To all the boys I’ve dated before…


The dating world – it’s a scary old place full of heartbreak, dickheads and things that just don’t work out. But I can safely say that each guy I dated ended up either teaching me something, or bringing something back to my life…

This post is sponsored by Digital Dudes Ltd, but all words are my own.

At the ripe old age of 24, single life and dating as an adult hit me square in the face unexpectedly when my boyfriend of almost 7 years – the only guy I had ever been with – decided to break up with me out of the blue. (He also decided it was mature to ghost me for three weeks before doing the deed, but that’s another story…)

Anyway, needless to say, I was thrust into the big wide world of adult dating sites, meeting people down the pub and occasionally even some no strings attached dating. And after a few heartbreaks – being both on the receiving end and the cause – I soon realised that each and every guy I dated with some significance, no matter how badly it ended, brought or taught me something that have somewhat put my life on the path it is now. And so, I’m grateful to them all…

The one who made me realise that dating isn’t too scary

Okay. Dating is actually still totally scary and I am a massive wimp, but had my first post-break-up date been a terrible one, well, I think I would have resigned myself to the fact I’d be a lonely non-dater forever. Luckily for me, I met a lovely guy I continued to date for a while and who gave me the confidence to keep dipping my toes into the dating world.

The one who taught me what I really want in a relationship

The second guy that managed to break my heart worked hand in hand with my original heartbreaker to show me what I really want from a relationship. Whilst both of the relationships ended with me sobbing and feeling sorry for myself, the complete contrast in how they were as people, how they treated me and how we spent our time together made me realise just what I want and need from a relationship… and now I know never to settle.

The one who showed me a one night stand can become something more

I always thought I would be 100% by the book – meet a guy, start dating, become boyfriend and girlfriend, and then start having sex. Ah, how naive I was. It doesn’t always work that way in 2019, eh? In fact, I never thought I’d see the day little old Ashton would even contemplate a one night stand. Alas, it happened, and it started to blossom into something more immediately after (albeit, for a very brief time, but that was entirely my fault).

The one who demonstrated the difference between love and lust

Let’s face it, we all love a little window shop. And sometimes we just really fucking fancy a guy. After dating a guy for a couple of months, I found myself telling all of my friends just how much I fancied him, how good the bedroom activities were, and how I really, really liked this one. Turns out the latter wasn’t quite as significant as the first two statements, and when he finally binned me off, I soon realised that my attraction to him was simply because I really just wanted to jump on him every time I saw him, rather than the deep connection I thought we might have had.

The one who made me realise you sometimes just can’t put your finger on it

Never did I ever think I would find myself in a situation where an incredibly nice, handsome and interesting guy would fall for me and, despite him having everything I would typically look for in someone, I wouldn’t reciprocate the feelings. And yet, it happened. A guy any girl would be lucky to have wanted nothing more than to spend all of the time he could in my company and for us to get past the stage of “dating”, and for an unknown reason I will never uncover or understand, I didn’t feel it back. If I could have turned a switch on, I would, but life doesn’t work that way, right? I use this to remind myself that sometimes, it’s not personal – it’s just not there for a reason you can’t put your finger on.

The one who showed me a posh guy can fall for a potty-mouthed Hull bird who drinks mucky beer and falls down the stairs…

Pretty self explanatory, and what a wonderful tale. I had the pleasure of going out with a guy who was, well, a hell of a lot posher than I was, and in true Ashton style, I had one (or five) too many pints, found myself effing and blinding, staggering between bars, and ended the night by falling down the stairs of a pub we were in. And guess what? He fucking loved it. I was showered with compliments about how fun and interesting and different I was, and he couldn’t wait to get another date in the diary. So if you’re a beer-drinking bird who loves a good swear word and fancies going through life with a posh man by your side, you’re in luck – they love it!

The one who went from Tinder match to friend

Tinder has such a bad rep. People are only on it for sex. Everyone on there is a player. It’s not the sort of dating app to use if you want something serious. And whilst, yes, you do sometimes stumble across some proper knobs, if you keep rifling through the shit on there you might find a hidden gem. After realising it probably wasn’t going to happen because of distance, I still happily call one of my previous Tinder matches a friend despite never actually meeting him. It’s been well over a year, and we’ve both moved on to new people and new experiences, but he’s still always there to give me a compliment when I’m feeling crap or let me rant to him on a stressful day.

Can you relate to any of these scenarios? What have the guys you dated taught or brought you?

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