6 things I wish I understood before I started dating

Like many girls my age, I have my share of cringe-worthy regrets when it comes to dating.  Here are 6 things I wish I understood before I started dating:

1.  Take it one day at a time

There’s no rush to be in a relationship.  In fact, there’s no rush to even date anyone.  Take the time to foster friendships.  Relationships work better when they are able to grow organically anyway.

2.   Don’t waste your time dating someone you can’t see yourself marrying.

This might sound crazy to some people.  For most of us, marriage isn’t even on our mind when we’re dating someone because it just seems so far off in the future.  I’m not saying you should be planning the wedding with every guy you date, but the question should always be in the back of your mind.  “Is this someone who will ever truly be able to take care of me?” If the answer is no, run.  Run fast.

3.   Don’t waste kisses.

No one wants the amount of people that have kissed them to be large enough to form their own club (no one with a maturity level above a 12-year-old’s, anyway).  Kisses should be special.  A guy should feel honored that he got to kiss you—lucky him!  Sadly though, I’ve realized that today it’s easy to forget that.

4.   Break-up?  Time to rip the band-aid off!

…or as my uncle put it, “flush the toilet.”  The point is this: it’s called a “break-up” for a reason.  You need a clean break.  If you’re the one who did the breaking up, don’t call “to see if they’re okay.”  They’re not; and they’re not gonna be unless you let them heal by themselves.  Give it time.  It may not seem like things will ever get better but I promise, they will.

5.   You can’t go backwards.

Whenever two people break up, it seems like someone (if not both) always has the bright idea to try and “stay friends.”  However, relationships don’t work that way.  You can’t go backwards.  Someone always ends up getting hurt.  Most people have to learn this the hard way because no matter what people close to them say, they don’t want to listen. I really wish I would’ve understood this better when I was younger.  I don’t think it’s fair to hurt someone like that, no matter how good your intentions are.  It accomplishes nothing but giving someone false hope and ultimately hurts you both when the one finally realizes the truth.  I don’t think a real friend does that.

6.   Never settle for less than you deserve.

This is by far the most important thing I learned in dating.  After a while, it gets exhausting making excuses for why someone keeps letting you down.  It may be no fault of their own, but the bottom line is that they can’t give you what you need.  But we stay because it’s comfortable, and because the thought of letting go is painful.  But, in the wise words of my father,“why hold onto pennies when there is gold out there to be found?”