While I'm not here to claim like I've got it all, I do have a particularly hard time watching friends make mistakes that I wouldn't. So I've devised a guide of mistakes and how to avoid them, from what I've learned so far.
My dad once told me- smart people learn from their mistakes, wise people learn from others' mistakes too.
Everyone's got them. Everyone's are different. Here's one mistake I've made: thinking that having high standards for looks is shallow. I've gone through my fair share "he's-got-a-nice-personality" boyfriends, and you know what I found out? It doesn't work. Chemistry is important. And while the personality might be enough chemistry for you while the relationship is new and exciting, those butterflies always wear off-
whether he's hot or not. And after the newness and excitement dies down, so will the chemistry.
If you can wake up next to him after 5 months and look over at the bed-head, hasn't-showered-yet lumpy pile in the bed and think to yourself "yep.. still sexy" then there's a good chance you will find yourself doing that when you're 50, 70, or 90 years old too.
Again, I have found myself in situations where I look over and that's not what I think at all. And it really kills a lot of the affection you have for your partner in the relationship. If he comes up to you sometimes and wants to kiss you and you think "ew" (which I have!) then you know what? You should think twice. It makes you enjoy everything non-physical in the relationship and not enjoy the romantic parts as much. Stop and think about that for a second. What is a relationship without the romance and the chemistry? It's friendship!
When you enjoy the friendship part and not the dating part of your relationship, that's just a no-brainer. You're better off as friends.
Wanting a good looking partner is not overrated. You deserve the best.
Love At First Sight
Ha. I love this. I think this is a phrase coined by Hollywood to keep their romantic comedies under 2 1/2 hours long. Lust at first sight, sure. But love? Come on.
Let me tell you something I've learned from everyone I know, myself included. It takes at least a few months to know if the person you're dating is crazy or not. (I use the term crazy because of my 'crazy ex' story.. referr back to "What Kind Of An Ex Are You?" post). The first few months will give you little to no information about whether or not your relationship is going to be a real, authentic, long-term love, or a drama-filled, soap opera kind of romance.
Unless you're at the very least 5 or 6 months in, don't get your expectations too high. It's very easy to say "I can see myself spending the rest of my life with him/her" before you really find out that this would be a nightmare!
Don't Forgive A Cheater
I'm serious. I don't care if they were drunk or high or mad at you and it was your fault. It's not worth it. Let me tell you why.
The first thing I did when I was dating a guy was let him know that cheating would be unacceptable and unforgivable. Why would I do
this? Because it lets him know from the very beginning that if he gets the idea in his head, he knows for sure what the consequences will be. If you allow him to think you'll take him back, what's to stop him?
The other reason this philosophy is important is because of self-respect. Do you really want to be with someone who isn't sure 100% of the time that they want to be with you? No. You don't deserve that.
Let me say it again. You do NOT deserve that.
The more respect you have for yourself and the more apparent you make it, the more respect people will give you. Demand respect from the person you are dating. (Remember to give that much in return!) And most importantly of all, stop wasting your time on those who don't give it to you.
Enough With The On-Again, Off-Agains
Couples who break up and get back together all the time are ridiculous. Don't break up with someone if you don't mean it for good. Don't let them break up with you if they don't mean it for good. And don't take them back if they decide they didn't mean it!
If you threaten to break up with someone and don't mean it, you're crying wolf and what you say or threaten will lose its meaning over time. You don't want this. You want them to take you seriously, right?
Aside from it being a pet peeve of mine to watch friends see-saw with their relationship status' on Facebook, I don't have much else to say on the topic.
How Much Say Do They Get?
You're a big girl/boy. You can tie your own shoes, you can cross the street without holding someone's
hand. You can hang out with your friends without permission. You can spend your paycheck on what you want without permission. You can decide how many drinks you want when you're having a night out. You can choose your bedtime and you can eat dessert for dinner.
Don't let your partner become your parent. And do not become theirs. They're adults too.
I used to think that because I had more guy friends than girlfriends, I just got along with guys better and that the men I date should accept that. And vice versa, if my boyfriend was friends with more girls than guys.
But I'm going to say what you're not supposed to say, and let you know that while you might have lots of great friends who are the opposite sex, you're still playing with fire. It's not smart to hang out with them 1. without your significant other, or 2. as often as you used to (before S.O. came along). You will create lots of unwanted tension in your relationship and even if they assure you it's not a big deal, eventually IT WILL BE.
That said, should you be allowed to be friends with whoever you want? Of course! Don't let them dictate that for you. But be respectful, even if the friendships are strictly platonic. And it's ok for you to ask the same of them.
It's a big deal! Every couple develops their own comfort zones when it comes to space. Sometimes moving in is a big issue, sometimes it isn't. I know the stereotypical "oh-my-gosh-her-toothbrush-is-here" is supposed to really freak guys out, and in reality, sometimes it doesn't. (Sometimes it REALLY does!)
Either way, know that you're entitled to your own time and your own space. This goes out to people whose partner's want to be around them all the time. It's healthy to keep your own identity, your own friends, and your own interests.
That said, don't forget that you can be too clingy! Let them have their own time, their own interests, and their own friends, if they so feel the need. You don't have to do everything together, and you don't have to have them around you all the time- even though sometimes you might just want to be with them! Remember, it's not all about you. Don't be offended when they ask for space.
If You Like It, Then You Should Have Put A Ring On It
When it comes to commitment, there are two types of girls you don't want to be: the pushy girl, and the push-over girl.
Pushy girls (or guys): want everything up sooner than later. Relationship, love, engagement, marriage, babies. Remember what I said about taking a few months to try out dating before making a commitment? This is key for you, but it's also key for them. Wanting to be "official" after only a short time might freak them out. And chances are, it probably will. In fact, jumping the gun on any of these things will freak out your partner, so take your time, and allow them to take their time too. There's nothing worse than pushing someone into something they're not ready for. (And why would you want them to commit to something when they're not sure about it anyway? You want them to want to be official, to say "I love you", and to marry you. Right?)
Push-over girls (or guys): let the people they're dating get away with too much non-committal.. a lot of times because they're trying to avoid being pushy, like the people mentioned above. So what's the difference? When is it okay to ask "are you ever going to marry me?!"? That's a fine line- and to be honest, if you feel like you've been waiting too long, you probably have. Have the courage and self-respect to ask for what you want. If he tells you he loves you but won't be your boyfriend, he just wants the freedom to date other girls. There's no nice way to say it. Find a guy who wants just you and isn't afraid to tell the world.
You're On Your Way
I don't know what else to leave you with, except good luck and have fun with it! Try not to suck. :)