My friends and family love my dating life because I end up with so many ridiculous stories. In fact, I think they love the idea of me dating way more than I ever could…which is probably part of the reason I just avoid it.
Dating at any age can be messy, but this last decade of my life I’ve learned some invaluable lessons about relationships. With 30 quickly (way too quickly) approaching, I thought it was the perfect time to reflect on some of the lessons I’ve learned in the past 10 years.
(This photo is of 20-year-old me, with no idea what the next 10 years would teach me.)
Drinking before a first date is a bad, bad idea. I totally won’t judge you if you do it though. Girl, I’ve been there, done that.
Nothing is permanent. This was a hard lesson for me. Things happen in life. If you’re unhappy, do something about it. If that something doesn’t make you happy, change directions again.
Chipped nails are not a legitimate reason to cancel a date. Unless your name is Sarah Brithinee, because I absolutely did that once.
If you want an answer, ask for it. It’s amazing what you can get when you ask for it. One warning though: don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to.
Be happy on your own. You need to have your own life. A career, hobbies, and friends are important. You must have a fulfilled life before you can be fulfilled in a relationship.
When a guy is mean to you, it doesn’t mean he likes you. This isn’t 6th grade, people! If you’re dating someone mean, feel free to break up with them immediately.
Jealousy is a wasted emotion. If he/she wants to be with you, they will be. If they want out, they will get out. Being jealous doesn’t change any of that except your own mental health.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT pretend you like something you don’t like. I made this mistake when, instead of telling a guy I wasn’t a fan of cats, I told him I was scared of them. It then became his mission to help me get over my fake fear. Cue me sitting on his couch, petting his cat, repeating over and over in my head, “ew, ew, ew.”
Sometimes love isn’t enough. If you love someone with everything you’ve got and you still can’t make it work, you have to move on. There’s no sense in being miserable together forever.
Know your deal breakers. If my mama don’t like you, you’re out because she likes everyone. (Yes, I just used Justin Bieber lyrics, and I’m not ashamed.)
Unfollowing & unfriending are not only acceptable, they are encouraged. Real talk: if someone just broke your heart, seeing their every move on social media is not going to make you feel all happy and tingly inside.
Don’t settle. Ever. No matter what. Single > divorced. Enough said.
No one’s advice will ever trump your gut. As Dr. Seuss said, “There is no one alive that is you-er than you.” This isn’t anyone’s life but your own.
Staying in on the weekends is okay. The chances of you meeting your dream man drunk at a bar are very slim anyway. Plus your bed is SO comfy.
Don’t be mean. Dating is hard enough, we don’t need to make it worse by doing mean things like purposefully leading someone on, ghosting someone you’ve been chatting with for a while, or any other of the millions of things you can do that are cruel.
Know when to apologize. You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel.
Getting a, “What are you doing?” or, “Hey” text after midnight doesn’t mean he wants to date you.
Heartbreak doesn’t get easier. Maturity and life experience just teach us that it will pass and how to deal with it in the meantime.
You can’t make someone love you. No matter what you do, how hard you try, and how many times you put yourself out there.
Inner beauty is far more important than outer looks. Let’s be real; we’re all going to get old and wrinkly. The name of the game is to find the person you’re still laughing with when you’re 90.