Tabbitha, 29, said she spent around eight months on and off with a guy when she was 22 years old

Listen to Your Gut

Although they were originally exclusive, they broke up when Tabbitha discovered he’d been texting somebody else. They later decided to get back together and give things another shot, since she wanted to at least give him the benefit of the doubt, only for him to become “flirty and touchy” with another girl during Tabbitha’s birthday party, in front of their friends. Needless to say, that was where she drew the line. “Listen to your gut, it’s right 99 percent of the time. Don’t settle,” she said. “Do your own thing, invest in yourself and as cliche as it sounds, you’ll find love when you least expect it.”

Although her experience wasn’t quite as drastic, Charlotte, 24, also learned the importance of listening to where you are in your life and factoring in timing in order to make a relationship work. She fell in love with her girlfriend during college, but struggled to stay on the same page when she moved across the country and they resorted to long-distance. “So eventually we were on and off and tried about three or four times to make [our relationship] work, but it always felt like we were off-I would be more keen to try at one point and then she’d be more keen to try at another point,” she explained. “I think we kind of became each other’s safety blanket.”

Instead of staying for the sake of what the relationship once was or could be, if you feel deep inside that things aren’t headed in a direction that works for you, it’s probably best to move on.

Stand Up For Yourself

Similar to Charlotte’s story, Izzy, 23, said she kept going back to her S.O. because of the familiarity and comfort, they shared, even when she knew he wasn’t treating her the way he should be. Things eventually blew up when she found out he was communicating with an ex, and she realized that she needed to put herself first, once and for all. “I learned that love should never be forced, and familiarity comes and goes,” she said. “No woman should ever settle for Estniska ensamstÃ¥ende kvinnor a toxic situation in which she is not taken seriously and where she is not the priority just because she is familiar with the guy.”

Madison, 22, was on and off with a partner for around four or five months. Because she didn’t want to lose them, she accepted the relationship on whatever terms possible-even if it wasn’t ultimately what she needed. She says that although the people around her told her she deserved better, it took coming to terms with it on her own for her to finally break up and move on. “I think I learned the importance of knowing your worth and speaking up when you’re not ok with something,” she said. “The whole experience taught me a lot about myself and what I need from the person I am romantically involved with. Don’t settle for something that doesn’t make you happy.”

Similarly, Cara*, 22, struggled to let go of a relationship because it was with someone she had been close friends with for years before they began dating. He didn’t want to commit the way that she did, but Cara says it was easier at first to overlook labels and continue to spend time together. They did the on-again, off-again routine for months, until Cara realized it was wearing her down more to keep up the trope than to move on altogether. “I’m still really sad to have had to let it go, but I learned that it’s really important for me to stand up for what I want from the beginning,” she said. “Once you start to make compromises, it’s easy to lose sight of your priorities and what matters to you.”

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