A good friend and I were recently discussing her college-aged daughter’s first experience with an on-and-off again relationship where the guy was also pressuring her about sex. Our conversation made me think about the advice I will give my own daughter once she is older and becomes more embroiled in romantic relationships.
As someone who learned a lot about love from making bad decisions, I’d love to spare others those hard lessons by sharing the wisdom I’ve acquired throughout the years:
DON’T make excuses for him. If he’s letting you down and/or unable to commit for any reason, it’s because he doesn’t care enough. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t care at all, but you should only give you heart to someone who is equally interested (otherwise you risk continual heartache and increasing insecurity during the relationship).
DON’T think you can change his feelings. Just as some boy who’s pining away for you can’t make you like him more because of how much he likes you or tries to please you, you can’t make someone like you more. If you’ve dated a while, the feeling is there or it’s not. It’s better to walk away than settle for less than you deserve. If he misses you, he’ll come looking, and if that happens, make him earn your trust back.
DO think about the advice you’d give a friend if she were in your shoes. When your heart is engaged, you cannot be objective. Period. Even when you think you are and can, it is impossible. But if you consider how you would view your relationship dynamic if it was your BFF’s and she was asking your advice, it will help you keep a better perspective, and keep you from making poor choices and being taken advantage of or taken for granted.
Protect yourself. This applies to your emotional and physical well-being. When you become vulnerable to someone, they have the power to hurt your heart. When you give yourself physically, you up the stakes (even when you think you are having fun and can handle it). Rejection after sex and emotional vulnerability is difficult for everyone to handle, and if it happens more than once, it will slowly eat away at your self-esteem. Remember, most relationships ultimately fail, so make sure when you decide to give your heart and soul and body, you and he both think it is something special. That way, even if it ends, you won’t feel remorse.
And it almost goes without saying: condoms are critical in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. I’ve heard too many stories of people in committed relationships who’ve been burned when their partner cheats and they end up paying the price with a lifelong disease.
Be Patient. Remember you are beautiful and talented and kind, and there will be someone who recognizes and adores your uniqueness. Don’t get hung up on the toads along the way. Life is too short and youth is fleeting. Pursue your own dreams with passion, and the rest will follow.
Upon reflection, I think this advice is applicable to friendships as well. So tell me, do you agree with my advice? Have anything else to share with others?
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