Navigating relationships in your 20s

Navigating Relationships in your 20s.
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Disclaimer: I am in my very early 20s and I have very little dating/relationship experience so I’m not an expert on this in any way.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, I’m going to be writing about navigating romantic relationships in your late teens and early 20s. Relationships are important but not quite as important as accomplishing your personal and professional goals so my first advice is to put off dating till you’re actually really ready to date which for me is going to be when I’m 80 years old. I’m kidding, but not really lol. We’re at the age where almost all our friends are dating/meeting people and most of the conversations we have with our friends now are about relationships and meeting boys/girls. From my writing, one can rightfully surmise that relationships are not my cup of tea

Anyway, this summer, I read a book which was way out of my comfort zone as I don’t like reading certain genres and I honestly thought Kindle was trying to shade me by suggesting it to me, but it turned out to be an interesting read and I found myself sending it to all my girlfriends. The name of the book is “The Awesome Girl’s Guide To Dating Extraordinary Men” by Ernessa T. Carter. I’m not going to go into details and write about the plot but I’m going to write about some of the advice I found helpful. I also added some of my own advice. Enjoy!

·        “Never put your life on hold for a guy. Your life is your biggest project and it should always be your number-one priority.” - This is self-explanatory and if we’re being honest, common sense. Always put yourself first. One thing I’m very sure of in this life is the fact that guys are always going to be there at whatever age you are. So, go on and live your life. Do the things you want to do, accomplish your goals, kick ass and put yourself first.

“Go on ahead and make a list of all the physical qualities you want in your lifelong mate. It’ll give you something to laugh about when you finally find him, and he don’t look anything like that”. - I’d add something to this and it is, make a list of all the qualities you want in a guy. It really helps knowing what you want and helps you to see your growth. There are many things you find important now that won’t matter in 5 years. Personally, up until May/June, I was very much attracted to guys of a certain skin tone and from a certain ethnic group(I’m still not sure why it was a thing for me haha) but I made a list of what I would like in a guy and even though most of my friends think I’m really picky and have high standards, I know that someone is going to meet those standards and I don’t have to settle. You should be very intentional about the people you let into your life.

·        “Don’t worry about if a guy likes you. Worry about if you like him. You’d be surprised how long it takes some of us to figure out we never even liked the guy in the first place.” - The one thing more important than love is like. Think about if you like this guy as a person? Do you like being around him? Do you like him or the idea of him? Love is a decision but like is completely natural and focus more on finding out if you truly like the person you’re with. Also, we tend to waste time worrying about what men want from us when we should be figuring out what we want from a man. If you want to be a girlfriend and he wants to stay friends, don’t bend over to accommodate him because you might deceive yourself thinking he’ll change his mind one day. Lol sis, that won’t happen. Dump him and get with somebody who wants you as much as you want them.

·        “Relationships can’t be a bed of roses one hundred percent of the time. That’s okay as long as they smell sweet MOST of the time.” -We’re too young to be in relationships that don’t make us happy. As soon as you notice something is off or there is any form of abuse, LEAVE. Of course, there will be arguments here and there but when they become very frequent, it’s time to take a break. If you’re experiencing mental or emotional unrest, and you don’t feel secure in the relationship, guess what? It’s time to leave. I think relationships, whether romantic or not are meant to bring you peace and feel like home and if your home isn’t peaceful or you’re no longer happy there, beloved, it’s time to move out.

·        “Don’t compromise your friendships for a man.” - People get into relationships and forget about their friends. I’ve seen this happen so many times, even with my girlfriends. Your friends are your wealth, your friends are your insurance. Your friends chose to love you. Personally, my friends are very important to me and I cannot imagine getting into a relationship and abandoning my friends. I mean, your partner is your friend, but your partner should not be your only friend. A mistake you can make in pursuing a romantic relationship, is deciding to undervalue your friendships. Also, when we like someone, we tend to see things through rose colored glasses so it’s easy for us to ignore the red flags but guess what, your friends are going to pick up on those immediately and tell you. Friends are important so don’t abandon them for a guy you probably won’t remember in 2 years.

·        “Get the important stuff out of the way”. Personally, when I meet someone, I want to know how they think immediately. This makes me sound fake deep but it’s true. There are certain things like feminism, equality etc. that are very important to me and I’d like to know from the get go that we’re on the same page. People like to say “opposites attract” but for me, that means, you’re a morning person and I’m a night person, or you put your milk first and I put my cereal first. This is important because you don’t want to be 6 months into getting to know them and liking them only to find out they believe women belong in the kitchen. Have the important discussions as soon as you can.

·        “Don’t be with someone who’s not excited about being with you.” - The person you choose to be with should be excited about you. It shouldn’t feel like you’re alone in the relationship. If you feel like they’re not happy with you, let them go so they can find someone that makes them happy because if the enthusiasm isn’t there in the beginning, it won’t be there later.

·        “Sow your wild oats.”- One thing older women always talk about is how they wished they dated more people in their 20s. So, I’m here to tell you to go out there and meet as many people as you can, go on dates, find out your likes and dislikes, don’t settle for less. Guess what? Guys do this too. Guys talk to like 5 girls at the same time and when they’re finally ready to settle down, they pick the one they like the most or the one that took their shit the most, so you should do that too. Don’t turn down social invitations, you never know who you’ll meet there and how that meeting might turn out. I don’t practice what I preach with this advice because I’m too introverted, but I have friends that go on dates every other weekend and they’re living their best lives!

·        Don’t rush things. Get to know the person you like. Don’t meet someone today and start dating them tomorrow. Take things easy. Life is a gradual process. Personally, when a guy is trying to rush things with me, I automatically think he’s hiding something, and I’ve never been wrong. Also, I really think it’s important to build a friendship first before anything else happens. Get to know that person in their different emotions. See how they are when they’re happy, angry, sad etc. When we rush into things, we tend to miss a lot of important things so take things slowly and enjoy the process!

Finally, someone once tweeted this "Know that every romantic relationship is replaceable. No matter how good they look, how successful they are, how good the sex is, or how pretty their promises sound, never believe in the potential of the person more than the reality of their actions."