31 Lessons in Love

I’ve been dating for about 10 years now. The scope of my experience is limited to 5.5 boyfriends, 8 first kisses, 11 first dates, and countless crushes. My longest relationships lasted 4 years, 7 months, and currently soon to be 3 years. Meaning collectively, I haven’t been single long. So yes, my dating experience is very much limited but even still, in the last ten years I’ve learned a lot both on my own and by observing the experiences of others. Here’s what I’ve gathered:

photo credit

31 Lessons in Love

  1. First dates are fun even if they go badly. I saw them as mini adventures in the life is like a box of chocolates kind of way.
  2. First loves are tricky. Many mistakes will be made. Learn to forgive yourself for whatever those mistakes may be.
  3. Once someone cheats, they may do it again, and again.
  4. Once someone lies, they may do it again, and again, and again.
  5. First love breakups are extremely difficult and the pain may seem never-ending.
  6. Pain is never forever. There’s a lot of toughening up that happens when you experience long bouts of emotional pain.
  7. Keep your own friends.
  8. Have mutual friends.
  9. Keep your own interests and life.
  10. Most times, people are who they are. There’s no changing them. You should never expect people to change to suit you.
  11. Optimism does more for your relationship than pessimism.
  12. Date nights are key.
  13. Empathizing with your partner during an argument before pushing your own needs actually helps your needs get met much faster.
  14. It’s good to vent when you’re upset. Be mindful of whom you’re venting to and also if they understand that they are not getting the entire story.
  15. Play time is key.
  16. Privacy is important. See lesson 14.
  17. Your partner is not a mind-reader. Do not expect him or her to know what’s bothering you if you’re not willing to let go the pride and honestly communicate what it is that bothers you.
  18. Avoid the words “always” and “never” when fighting.
  19. Avoid yelling, throwing things, cursing, and violence when fighting.
  20. When arguments escalate to yelling, throwing things or cursing, stop and take a break. If one or both of you cannot calm down, walk away.
  21. If it escalates to violence, it’s time to love yourself more and leave, leave, leave.
  22. Listen.
  23. Touch.
  24. Trust.
  25. It is extremely difficult to be friends after a breakup. Give each other time and space to heal and adjust to every day life without each other.
  26. Keep in mind your family and friends will be slower to forgive than you are for your partner’s offenses.
  27. Grand gestures are nice and all but do not lose sight of the small and kind things your partner does.
  28. Everyone will have opinions about your relationship. Try to let your heart and your mind do most of the influencing of your actions.
  29. No one is perfect. Prioritize what you look for in a partner. Sure she doesn’t enjoy football, but is she loving, caring, trustworthy, and loves your dog? Sure he doesn’t initiate new adventures but is he loving, caring, trustworthy, and enjoys GOING with you on these adventures?
  30. Pick your battles. Let some things go. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a life time to fight. Pace it out.
  31. We’re all going to be okay.

Question: What can you add to this list?

This post was also included in the Pas de Deux contributions on Ophelia’s Webb.