10 Lessons I Learned From My Last 3 Long-Term Relationships

A lot of guys have the goal of getting a girlfriend. It’s the natural part of life, right? Date for a while, get a girlfriend, make her your wife, have kids, and so on and so forth.

The problem is, guys think most of the work goes into “getting the girl.” However, when it comes to dating and relationships, the work continues. The entire process of meet, date, girlfriend, wife is a never-ending string of effort. I don’t say this as a bad thing. Instead, I’m just showing you the reality of the situation. This isn’t any different from other areas of your life where you’re trying to succeed.

The bottom line is this: the work and effort never ends.

Why do I say this to you? It’s because I’ve learned that a successful relationship needs nonstop effort. It’s not a good idea to get lazy after she says yes to being your girlfriend, which is what most men and women tend to do. Laziness can lead to a nasty breakup, divorce, or crappy relationship.

The issue is, most men don’t know where to put in the work. It becomes a puzzle. Lucky for you, I’ve been through three long-term relationships in the past seven years, so I’ve learned quite a bit. What follows is 10 of the biggest lessons that can drastically improve the quality of your future (or current) relationship. I could probably write about 50, but these ones will have the most impact on your future, so read carefully and take notes. If you choose to learn from my experience, you’ll have a better chance at a healthy and thriving relationship.

Lesson #1: You’ll only know what you want in a partner by experiencing relationships.

If you’ve never been in a relationship before, then it’s almost impossible to know what kind of woman gels with you. Right now, you might only have an idea. Maybe you think she has to be pretty and nice, like the same music as you, and enjoy the outdoors. Okay, this isn’t a bad start, but right now, it’s all in your head. It’s a theory instead of something you’ve actually experienced.

I’ve found that some things you imagine being awesome traits in a partner have barely any effect on the actual relationship. For example, in one of my previous relationships, we were both obsessed with the same kind of music. Going into the relationship, I thought this was incredible. I thought we’d listen to it and talk about it all the time and that it’d be a big part of how we connected in our relationship. In reality, we went to a few concerts and that was pretty much it. Something like this had little to no effect on the relationship, and I only realized this by being in the relationship.

Also, when you’re dating someone, intuitively you might think that having the same personality traits will help the relationship. For example, if you’re an introvert who likes to stay home and spend time indoors, you might think that having a girlfriend like that would be a great complement. In reality, it might be better if your partner was an extrovert who likes to go out and socialize. That way you can each push each other to enjoy a night out or a night in. You two can even have your separate times when she goes out with friends and you relax inside. Having opposite yet complementing traits can be very beneficial to the relationship.

This concept isn’t something you can figure out ahead of time. Instead, it’s best to get into relationships, experience women, and see what works best for you. I encourage you to date lots of women, give relationships a shot, and learn more about yourself and what you like.

Lesson #2: Be the person you want to attract.

At the end of the day, tricks and techniques may attract a woman or even get her to sleep with you, but it doesn’t mean she’ll stick around and be your girlfriend. For long-term relationships, only a quality guy will attract a quality girl. A guy who’s a complete mess will attract a woman who’s a complete mess, too. If there’s an imbalance between you and a woman, there’ll probably only be a few dates and the relationship will end.

So what does this look like?

For example, a needy guy will attract and keep a needy girl.

An overweight, lazy guy will attract and keep an overweight and lazy girl.

A passive-aggressive guy will attract and keep an emotionally closed girl.

Or

A healthy, active guy will attract a fit and health-conscious girl.

An honest and communicative guy will attract a mature and open girl.

A stylish guy will attract a feminine girl who values her looks.

The list can go on, but the point is, who you are as a person will inevitably attract and keep that same type of person. Why? Let’s look at another example.

Pretend you’re a dude who lives in your parents’ basement. You have no job, no ambitions, and a generally bad attitude toward life. But you learn pick-up/game/attraction techniques and decide to go out and meet hot girls at a club. There’s absolutely a chance you can get a sexy girl interested in you for one night. But if you’re looking to date and be in a relationship, you’re doomed. You’ll go on dates and she’ll find out you don’t have your own place and that you’re broke, boring, and have no friends. This woman, on the other hand, has a good career, takes care of her body by eating healthy and staying active, and has close relationships with her friends. It’s not rocket science; this partnership won’t last unless one of the two changes very quickly.

If you’re a guy who wants a quality girl or a 10/10, you have to be a 10, too. There’s no way around it. This doesn’t mean you have to be super rich and muscular and drive a sports car, but it does mean you need to have your life together and be an effective member of society. That’s what a 10 is looking for.

Here’s another example. Let’s say you meet a smokin’ hot girl at a club one night, except this time you have your own place and a career you’re passionate about. You’re conscious about your health, you have a busy, interesting life full of friends, you’re mentally stable, and so on. Now, you end up meeting this girl and going on a few dates. You find out there’s not much past her beauty. She lives in a dump, plasters makeup on her face to cover her unhealthy skin caused by excessive weekly drinking, and is a very negative person to be around. Chances are, you might go on a few dates, but you won’t want this woman in your life. You’re on a whole different path and desire someone at your level. Looks only go so far.

This point here is to constantly strive to improve your life so you can attract the type of woman you want. If you’re perfectly okay with where you’re at now, then great. You’ll eventually attract that same quality and you’ll get to experience what it’s like to be with a female version of you. Take a good long, hard look at where you’re at. Be honest with yourself and see where you can make improvements.

Lesson #3: Only get into a relationship when you know how to be alone.

It’s common for people to get into relationships for the sole reason of avoiding loneliness. You want the essence of a woman, compassion, sex, and companionship. Of course you do; you’re human! But aching for a woman and needing to be with her is a recipe for disaster.

First off, it might actually be harder to get into a relationship if you’re trying when you’re lonely. That’s because you’ll be needy, which is the number one turn-off for women. They want a man who’s secure in himself and isn’t desperate. Loneliness can be a painful struggle for men, and your desperation will be very obvious to women.

The biggest problem with getting into a relationship because you’re lonely is how brutal the relationship will turn out. Instead of really connecting with a woman, you’ll be treating her like a drug. You’ll feel great when she’s with you but sad when she’s away. She’ll be an object that fills the empty hole inside you, not a person to share meaningful experiences with. Your life will be a rollercoaster of emotions, and you better believe you’ll be jealous any time she mentions another man in her life. Why? Because you’ll be scared of losing her. In fact, you’ll be constantly afraid of losing her because she’ll be your loneliness drug. And because you’re trying to fill this hole, you’ll probably settle for any girl that pays attention to you (more on this in Lesson #10).

How do you handle this? Learn how to be alone and be your own best friend. Spend more time alone if you’re not doing it already. If you have a roommate, eventually get your own place. If you spend lots of time around people, make time to be with yourself. Pull the Band-Aid off and do activities by yourself, even if it’s just taking a short walk. Take a break from social media to stop yourself from false-connecting on a digital medium. Soon enough, you’ll find that being on your own isn’t as bad as it seems. If you’re alone most of the day and don’t spend time around people but still feel the pains of loneliness, then your life probably isn’t very exciting. If that’s the case, work on getting more hobbies, creating goals, and making some friends.

It’s best to have a full life before desperately seeking a relationship. Not only will more women be attracted to you as a result, but you’ll also get into a relationship for a healthy reason. It’s not something many people have taken the time to do. That’s because it’s hard. I urge you, in life, to move toward things that are hard. Get out of your comfort zone. The rewards are great if you do, and life will be 10 times more enjoyable.

Lesson #4: You need 3 non-negotiables.

There are 3.7 billion women in the world, so how will you know which woman is the best fit for you? To answer this, you need to learn how to choose a woman. I said in Lesson #1 that you need to experience relationships to know what you’re looking for. However, there are still a few things you should have in mind before jumping into a relationship, even if you’re new to one.

If you want to maximize the chance of picking a good woman, you must have three non-negotiables (aka “deal-breakers”). These are what you value most in a partner. They’ll change over time, and that’s okay; it’s better to start now and refine them as you continue dating. Here are some examples:

  • Sense of humor
  • Good with children
  • Financially responsible
  • Religious beliefs
  • Physically fit
  • Does she want children?
  • Age
  • Open to threesomes
  • Passionate about her work
  • Does she have a lot of friends?
  • Adventurous
  • Taste in film/books

You might think all of these are important, but I urge you to only pick three. Choose any more than three and it becomes exponentially harder to find a woman who matches what you’re looking for. There is no such thing as a “unicorn,” and if there is, it could take you two decades to find her. Start with three. Then refine them over time if you realize a specific trait isn’t as important to you as you originally thought.

Once you pick the three most important traits, what are you supposed to do? Your job is to find out if she has them. When you’re on your first three or four dates, get to know her and ask questions. Don’t be afraid. Get in there and learn about who she is. Pay attention to what she says and how she acts, and note this in the back of your mind. It might seem like a lot of work now, but it’ll save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Lots of guys just settle for any woman that likes them. Further down the road, you’ll find that her liking you will get old, and then you’re stuck with someone you don’t respect or enjoy spending time with.

Lesson #5: Take it slow before making her your girlfriend.

Once you meet a woman that has your three non-negotiables, you might think it’s time to make her your girlfriend. Why not, right? You’re attracted to her. She has the qualities you’re looking for. You want to seal the deal. Not so fast, friend.

The three non-negotiables determine whether or not this woman gets the chance to go on more dates with you. If she doesn’t pass, then you say goodbye. If she does pass, then it’s time to get to know her further.

It takes at least three to six months of getting to know a woman before you should commit to a monogamous relationship.

In these months, you’re getting to know her on a deeper level. You’re seeing how she acts around your friends and family. You’ll get to know if she’s a responsible human being who pays her bills and treats her body well. You’ll find out if you have sexual chemistry with her. When you’re out for a night on the town, you’ll see how she treats strangers. Does she treat you well? Does she respect you? Or is she trying to change or mold you into something you’re not? Is she nurturing and a good person deep down? Does she have a good group of friends and hang around quality people? Is she a heavy drug user or alcohol abuser? Does she have anxiety or depression that she can’t control? These are questions to ask and things to look for as you continue getting to know her.

Most importantly, you’ll find out if this is someone you actually respect and like as a friend. Studies have shown that relationships based on friendship have a higher chance of succeeding. This isn’t the same thing as the friend zone. You’re already out of the friend zone if you’re having sex with her. But the relationship must be based on respect, friendship, and sexual attraction.

All of this takes time to figure out. It’s not something you’ll know in one day, one week, one month, or even two or three months. Everyone is on their best behavior in the very beginning of dating. You need time to break down the walls and see the real her—who she is at her core. If three to six months go by and you can honestly say that everything still checks out, then take it to the next level.

Lesson #6: For the first 6–12 months, you’re taking a drug.

In the early stages of meeting a woman, you have a “feel-good chemical” running through your brain that helps you bond. It’s called oxytocin. This chemical helps you fall in love and stay with a woman for the purpose of raising a child. Some people call this the “honeymoon stage.” In this phase of dating, you always look forward to seeing her, you usually have lots of sex, and you idealize her to the point where she can do no wrong.

This period is brutally dangerous, and you need to be aware of this before getting into your next relationship. Your brain is not thinking logically. It rationalizes all the reasons you need to be with this woman because it feels so good to be around her. Like being addicted to a drug, it can cause you to make decisions that aren’t in your best interest. Here are a few examples of these decisions:

  • spending more time with her than with your friends and family
  • overlooking her “poor” qualities and substituting them for other “great” qualities
  • changing your opinions or personality to match hers
  • disregarding work, hobbies, healthy eating habits, chores, and responsibilities to spend time with her

Why do you need to know this? Shouldn’t this be a happy, carefree fun time in this newfound relationship? Of course it should! But no matter how special this woman is, the intense love chemicals you feel in the beginning will eventually go away. And if you’re not careful about knowing who you’re dating, you’ll be in trouble during the post-honeymoon period because you’re left with a person whose flaws and habits really bother you.

So it’s important that you’re honest with yourself throughout the first year of knowing her. Don’t overlook things that are important to you. They’ll show up later on and you’ll have to confront them. For example, if the way she does things last-minute is cute and adorable in the beginning, it’ll bother you down the road. Or maybe she has a different religion than you but you don’t discuss it because you’re so busy falling in love. If this is a non-negotiable or a value that’s important to you, eventually it will pop back up.

You need to have your three non-negotiables in place before you date a woman, and you need to honestly assess her as a person as you continue dating her.

Do not make her your girlfriend if things about her bother you. Grab some courage and let her be with a man who appreciates those things. That’s fine if it’s not you. Just don’t waste her time or yours.

Lesson #7: You only need one similar interest. Anything else is a bonus.

It’s very common for men to say they want a woman who has similar interests as them. I totally get it. I thought that once, too. Seems intuitive, right? If you like the same things, then you’ll do those things together and have fun. However, in my experience, it’s not as important as you might think.

For example, let’s say you like hiking, going to the movies, playing poker, and drinking wine. Now, let’s carve out a few different hypothetical scenarios.

Scenario #1: She likes all of those things as much as you do. Okay, cool. You’ll spend time doing those things together. But how often are you hiking, going to the movies, playing poker, or drinking wine? Realistically, just a few set hours out of the month.

Scenario #2: She likes one of those things: hiking. Great. Now you spend a couple hours of the month going hiking. You both really enjoy it and get to connect during the activity.

Scenario #3: She doesn’t like any of those things, you have separate interests and hobbies, and you don’t spend any time doing many extracurricular activities together.

If we’re being realistic, all three scenarios could still result in a successful and happy relationship. Most of your time spent together is going to be eating, watching TV, talking, commuting, hanging out with friends, and all the other mundane things that life brings. After one or two years, you’ll rarely be spending much of your time doing multiple activities together.

However, I do feel that having at least one or two common interests can help make the relationship more interesting and build friendship. Don’t forget that successful relationships are mainly built on friendship.

The good news is that you don’t need to have any crazy or obscure interests or hobbies you both enjoy. It can be as simple as eating out at ethnic restaurants, taking walks by the lake, going to the gym together, seeing live music, enjoying a drink with friends, watching the same movies, or reading the same book and talking about it.

If you have a few of those interests in common, then you can spend quality time together, which is the most important part of your relationship. It’s never about the actual activity; it’s about coming together, being with each other, and enjoying life.

Lesson #8: Seduction never ends.

Seduction happens from the moment you two meet. It’s the way you look into her eyes, the way you talk to her in a dominant and masculine tone, the way you ask her out, or the way you lead her from kissing to sex. You’re in charge from the moment you meet her until the day she becomes your girlfriend.

But then something terrible happens. Once a guy gets into a relationship with a woman, he slowly stops trying. He stops going to the gym. He doesn’t text her sweet things like he used to. He doesn’t crave sex with her as much. He gets lazy. This happens on the woman’s end, too. You get comfortable.

Comfortability is cancer. It’s the beginning of a dull, boring, predictable relationship with no pulse. I’m sure this adds to the high divorce rate in America, which is at a booming 60 percent. Who wants to be with someone who doesn’t make them feel alive?

The answer is to stop being lazy and continue seducing your woman. And it’s incredibly easy! When she feels loved and beautiful, she’ll reciprocate and make you feel loved and appreciated. The problem is, most people do absolutely nothing. Make sure you do the following things in your relationship to keep the spark consistently alive:

  • Go on a date once per week.
  • Tell her she’s beautiful three times per week.
  • Have sex at least once or twice per week.
  • Go on a weekend trip once every two months.
  • If you live together, don’t have phones or the TV on during dinner.
  • Twice per week minimum, give her a 15-second kiss.
  • Once per week, ask how her week has been and what she’s looking forward to for the next week. Talk for 30 minutes with no interruption.

Most couples don’t do this—at all. I know some of this may sound silly because you might be doing all these things and more when you first start dating a woman. But after one or two years, things change. The “love drug” dies down and the initial excitement phase ends. With that, the romance can start to devolve as well. A man feels like he doesn’t need to pursue his woman anymore because he’s already in a long-term, committed relationship. Therefore, he tries less, and that’s when things start to go stale. Consistently use the tips I gave you to continue seducing and attracting the woman you’re with so the fire keeps burning.

Lesson #9: You both need separate lives.

When you first meet a woman and fall in love, it’s easy to let her become the main thing in your life. As I said earlier, love is a drug, and people will do anything to get their fix, even spending five to seven days per week with that person. While it feels good in the moment, it’s also very dangerous for your future self. Making your whole life about one person takes up a ton of your time and leaves little room for anything else.

I’ve seen it before. Guys will avoid friends and ignore their hobbies. They’ll even change into the person they think their partner would like, which means changing their opinions and lifestyle, all because they found a woman they really like and because they don’t want to make a “mistake” and lose her. This desperation can be disastrous, because once the love drug wears off, the man’s only left with a shell of his former self.

The best way to prevent this is to create a full life for yourself before you meet a potential partner. This life should comprise friends, a career, hobbies, opinions, and interests. Once you have a life that’s your own, then you can add a relationship to the mix. The keyword here is “add.” It’s not about making a woman your whole purpose, but rather about adding her to a preexisting life that’s your own.

When you come together with a woman, she should have her own life as well. Make sure you look for this when you’re dating someone. If she’s too clingy and wants to spend every waking moment with you, that means she’s seeking something to fill a void in her life. The reason you two need separate lives is because fulfillment in life requires balance. Spending too much time with a woman takes away from the other areas of your life, and by the time the honeymoon phase is done, you’ll realize the damage you’ve created.

Once you two come together, make sure you continue pursuing your own interests and goals. Spend time with your friends and make new ones. The more time you spend with your girlfriend, the faster the relationship will go stale. If you have a life outside of her, you’ll be more excited to see her when you do. Keeping busy in your own life is the best thing you can do throughout the entire course of your relationship.

Lesson #10: Never settle, or it will most likely end.

The sad reality is that most men settle when they meet a girl they like. The settling happens because the guy gets excited about the attention he’s getting from a woman. The attention boosts his self-esteem, so he decides to continue dating her even if he sees a few red flags or isn’t very attracted to her.

Another example of settling is a guy who’s half interested in a girl and pursues her only because he doesn’t think he’s worthy of having a girl who’s a better fit. This usually happens because of low self-esteem or because he’s unconscious to the fact that he can learn the skill of attraction. I see this happen all the time, and the result is never pretty. Settling takes you down two paths: the relationship ends because you eventually stop being happy with the girl or you end up in a miserable relationship. Only settle if you’re happy with those results.

There’s an abundance of women out there to meet and date. Why settle? If you’re reading this post, that means you understand that you can develop the skill of attracting women. That’s a huge step for you. You’re already further than most guys because you’re working toward something. Don’t stop. Take your skill to the next level so you can find a woman who matches your three non-negotiables. Become the person you want to attract. Work on your goals, your career, your health, and the lifestyle you truly want. That’s the guy that’ll find a beautiful, stable, healthy woman to build a life with.

Be careful when meeting women, too. They have an uncanny ability to seduce you and make you feel like an amazing man at the beginning of dating. They’re not doing it to manipulate you; it’s because they like you. However, we’re not trying to find women that like us. We’re trying to find women that are amazing and like us. Sometimes men will even be attracted to amazing women that don’t like them. This is a different issue altogether because they end up chasing a woman who isn’t interesting and they waste their time.

Time is your biggest issue. Depending how old you are when you read this, you have, on average, about 20,000 days left on this Earth. It may seem like a lot, but time goes by extremely fast. Don’t waste it with someone you aren’t truly interested in. Consciously choose a partner that’s good to you, supports you, and is the right match. That way, you’ll have a better chance of success and a happier life.