Where do I begin?
My first love was great but the timing was off. My second love broke my heart. I grew the most and realized what I wanted in a relationship. My third love (my now boyfriend) surprisingly swept me off my feet, sees beauty in my imperfections and makes me so happy. Sure there were dates in between, but they weren’t nearly as significant as love number one, two and three.
They say “you fall in love with three people in your lifetime… each one for a reason. Your first love happens when you’re young. You break up over silly things. Your second love is where you get hurt the most. You learn a lot and grow stronger. Your third love comes when you least expect it, you don’t go looking for it…and you truly love them.”
Call me a romantic? A serial monogamist? I have always loved being in love. There’s nothing better than experiencing “that” feeling. There’s also nothing worse than getting your heart broken. And let’s not forget that weird in-between feeling where you’re not sure if he’s the “one” because he hasn’t returned your text three days later… which is why I’ve decided to write down six pieces of advice I wish someone told me back then. Because if there’s one thing I know (by now), it’s dating.
1. Don’t change
Don’t cook? Order takeout. Don’t like camping? Reserve a hotel room. Like classical music? Take him to the ballet (BONUS POINTS: if he wears a suit). The point is, you shouldn’t change for someone else. Have your own interests outside the relationship and do what you love. You can’t pretend forever. And the one for you will join you and/or support your interests in their own way.
I once lied to a boyfriend and said, “yeah, I love camping!” Let’s just say our camping excursion lasted 10 hours, max.
2. Stop overthinking and nourish your friendships
I am 100% guilty of this one, especially after an awkward first date or after receiving cryptic text messages, but have found that calling my best friend and having a glass of wine together does wonders. Whenever you overthink something, take that as a cue to confide and nourish your friendships. You don’t need a million friends; just a handful, or one, will do. I met my best friend Jen right before I broke up with love number two. She cried with me, laughed with me and above all, grabbed COUNTLESS glasses of wine with me when I’ve needed her the most. These are the types of friends that bring out the best in you, help you stay focused on what really matters in life and cheers with you…because they remind you of all the future that’s ahead.
3. No games
I’m pretty black and white when it comes to games. You’ll always know where I stand and how I feel because I’ve learned (from personal experience) how damaging a lack of communication can be to a relationship. It’s one thing to say, “I’m upset.” It’s another thing to carefully unwrap the reason why. Maybe it’s something you said under your breath two months ago or maybe it’s a complete misunderstanding. Either way, I’ve learned to get comfortable eating a piece of “humble pie” and address issues head on. Always.
4. Just send the stupid text
Which leads me to my next point!
If you’re wondering whether you should text him back or not – just do it. Who cares. People who play games are either unsure of you or not worth your time. It’s that simple.
5. Timing is everything
I used to DESPISE that stupid saying, “timing is everything” but it’s so true. *ugh
Good timing doesn’t mean you have to be at the height of your career or have the perfect home. It means you personally have to be operating at your highest and, for me that meant being single for nearly two years, working out consistently and seeing a therapist regularly (yes, I have one) who helped get me back on my feet again after love number two, the “heartbreak.”
She used to tell me, “Stephanie, relax. Trust everything will work out.”
And she was right! The more I trusted things would fall into place, the better I felt inside. And next thing you know – BAM, enter love #3.
6. Try to date your equal
Look for someone who is better (in some aspects), possibly opposites, but equal nonetheless (goals, values, education, income, etc.). You will have more respect for each other. You will listen to each other because there’s a level playing field; you will feel more confident. My boyfriend says all the time, “watching you be a business owner is the sexiest thing.” He went to a very fancy business school and although I didn’t, he sees me as his equal.
Guys, I could write a BOOK on dating! These six aspects barely scratch the surface but I hope they help serve as a reminder that you are worth it – every aspect of you that makes you, you! The right time, mixed in with your goals and pursuits dipped in honesty and the best friendships….it’ll only be a matter of time before that special someone surprises you. Until then, stay focused on you and enjoy every season of your beautiful life.
Feel free to chime in with your thoughts below!
Blouse: Johanna Ortiz
Pants: old, similar options below
Sandals: Loeffler Randall
Earrings: Jennifer Behr
Bag: Ulla Johnson, similar options below