Before I started dating, I assumed that you just needed to find someone cute, fall in love, and then spend the rest of your days living happily ever after. But obviously, I was completely wrong.
Most of us spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect partner. We want to find “the one.” However, we rarely stop and think about the necessary qualities and mindset to be considered attractive by someone else.
Right? We think, “if I can find the perfect person, they’ll immediately fall in love with me since I’m incredibly awesome.” But unfortunately, that’s rarely what happens.
Instead, dating is often a long period of awkward conversations, rejection, and heartbreak. But once you find someone that you genuinely want to be with for the rest of your life, it’s totally worth it.
So below are several things I wish I knew before I started dating. Each of these insights changed my life for the better. I’m sure they will do the same for you, too.
#1. Love isn’t like the movies. Sure, you can go on a spontaneous vacation with your partner to The Bahamas. And if you do, I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun. But the truth is that life has a lot of uneventful moments. And whether you like it or not, your relationship will, too. But that’s okay.
#2. How you spend your time is an indicator of your priorities. If you prefer to spend a lot of time alone, that’s totally fine. But don’t expect to have great relationships if you’re not willing to put in the necessary effort to maintain them.
#3. Nobody is perfect, and neither are you. This one took me a while to get my head around. But once I did, the effect it had on my dating life was profound.
Every single person on this planet of seven billion people has imperfections and insecurities. Nobody is perfect, and neither are you. Everyone has flaws and things about themselves they want to change. But that’s part of what makes us human. It’s beautiful.
Trying to change other people is a waste of time. Accept your partner for their imperfections. Love them and embrace them. They will do the same for you, as well.
#4. Breakups can be extremely difficult to get over. I learned this one the hard way. I was in a relationship with my (now ex) girlfriend for several years. And when we broke up, it felt like my whole world had been ripped apart. I didn’t know how to pick up the pieces and rebuild my life again.
Breakups are always difficult. You share memories, experiences, and intimate moments of your life together that you’ll never get back. It will inevitably take some time to heal.
#5. You can’t be passive. Effort from both sides is essential. I like to think of a relationship like a puppy. You need to nurture it, love it, and put in the necessary effort to build an extremely meaningful connection with each other. Otherwise, it’ll be an extremely stressful experience.
Listen to each other during a conversation. You don’t have to agree on everything. However, it’s vital to understand and respect where the other person is coming from. Be empathetic to their thoughts, opinions, and perspective on life.
When you make an effort to respect your partner at every given opportunity, they will (probably) do the same for you.
#6. Love yourself. Try not to rely on your partner to feel loved, appreciated, and respected. Trust me — that’s emotionally draining and a recipe for total disaster.
As the old adage goes, you need to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping other people. Live life at your own pace. Practice gratitude for everything you have. When you love yourself, it’s much easier to put in the necessary time & energy to love your partner.
#7. Nobody is too busy to avoid responding for a week. When I started dating, I’d often have conversations with people until the early hours of the morning. But sometimes, they’d stop replying for days or weeks at a time.
Unless they’re on a trip in the rocky mountains with no cellphone signal, there are very few reasons as to why someone can’t take a few seconds out of their day to respond.
Going back to point number two, get clear on your priorities and who you spend your time with. Because if a specific person doesn’t want to put in the effort to speak to you, it’s probably best to find someone who does.
#8. If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never get it. Sure, you might think this point sounds pretty straight forward. Yet, most people (including my past self) struggle to realize how true it is.
Dating can be like a road trip. You need to have a specific destination in mind. Otherwise, you’ll continually go around in circles and never make any progress. You’ll repeat the same mistakes again and again.
#9. Your intuition is (almost) always correct. I used to be great at giving people advice. However, I was terrible at taking my own. So I often pretended to be a different person and give myself some advice on what to do in any situation. As a result of listening to my intuition, it became a lot easier to make better choices.
Listen to your gut. If you think something is wrong, it probably is. Similarly, if you genuinely believe someone is the one, love them with all your heart.
#10. A lack of honesty can lead to resentment. When you’re honest in your dating life, other people tend to reciprocate when talking to you. After all, it’s much better to have a relationship built on trust instead of lies.
Stay true to your word and follow through on whatever you promise to do for someone else. Because even when the truth is uncomfortable, people will still give you significant levels of respect due to a unique ability to remain honest.
The alternative is resentment, going behind each other’s backs, and an extremely unhealthy relationship that will be miserable and emotionally draining for both of you.