15 Things I’ve Learned About Dating

1. Never continue sleeping with an ex after you break up. I don’t care how much they loved you before; I don’t care how much you loved them. You are not together now, which means one of you made a decision not to be with the other, not to tough it out—therefore they no longer deserve to have anything to do with you. I hate to reference the old adage, “have your cake and eat it too” because quite honestly, who wants cake if they can’t eat it? But sleeping with your ex is eating cake with none of the joy of how cake tastes. I say this with all sincerity, that is the only thing you will feel: heavy with guilt and doubt and confusion, and LIGHT in only one way, the loss of your dignity.

2. Never allow yourself to be the “other” person. I don’t care what they say about their significant other, what their reasons are for not just being with you, how much it’s just about that their mom loves their significant other but hates you, DON’T DO IT. If you want to be that person who has casual, unattached sex, have it with another SINGLE PERSON. (There are plenty of those in the world, I assure you.) The only things that you can hope to gain from sleeping with someone who is already in a relationship are the following: horrible karma, low self-esteem (you will incessantly question why you’re not good enough to be the one they’re “officially” seeing), self-doubt, and a hatred of a person you probably don’t even know… especially when you’re helping your casual sex partner pick out his girlfriend’s Christmas presents.

3. NEVER date the person who cheated on their last significant other with you. Maybe they did a 180, and they actually will love you and be loyal, but will you ever really be able to know that? Probably not. You’ll be paranoid and concerned all the time, which will in turn destroy the relationship, and probably lead them to stray all over again

4. Never be the cheater. It may seem fun when someone is totally devoted to you and you are, like so totally devoted to them… for 75% of the time. It may seem fun to be single for one night a week, but self-doubt, karma, and the look on their face when you’re caught will haunt you forever.

5. Never be the rebound. Being the rebound is very appealing at first: they just got out of a relationship, so all they really know right now is how to be in a relationship. They’ll send cute texts, and the beginning of your relationship will feel like an extremely fun honeymoon period. Odds are, however, that’s all it will be. This person JUST ended a relationship. (If it was a long term one, seriously, run for the hills.) They are not ready to date. People need time to grieve and move on. Once they realize that they’re single and supposed to be having fun, they are either going to realize they actually still love their ex, or they’re going to dump you like a sack of potatoes and go on a crazy post-breakup frenzy.

6. NEVER, sleep with a close friend’s sibling It’s awkward, and it will never not be awkward, unless you plan on dating them and getting married and creating a fun little family. If not, it’s probably a really, really bad idea.

7. Never trust a person who keeps you a secret from everyone else. It doesn’t matter how sweet they are behind closed doors, if they has any shame in showing the world that you’re friends, at the very least, they aren’t worth your time. Never date the person who doesn’t want to bring you around their friends. Maybe they tells you their friends don’t like you and they doesn’t want any trouble, but if their friends were REALLY friends, they would accept your relationship.

8. Never date the person who’s always been in love with you—but whom you’ve always placed friend-zoned—just because you’re lonely. Don’t ruin a friendship just because you want to feel wanted. What’s more, you’re probably not even sexually attracted to them which is going to make the sex incredibly awkward (especially when he whispers he loves you and you dry up immediately.) You don’t want to be used, don’t use people.

9. When someone tells you they’re not looking for a relationship, and you ARE, do not have sex with them. Don’t lie to yourself and pretend you can be casual when you can’t be casual. Don’t lie to yourself, and don’t sacrifice your own ideals. There is NOTHING wrong with wanting to be in a relationship with someone. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have companionship, and there is nothing wrong with not being comfortable with “just sleeping with someone.” Trust me, all the extensive measures you’re going to take in bed to convince that person you’re worth dating are not going to make up for the caloric intake of dipping Snickers ice cream bars into peanut butter and crying to your friends when they decide they’re ready to casually sleep with someone else.

10. Don’t date the rebound guy, or break up with someone for a fun fling. If things aren’t working out in your current relationship, then it might be time to move on, but that doesn’t mean move on to someone else right away. You need time to move out of a relationship before moving into another one. Just because you enjoy the company of another person outside of your current relationship, it doesn’t mean that you automatically are over your ex and should move on to someone else. There is probably something to be salvaged in your relationship if you want to actually put in the work. Just because you enjoyed the attention someone else gave you doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. It also would just not be fair to do this to the person on whom you’d rebound. Don’t do it. Don’t break their heart.

11. Never hook up with your ex’s new significant other’s ex. Your ex moved on, and now your ex’s new girlfriend has a sad ex-boyfriend as well. Guess what? YOU TWO HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON EXCEPT YOUR SADNESS, most likely, and even if you do, the situation is just way too close for comfort. Your entire relationship will also be based on referencing their relationship, which is literally the opposite of moving on. Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to get mad, and chances are good you’ll end up coming off jealous and spiteful.

12. Don’t stay in an unhealthy relationship. I will be the first person to say that I LOVE projects. If you are damaged and have deep-rooted issues— mommy problems, sibling problems, substance abuse problems, life problems, career problems—chances are I will fall for you and will try to fix you. But you cannot be the exception to the rule. You cannot try to use your love to fix someone who is broken. While everyone deserves to be loved, these are exactly the kind of relationships where you will lose your self-worth, especially if the person is not willing to accept that they may have a problem. If your boyfriend is getting wasted and being physical with you, but is an ABSOLUTE GEM when he’s sober, RUN LIKE THE WIND. If the person you love is willing to accept they have a problem, and want to work toward changes, that is wonderful, but isn’t always the case. You cannot be their crutch or enabler; you’ll end up resenting yourself as well.

13. Don’t be the crazy ex, or even the crazy current for that matter. If you are ever in a situation where you feel like you are paranoid beyond belief, calling their friends, checking texts, logging into their social networking, there is something majorly wrong. If your significant other is not able to put your mind at ease enough for you to trust them, then there is just nothing healthy about this situation. The only thing that is going to happen here is that you are constantly going to be scrambling for some semblance of normalcy, while probably holding onto the pieces of a broken relationship, losing all kinds of self-esteem, and developing a really poor reputation, take it from me.

14. Don’t go through a really bad break-up and decide to start experimenting to “find yourself.” To start with, self-medicating never solves the problem. As for careless sex, yes it is fun (if you’re safe) to move on and have a good time, but not if you’re jumping into bed with anyone to numb the pain. Odds are good you are going to hurt the feelings of the people you choose to experiment with if your experimentation comes from a place of anger. It’s better to process it in other ways.

15. Don’t lose yourself; a relationship should ALWAYS be a two-way street. All these quotes online with pictures of beaches and swirly-girly handwriting written across them that say things like “I can’t live without you,” “I need you like the air I breathe,” “Without you I am nothing,” “My happiness depends upon yours,” may sound really cute, until you take them into context. If you cannot “live” without the person you are in a relationship with, if you don’t know who you are outside of the relationship, you are NOT ready to be in one. You cannot have a healthy loving relationship with another person, until you first love yourself. For some people, that really sucks to hear. It is a lot easier to spend your time taking caring of someone else instead of taking care of you, and you can probably go months, even years, sometimes even a whole lifetime, living under that facade. At the end of the day, you will never truly be fulfilled with someone else until you know that you are strong enough to stand on your own. There is NEVER a reason to stay in a relationship if you are unhappy, especially if there is no wedding vows or kids involved. Relationships are a give-and-take, and it’s not going to be 50/50 all the time, but if you’re doing all of the work, or you’re sincerely not comfortable without them, or you’re acting like a person you don’t know or understand, LOVE YOURSELF ENOUGH to leave.TC mark

image – Shutterstock

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