My daughter is at the age where she’s too young to go out on actual dates unsupervised, but she does have a boyfriend she sees at school, gatherings, and on the occasional group date when there is a parent there.
Of course, I want her to wait and think thirteen may be a bit young, but if tell her she’s not allowed to have a boyfriend, she’d have one anyway and hide it from me– that’s what I would have done as a thirteen-year-old.
So, while I think she’s too young to go on real dates and be in a relationship, she is certainly not too young for me to have a serious talk about dating and love and relationships. And the conversation is on-going in our home– certain issues are too important to talk about just once.
There’s no way I’m waiting until she’s already there to start telling her some of the things I’ve learned.
1. It’s not your job to make a man comfortable.
Too many times, me and other women I know, have tried to make things okay for a man even if we were uncomfortable with the situation. You are allowed to change your mind, you are allowed to ask for what you want. Never compromise your integrity for a potential partner.
2. Never, ever ditch your friends for a partner.
You need your friends. They will be there as different romantic partners come in and out of your life and you will be so grateful for them. When your heart gets broken, they will be your saving grace. When you meet ” the one” they will be there to celebrate with you. Friends have been a constant in my life. Without them, I would be very lonely. Remember they have feelings, too. If you constantly cancel on them to hang out with your partner, it’s hurtful.
3. Don’t try and be like them, stay true to you.
You will never have everything in common with someone. Being compatible with another person doesn’t mean you are like them, it means your differences work and your similarities work. You two just work.
4. It’s okay to lose yourself a bit, but always remember who you are.
The beginning of a relationship is blissful and full of wonderment; sure you might skip spin class, do less reading, or give up time doing something you love to be with them– that’s normal. But get back on track and live your life, that’s why they fell for you in the first place. If they want you to give up all the things that make you who you are, that’s called control, not love. The right person will want you to be your whole self.
5. Never apologize for feeling too much.
Being sensitive, having your feelings hurt easily or wanting to tell someone they’ve hurt you, or you are falling in love with them is nothing you should apologize for, ever. I’ve caught myself too many times saying things like, “I’m sorry I’m crying,” or “I’m sorry, but you hurt my feelings.” Say it all, yes, just stop apologizing about it.
6. Don’t be afraid to break some hearts.
It’s hard ending a relationship, but too many people hang on too long because they feel bad, and ending a relationship is a hard conversation to have. Just remember it’s better for both of you to be honest.
I know there’s still time before she gets into anything too serious and deep, but it’s looming around the corner, and I want her to be semi-prepared.
She has to learn from her own experiences and mistakes, but I know if I had a voice saying these things to me during my teen years, I would have felt more confident and looked at the way I treated myself when it came to boyfriends and relationships quite a bit differently.