There comes a time when your single self realizes all the crap your relationship self has done in the past, and wants to verbally slap you. My time for slapping has arrived. Considering I’m not about hoarding insight, I thought this would also serve as a pleasant reminder to you single darlings. Despite past blunders, not all in lost for your next relationship. Take this in and adjust.
BASK IN THE DAYTIME ALONE…SOMETIMES
I of all people understand the desire to share the same bed with your man (warning: avid cuddler), but next time around, enjoy some days on your own. The thought of being without the guy who is the matcha powder to your green tea latte can be unbearable (damn you, puppy dog stage!), but the sun will rise whether you spend time together, or not. Space might as well be water for couples — you need it to remain sane, healthy, and refreshed for the next rendezvous.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST
Never again will you skip out on exercise, writing, phone calls, meetings, or any other “to-do” to be with a boyfriend. Sure, your lovin’ meter will be filled — but what about the rest of the areas you need to function (ABORT: happiness and sanity)!? I may be a broken record, but taking care of yourself always comes first. If your day is too packed, then Mr. Wonderful can wait another 24 hours to see your gorgeous face. You will both sleep easy knowing the next day he will get a satisfied girlfriend and you will get a man who understands this girl’s got (other) needs.
DO NOT EXPECT OR ASSUME
Who else has been guilty of expecting her partner to always be available when she is, then getting bummed out when he’s not? Love sets up too many expectations, but we don’t have to surrender to the status quo. Bring that sassy, neurotic planner to the forefront and convince your partner to share a Google calendar. By all means, KEEP your private calendars, but dedicate one to sorting out who-is-free-when while adding those birthdays and anniversary reminders (hint, hint). No one forgets. No one fights (as often). Everyone wins.
DO NOT RUSH
The next Ryan Gosling who enters your life better have a thing for tortoises. You’re goin’ extra slow, my dear. Once he arrives and it’s wonderful, don’t fall down Alice’s hole and obsess about the next step (unless it’s pug adoption). It’s useless to add pressure to a bond that isn’t guaranteed to stay together…until it does. Slowly enjoying the “firsts” of a relationship will taste more sweet without preemptive marriage frosting smeared all over it. Stop wishing the rest of your life will start. It’s already passing you by — go forth and conquer.
TAKE A CHILL PILL
I am willing to bet there have been times in your life where if you took ONE step back to reevaluate, the situation would have improved. Next relationship, breathing must become routine. Life is stressful, we all know it, but sometimes we use that as an excuse to unleash fifteen different emotions on our partners, hoping they will still love us. We must learn to tame the dragons, ourselves. EVEN if you somehow snagged Clark Kent, no boyfriend is responsible for your behavior or saving you from yourself. Only you are (and you can do it, ya know).
GIVE UP THE NEED TO “CATCH” HIM
There is this unhealthy phenomenon in young women where we need to catch our partners in a lie to prove we are right and that all men are scum. I’ve thought it, you’ve thought it, the majority of our unfortunately paranoid gender has thought it. HOWEVER, we all have the power to stop doing it, especially as we get older. There is no healthy need to sabotage a relationship by snooping or wanting to catch your man with his tail between his legs. Act like an adult, talk out any issues, and for goodness sake, allow the relationship to prosper before you send it to trial.
ACCEPT YOU WON’T KNOW EVERYTHING
You are never going to know the ins-and-outs of your partner. I don’t care if he says he’s telling you everything, he isn’t. Not because he’s a liar-face, because he’s a human being with a lot of files stored in his cabinet of “Life” (that most likely need organizing). There is only so much information two people in a relationship need to know about each other — the rest is insecurity of the unknown. Take a chill pill with this aspect, too, and enjoy the discovery of the next man you fall for.
LET HIM HANDLE HIS PROBLEMS
Women have a knack for mentally drawing up a tree diagram, outlining every possible outcome, and choosing the best decision. Men have to pay extra for this chip in their brains, so they resort to their own way of solving problems. Let them do this. By telling your partner how to run the land of (insert his name), you are emasculating him. Even if you swear on Granny’s grave you are right, creating this overbearing environment will not make him admit to it any faster. Listening is an old art, but still an important one. Let him handle the rest.
The issue is not making mistakes, but never evolving from them. If you don’t take the time to reflect on your involvement in past relationships, then you might as well keep Adele on your playlist…because heartbreak will keep a-comin’. Successful relationships always have a steep learning curve. Sooner or later, we figure it out. Future Nina’s going to thrive SO hard with her next companion, and I believe you will, too.