As a 21-year-old young man, 30 seems like it’s far away. But in actuality, I know that I’ll hit that stage of my life before I ever realize it. Time goes by quick; I remember my first day of college like it happened yesterday, and now, almost three years later, I’m less than a year away from graduation.
I have no clue what my life will be like when I’m 30. I don’t know whether or not I’ll be married, what job I’ll be working, or what I’ll be doing for fun. Hell, I don’t even know what I’m eating for dinner tonight when I get home. However, what I do know is the romantic experiences that I’ve faced in my life so far, and how I can use them to help guide my future.
So in a way, I’m writing this to my future self, but hey, if anyone else relates to this as well, I’m glad to see that others feel the same way as well. As a hopeless romantic, I hope these little pieces of advice will guide myself (and perhaps others) down a fulfilling path that captures the best of what love has to offer.
Let’s cut this “We’re together, but we’re not dating” crap
To be fair, this has only happened to me once. However it occurred during my most recent relationship, so it’s fresh in my mind. I dated a girl for around six months before we broke up, and we dated on and off after that for another six months or so. It was aggravating. We never referred to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend, and I was constantly confused about what we were. Which leads me into my next piece of advice.
Be clear about what you want
Establish that you two are together, and don’t leave the topic waiting around like an elephant in the room. The longer you wait, the more you tend to bottle up your feelings regarding the topic. The more you bottle them up, the worse it gets when they eventually come out. It’ll save you so much time and effort to just be direct and truthful about how you want to approach a relationship.
Don’t change yourself to please someone else
The further I distance myself from my most recent relationship, the more I’m beginning to realize which parts of myself were created in order to please my partner. Don’t pretend that you’re okay with aspects of your relationship that you aren’t. Although a relationship relies on two people coming together, it’s not about pleasing the other person at your own expense.
Your happiness comes before your partner’s
If you aren’t happy in a relationship, don’t be in it. It’s plain and simple. I knew that I loved my girlfriend, but I knew that I just wasn’t happy. I didn’t realize at the time that I was sacrificing my own happiness just so she could be happy. It wasn’t fair. By the time I had come to that realization, I ended the relationship. You deserve to be happy, and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice anything for it.
Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone
This can really apply to anything, but relationships are an area where I do tend to struggle with this. I’ve always been comfortable with simple dates, like a nice dinner out, or a Netflix and Chill night (all guys are guilty on this one). I’ve always hesitated at the idea of a “different” kinda date, and usually just fall back on the aforementioned kind of dates. Don’t be afraid to take some risks and be daring, and different. They might just pay off for you.
Don’t go into every relationship thinking “She’s the one”
Guilty. Out of all the much better looking guys on planet Earth, I’m always way too excited when a girl shows interest in me. “That’s it. I’m marrying this girl,” I think to myself. Beyond the obvious fact that I’m an idiot for thinking like that, I hadn’t realized the pedestal I had placed myself below. I always assumed that my significant other was this perfect human being who I was destined to be with, with no flaws whatsoever. Well, guess what? Nobody’s perfect. Everybody is broken in their own sort of way, including myself. And sometimes, people’s flaws are the deal breakers in whether or not two people are compatible. I always tended to look past these kinds of things, assuming that since we had found each other, the path was already laid for us. It isn’t, and you shouldn’t try to build a path that just isn’t there.
Failures will happen, and that’s okay
Everybody fails. Nobody likes to admit that they’ve messed up, for obvious reasons. There’s gonna be “the one that gets away,” and I know from a first-hand experience that it hurts. But as I grow up, I know it isn’t about the failures themselves; it’s about how you move on from them. It’s easy to fail, but it isn’t as easy to move forward. The most important thing here is to realize that you are a beautiful human being, with or without someone by your side. There’s no failure big enough to detract from this. No matter how long it may take or how many times you have to try, they all happen for a reason; you will move on to a bigger and brighter future.