At the end of my last relationship, in one of my exes and my conversations I stated “I need a man, someone who is ready to be a grown-up.” I feel comfortable sharing this, because he completely agreed with me that he had some growing to do and that he wasn’t ready for the settled down life I wanted.
I thought about this moment last weekend and realized and former friend had been correct (If you still read this, former friend, you were right). He told me one night as we were drinking wine and talking about dating as we typically did, that I tend to date “boys not men” and that was the majority of my relationship issues. I did not think much about that at the time. I didn’t even really know what he meant. I think it just clicked, more than a year after he said it.
I read a Maya Angelou quote that really stuck with me:
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
I have a terrible habit of ignoring the red flags and thinking they are things that can be “fixed,” which should never be someone’s first thought. It should never be a thought at all. You either can work with that “flaw” or it’s a deal breaker. I also have a horrible habit of making excuses for other people’s bad behavior.
I kept thinking about conversations with that old friend and actually reflecting on them. So, I decided to pose this question to friends (in wine induced conversations), friends on social media, strangers, etc. “If you could give your past-self advice on relationships, what would it be?” Here are some of those responses:
“Just go with your gut. The whole follow your heart thing is fine and all… but do not follow it through a forest of red flags and over a deal-breaker cliff” (This was by far my favorite).
“Well I read something that stuck with me. Love is a choice. Its a choice that both you and your partner make to choose to love one another and work at it everyday because you cant picture your life without them. Despite their flaws, despite the struggles. Never lose yourself in the process, but always work on being a better person than you were yesterday for them and for you. When you lose that desire to choose love, you are choosing another path and perhaps maybe that is your gut telling you this is not the right person. Regardless, it is always a choice and must be met on both ends for a successful relationship to continue strong. We run into the flaw of always questioning ourselves, doubting our decisions, wondering if you are choosing the right person. Having doubt can only lead to an end. Relinquish this doubt, this questioning. You either give it your all or don’t give it at all.”
“Never accept less.”
“It’s either hell yes or hell no. No in-between. Don’t do anything halfhearted.”
“No one is worth losing yourself over.”
“Give chances and take risks.”
“Don’t compromise on things you need. It’s not a compromise if you aren’t getting your needs met.”
“Don’t date who you think you deserve, date someone you actually deserve.”
“Don’t date down, love yourself first, then date someone truly amazing.”
I feel there is a theme throughout all this advice: love and trust yourself.
I’d love to hear more thoughts around this topic. Feel free to comment below with your advice.