truth- not excuse it. 


3. When you're going through hell, keep going- Winston Churchill. 


I love this quote so much that I have it on my fridge. While I was pregnant, it was so difficult to get out of bed and go to yoga, work and to even interact with people. I would muster up the energy to face myself and others everyday because I knew that there was an end to what I was going through. And, alas, there was! I kept going and, through that, I learnt how strong I really am.


4. Quit beating yourself up, you are not a finished product. You are a work in progress- Joel Osteen.


Sometimes negative thoughts of how I let a man like my ex-boyfriend into my life come over me. I find myself being washed with guilt of allowing myself to be swept away by someone who was clearly not good news for me. And then, I decide to be kind to myself and trust the journey. I have mercy on myself because I know that I am learning and, sometimes, things aren't as clear they may seem but I will be okay.


5. 'I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear- Martin Luther King Jnr.


It's easy to hate someone after doing you wrong. Initially after everything happened, I blamed my ex-boyfriend for contributing to the stress that caused my miscarriage. But those thoughts were heavy. They were weighing me down. They wore heavy on my soul because ultimately I know that what has happened, has happened, and it is only beneficial for me to move forward. The love that I have for him is gone but I can stick with love for myself. Forgiving him is for me. And, forgiveness doesn't have to mean that I am his best friend. In this case, it means that I am not choosing to let negativity rule my life.

by Hali Tsotetsi