I Don't Want A Lover, I Want A Partner In Crime

The Best Advice I’ve Learned In 10 Years Of Writing About Relationships

I have been writing about relationships for nearly 10 years now (man, that sentence really made me feel old!). One thing I discovered pretty early on is that all relationship problems can be solved with a few small pieces of advice. The biggest issues women face (and I’m always astounded but the fact that women of all ages from all corners of the world all seem to face the exact same issues!), can be explained by understanding a few core concepts.

I remember there was this one week when four of my friends called me for relationship advice. They were all in different situations and their questions were different, but I found myself giving the exact same advice to all of them. It got to the point where I felt like I should just record myself and send it out to all my friends just to save myself time!

Or maybe I’ll just send them this article because I’m revealing the best and most universal pieces of relationship wisdom I’ve learned over the years. This is the advice I desperately needed when I was single and dating and if you master all these points, your love life with dramatically change for the better.

1. Choose wisely

Your relationship success is basically determined before you even enter into the relationship. It starts with who you choose.

I used to be the classic stereotype of the girl who only wants the guys she can’t have and is turned off by the ones who are desperately in love with her. Available guys? Gross. Damage cases? Sign me up!

And time and time again I was left utterly baffled as to why things never worked out for me. Why did they never want me like I wanted them? Why did it never get past a certain point? Why did I always feel so powerless in my relationships?

Oh right, I’m only going after emotionally unavailable guys who are incapable of giving more than measly scraps, and I’m taking those scraps and seeing them through rose-colored glasses and exaggerating the bare minimum effort and turning it into some grand romantic gesture thus deluding myself into believing the relationship is more significant than it is, and then I’m left shattered when the inevitable happens even though the writing was on the wall in bright red ink the entire time! Silly me!

But seriously, choice is everything. You can’t choose a loser and expect him to transform into a winner. Yes, you might be the most amazing woman he has ever been privileged to know, but it will not be enough to save him or change him or fix him or whatever it is you hope to achieve here. You have to see a situation for what it is and focus only on the truth about who he is … and not on how sexy he is or how funny he can be or how hot the sex is. Focus on what matters, and these things aren’t what set the foundation for a lasting, loving relationship!

If you want a serious relationship, choose a guy who wants the same thing. If you have certain values, choose a guy who shares those values. If you want to start a family in the near future, choose a guy who also wants that.

Love isn’t enough to conquer incompatibility and emotional baggage. You have a choice when it comes to who you want to be with, and that choice gives you power. Use it wisely!

2. When a guy likes you, it’s obvious!

I relate to the whole “does he like me?” dilemma that so many women face on a deeply personal level. I was always struggling to figure out how a guy felt during my single days.

He was texting me nonstop one week, and then he vanished … he said I’m the most amazing girl he’s ever met, but now he’s acting distant … he told me he doesn’t want to be “official,” but he acts like he’s my boyfriend… why is it all so confusing?!

Here’s the ugly truth: It’s not confusing. If you have to ask, you have your answer. When a guy kind of seems like he likes you, but you don’t really know … it means he doesn’t like you enough. That’s it.

When a guy likes you, it’s obvious. You don’t question it because it would be a ridiculous question to ask. It’s just so clear and plain to see. You know it and everyone around you knows it. A guy isn’t going to be dodgy with a girl he likes, lest he run the risk of losing her. The only time a guy will act weird or unsure or confusing is when he is confused because he doesn’t really know how he feels.

This was probably one of the most mind-blowing revelations for me. And it’s the one phrase I repeat to my single friends and readers all the time. When you have to ask … you already know the answer!

3. Stressing ruins relationships

Another thing I find myself saying over and over again when presented with a boy problem is: stop stressing!

Seriously, why do we do this to ourselves?

We’re so worried about the relationship that we can’t be in the relationship. I totally get it, though. The fears are real. What if he doesn’t like me as much as I like him? What if he isn’t serious about me? What if he’s a liar like my ex? What if he cheats on me? What if he finds someone better?

You think hitting certain milestones will keep the crazies away, but that doesn’t work either. Maybe you think as soon as he calls you his girlfriend you’ll be able to relax. Then he makes it “official” but you worry about him having second thoughts or changing his mind. Then you think you’ll feel better as soon as he says “I love you,” and that works for a little… until he goes a few days without saying it and you wonder if he totally changed his mind. Then it’s as soon as you move in together or get engaged .. there is always an as soon as and there is always a new thing to stress over. Stop all of it!

It gets you nowhere. All you’re doing is feeding your own insecurities and giving them more strength and power over you. Also, it doesn’t feel good to be around a stressed out person. It creates a negative vibe that’s just off-putting and even the most emotionally clueless man will be able to pick up on it … and that is what will actually stop your relationship from progressing.

When you’re on a date, don’t worry about whether he’s going to ask you on another date. Don’t worry about how he feels and what he’s thinking. Try to relax and just be.

I’m telling you, the stressing is what messes up women more than any other behavior so try your best to keep it under control!

4. You can’t win them all.

This is probably the toughest lesson to learn, but so important for your sanity and self-esteem.

So let’s say you’re seeing a guy and you fall hard and fast. He is everything you’ve ever wanted, he literally checks every box. You can’t help but get excited about the possibilities … but then he ends things. He just doesn’t think you’re right for him, he feels like something is missing, he thinks you’re great but now just isn’t a good time. And you are crushed beyond belief. You mentally go back in time analyzing everything about the relationship to figure out what you did wrong. Why weren’t you enough?

You are enough. You’re plenty. You just weren’t the right girl for him and that’s OK because not everyone is a match. You make a mess for yourself when you take it personally because it really isn’t personal. Just like I’m sure you’ve dated wonderful guys who were crazy about you and you just didn’t feel the same, sometimes the reverse will happen.

All you can do is work on being your best self. You’ll never be perfect because that’s impossible, but you can work on refining who you are, on tackling your insecurities, on healing from your old wounds and hurts. This is all you have control over.

You can’t control how someone else feels about you, you just need to accept that you can’t win them all and that isn’t because you’re fatally flawed, it’s just how the world works.

5. Your vibe matters more than your looks.

Yes, looks matter. No, they don’t matter as much as you think.

Your vibe determines so much more when it comes to how people respond to you and how much success you have in your relationships. And the good news is your vibe is totally under your control!

It’s about managing your mood and not letting yourself be overcome by anxious thoughts and negativity. It may feel like you have no control, but that’s not the case. You can control the thoughts you allow to enter into your mind and your thoughts control how you feel.

If you engage with negative thoughts, they will keep coming at you, putting you in an anxious and worried state. If you can keep those thoughts away and only allow positive thoughts to penetrate, your entire life will change, not to mention your relationships.

One of the most important things to understand about men when it comes to relationships is that men move toward what feels good. When it feels good to be around you, he wants to be around you, a lot. That’s really all it takes to get a man to commit and to invest in you and the relationship. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Sabrina Bendory

Sabrina Bendory is a writer and entrepreneur. She is the author of You’re Overthinking It, a definitive book on dating and self-love.