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My parents have given me a ton of great advice that they collected through their many life experiences, most of which I disregarded while being a know-it-all teenager. Finally, years later, I can admit how right they were. Especially when it comes to relationships.
Having a healthy, lasting relationship is about much more than being in love. I know it seems that if you love each other, you can get through anything, but that is not always the case. Compatibility and mutual respect is more important than simply being in love because the truth is, in a long-term relationship, the love won’t always be there. After years of dating and/or marriage, there are going to be stressful times where that “head over heels” feeling is going to fade, and it will be up to both partners to work to keep the relationship going. The way to make sure you can make it through those times is to always communicate and maintain respect for one another.
Make sure you date people with similar life views as yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask about their future goals to make sure they match. You don’t want to realize too late that she has a totally different view of the future than you do. And son, stop being a dick to girls. If you don’t want to date a girl, have the balls to break it off with her and don’t keep leading her on.
Ways I Should Have Listened
This advice took a long time to stick, and I hurt several girls’ feelings in the process. To my eighth grade girlfriend: I should not have tried to cheat on you with both of your best friends just because they offered to take my virginity and you were (rightfully) not ready to take that step. In retrospect, the fact that they both texted me on the same night offering to sleep with me should have tipped me off that it was a test, but I was 13 and my brain had little-to-no control over my hormones. I also should not have actually hooked up with one of those friends right after we broke up, but I figured I might as well salvage a blowjob out of the burning wreckage of your friendship.
To the girl who I did lose my virginity to and her (ex) best friend: I’m sorry I bounced back and forth between you guys for the majority of freshmen year and destroyed your decade-long friendship. I deserved that herpes rumor you spread about me. Well played.
I also should have listened to my parents before dating my first college girlfriend. I was madly in love with her, and that blinded me to the fact that we were two very different people with different goals. She came from a lot of money (like her dad is a VP of the company that probably makes your phone money), and was used to getting everything she wanted, and expected to my goals and needs to take a backseat to hers. When we combined two totally different upbringings and views of the world with a long-distance relationship, I got two years of a controlling, unhealthy relationship that finally culminated in a drawn-out six-month breakup and some light stalking on her end. After that, I definitely should have listened to my parents’ advice instead of leading my second college girlfriend on for over a year, breaking her heart repeatedly as I wavered between wanting to be with her and wanting to hook up with randoms. I should have sacked up and decided what I wanted from the beginning instead of putting this girl through that pain, and I will always regret how I treated her.
How I’ve Started Listening
Midway through my junior year of college I finally matured enough and realized what I was doing to this girl was shitty, so I found my balls and committed to her. We officially dated (it was on Facebook and everything), for the next two years. I’ve used most of the last two years to enjoy being single so I would never have the same “grass is greener” doubts when dating in the future, and my current relationship is by far the best I’ve ever had. I keep my parents’ advice on the forefront of my mind throughout it and am always respectful of her and her views, even when they’re just plain wrong (she’s a Penguins fan).
I also do my best to compromise and think of her needs as equal to my own. It doesn’t hurt that she’s the kindest person I’ve ever met, which makes me want to treat her as well as she treats me. Despite our relationship being fairly young, I haven’t shied away from tough questions about what her future family and professional goals are, and knowing they are similar to mine is comforting. My parents may be on to something, as I haven’t had any crazy fights with this girl. My past relationships have featured destruction of property (my window and some iPhone screens), physical violence (she punched me in the face) and police intervention (that punch happened right in front of a cop, who arrested her). However, since dating my current girlfriend, the worst argument we’ve had culminated in her telling me I was pissing her off, and then immediately apologizing for saying that. To be honest, I’m a little scared that she’s bottling everything up and will eventually snap and kill me, but until then I gotta say – my parents were right. .
Read last week’s Things My Parents Were Right About: Making Connections.