Spoiler Alert: You will need to take a good hard look at yourself.
Honestly, truly I am probably not the best person to ask for dating advice but sometimes my life advice doubles for romantic situations. Why am I not the person to ask? Because dating gives me social anxiety, I’ve been focusing on my bank account more than my love life for years andddd I am still single. So yea, there’s that.
1: Recover from your childhood
I could go into numerous complaints about how people are selfish or liars but I am trying to be productive and positive in 2017. The first step I believe anyone should do when they decide they want to watch Netflix in their underwear and eat leftovers with someone for the rest of their lives is taking the time to recover from your childhood.
This is ultimately the best thing you can do in your 20’s and the sooner you do it, the better. Repeat after me:
My parents did the best they could do and I forgive them. I am an adult with the ability to choose my own path. I take responsibility for my actions and I forgive myself.
Even if you don’t think you need to forgive your parents for anything, chances are your ex-partners know exactly what went wrong when you were being raised. No childhood is perfect, maybe your parents were too strict or maybe you were never disciplined and got in trouble alot. No matter what actually happened, it’s time for you to stop (subliminally) blaming your parents and take control of WHO you are. Having an introspective conversation with yourself to examine your triggers will make you a better person and a better partner. Here are some situations that might apply to you:
Your parents got divorced or left and you have abandonment issues in your relationships
You were an only child and have difficulty identifying other’s feelings
You were teased and are sensitive about your body or you become defensive easily
You got lost in a large family and you feel the need to prove yourself
Your parents were very strict and you lie to stay out of trouble
What is done is done, but who you are is never done evolving.
You have to consciously correct these childhood behaviors if you desire to be the best person you can be. This takes time but the better you understand yourself, the easier it will be to translate that in a relationship.
2: Support your support system
Everyone dislikes that one friend that absorbs their partners life when they start a new relationship because inevitably she comes back either heartbroken and needing the pieces picked up or engaged and needing bridesmaids. The best thing you can do when dating in 2017 is to respect and nurture your support systems because 150% you are going to need them.
Your partner should not be your only outlet.
It is downright unfair and disastrous to expect your partner to be your only outlet. In a relationship you need perspective, a safe place and outside adventures. You need your friends to safely vent, otherwise all your anger will be unleashed on your partner guaranteeing an argument, resentment or even a breakup. So call your girlfriend and yell and cry to her, wipe your eyes and go have a rational conversation with your partner. Speaking to a third party helps you get out of your head and into an objective space for you to consider what your partner is perceiving. Speaking to someone who has a relationship you admire will not only provide you the insight to make it last but will also help you feel less crazy. Your partner will not always be available and no one likes to feel like a back up plan, keep making plans to see your friends and don’t just do it when he is busy. Have a weekly girl date or go see your family alone, you will feel much more balanced spending time with other people and he will feel more comfortable having guys time- you both will come back refreshed and ready to love on each other.
3: Get comfortable saying and accepting “No”
This is not just for dating, but in life in general. Boundaries are good, they provide a sense of security and respect. I hear from many women that their partner doesn’t respect them or they feel out of their comfort zone. We have all heard how people do things you let them get away with- and that’s true, even babies do this. Which is why “no” is not a bad word, it is a safe word. Being honest with yourself and your partner even though it might hurt them to be denied, fosters long term happiness and trust. How can you be so sure your partner is doing things because they want to or because they feel obligated to if your relationship is not a safe place for them to say “No, I don’t like that”? Almost all relationships where a partner feels obligated rather than compelled will eventually come crashing down in a dusty heap of resentment and animosity.
You will never be happy if you don’t learn to set boundaries.
“No” has power, “no” lets you feel in control of you, having a sense of control I think is important to humans. When humans don’t feel in control we start stupid arguments and make dumb decisions. Which is why if you cannot place boundaries for yourself you will be open to anything, including bad relationships. If something does not work for you, be vocal and strong but make sure you are clearly expressing why you say “no”, after all they are your partner.
Exercise these 3 tips to find happiness in yourself before you try to be someone else’s happiness.
It is not uncommon for you to want to get out of your relationship after becoming self-aware, I suggest couples go through these steps together as to not leave the other behind on this journey to being better, happier people. Good luck out there!