Growing up, I knew all sorts of things about love. I knew that I was going to meet the perfect man for me, most likely while in college. I knew that I would have a huge wedding, a perfect suburban house, and a hard-working husband. That same husband would dote on me and buy me flowers for no reason. We would immediately have a baby and would all snuggle on the couch every evening. Then life happened… reality happened. I’ve still never received flowers from a man.
I have had a lot of experience in love and heartbreak and I know what’s important. Most of all, I know what I want my daughter to know.
- You don’t need a relationship to complete you. When I was young, I always thought it completely necessary to participate in a committed relationship. That absolutely is not the case. Having that kind of relationship may be something you want for any number of reasons, but it won’t make you a better person or fill some sort of perceived void. YOU are the only one who can do that. Start with yourself. Be the kind of person you can love.
- Love should not hurt. Oh sure, there will be plenty of pangs in your heart and you will cry. What I am talking about here is abuse or complete disregard for your feelings. Abuse, by the way, is not always physical. There is emotional, physical, verbal, and financial, all of which I have experienced firsthand. This is never okay. If someone makes you feel trapped, worthless, ashamed, or just down more than you feel up… it’s time to go.
- You get what you put in. If you think you’re going to sit upon your throne as a princess in your relationship, you will be disappointed. Sure, a lot of us like to joke that we are the “queen” or the “princess.” Some of these people are probably in shitty relationships because they do expect their partner to spoil them with no reciprocation. I’ve learned that service and affection needs to be a two-way street for a relationship to be successful. I am a queen, but you know what? My partner is my king and I treat him as such. He is never left wondering what he’s doing all this for.
- You may not have “the one.” There is always talk about soul mates and “the one.” The truth is, you may have several relationships that are amazing and fulfilling and feel like THE ONE. Different relationships, both platonic and romantic, serve their purposes. I can’t imagine if I had not been deeply involved with some the people I loved. I loved, I lost, and I am stronger for it.
- It will come. It is such a cliché, but it is the absolute truth – love will find you when you aren’t looking for it. I’ve seen it happen, I’ve lived it myself. When you quit worrying about meeting someone, you find an entire world of opportunity and adventure, and then love is suddenly in your face and you can’t avoid it and you don’t want to. And no, you don’t need a relationship to complete you, but when you’re in the right place in your life and you are loving yourself, it will be there if you are ready to welcome it.