I will never forget the night I met “Greg.” I was on my way to Winter Music Conference in Miami with a good friend and he had told me we needed to pick up Greg, a friend of his I had never met. We got lost trying to find him and wasted a lot of time, so when we rolled up and Greg asked us to come in for a minute, I yelled at him to get in the car.
I was not immediately overcome by his looks or his unctuous charms. I should have run for the hills, especially when he cupped his hand over one of my ears and yelled into my other one in the middle of the crowded dance floor of writhing ravers so that I could hear his suggestion of buying me a drink. I should have never said yes when he relentlessly pursued me for a date. And I should have just cut my losses when he took me to a very expensive sushi place for our first date and his credit card was declined (he did make good on his word and pay me back though.)
Somehow in the blur of VIP club entries on South Beach and a whirlwind of private parties on exclusive Star Island, I found myself in love with this guy. I had no idea why either. He was not bad-looking, but he was not really my type. And he smoked too many cigarettes, something I had given up already. But against every fiber of my better judgment, I fell in love with him.
I spent 2 years with the wrong man. I lived with him and found myself stuck after he broke up with me to be with someone else. But I am glad I did it because it led me to where I needed to be.
Greg has tried to contact me over the last decade and I have ignored his attempts. I have nothing to say to him. Nothing nice anyway. But thanks to him, I did learn a few things. If you have a Greg of your own, let me spare you the pain. Cut him loose and learn from my mistakes.
1. Trust your gut
If red flags keep popping up, take notice. They should always be a deal-breaker.
2. Love is not enough
It is never enough. I should have listened to my dad when he told me years ago that just because you love somebody does not mean you are the person to spend your life with. I am currently pondering this with my husband.
More: 3 Reasons Messy, Imperfect Love Is The Most Passionate One
3. Settling is not an option
With Greg, I found myself settling for barely good enough thanks to my fear of the future. I thought perhaps no one would ever love me and that I would never find happiness. I realized that is not true at all. It is just the lies we tell ourselves because we are afraid to be alone. Do not be.
4. Sometimes you love someone who did not exist
Greg put on such an act that once we broke up and certain things about him came to light, I discovered that the person I was actually in love with was not real. He did not exist. And that made it a lot easier to pick me up and move on.
5. Your ego is much more resilient than you think
When bad relationships happen to good people, you are bound to feel stupid. That is normal. But wallowing in it is unhealthy. Take note of the mistakes you made and forgive yourself for having blinders. We have ALL done it.
6. Real friends will be there through it all
Whether you pushed them away because of your wrong love or they distanced themselves, you will know your true friends when they come out of nowhere to help you through the mess that has become your life.
More: 10 Worst Flirting Moves You Should Never Use
7. Starting over is glorious
You do not need to move to another country like I did to make a fresh start (it was just what was right in front of me so I took the chance). But do not be afraid to make that fresh start wherever you are. You are not stupid for giving love a shot.
You are not an idiot for ignoring the warning signs. You are a great person who made a mistake in love, and you are definitely not alone! What did you learn from your “Greg?” Tell us!