Dear 20 year-old self: Dating & Relationships
Now that I'm 23 years old, graduated college, moved to a foreign county by myself, I have this strange notion that I know a bit (just a little bit) about life now. So, there are a few things that I wish I could tell my 20 year-old self. Myself at 20 years old was a bit lost, I must admit. But, what 20 year-old isn't? If you weren't, I commend you. 20 years old is the most useless age to be. Not old enough to drink legally (in America), but no longer a teen. Not even close to being an adult because Mommy and Daddy still pay the bills, but too old to be treated as a child. Not classy enough to be drinking wine from an actual wine glass, but too classy for shitty plastic-bottled vodka. It may only be three years that have passed, but so much has happened in those three years that I feel like a completely different person.
20 year-old Liana was hung up for way too long on probably the worst guy she's ever dated. He completely ghosted her, without a single word, which really prolonged her heartbreak and consequently, made her really underestimate her self worth.
I will say that my past experiences have helped shape the person I am today, so I definitely don't regret anything. But, there are some things I'd like to tell my 20 year-old self to make the road to 23 a little less bumpy.
Stop putting that older guy you're dating on a pedestal.
I know he's cute. And I know you feel cool that you're dating someone four years older than you. But, he really isn't that great. He makes you feel bad about not knowing things because of your age. All of his friends are even older than he is and make you feel like a baby.
I know you really like him and want more than anything to make it work with him. But, stop wasting your time. Just being older doesn't make him more mature. Douchebags come in all ages, and he will show you how much of a douchebag he is very soon. Find someone that makes you feel great about yourself.
Don't change yourself to be the girl he wants (or the girl you think he wants).
There is a great difference between compromising and making sacrifices for your partner, and hiding or changing part of yourself because you're afraid he won't like it.
Let's say the two of you have different interests, ideally, you'd hope that you can share it with each other and they'll become common interests, but at the very least, you should respect each other's different interests.
No one that is worth your time should make you feel like you need to change. One day you will find someone that fits so perfectly with you, despite your imperfections and weird habits. And he will make you feel like you are the best person on the planet. Be patient. He is coming.
Your friends should like whoever you're dating.
Remember how much you disliked your best friend's last boyfriend? And remember how much you disliked your other best friend's last girlfriend? But, it was more so that you disliked the people they turned into in the presence of their significant other, because they weren't being their real selves. And when they broke up, you thought, "I knew it," because you know them well enough to know that those relationships were toxic.
Well, your friends know you that well, too. If they don't like whoever you're dating, there is probably a good reason. Put a little trust in them, they know you. Find out what that reason is.
If he's not giving you time, he's not worth your time.
This is simple. If he's always "busy" and doesn't make time for you, on to the next, sistah. If he really wants to spend time with you, he will make the time, even if he is ridiculously busy. He will find a way, even if it is a half an hour coffee date.
You'll date a guy that you see at most once a week because you live far away from each other and you both work. If he blows off your weekly day together because he THINKS some of his boys (that he sees almost every day) are going to the beach and wants to keep that day open just in case, AND he doesn't invite you to come along, red flag, girl. Shouldn't he kind of want to see you? In the moment, you won't want to seem selfish, but there'll be a guy that respects you enough to know how valuable your time is.
He should never talk badly about you behind your back.
If you hear that the guy you're dating said something bad about you behind your back, ooh girl, run.
But really, if that does happen, don't be too rash and believe everything the third party said. Talk to him about it and ask him why he didn't talk to you about it, if there was something bothering him. And then don't go and complain to your girl friends about him. Complaining often leads to an exaggeration of the situation, an exaggeration that you may end up believing as true.
Relationships are all about communication, and if you aren't comfortable enough to be honest with each other about your feelings, it's never going to work out. The two of you should be able to effectively communicate with each other, it'll save you from a lot of misunderstandings that turn into a lot of hurt feelings. He should make you feel comfortable and secure enough that you're able to tell him anything you want to.
He should be willing to fight for you.
The person you're dating should be willing to climb mountains, swim across the ocean, and walk through the scorching hot desert for you. If he isn't willing, he isn't your prince.
All fairy tale fantasies aside, what I mean by this is that he should be willing to make sacrifices for you and your relationship. Part of being in a relationship is taking into consideration the other person's feelings, wants, and needs. If he doesn't make an effort to compromise in any way, he doesn't care, find a cutie that does.
He should make you feel great about yourself.
Going along with the point about not changing because of a guy, the person you're dating should make you feel amazing, so good about yourself that you almost believe him when he says, "you're the best." He should not make you feel like you're inferior or lacking in anyway, or that you have to hide part of yourself. You should feel like you can conquer the world with him by your side. He just makes you feel THAT great.
And last, but not least, love yourself, girl.
There is a reason they say, "you can't love someone until you love yourself." You really can't give all of yourself to someone until you love all of yourself. How can you expect or even hope that someone will love you if you don't even love you?
Focus on yourself and become happy in your own skin. You don't want to depend on someone else for your happiness.
So, to my 20 year-old self, you will meet your fair share of douchebags, waste your time and energy on someone that doesn't realize your worth, overanalyze and think that everything is your fault. But, just be patient. Your time will come.
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