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Over the years, actress Zoe Saldana, who was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, has learned a thing or two about relationships and now she’s telling women around the world not to settle and follow their heart in the latest issue of Marie Claire magazine.

The 36-year-old actress tells Marie Claire that the most important lesson she has learned from past relationships is “not to settle. If you’re not happy with a person, leave. [Just] wait until you find that one person who makes you feel good about yourself every single day and is not expecting you to change, but to grow.”

The Guardians of the Galaxy star says, ‘I don’t do the ABCs. I do what my heart says, and what my heart feels.’ So the moment Saldana met her husband, Marco Perego, they both “knew they were going to be together, adding, ‘we just knew.'”

DID YOU KNOW? Saldana was previously engaged to entrepreneur Keith Britton, but after 11 years together, the couple split in 2011. She then dated on-again-off-again boyfriend, Bradley Cooper, before calling things off for good early last year (2013).

Saldana says she is big on respect, and her past relationships are ancient history.

“I have been in relationships where a man has disrespected me, and I don’t need to be friends with that man anymore,” she told the magazine.

“I don’t want to be the one going, ‘I’m cool, because I’m friends with all my exes.’ There’s a reason why you’re called an ex. I crossed you off my list. Moving on. You cross a line, you need to know that you’re going to walk this earth knowing that there’s an individual who has no respect for you.”

Saldana then chatted about being bullied growing up in the Dominican Republic, but explains that she was never the one to follow or let things like “bullying” slide without a fight. “I had many female bullies growing up who wanted us to be submissive and to follow and to kiss ass, and that’s the last thing any Saldana will ever do, honestly.”

Image credit: Marie Claire

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