1. Accept that you are not everyone’s cup of tea.
If your primary dating strategy is to adapt yourself into the exact kind of person your partner wants to date, you will never find yourself in a real relationship because your relationship will always be based on dishonesty.
You have to learn to accept that some people aren’t going to like the real you and as much as that sucks, you’re going to have to know how to stand your ground and walk away from those people. Otherwise you’ll spend your whole life willingly entering into toxic relationship after toxic relationship, and the only person you’ll have to blame for it is yourself.
2. Accept that a relationship won’t solve all your problems.
If you’re expecting a single human being to walk into your life and fix everything that’s wrong with it, your relationship is absolutely doomed to fail. No relationship can withstand that level of dependency, and the quickest way to make a new romance implode is to expect it to change your whole life.
3. Accept that you might be alone for a long time.
If you want to find someone who you’re truly, genuinely compatible with (as opposed to just someone who’s willing to commit to you), you have to accept that you might be on your own for a long, long time before you meet them. You can’t just hop on board with any passing relationship that looks comfortable and convenient. You have to be willing to stick it out for the one that will actually be worth hanging onto.
4. Accept that when it shows up, love won’t necessarily look the way you wanted it to.
Your love story won’t be a Disney film. Or a rom-com. Or even a fun-loving episode of ‘Friends.’ Your relationship will be made up of two real people, navigating real-life situations and making compromises to make it work. It won’t always be glamorous or polished or even particularly romantic a lot of the time. But it will last, if you’re willing to work for it to.
5. Accept that you might have to fight for the relationship you want.
Chances are, the person of your dreams isn’t going to fall right into your lap. You might have to chase them a little. You might have to put yourself out there in a way that feels uncomfortable. You might have to be a lot more vulnerable than you’re used to. The relationship you want isn’t necessarily going to come easily – so you’re going to have to decide if you’re ready to fight for it.
6. Accept that the relationship you have with yourself will set the stage for every relationship you have with someone else.
If you hate yourself when you’re alone, you’re never going to feel stable in a romantic relationship, because your entire sense of self-worth will be wrapped up in that other person. Until you have a strong sense of self outside of a relationship, you’re never going to have a strong or healthy relationship.
7. Accept that being a nice person won’t be enough to make a relationship work.
Everyone considers themselves to be a nice person. And everyone thinks that they should consequently be rewarded with a perfect relationship (or if they aren’t, that it’s the other person’s fault, because how can it be their fault if they’re so nice?)
The truth is, it takes a lot more than niceness to be a good partner. Sometimes being a good partner means stepping away from the emotional component of the relationship and evaluating problems objectively. Sometimes it means refusing to cave to your partner’s demands. Sometimes being nice is not the #1 thing your relationship needs, and expecting your niceness to fix everything is borderline delusional.
8. Accept that ‘forever’ isn’t something you find – it’s something you build.
You will not know that someone is your ‘forever person’ on a first date. Or a sixteenth date. Or a three-year wedding anniversary. Or on the day that your first child is born.
Because forever is not a personality trait, or even a compatibility measure. It is literally a measure of time.
You’ll know someone’s your forever person on your deathbed, if they are the one who has stood by you over the course of your entire life. At that point, you can celebrate having found them. But until then, you’re going to have to work like hell at your relationship. Because that’s the only real way to make a relationship last forever.