Looking back on lot of my past relationships, I’ve realized that I have not always had the right motivations for choosing a partner. It took me a few heartbreaks to realize that I should never choose a guy over myself. At the time the guys in my past seemed like they were perfect; each time they came along I was sure I had finally gotten it right. Here’s a few examples showing that I had actually gotten it completely wrong.
Flashback to junior year of high school. A cool, good-looking senior transfers to my school. He’s funny, he’s outgoing, he plays baseball; in the eyes of a sixteen year old girl he’s got it going on. There are a few other qualities he possessed which were not so positive: lying, cheating, failing school. The day he met me he asked me for my number, and of course I was more than happy to give it to him. We started dating three weeks after we met. Throughout our relationship I chose to stay with him even though there were a million red flags. He would critic what I was wearing, we never went on real dates (but rather I drove 30 minutes to his house to hangout while his mother wasn’t home), and he only texted me when it was convenient for him. So why did I put up with this? Because in high school I believed this was just how all teenage boys behaved. I gave up my happiness in exchange for a change in relationship status. Not cool.
Let’s jump ahead to freshman year of college. Big school, lots of new boys; I was so sure I would find my soul mate within months (LOLOL). And after being here for a semester, I was positive I had found the one. Physically, he was perfect. Beautiful skin, beautiful smile, a foot taller than me. He was smart, he was involved. I pursued him, he gave me his number, and of course I said yes when he asked me on a date two weeks later. The date was perfect; he was a gentleman, he paid, he walked me back. This was our first and final date.
We continued to talk after this date, but we only hung out alone and in the evenings, never in public. (Ladies, if he NEVER takes you in public, there is no way you two can form a good relationship, trust me). Because he possessed every quality I want in a significant other, I was willing to take whatever small piece of him I could get. I fooled myself into thinking our relationship was something it was not. And it took me far too long to realize that he was only interested in one thing. As soon as he realized he was going to have to work harder for it, he became less interested and the texts became fewer and far between.
Rather than moving on as any woman should, I pined over him and continued to pursue him until I finally realized (6 long months later) that I was wasting my time. I needed someone who was ready to give me what I wanted, and I was finally done settling.
So what happened next? I finally met a guy who didn’t make me feel like I was worthless. He never made me feel like there was a single part of myself that I should change. I didn’t have to beg for his attention or go out of my way to make him notice me. Here’s nine things I’ve realized about relationships since I’ve met him:
1) You are enough.
While relationships are full of compromise, this does not mean that you should feel pressured into compromising your own beliefs or settle for less than what you need. If anyone ever makes you feel like you are not worth it, they are not someone who deserves to become a part of your life.
2) If you are not comfortable, RUN.
One thing I didn’t realize about the guys in my past is that I was never truly comfortable around them. I put them up on a pedestal of perfection and then spent the entirety of our relationship trying to impress them and convince them that I was good enough for them. Newsflash: no one is perfect. Not you, not me, not the man of your dreams. If you can’t be yourself completely around a guy, your relationship will not be a good one. You should not hide any part of you from someone you are pursuing a future with.
3) Relationships should be fun.
No relationship is good all of the time. There will be fights, there will be bad days, but the bad should not outweigh the good. You should enjoy each other’s company. There are a lot of things in this world that cause us major stress; a relationship should not be one of them. If you spend all of your time fighting and arguing, it’s time to fix it or move on.
4) Don’t let a guy pressure you into having sex before you’re ready.
Sex is fun. Sex is important. But your sex life, what you choose to do, and who you choose to do it with is 100% your decision. Whether or not you are a virgin, you do not HAVE to sleep with a guy just because you have strong feelings for him, and you should not have to sleep with him just to keep him around. Of course guys are going to let you know if they’re ready to have sex with you. But if your man is pressuring you into having sex every time you are alone, you need to drop him. I thought this was simply how guys were until I found a guy who told me multiple times that he didn’t want to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. Guys like sex, but I that is his only motivation for pursuing relations with you, you deserve a better man.
5) Not texting each other 24/7 is not necessarily a red flag.
If you and this new guy have just started hanging out, of course he should want to text you in order to get to know you better and get a chance to talk to you while you two are apart. However if you two are not officially dating or anything, not texting you back immediately or even not texting you every single day is not a big deal. This does not automatically mean he’s not into you. If he’s anything like me, he probably wants to talk to you just doesn’t know what to say. Sending pointless texts back in forth such as “Sup” or “That’s cool” is not going to enhance your relationship at all. If one or both of you is busy, it’s perfectly okay not to text all day. This does not necessarily mean he’s texting other girls instead of you. What’s more important is whether or not you two are able to have good conversation when you are texting. If you spend an appreciable amount of time together during the week/weekends but he doesn’t text you constantly, he’s probably just not crazy about texting and is more interested in spending time with you.
6) You don’t have to define the relationship.
If you and your guy are hanging out exclusively, spending quality time together, and you are genuinely happy, why do you need a label? Labels will not necessarily make the relationship any better or any more permanent.
7) But don’t be afraid to have the DTR talk.
You absolutely have the right to ask the guy you’ve been seeing what his intentions are. If you need or want answers pertaining to your relationship and your future with a guy, just ask him. If it ends because you want different things, it’s for the better.
8) Learn to love yourself.
A guy can’t give you his all if you don’t let him. If you are constantly talking yourself down, some guys may not understand the insecurities that are at the root of this. In order to fully accept love, you have to fully accept yourself. You are perfect the way you are, and you should not rely on the words of a man or anyone else to make you feel complete.
9) Guys are not mind readers.
The biggest problem I had in the past was assuming guys were going to do all the work if they wanted me. However, guys are not mind readers. They will not know exactly what you are feeling if you do not tell them. If you aren’t comfortable enough to talk about the way you feel with him, you probably should not be with him. Don’t bottle up your feelings; kick him to the curb so you can find your Mr. Right.