Saturday, August 30, 2014

Not-so-obvious lessons I’ve learned about relationships from my past relationships

Some days I’m not sure I am learning anything, because I make the same damn mistakes over and over. Other days, I think maybe I have, even if the lessons are basic stuff. Like: Don’t date someone in the middle of a divorce. Did I really need to learn that the hard way?

These are the less obvious things I’ve learned. They may not apply to people dating for the first time - we all had to learn to be good kissers - but they do apply to both men and women. Except maybe #3.

  1. Your relationship(s) will not look like the models you grew up on. Whether it was Disney or your parents’ relationship or When Harry Met Sally, don’t try to reproduce it. You aren’t them (and, face it, none of us are Disney princesses), and times change, and stories always sound better after the fact.
  2. Most people are living the life they want. Unless they’re involved in actively trying to change it, don’t assume they ever will. Think hard about whether you can really share that life.
  3. Never date a man who calls you “pretty.” If they don’t think you’re “beautiful,” they think they’re settling.
  4. If the sexytimes are boring now, they’re not going to get better.
  5. Don’t date anyone with active mental health issues. I’m not saying you should never date someone who struggles with, say, depression. But if they’re in the middle of a very active battle with it, they aren’t in a good position to be starting a new relationship.
  6. If they aren’t willing to tell their parents about you, run like hell. (Exceptions can be made if they had an insane childhood and have cut off all contact with their parents. I haven’t experienced that one, but I imagine it comes with other challenges.)
  7. If you think you can do better, go out there and try. You’ll either find your inflated ego being knocked back down to a more realistic size, or you’ll discover that you have been selling yourself short all along.
  8. There is no value to nurturing a long-term crush. Either make your move or move on.
  9. If someone truly loves you, they’ll find a way to tell you. It may not be with those words, but they’ll make it clear.
  10. There are certain events in your life your partner has an obligation to be there for, such as funerals, illnesses, and getting out of prison. If they aren't there for you in those times, you're better off without them, because you are already doing the hard stuff without them.

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