When you’re young, schools warn you about all types of addictions: smoking, drugs and alcohol, but they never caution about the most dangerous addiction of all: people.
During and after college, I very much became somewhat of a love addict. A constant hunger for adoration and validation tortured me for years. I gave years of my life to the wrong people—people who didn’t actually deserve me.
Now that I've gotten over my addiction, and have been single for some time, my best friends have made looking for a boyfriend easier by giving me love-changing advice. I'm better equipped to scope out the one who will stick by my side, no matter what, and treat me as a loving equal.
With the hopes that you avoid learning love lessons the hard way, here's the advice that has helped me.
“If he can’t handle dealing with minor relationship issues, he will fail to tackle the big ones.”
My best friend made it clear to me that if your partner is unable to communicate with you when fixing small problems in your relationship, he most likely won’t be able to handle larger matters in the future.
For instance, I was having fights with my boyfriend at the time about spending more time together. Instead of voicing his feelings, he hid them, and wasn’t willing to work through them. As a result of this, the relationship failed. Now when I look for a partner, I try to find someone who is open to communication, making compromises, and fixing problems as a unit.
A similar situation took place with a different ex. I asked to be driven to the airport, and he retorted that “that didn’t sound fun.” His answer was a major red flag because when you’re in love with someone you do those “not-so fun” tasks for him or her—not because you enjoy them, but to show that you care.
If your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t want to do things like drive you to the airport now, he or she most likely won’t want to pick up your children from daycare later. The right partner will be unconditionally supportive of you because that is simply what good partners do.
In the same vein, it’s critical to remember that relationships are two-way streets. If you want a long-lasting relationship, you have to put in the work. Reciprocate appreciation, and show time and time again that you are in it for the long haul. If your partner is not doing these things in return, and making you a priority, then you shouldn’t be with that person.
“You are crazy, and if he doesn’t love that about you, then he doesn’t deserve you.”
“Accepting” should definitely be on the top of your checklist when seeking out good qualities in a partner. One night I asked my best friend if she thought I was coo coo for Cocoa Puffs for texting my partner more than usual. She replied that I was, but that my innocent bursts of insanity are what make me me. She said “You are crazy, and if he doesn’t love that about you, then he doesn’t deserve you.” She was right.
The old saying goes that “if you can’t handle someone at their worst, then you don’t deserve them at their best.” This statement bears truth in relationships. If you tend to sweat the small stuff in life, like me, it would be beneficial to seek out someone who will reassure you that everything is going to be okay.
Steer clear of people who constantly judge you, and put you down just because you are a bit of a worry wart. Forego people who are not understanding, and fall only into the arms of those willing to catch you.
“Sometimes your heart needs to go on a diet.”
Sometimes love needs to be cut out of your life like a bad fat. It’s very important to take time for yourself, particularly after a relationship ends. In order to effectively love again, you have to make sure that all the pieces of your heart are glued back together first. If you don’t, then you will be unfairly giving someone a broken, incomplete love instead of the healthy love he or she deserves.
I’ve definitely been guilty of jumping from one sinking ship to the next, but relationships shouldn’t be escapes or distractions. They are supposed to be selfless connections.
Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to step back from the dating world and take a break. Doing so will potentially help you heal and grow in both life and love. So, go ahead and take a seat on the bench. Give that heart of yours a break until you’re ready to get back out there.