Thought Catalog
February 14, 2012

The 5 Most Important Pieces Of Relationship Advice

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Read them, learn them, they are my gift to you. Happy Valentines Day.

1. “If you have more than five deal breakers, you are the deal breaker.” – Dan Savage

I don’t know the exact moment, podcast, blog or book Dan said this in (it might be from his book The Commitment, which should be required reading) but it is absolutely true. If you keep rejecting people because they aren’t wearing the shoes you and your friends deem acceptable, you are limiting yourself in a way that is entirely self-destructive. Do you want an example of five acceptable deal breakers? Here are mine:

  1. Uses “gay” as a derogatory term.
  2. Is rude to waiters/ cab drivers/ homeless people.
  3. Has the same dirty dishes in the sink as the last time you came over.
  4. Thinks pop music is dumb.
  5. Says mean things about you or your body.

Those are my five. Make your five and then promise yourself you will get over the rest. Otherwise, you will be ALONE FOREVER.

See also: The Price of Admission (another Dan Savagism — but you can Google it).

2. “If you work really hard and are kind, amazing things will happen.” – Conan O’Brien

This quote is technically not about love or relationships, but then again, it so is. When you are in a relationship, the hardest part is working hard at it when it isn’t fun, and being kind when you want to murder your partner’s face off. But I can promise you, if your heart is in the “trying to make it happen” basket, working hard and being kind are the two things that will always get you through. Any senior citizen couple holding hands on a park bench will tell you that.

3. “Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.” – Goodridge vs. the Department of Public Health

This is a famous quote from the ruling that gave same sex couples the right to marry in Massachusetts. While this is about marriage, I also think there is so much to take from it as far as dating goes. Don’t ever forget that the relationship you’re in is one you’ve chosen to be in, one that defines part of your life, for a week or a month, ten years, or maybe even forever. Romantic relationships shape our lifestyles and our futures, so always make sure you are with someone who doesn’t hold you back, keep you down, or make you become someone you don’t want to be. This is also true for yearning for someone who doesn’t want to be with you. Don’t be that person for too long or else you will regret it.

4. “How Can We Be Lovers if We Can’t Be Friends?” – Michael Bolton

Don’t laugh at me! I am serious about this one! Look, my parents have been married for over thirty years and when you ask them why it has lasted for so long they say “I married my best friend” (and then you cry a million young person tears). If you are thinking of stepping into the “trying to end it” basket with your boo, a really important thing to consider is this: would this person you’re dating drive across town during rush hour to bring you an important document you need for work, even though it totally screws up their plans for the rest of the day? If the answer is no, you know what you need to do.

5. “Me myself and I/ That’s all I got in the end/ That’s what I found out/ And it ain’t no need to cry / I took a vow that from now on / I’m gonna be my own best friend”  – Beyoncé

It would be out of character for me to make any sort of list about love without including the person I love most in the world, Beyoncé (just kidding, Mom, Dad, my boyfriend…). But really, the hardest part about relationships — long term, short term, one night — is knowing how great you are (yes, you!) at all times. Sometimes relationships make us feel bad. Sometimes being single makes us depressed and drunk. It’s hard out there, either way. Be kind to yourself first, and please never put yourself in the “trying to end it” basket. Someone out there is waiting for you — and it’s going to be really great when it happens. TC mark

Thumbnail image – Dan Savage