Let’s start with the obvious, shall we? You need to stop dating people who hate themselves. If someone doesn’t practice self-love, you can pretty much guarantee that they won’t know how to love you.
You need to stop dating people as an experiment. “I wonder what it’s like to date someone short or depressed or Republican or Christian or vegan.” Stop. Stop. Stop. You know what it’ll be like. You’re no longer the person swimming in naïveté. You understand things now. You understand people, relationships and dynamics. Most importantly, you understand yourself. You no longer have the luxury of pretending that you don’t know any better. (And that sucks because the second you figure things out, life becomes less fun, doesn’t it?)
You need to stop dating people who make you feel any different than who you really are. Or ashamed. Or hesitant. No. You should be at your most comfortable around them. Your most you. This is so hard to find though. I mean, we’re taught to have butterflies in our stomach and always be nervous around someone we like but, honestly, I think that’s bullshit. If you can’t bring yourself to eat a full meal in front of someone by the second date, you should probably just move on. (When the hell have you ever ordered a salad at a restaurant anyway? Who are we kidding here?)
You need to stop dating people whom you can imagine singing the lyrics “SOMEDAY YOU WILL ACHE LIKE I ACHE!” to in the pouring rain at three in the morning. You need to stop dating people who won’t stop jerking you around, who only like you when you’re sad and damaged because it makes them feel needed, like they’re the miracle antidote to your sadness. (Hint: They’re usually the reason why you’re depressed in the first place so don’t feed into that trap.)
You need to stop handing out your heart like it’s free candy at the movies. It’s not. Your heart is the price of a Chanel store or, at the very least, a vacation to Europe. It’s also important to note that there are consequences to loving badly and recklessly, consequences you don’t often see or notice until it’s too late. It all counts. Every person you slept with or didn’t sleep with, they’re all there with you as you sit at home and make love to your space heater.
You need to stop dating people out of pity or simply because they’re nice. You know that “nice” doesn’t usually give you orgasms or a long attention span. You’ll break their heart in a million little pieces and then sit back and marvel at what you’ve done. “I didn’t know I could do that!” you say to yourself as your lover is weeping in front of you. “Cool?”
I guess the takeaway message is this: Pay attention. Pay attention to the ones who love you and also the ones who never could. Make sure to retain the moral of the story because no one likes to find themselves in the same relationship over and over again.
Don’t cheat yourself when it comes to love. Get everything you deserve plus a cherry on top.