Just recently I broke up with my boyfriend of five months. Although the relationship was very short lived, it taught me a few lessons that I hope to remember when I move on into a new relationship. This list is far from being complete, as new lessons will surely be added, but I am grateful that I now have my own set of guidelines that will surely keep me focused and prevent me from making the same mistakes. I only hope that this advice will help others who are encountering the same difficulties in their own relationship.
Lessons I learned:
1. Only you can make you happy. Don't expect others to fill your void. Find things you can do on your own that adds joy to your life.
2. Do things that you enjoy doing and the right people in your life will want to share those experiences with you.
3. Surround yourself with positive people. Life is too short to hang around people who suck the joy out of you.
4. Don't settle for anything other than what you deserve.
5. Trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
6. Communicate and speak up! Ask what you want in the relationship early on and if something is not right say it immediately, otherwise resentment starts building up and meanwhile the other person has no clue. No one is a mind reader.
7. Don't expect others to feel or act exactly like you do. Everyone is different so explain how you feel or what is bothering you without judging or accusing. Be prepared to accept a different reaction than you expected.
8. Don't tally anything in a relationship. It's always better to give. The right person will appreciate it and reciprocate. However, if you feel that you are giving the most all the time, it is time to reevaluate your relationship.
9. Be your best cheerleader. Never criticize or complain about yourself in front of your partner. Insecurity is not attractive.
10. Be open to sharing experiences together. Take turns setting up dates so that not one person is left to do all the planning. One way to grow as a person is to be open to doing things you've never done before.
11. Establish early on the preferred method of communicating and frequency and stick to it.
12. Really get to know each other by sharing things about yourself, stories about your life, likes, dislikes, hopes, fears, dreams. More so than partners, you should be friends. If you fail to share, you fail to connect at a deeper level.
13. Support one another, not only in good times, but also in bad times. Be understanding, caring, compassionate. At that moment, don't try to put your needs ahead of theirs.
14. Never write or say something you wouldn't like to receive. Don't send or say anything when you are upset or angry. There is no undo button.
15. Enjoy the here and now. You don't know what tomorrow might bring so try not to think about what's going to happen next and let things flow naturally.
16. You don't always have to be doing "something." Enjoy each other's company. Just being together is doing something. Cherish those moments, especially if they don't occur often.
17. There will be times when your partner will not want to do things you like to do. Don't take it personal. There are some things you can only do with your buddies.
18. See each other as often as possible. Make time in your busy schedule to spend time together.
19. Show your partner that you appreciate the little things as well as the big things they do or say to you when you feel like it without expecting a reaction. A genuine compliment goes a long way in making the other person feel special.
20. In relationships, it's okay to have disagreements and not always see eye to eye. The key is to give each other the opportunity to discuss these issues, accept, agree, and move on. No need to rehash or bring up old issues if they are not relevant.
21. Don't assume things or create scenarios in your head of how the other person feels or will react. Doing this will only create negative feelings and your behavior may change based on these assumptions, even if it was all in your head.
22. Everyone has flaws, even you, and you and your partner can learn to accept them or not. Should these become an issue in your relationship, say how you feel. Your partner may choose to work on these, but it shouldn't be expected since, after all, you met him/her like this. Accept them for who they are.
23. In the end, don't over analyze everything that went wrong, blame yourself for past mistakes or replay in your mind of how you would have behaved if you acted differently in certain situations. You can never go back and rewrite the past so there is no point in dwelling about it.
If you have any lessons you wish to add to this list, please comment below.