7 lessons my Ex-Girlfriends Taught Me

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June 1, 2016
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June 4, 2016

Ex-Boyfriends, Ex-Girlfriends, Ex-husbands, Ex-wives, Ex-Mistresses, Ex-Friends, Ex-Roommates and my personal favorite, Ex-Friends with benefits. The world is full of exes. We all are an Ex-Something to someone. Exes are exes for a reason. Something did not work out or things did not go as planned.

In the days, weeks and months following a breakup, a separation or a divorce, affection, and gratitude is most likely the last thing you feel for your Ex. We are still pissed, still hurt, still broken, still bitter.  We went from “I can’t stand to be away from you for 2 seconds” to “I need you out of my life forever!”

The dust settles with time. We will start to move forward with our lives. We put down the box of tissues, we stop asking the “why me?” questions, we put away the ice cream and most importantly, we stop listening to Skeeter Davis. Skeeter Davis’ “the end of the world’ should go down as the number one song for the broken-hearted and the hopeless romantics after a breakup. That song just adds color and clarity to every emotion you feel after a breakup.

We become reflective after the dust settles.  We begin to see both the positive and negative influences our exes had on our lives.  As I reflected on the humble beginnings, the arguments, the disagreements, the heart burns and ultimately, the demise of the relationship, I realize something immediately. I had no clue what I was doing most of the time in my relationships. I thought I was in control. Everything lesson I learned about how a relationship works came directly from my exes. My biggest teachers about human relationships were the women I called Exes.

In short, I am a better man today thanks to the women I call my Exes.

Here are the top 7 lessons my Exes taught me.

Women do not need lie detectors to know when you are lying

Women get lied to the most and that is a fact. With that, they have gained volumes of experience dealing with liars. Most women will detect fibbing from your actions, your mannerism, your behavior and your physical reactions while you lie. They notice little things like how closely you guard your cellular phone and the expression on your face when the phone rings unexpectedly. They pay attention to the sound and tone of your voice when you are on the phone with someone they do not know.

Fellas, make no mistakes, she knows exactly when you are singing. Most of the time she knows you are going to lie before you open your mouth. They have already done their homework. They are just waiting for you to confirm what they already know.

Here is the number one reason women catch us in lies. Men don’t like to talk much so we say very little when we have to lie. We tell big lies in very simple and short sentences.

  • “I am sleeping.”

  • “My phone died.”

  • “My network is messing up.”

  • “I am at Kwesi’s house.”

  • “I was watching the game with the boys.”

We keep the lies very simple so we do not think through how to respond if we get follow-up questions. The follow-up questions catches us off guard. Women do not ask simple follow-up questions either. They are good with open-ended questions. Sometimes you don’t even know she asked a question until it’s too late.

In my younger days, a girl I had been crushing on called me out of the blue and asked if I would have dinner with her that weekend. There was no way I was going to miss this opportunity. I told my girlfriend at the time that I will have to meet my grad school mates to finish up a term paper.  She said okay and decided to go over to my apartment and wait for me until I was done. I was enjoying my crushes’ company so much that I lost track of time. This was not the first time my girlfriend had waited for me when I went to meet my school mates so she knew when to expect me. When I walked in, she asked me a simple question and before long, I was getting busted like a balloon.

She asked me what the paper was about and how I contributed to the project. My lying self did not think that far. I hesitated for a few seconds and came up with an incoherent response. You would think after working on a paper for three hours, I can recite the topic in my sleep. I held my breath and hoped she will not ask another follow-up question. Then she asked, “Can I see the paper?” Bonkers!! Crap!!

There is a difference between a woman interrogating you versus a woman who is simply asking questions to make conversation. When she starts to interrogate you, she already knows you are lying about something. If you are, heed my advice.  Throw in the towel, confess, put yourself at her mercy and accept your punishment.

The second major reason why women catch us in lies is also very simple. Men can be very forgetful. Women are not and they remember everything. She noted where you said you were two weeks ago with the boys on a Friday night. Chances are, your lying self will forget that you fibbed about something two weeks ago. The strategy she employs to catch you in a lie is simple enough. She engages you in a conversation and casually references the lie you told her two weeks ago. She will ask something like “My girlfriends and I are thinking about going to that place you went two weeks ago with the boys. What was that place again?”  You don’t really remember so you just throw up a venue and hope that you hit the jackpot twice.

She spends money on you more than you know

Allow me to share my experience with a young Ghanaian lady I dated years ago. As the dinner was winding down, I remember thinking that she has never paid for any of our dates. We have been dating for three months and in all that time, she has never reached for the check. She has a professional job and makes good money just like I do. Shouldn’t she offer to pay for at least one meal? She looked as beautiful as ever. She always does. I realize that she always wears a new dress every time we go out. Her hair is always done, her nails are perfect and she compliments her looks with some nice shoes.

That night, I asked, “I have not seen this blue dress on you before. It looks heavenly on you.” She smiles as I compliment her.

“I bought this dress just for you. I always wear something special for you.”

My head swells to the size of the table when she said this. She suggested we go to her place. On her bed, my eyes gazed over at the dress garment bag. I happen to peek at the receipt and I could not believe how much she paid for the blue dress she wore tonight.

I remembered something else. Every time she comes to my place, she always brought food with her. She will come to my place and cook for me or with me sometimes. Almost all the time, she brought the groceries. Every now and then, I will see new towels or a new bed sheet in my closet. Every time she went to the African market, she got me something. She was actually spending money on me and I had totally ignored all her efforts.

Pay attention to everything a woman does for you. She may not be taking out a credit card to pay for something in front of you.  She is however, doing a lot of spending on you that you do not see.

 

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 Her hair is an investment. Be Careful and Gentle with it

I am thinking back to one incident with an Ex which taught me a very important lesson about a black woman’s hair. We were on our way back from watching a movie. I queued up my African playlist just before we got into my vehicle. She is Ghanaian and I know some Kwadjo Antwi on the drive back to her apartment will be nice. We have been dating for just a month.  As I got ready to take her home, she surprised me by asking if we can go to my place and hang out. “Sure, why not?” I responded. She had not asked to see my place or visit before.  We had not gone past kissing and hugging.  I wondered if I left any dishes in the sink. Did I take out the trash?

The drive home was fun. We sang and danced along to Kojo Antwi’s classics. What could possibly go wrong tonight? When we got to my house, I fumbled to get my keys out because my other hand was busy holding hers. She leaned over and jokingly asked if this was really my house.  I smiled and refocused my attention on opening the door.

No stinking smell from my trash can. Great! One or two dishes in the sink. That is not too bad. It’s a good thing I cleaned up before leaving the house. She makes herself comfortable as I pour some wine for us. I sat next to her on the couch and she moved closer. She told me I had a nice place and she was having an amazing night.

An innocent hug started it all. We started making out. Every now and then, she will gently push my hand away when I touched her hair. Somehow, I reached out and touched her hair again. She jerked backward quickly to move away from me. The next thing I knew, I am staring at a big wad of hair in my hand. She was wearing a wig and I had pulled it off by accident.

At first, I was confused. I snapped back to reality when she yelled, “Oh my God!”  She looked mortified and pissed off. Somehow, I let out a nervous laugh. I do not know if it was the sight of her without the wig or the situation. She snatched the wig and ran into the bathroom. A few minutes later, she comes out and demanded that I take her home immediately. I started to apologize but she was not having it. The drive back to her place was torture. No music, just dead silence, and a pissed off sister.

When we got to her place, she got out, slammed the door and walked quickly towards her apartment. I stepped out and before I could say a word, she ran up the stairs straight to her apartment door.  I stood and watched as she entered her apartment then I called her on the phone. She did not respond. I drove back home and called her again. She did not pick up my call. After that evening, I never heard back from her again.

Eleven months later, I ran into her as I was coming out of Starbucks. I smiled and said hello. She said hello back but did not smile. I asked if we can chat and she said okay. I wanted to know where we went wrong.

She said to me, “Do you know the difference between you and the guy I am dating now?”

I replied, “No, tell me.”

“He knows not to touch or pull my hair. Unlike you, he is very careful even if he has to touch my hair.”

“I am sorry,” I said. “It was an accident.”

“I know it was an accident.” She replied. “But you went ahead and laughed about it.”

At the time of the incident, she felt like I did not care when I laughed after her wig came off. She asked if I recall her trying to push my hand away a couple of times when I touched her hair. I responded that I did but I did not get it. Then she gave me a very good piece of advice that I still carry with me today.

She said, “I invest and spend a lot on my hair. Sometimes it is okay to touch it but you have to do so gently. Pay attention to when I indicate that it is not okay to touch my hair. Do not assume that you can just do it.”

I thanked her for the lesson and we parted way. Lesson learned!

She appreciates the little things you do more than the big things

She loves the iced caramel macchiato from Starbucks. She gets it every time we are at Starbuck. She raves about it all the time. One day she called me on her way back from work. She had a difficult day and was really stressed out. I was close to Starbucks so I thought her favorite drink will cheer her up a little.  I picked up the drink and headed to her place. When she opened the door and saw the drink, she was overjoyed. Her whole demeanor changed.  She said, “I am glad you paid attention to the little things that I like. Don’t be offended but I appreciated this drink more than the expensive gift you got me last week. You should really do more of this. You will make any woman very happy if you keep this up.” Duly noted!

If you pay attention, you will notice the little things she likes. Her favorite song, her favorite candy bar, the special stamps she likes to collect. She will appreciate you more if you act on the little things she loves.

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She wants you to ask her out properly

I called and asked her what she was doing that weekend. “Do you want to hook up?” Not really. She responded. The next weekend I asked her again if she wants to hang out. Again she said she was not sure.

Then she said, “You know, you should not approach a lady and ask if she wants to hang out. You should ask if I am available for dinner or lunch on Friday or Saturday night.”

The key word was “available.” The lesson was to check her availability before I asked her out. From that moment on, I started asking women for their availability first. I stopped saying “let’s go hang out,” “Do you want to meet up?” “What are you doing on Friday night?” The word available is now part of my vocabulary when I am asking a lady out.

She wants you to know that your addiction to sports can impact the relationship negatively

Most of us men suffer from what I called the double SS; Sports and Sex. Even with an education, I found myself asking some of my exes at the beginning of the relationships if they liked sports. If they did not, I spent an enormous amount of time trying to get them interested in basketball or football.

Whenever I had my girlfriend with me at home, I had Sportscenter, ESPN or a game on. No chick flicks or lifetime was allowed in my bachelor’s pad. She was on the phone with me one time and she told me that her favorite uncle just passed away. My response, “Cool!” I was so concentrated on the game and I totally missed her terrible announcement. Maybe I had an unhealthy sports addiction back in the day. My ex told me once that she went along with my sports addiction because that was the only way she could make me happy.

After we broke up, she told me I had a big connection and communication problem. I did not attempt to explore the things that made her happy.  I wanted her to feel the happiness I was experiencing through sports.

An Ex was instrumental in helping me balance my love for sports with other interests. I was introduced to world travel by an ex. My relationships became better after I started to look at my Exes interests too. I started to become a more rounded person. I put down the remote and started to explore all that the world had to offer with my Exes. I still watch sports but I maintain a healthy balance. Today, I can discuss anything from politics to geography thanks to my Exes.

Everyone who enters your life has a purpose to play. Do not let them leave until you know what their purpose is. Sometimes, you may not see the purpose until they exit your life. Eventually, you will have some of the same revelations I did. You will be thankful for the lessons you learned and become a better person.

Kwadjo Panyin…

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Author: Kwadjo Panyin

Kwadjo Panyin is a Ghanaian born relationship and lifestyle blogger located in Los Angeles, California. He holds three degrees; a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, an MBA from Franklin University in Ohio and a Masters of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University in Kentucky. Kwadjo is a business professional who blogs for fun. His articles are about the challenges of dating and relationship anomalies. Writing, blogging, world travel, and photography are his favorite hobbies.

9 Comments

  1. Ready and on fire for the next move…

  2. Beverly says:

    Nice

  3. starr says:

    Gosh! u r always on point and its even scary sometimes. exes are the best teachers meeehn. just like u said “Everyone who enters your life has a purpose to play” i believe im still learning

  4. Edith Esi Mould says:

    Right on point. A blog on the flip side would be great.?

  5. Phoebe says:

    Insightful, Kwadwo. Your writing is becoming smoother and more insightful. I like this and would appreciate lessons from male exes 🙂

  6. Cathy says:

    Everyone who enters your life has a purpose,there is so much to learn about yourself when a relationship ends.Bravo!….. You hit on many great points.

  7. Mimi Jola says:

    At long last some men are paying attention to what us woman think should come easily and effortlessly in relationship. Dating , courtship or marriage and etc … Isn’t like drivrthru at McDonalds. Men please read and share. To you Mr. KP the newest blogger on the block, kudos !!

  8. Editta says:

    This article was right on point. I have certainly learned a lot about myself from my past relationships which I believe puts me in a better standing with future relationships!!!

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