Seven Lessons about Love

Posted: May 21, 2013 in advice, Dating, Love, Love Advice

*Disclaimer- I do get a little rambly and ranty- sorry!*

Even though I’m not married and not an “expert” in love, I have witness many amazing relationships and sadly, have seen a fair share of relationships dissolve.  There was a time when my naïve and romantic youthful spirit was almost squashed, where I didn’t believe truly there could be this “ideal” love of your life.  But, maybe it’s the Downton Abbey I’ve been watching, or my wise old age, I do believe in an extraordinary love that two people can have for each other that could last a lifetime.  Love is not as easy as the movies make it out to be- it’s so much more than the rush of emotion or feeling that “being in love” brings.  A good relationship doesn’t just take love, it takes a little wisdom as well.

7 Things I’ve learned about love over the years

1. People Don’t Change- I know I’ve fallen for a project or two, because “I brought out the best in him,” or “he just needed someone to encourage him.”  But one thing is clear, what you see is what you get and it’s truly unfair to hold someone to a standard that you want them to be at, when that’s not who they are.  It’s like buying jewelry at one of those accessory stores in the mall- no matter how much you try to shine it up, it’s not going to sparkle quite like the diamond solitaire from Tiffany’s.  Which is fine, unless you want that robin’s egg blue box.  I’ve seen so many people frustrated with their partner’s because they don’t do this or they don’t act this way.  But the fact is, they never did.  You can’t hope for a person to change.  People grow and evolve, but who they are and things engrained in their personality won’t change.   Like Samantha said on Sex and the City- “The only things you can work on are their hair and wardrobe. But even then it’s a constant battle.”

 2. If a Guy is into You, You’ll Know- One thing that has become clear to me over the years is guys are really simple creatures.  If they like you, they peruse you, if they don’t, they don’t.  But, guys, for the most part are nice, and they don’t want to hurt your feelings, or they want to keep you around on the back burner just in case. So I’ve learned, if there is an excuse, he’s not into  you.  “He’s not ready to get into another long term relationship…”  “He’s doesn’t want to start something when he’s so busy with work…” Just insert “with you” at the end of all of those.  “He’s not ready to get into a long term relationship WITH YOU,” “He doesn’t want to start something when he’s so busy at work WITH YOU,” Because, let me tell you, I’ve been friends with many of this men, or even been strung along by a few of them, and when they met the right girl, all excuses went away.  It didn’t matter if they were busy with work, heartbroken, or on their way to war.  If they truly liked a girl, they did everything in their power to make it happen.  As a girl, (or even a guy) you should NEVER have to convince someone to go out with you.  They aren’t that damaged or brain dead.  Either they like you enough, or they don’t.

3. Relationships with the Opposite Sex have to Change Once you (or they) are in a Relationship-  Things that were perfectly acceptable when you were single with friends of the opposite sex may no longer be appropriate when you are in a serious relationship (or when your opposite sex friend is).  There has to be a conscious effort on both sides of the friendship to make sure the romantic relationship is valued and respected. This is hard for people, because they don’t like change and in a lot of ways, that “opposite sex” friend was probably more like a boyfriend/girlfriend place holder- someone who you could take to a wedding if needed, someone who you could call after a long day at work, someone who you spend considerable time with.  But, when they find someone, things need to change.  But it can be a nice change.  One of my best friends is a guy, and I’m happy to say that I’ve gained another best friend in his wife.

Also, there has to be a conscious understanding of appropriate boundaries in how you interact with the opposite sex when in a relationship.  There is definitely a line in what you do together and what you should talk about.  Flirting, even when it’s a “joke” is not okay.

 4. You have to Be Selfless- When you approach a relationship thinking, “What can you do for me? What do I want?  How can you fufil my needs” your relationship is doomed.  You have to put the other person’s needs above your own.  You have to think, “What can I do for you? How can I make your bad day better?  What do you need from me?”  Sometimes that means you have to sacrifice things you love to do, sometimes that means making a compromise, and it  might mean letting someone get their way in a big decision.  But, here’s the thing.  If BOTH parties do this, can you imagine how AMAZING that relationship could be?  If both parties were truly loving each other the way we were called to, how satisfied and happy would both people be?  This is hard though, because it’s contrary to what society tells us to do.

5. You Have to Be Honest and Transparent About Everything- I’m not necessarily telling you to get a joint facebook account- I think those logistically are weird (how do I know the right person got the message; do I want so-in-so’s husband to know about all my girly problems?) but for some people they can work.  Trust is the cornerstone of a relationship; if you don’t have trust, you don’t have a relationship.  However, you need accountability because there are so many divisive things out there that can impact that trust you have in a partner.  You don’t need to share a cell phone, or check each others messages, but you shouldn’t have any secrets and have some sort of understanding about how electronics and bank accounts work.  Ideally, there should be trust between the two, but there should also be honesty and nothing to hide.

 6a. Don’t Look for Someone You Can Live With, Look for Someone You Can’t Live Without- So, you start dating this person because they seem to possess some of the qualities you’re looking for, so why not give it a chance?  You never know.  Date number one is fine, so you try date number two.  So far so good, no red flags, horrible hygiene habits, in fact you are starting to like this person, so you keep dating.  Six months go by, and there is no reason to break up; you’ve gotten into a nice groove, so you keep pressing on.  Years pass, all your friends are getting married, and you feel ready to be married; you’re financially there; you are compatible.  Why not get married?  It’s the next logical step.  And then for the rest of your life (or until one of you gets bored) you live a decent existence together, you get along, you are able to rear children pretty okay, you do all the family things you are suppose to, and that’s that.  It’s fine, even contenting.  But that’s it.  You’re in a boring, ho-hum marriage.  No wonder so many people jump ship when they find something more interesting, or dabble in flirting or sexy texting.  Or sit in their lazy-boy night after night with a beer and a bag of Doritos.  I’ve been accused of being too picky, and not giving nice guys a chance.  That my standards are too high and I should just settle for one of the still single guys left at church.  I would rather be alone living my life than living in a boring marriage.  Why settle for mediocre? Not getting too ranty- but someone I look up to very much had numerous boyfriends growing up, and they were all great guys, really cool, and everyone thought she could have married any of them.  But, she didn’t.  She held out.  And the man that God brought into her life is amazing, he’s a cut above the rest and he truly is a perfect partner for her.  So, I’m sorry to all the hearts I’ve broken (lol- I think just 1 and a half), but just like Ariel, I want more.

Which leads to:

6b. Find Someone Who Brings Out the Best in You and Vice Versa- when you find that right person you should become more you, because they bring out all your good qualities and you should do the same for them.  Together you should be a stronger force than when you are apart.  If you are arguing, or if that person doesn’t encourage your stamp collecting habit, you are never going to feel like you can truly be yourself.  You need someone who understands you, who listens to you, who gets you.  Someone who is going to support you no matter what, and someone you would trust with not only your heart, but with your life.  There isn’t a scientific formula for it, no compatibility test; my mom always has said that when you meet the right person, you’d just know. Once you experience that connection and that support- true love, there’s no going back.  But, it requires a lot of patience and to find that person you may have to wait, and pass on a few toads- but (see previous point), not a lot of us hold out.

7. Love is a Choice- The biggest misconception I see in relationships is that love is a feeling- that something that you feel toward a person.  Well, no wonder when people get old and saggy people loose that lovin’ feeling.  Love is a choice.  You make that choice to love that person and every day you make conscious choice to continue to love them:  when he/she is cranky, depressed, saggy, when Brad Pitt becomes your new co-worker, when things are boring, when stocks are down, and when you just don’t want to.  That’s called commitment people!

I don’t know if I’ve done a good job explaining myself- this is sortof a random thoughts post- sorry about the rambling rant!  But, hopefully this has been some food for thought.

CLICK the SPEECH BUBBLE ABOVE- What love lessons have you learned over the years?

  1. I hate that I agree with you on every single point – it has convinced me that I am thoroughly unlovable and destined to be alone!

  2. maltesegirl says:

    My points were all about how you can love, not how you can be loved. Whether or not you’re in a relationship isn’t a reflection on your lovability- there have been a lot of moments in my life where I have chosen to be single and moments where it wasn’t a choice- and I hope that doesn’t reflect on my ability to be loved.

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