Guest post: 10 Reasons To Thank Your Bad Boyfriend

by guest author, Regina Barreca, Ph.D.

Dear Readers: My friend Gina Barreca writes hilarious and thought-provoking books and articles. She and I thought you’d like her latest blog posting. She’d love to get your comments on this piece on her blog. I have mentioned a number of Gina’s books in past postings. Just search by “Barreca” in my search box to find them.

We’ve all had The Bad Boyfriend. He’s the one  you knew you had to leave. In order to get on with life, we need to put him in perspective. Part of that is acknowledging those things for which we should be grateful to him.

That isn’t easy to do.

I decided to help.

Here Are Gina’s 10 Reasons To Thank Your Bad Boyfriend
  1. He taught you that “boredom” is an anagram of “bedroom”;
  2. He helped you understand the importance of staying away from guys who play the opening chords to “Smoke on the Water” ALL THE TIME, even when they are way past the bassist stage;
  3. He helped you understand that for some men the phrase “sowing wild oats” actually means “always having a blonde bent over a coffee table”;
  4. You learned from him that there are insignificant others as well as significant others;
  5. From him you learned that men fake sleep the way that women fake orgasms: to be left alone already;
  6. You learned that a truly thoughtful lover would not attempt to arouse you with the subtlety of a chimp trying to dial a rotary phone;
  7. He taught you that while breaking up might be hard to do, staying in a fundamentally miserable, spiritually chaotic, emotionally unsafe, and unutterably unfulfilling relationship was worse;
  8. You learned, while being in that relationship, that someone else’s suspicions can erode your own sense of trust and self-worth to the point where you doubt your sanity as well as your integrity;
  9. Once you ended the relationship, you discovered that you no longer had to hide all your own stuff because he didn’t like it, thereby happily freeing yourself from the “Repressed School of Interior Decoration”;
  10. All your previous boyfriends — good, bad, and indifferent — helped make you who you are today and who you are today is someone who can have an absolutely fabulous time tomorrow, if only you give yourself a chance.
So, here’s the best thing to do with the Bad Boyfriend: say “thanks,” say “so long,” and then wave good-by without turning back.


If you want to know more about how and why to break up maturely, get your copy of Moving On Gracefully: Break Up Without Heartache.


8 responses to “Guest post: 10 Reasons To Thank Your Bad Boyfriend”

  1. Mitsy Avatar

    I can relate to a couple of those. However, #7 says it all better than anything I might add “He taught you that while breaking up might be hard to do, staying in a fundamentally miserable, spiritually chaotic, emotionally unsafe, and unutterably unfulfilling relationship was worse;”

    That is the synopsis of what dating life with an alcoholic is like. You lose yourself in what become verbal abuse, emotional abuse & misery. While I was lonely later, I realized I was lonely WITH him because it was always about him and his issues/dramas, etc. Being alone is better than being with someone who makes you feel emotionally unsafe or vulnerable.

  2. 300girl Avatar

    Completely agree with 7-10. I, too, was in an emotionally abusive relationship. After being alone and dealing with life by myself for the past 3 months, I can see that I was lonlier with him than I am without him. All of the suspicion he brought into the relationship, all of the emotionally enraged situations he would inflict taught me how I don’t want my life to be. I will be grateful for that. I am experiencing many emotions going through life as a single person, but when it comes down to it life is so much better without this bad person in my life.

  3. Kim Avatar

    Misty, that was my exact relationship with an alcoholic. unfortunately, he is the father of my daughter and is still hanging in the outer circle…………

  4. Gatti Avatar

    I like 9. I moved into a tiny house, all on my own, when we broke up and it was brilliant. I loved getting up and seeing all my things again, ornaments and whatnot, that had lived in boxes to make room for his stuff. And never having to worry about bumping into his 3,000,000 fragile models and stuff, bliss!

  5. Mark Avatar

    Just to add a male perspective, here are a few of the things I’ve learned from relationships I’ve had since my marriage broke up:

    – I can’t deal with frequent anger. When the other person in the relationship reacts with anger, it’s a sign that the relationship is in serious trouble.

    – Fighting is bad, always. Two reasonable adults can disagree and even be disappointed without resorting to fighting. If you fight, that’s a serious warning sign.

    – Playing games is bad. If a woman is into games playing, that’s a bad sign. Just be natural. If you feel like calling a guy, call him. Don’t wait by the phone refusing to be the one who calls.

    – If the relationship doesn’t feel quite right, chances are time won’t fix it. Maybe a talk will, but don’t fool yourself and think that it’s only a matter of spending more time together to make things more comfortable.

    – Kids are an issue. Most of us who have been parents and find ourselves single again aren’t really looking to parent another person’s child. If we love him or her, we will gladly do it, but if there is reluctance in your heart about that parenting, it may indicate how you truly feel about your dating partner.

    – A lot of us who find ourselves single again may have our own issues. Try to assign some blame to yourself when you assess your failed relationships. Even if the other person was bad, did you do everything right?

    – People who have had a lot of failed relationships are people to wonder about. I’ve dated women who can’t sustain a relationship, and after getting to know them better, it’s not always hard to see why. Don’t write off these people, but be wary. Relationships take work, and forgiveness, and giving. If the other person doesn’t have these qualities, they may not be a person you can be with long-term.

  6. Mitsy Avatar

    I agree with a lot of what Mark says. However, that last paragraph can be tricky. While I have not dated a LOT of men, I have had only 1 sustaining, long-term relationship which I chose to end a number of years ago. I’ve had a lot of problems trying to meet or connect with the right guy since. Does that make me someone to wonder about? Maybe, but then if you don’t know someone’s history, sometimes it really is a matter of picking the wrong person from the get-go. People can hide their flaws early on or they can lie like a charmer in order to get someone only to bail on them later. It’s happened to me more than a couple times. I was hookwinked into believing they were something they were not. So, I don’t automatically assume that because someone has had a number of failed relationships that it’s always their fault. If they have an addiction or serious personality flaw, then more than likely, they are causing their own problems. Otherwise, I’d hate for others to believe that because I’m 49 and single that I’m somehow undesirable as a mate because I haven’t had a long-term serious relationship in several years.

  7. UniqueDater Avatar

    Phew! As a believer of the Law of Attraction, I skimmed that list and was thankful I hadn’t experienced any of it in the last couple relationships, and now I’m going to completely forget I ever read that list, and instead spend some time in my “workshop” thinking about what my awesome guy WILL be like, to counter act it!

  8. UniqueDater Avatar

    I was inspired to come back and really read the entire list, and to write my own version of a gratitude post regarding past relationships. Only, I took the bent of the things that I learned from the GREAT men that I love(d), in an attempt to align myself with finding a really great relationship next time.

    I wrote this so I could remind myself of the picture of this awesome guy I’ve met over time, through man after man influence all through my life!

    Thanks for the contrast and the inspiration for my own article, to both you and the original author (I’ve linked to you both in the article on my site)!