Ep. 12: What Do Men Learn From Their Failed Relationships?
I’ve learned plenty from one failed marriage followed by three not so serious relationships. But I wondered if men share the belief that every relationship has something to teach us? And do they ever reflect on why their relationship ended?
Sometimes we need to experience what it is we don’t want in order to discover what we do want.
It was Bram Stoker who said, “We learn from failure, not from success.”
Even if we share the opinion that every failed relationship is a gift, at some point most of us try to figure out how we contributed to its demise.
So how do men feel about their relationships that didn’t work out? Do they accept the part they played and do they recognize why they didn’t work out?
So this week we asked:
“Why Do You Think Your Relationships Haven’t Worked Out?
“I think all my relationships have been successful. It’s rare to find a relationship that has the longevity to run a lifetime, so just because one only lasts a few years or a few months, doesn’t mean they were failures; they were successful for as long as they were supposed to last.” –A 50-year-old divorced business owner from California.
Some men realize that they never properly learned how to have a healthy relationship so why would they expect them to last?
A 36-year-old single Government employee from Brooklyn, NY shared: “I grew up in a very religious household so I started dating later than most men. I didn’t have a serious relationship until the end of college so I didn’t have much experience. I also didn’t have a good example at home to learn from so I didn’t have something positive to model my behavior after, and that’s usually where you first learn what a relationship looks like. I’ve come to realize that my relationships haven’t worked because I didn’t know what a good one looks like.”
“Mainly because I’m not mature enough about them and I wasn’t raised to respect women. My father didn’t respect my mother at all so I watched that for years and just kind of learned it from him. I now know that it’s my responsibility to learn to respect women and that’s what I’m working on now.”- A 38-year-old single stand up comic from South Florida.
Some men feel they directly contributed to the failed relationship.
A single bi-sexual 34-year-old PhD student from Venezuela told me: “My last relationship was with a guy and we lived very far apart so the distance was a problem. However, I find that men, and women, just don’t trust me. Trust seems to be the main reason why my relationships haven’t work out. It doesn’t matter if I’m dating a woman or a man, it’s always the same thing; they just don’t trust me.”
A 68-year-old single retired man from WI said, “None of my relationships have worked out because of my job and my drinking. I was always on the road and I was always drinking. It took me a long time to figure out that I needed to be present and sober to have a real relationship. I’ve quit drinking and quit working and now I just want to have more sex!”
And some men just haven’t found what they’re looking for.
“They haven’t worked out because of me; I haven’t been able to commit. There are certain things that are deal breakers and I’m not willing to settle. I guess I haven’t found what I’m looking for, but I’ll know it when I see it. I’m in search of the unicorn and if she walked in here right now then I would gladly hop on her and ride out of here, but I haven’t found her yet.”- A 39-year-old divorced investment trader from South Florida.
Some men are very clear about how their actions have directly contributed to their failed relationships. Other men seem to be convinced that it’s the woman who hasn’t been right.
It seems clear to me that men appear to be just as reflective as women when it comes to their failed relationships.
I believe that some of our greatest gifts can come from relationships that didn’t unfold the way we had planned. It’s in the reflection of why they didn’t work out that we often find who we really are, and that’s one of the greatest gifts we could ever ask for.