Story on Past Relationships

City: Los Angeles

Industry: Entertainment

I put him on a pedestal and it affected my level of respect for my current boyfriend

I have been dating my current boyfriend for three and a half years. He's my best friend and my rock. He's smart and funny and always has my back. We both have the same basic morals, we’re liberals and feminists.

However, we are very different people. He’s from the deep south and I’m from Orange County. His family is more religious than mine; Christians vs. Jewish atheists. He knows he wants kids and I'm not so sure. I've lived abroad and traveled alone on multiple continents and he's never had the chance to leave the States. I'm sarcastic and he's sweet natured.

Which brings me to my ex… We always lived in different places (continents, really) so it never ended poorly, and we are still close friends who talk on occasion. He's insanely smart, speaks five languages, has a master’s in public policy, and can talk politics and culture with me till the sun comes up. For a really long time I put him on a pedestal and it affected my level of respect for my current boyfriend, which was completely unfair.

Now I understand that while my ex is worldly and cultured, my current boyfriend is much kinder, more understanding, and balances me. My ex would always throw it in my face how terribly "American" some of my habits were – and not in a cute and funny way. He was hyper-critical and could be a jerk.

I've always known that I needed to be challenged and thought I needed to be challenged in the way my ex did, but my current relationship pushes me to reflect on myself in a loving way that doesn't put me down and allows me to have more internal and emotional growth. I tend to have the same tunnel vision as my ex, which I realize is dangerous. I feel really fortunate to have someone who makes me slow down and see things from another point of view.