Pairs Well With… “Wait for someone who keeps you sane, but also drives you crazy in all the right ways.” – Unknown
My first boyfriend’s name was Skittles. (Insert ridiculous joke here.) You can imagine how that one has followed me around for my entire life, and if you have the same kind of friends that I do, they won’t let you forget…that you dated a guy named Skittles. I will caution you not to date anyone whose nickname is rooted in candy, gangster names or cartoon characters. You will be the butt of jokes for years.
Name aside, there were many reasons why things with Skittles didn’t work out, but that doesn’t mean I gave up in the dating scene. I went on to date a series of men, each with their set of quirks, troubles, goals, life plans and bad jokes. Some of these relationships worked out longer than others, but each taught me something about myself to take with me on my dating journey. It’s understanding and reflecting on our journey of the past that sets us up for future romantic success. The better you know yourself and your feelings, the easier it will be to identify real, meaningful relationships when you find them.
These are the most important lessons I’ve learned in dating:
Open Heart, Open Mind: You cannot love if your heart is not open to significant experiences and your mind is not susceptible to new possibilities. Sometimes the relationships that have the most staying power are the ones we never saw coming, the ones that fell into place naturally and sent your world into a different sort of orbit. Stay tuned into what works for you, but most importantly, what feels right and comfortable. You always want to feel like you can be yourself.
Full Acceptance: Each of us was born with our own unique and beautiful qualities, things no one should ever try to change about us. Full acceptance means you take someone as they are, and their past up until you and understand, respect it and embrace it – not try to change it. It is our job to make adjustments only to our own lives. Don’t stand for someone else dictating how and who you should be.
Progress Over Perfection: Good things take time, and changes in ourselves and to our relationships don’t happen overnight. Practice patience: be patient with yourself, your partner and with delicate situations. Patience will get you everywhere you need to go. Create daily “better for you” habits and make time for routine conversations to help evolve your relationship. Be realistic, yet confident, in you and your partner’s ability to overcome obstacles. You may not realize just how much of a force you are.
It’s Never Too Late To Start Over: If you asked people how much each person should be giving in a relationship, most people would say it is a 50/50 split. However, the reality should be 100/100, with both partners giving their all. If you’re routinely having to do all or most of the heavy lifting in a relationship, don’t feel satisfied more often than you’re happy, or don’t feel valued, it may be time to re-evaluate. It’s scary, I know, but the scarier thought is that you stayed in a complacent relationship when you could have been living a life of fantastic adventure. It’s never too late to start over and it’s never too early to begin again.
It’s Never Too Late To Make Things Right: Making amends with our past relationships, where and how we left them, can help us heal. Recognizing and acknowledging “old wrongs” to let “new rights” in can help us find the peace and stillness within our hearts that we need to bring our best self into our future relationships. You don’t have to hold onto the pain to hold onto the memory.
Get Out Of Your Own Way: “Get out of your own way and let great things happen” is one of the best pieces of advice I received last year. Standing in front of yourself and not allowing yourself to be happy (again) is a product of your own choice. Once you side step to the left and stop self-sabotaging your happiness, you’ll be able to see the greatness that lies ahead and the possibilities that life holds for you. The universe doesn’t ask you to let go of what you thought was the greatest thing world without giving you something even better in return.
If It Were Easy, Everyone Would Have It: We all seek and crave the most fulfilling love whether we choose to admit it or not. Love and relationships take work. The most sustainable ones are those that can withstand honest, routine and vulnerable conversation, and have two people devoted to each others needs and happiness. Putting in the work, in my opinion, is much better than shortchanging yourself of something that has more potential than the effort you’re willing to give.
When Things Get Rough, Go Back To Basics: Never forget the foundation of which your relationship was founded on: the things that made you as a couple happy, the moments you craved being with one another, the first moments of falling in love. Put yourself back in that headspace, put each other first and keep in mind that the one thing you really need during hardship is time with each other.
Not Everything Needs To Be A Battle: While it’s important to be heard, sometimes it’s as simple as speaking your peace and your point of view and moving on.
If It Feels Real, It Usually Is: When your world starts to change for the better and opens with new possibilities causing the clouds of the past dissipate, you realize you’re in the midst of a perfect storm. Go with it and don’t hesitate. Sometimes you don’t always get a second chance to seize the right opportunity.
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