Relationship Advice For My Younger Self

If I could recount the number of times I have mentally-face palmed at my younger self for stupid mistakes, I would probably give myself a concussion. There's no doubt that I have made many mistakes that I regret due to sheer ignorance and inexperience. I wish that I had a relationship-guru back then to advise on approaching relationships so I wouldn't have messed up so bad and dug a rabbit hole for myself. However, having emerged from bad experience, I believe that the best teacher is experience itself; there is no other way to learn something than to have experienced something first. No amount of advice from Quora can beat personal experience--and thankfully, I believe that I now have had enough experience to know how to navigate the realm of relationships without hitting any unexpected land mime. Here are the dating tenets that I would say to my 17-year-old self: 

1. Listen to what your friends say. 

Don't be so blinded by infatuation that you ignore all the red flags. Don't wear rose-colored glasses so that all the red flags just look like flags. Listen to those around you--they often see what you cannot see. It is easy to idealize a person and build a fantasy of what they could be like; however, you need to look past the infatuation and see the person for who they really are. Do they exhibit positive qualities? Or are they disrespecting you and bringing nothing but drama into your life? When you can't see through the illusion of love and passion, outsiders are the only people who can see things clearly for what they are. Which leads to my second point:

2. Don't date "assholes" or "players." 

The whole bullshit about loving a "player" or an "asshole" is just that--bullshit. Staying in a relationship with an emotionally abusive asshole can be detrimental to your mental health. Leaving at once when you notice the red flags is crucial to maintaining your mental health. All that bullshit about "women are attracted to assholes" is completely false and misogynistic as it gives men an excuse to act abusively towards women. Most women don't want to date an asshole; they want to date a man who treats her properly and appreciates her for everything she is. They want a man who has the confidence, allure, and authenticity of the "bad boy player" but is genuinely a good guy. (Note: the good guy does not mean "nice guy" who is subtly manipulative and trying too hard to please others, often stringing others into covert contracts) They don't need an asshole who is so insecure with his masculinity that he needs to degrade women to feel powerful and in control. Someone secure in his masculinity will respect women for who they are and won't exhibit asshole behavior. 

3. Practise staying chill--don't have too many expectations. 

Don't stress over a developing relationship. Don't stress that they didn't text you one day, or they ghosted you because what was meant to be will happen naturally. (Of course, ghosting sucks, but I've realized that it is the nicer way of telling someone that they're no longer interested rather than telling them through direct confrontation.) Don't set expectations in the early stages of a relationship because when someone doesn't meet your expectations that you covertly set, you will only be setting yourself up for disappointment. Relationships should happen organically; you should be grateful for whatever attention your love interest is giving you rather than set expectations and make a mental checklist of what they should fulfill. If someone is truly interested in you, you will know. You won't have to stress over whether they'll text you back or not because deep down, you believe and have faith that they're not going anywhere. And that's the amount of trust a relationship requires--unconditional trust. Not the covert contracts (e.g., I bought him dinner, and we had a good connection, so I expect him to text me every day). Be grateful for what your love interest is giving you rather than what you want them to give you. And if you do expect more, make that clear by communicating your needs with them rather than holding them to a standard that they don't even know exists. 

4. Don't make anything a big deal. 

Don't make unnecessary drama and let drama define the dynamic of the relationship. Don't make sex a big deal. Sex is, of course, a big part of a relationship, but at the end of the day, it isn't that big of a deal. It's not the act of sex itself that makes it special. It's the process. It's the moment. It's the connection. It's the built-up sexual tension, the mutual wanting and respect, the raw feelings and emotions, and the pure passion that makes sex special. You don't need to wait to be in a committed relationship before having sex--you can have sex before it's official. It can be part of the build-up to a real relationship. It's not some sort of trophy prize that has to be won to signify that someone has been claimed. It's not a bargaining power. All men indeed want sex, but the good ones will wait for when you are ready rather than pressuring you to do the deed before that happens. (Side note, any text or call after 12am is probably a booty call.) And if you don't make sex a big deal, you will be amazed at how passionate that moment can be if you let it happen. What far too many women do is take away the romance and the connection and complicate it by talking about sex defining them, desperate for a relationship, and a long-term outcome rather than letting it flow naturally. 

5. Love yourself and know yourself before getting into a relationship. 


Know what you like and dislike in a partner and set standards for yourself. Don't let a man do as he pleases; he will see you as a pushover and ultimately lose respect for you. Being too clingy and demanding of your partner is not an attractive trait. Have your own life, hobbies, and friends--the more complete and happy you are, the more someone will want to share life with you. Don't be so hungover spending time together and let that define your entire identity--no one wants to be with someone who has no personality outside of that relationship. Practice self-love; wholeness is not found in another person but in oneself. As long as you love yourself, you will love and receive love from someone else. 

And that's it for this post! If I had known these things, I would have avoided disaster, but alas, life is a journey. But there is so much more that I have yet to experience, and I am excited to bring this wisdom onto whatever relationship enters my life next. Until next time, 



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