Growing up, I didn’t have a whole lot of people to talk to about romantic relationships and what they were like. I was the oldest sibling and my older cousin who I was close to was a boy so I wasn’t going to ask him. My friends didn’t really talk about it and, honestly, I didn’t really care. That was until I got to my pre-teen and teen years. At that point, I just relied on my favorite books and TV shows to teach me about relationships. Not a great idea. Now in my mid-twenties, I’ve learned a lot about relationships and have realized that there was a lot that I wish someone had told me.
Don’t Give Up Yourself for Someone Else
The thing that now drives me the most crazy about my younger years is how much I was willing to give up parts of myself to fit what the guy in my life wanted. In high school, I let the guy who I wasn’t even really dating tell me how to do my hair or make up so that he would like me better. He would always give me conditions. I’ll date you if you change this. If you do this. This, I now see, is very not okay. In my first adult relationship, I gave up nearly everything: my dreams, things I liked, a bit of my moral compass. I was giving up everything for someone who gave up nothing for me. Again, this is not okay. If you’re dating someone or even in that in between friends and dating bubble, make sure that you stay true to yourself. Never give up the things that make you you in order to make someone else happy or like you more. They aren’t worth it.
Communication is Key
This may seem cliche or obvious. It is worth repeating over and over again. Communication is so incredibly important in a relationship. And I don’t just mean texting all of the time or small talk. Make good communication the foundation of your relationship. Talk to your partner about everything you can. Make sure that you are on the same page. Make sure that you feel safe talking to them about your mental health or things that you are struggling with. Ask about their day. Talk just because you miss their voice. Big and small conversations are all important.
Learn to Be Alone
This may seem counter-intuitive. Being in a relationship is about learning to be together, right? Yes, of course. But it is also important to learn to be alone when you’re dating someone. While you need to learn how to be codependent, you don’t want to lose your independence. You have to know what to do with yourself when your partner isn’t available. You can’t rely on them to be around to do every little thing all of the time. Learn to take care of yourself and do some things solo. Plus, it makes those moments together even sweeter.
Love Doesn’t Happen All at Once
If you watch a lot of romantic comedies, teen dramas, or any television shows, it can seem like falling in love with someone can happen all at once. Even if you start off disliking them. Its like feeling nothing to feeling everything for that person in one second in a lot of media. Of course, you may feel something like that. You may feel love for that person all at once. Love often isn’t that simple though. It is different for everyone. It is complicated and takes time. It may ebb and flow. How you deal with that is what is going to make or break you though. You may say I love you and not get those same three words as a response. You may get hurt by your partner but still love them. There is a lot. You can’t let the rollercoaster that is love break you down though.
What are some things that you wish someone had told you about relationships growing up?