Rica Peralejo may be happily married to church pastor Joseph Bonifacio for 11 years now, but prior to their relationship, she was no stranger to a tumultuous love life. In an exclusive interview, Smart Parenting's new editor-at-large reveals the biggest lessons she has learned in love—yup, toxic relationships included.

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“[They] teach you about who you were in those seasons and probably what baggage you bring into a relationship. They’re very informative about me,” Rica shares of her past romances, describing her whole journey as “full of lessons and learnings.”Rica Peralejo is Smart Parenting's newest editor at largeInstagram/ricaperalejo

Although she didn’t namedrop anyone, she talked about one of the most painful experiences she had: finding out that her ex-boyfriend was a “womanizer.”

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She opens up: “I think the most painful thing about that is that I saw him in a certain way, and then I found out that there are many things I don’t know about this person, na may mga bagay pala siyang tinatago.”

Further explaining the repercussions of *cheating* to her then-relationship, she adds, “[Because] a person that you are in love with is supposed to cover you, protect you, be a safe place. I mean, why would you be in a relationship with someone you’re not safe with? So when you found out that this person is deliberately trying to keep things from you, then the trust is broken and the safe space is shattered, and that’s really just so painful.”

Not a secret to many, the former actress and television host has faced her share of eventful relationships in the past—being romantically linked to fellow showbiz personalities. When asked about her exes, Rica described her relationship with Red Sternberg as “puppy love,” saying, “Bata pa ako and I didn’t know what I wanted in life.”

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With Bernard Palanca, it was somewhat a “stupid love,” Rica jokes. Kidding aside, she explains that the relationship made her grow a lot because she learned so much about herself while she was with the actor.

Rica was also linked to Bernard’s fellow The Hunks member Piolo Pascual, but she says that her connection to The Ultimate Heartthrob was “malabo lang talaga.Rica Peralejo shares life lessonsInstagram/ricaperalejoDespite encountering several misgivings in her past, Rica is not one to easily give up on a loved one. “One characteristic about me is that I’ll always give it my all before ending something. So that when it ends, I can say that I’ve done anything possible, and it still didn’t work. So maybe it really is not supposed to work.”

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For her, relationships are a healthy balance of love and *pain* combined. “I don't agree that love shouldn’t hurt, because then, should love always be happy? Is that all love is? Parang ang babaw naman ng love 'pag sinabi natin na it’s all happiness.”

Even then, one should know how to draw the line. “I guess it’s really up to you to figure out what kind of hurt that is and tell yourself, ‘This is the kind of hurt that is okay to exist within the bounds of love, and this is the kind of hurt that shouldn’t be present when you really love each other.'

Hear more from Smart Parenting’s celebrity editor-at-large on this video:

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This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Female Network editors.

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