So I am the antithesis of a dating expert. I am completely unqualified to offer a shred of dating advice, so strap yourself in for some PRIME romantic life-guidance.
Okay. As I have already noted forty times, I do not know a ton about dating. Truthfully, I just figure that these concepts are applicable to anyone you choose to play a part in your life. A person you date is just a pal who you do stuff with that I am not going to explicitly explain because that’s not my responsibility and because my grandpa uses the internet at the library sometimes.
1. You should date someone who is fucking nice to you.
I remember way back when I was a high school teacher and some of the kids would tell me they were interested in someone. I would always have the same first question.
“Is he or she nice to you?”
You would be SHOCKED to see the Bambi in the headlights looks I have received from some people (students and adults–yes I have asked my adult friends this–alike) after asking this question.
Um I’m gonna give you a cheat for this question. THE ANSWER SHOULD BE YES AND SHOULD ALWAYS BE FUCKING YES. Good Christ. I know people are not perfect. I have watched enough HBO original series to accept that fact. But damn. If you’re dating someone who is not nice to you, you need to leave.
I’ve dated a few guys who were not nice to me. The tricky thing here is that these men weren’t horrible people. Like, if they saw someone faint on a subway platform, they wouldn’t be like “HA. Good!!!” They’d probably feel a bit badly for the hypothetical fainter.
On certain occasions, said men might even have occasionally have shot me a romantic comment like, “You look good.”
The problem is that our relationship lived for these pseudo-nice surprises. I used to justify being with guys like this because they would occasionally say something kind of sweet to me. I do not need a psychology degree to know that this a horrible way to approach any relationship. Do you know how many apps I could download onto my phone that will shoot me free compliments, on demand?
Addendum: If you’re dating someone who is mean to you, there are plenty fucked up of people in the world who will drive you crazy with their unnecessary cruelty; you don’t need to be dating one of them.
2. People you date should not pressure you into anything.
This goes for everything. If you’re dating someone who is attempting to pressure you into something physical, then they have the self-control and emotional maturity of a thirteen-year-old. Next.
Your romantic pal should also not pressure you into their philosophical, religious, or food-related beliefs. Tom, Dick, and Harry should not be attempting to convince you why you should change your stance on birth control, dabble in Scientology, and completely remove meat from your diet.
Sure, you will experience quite a few differences when you’re in a relationship. This is a reality in any relationship/friendship (my best friend likes the New York Mets and I still somehow would die for her). The people you find yourself interested in may do something amazing in that they might make you actually question things. Why do you think that your opinion is the right opinion? How married are you to certain beliefs?
Someone you date can challenge you in a healthy way–they challenge you by being who they are and by being different. A super cool and mature and adult and FUN tidbit is that if this is a healthy relationship, you guys are going to respect each other’s disparate opinions!! Crazy times my friend!!
This can probably be scary as hell, but healthy. It’s good to be challenged in relationships, it paves the way for a dialogue and helps you to learn what your soul and shiz go to bat over.
Someone who tries to convince you to completely remove a part of who you are is just not the ticket. Will it be easy if you’re dating someone who has different views than you do regarding adult-ass-entities like religion or marriage or ice cream flavors? Probably not. The right person, however, respects you. The right person respects you all of the time. This person doesn’t want to change the fact that you like to pray before you go to sleep or that you haven’t stepped into a church in ten years. The right person isn’t going to tell you that it’s stupid that you’re afraid of marriage.
I imagine you’ll find someone you wish to date, and this person will be different from you in quite a few ways. As long as this person isn’t pressuring you to agree with everything he or she says, I think you’ll be good. Because to pressure someone to be different is an obvious attempt to change who they are. If a person is trying to change you, they don’t love you, and they probably do not even like you that much.
3. You should date someone who celebrates you.
I’m fairly sure that when I was growing up, I believed that my dad was the one who invented that whole “EVERYONE’S A CRITIC (AUDIBLE SIGH)” quote/saying/thing. He did not.
I used to work as a magical yogurt ARTIST at a frozen yogurt store across the street from an ivy league institution. Yes, I did fantasize daily about knocking myself unconscious with the hot fudge machine. One day, a woman yelled at me about chocolate sprinkles. Another day, a customer told me that she wanted a, and I quote, “SLIVER!!!!!” of strawberries. This guy once openly judged me IMMENSELY because I didn’t know if our almonds were raw. Apparently, that is a thing. I digress.
If I’m trying to date someone, I’m not trying to bring any intense judgement into my life. I know I make stupid decisions sometimes, but they are my mistakes to make. I know who I am, I know that person is abundantly imperfect, but I think I should be the human whom is most concerned about that fact.
I would like to date someone who thinks I’m the fucking business. I do not need a guy to tell me how great I am every single moment of each and every single day. I need to try to be that person for myself.
I do think that a good relationship is being with someone who is happy for you, all of the time. This person wants you to know that you deserve whatever you want. This person recognizes how hard you work. This person reminds you that you are a phenomenal son or daughter. This person isn’t offering any sliver of strawberry criticism.
4. In your relationship, you are allowed to own who you are [and stuff].
This is a challenge and a half. As a single person, I used to think “This is all the COOL stuff I’m gonna do in my future relationship. I will never do XYZ because that is straight ASSCLOWNERY and I am a confident, freckled unicorn.” Then I started dating someone I actually truly care about and I was like “LOL guess it’s time to second guess every single mini decision I make for the next 12 hours that I am conscious. And you know what I’m going to do tomorrow upon waking up?? The exact same thing!!”
I am learning to just accept that that’s who I am. I genuinely second guess how much half and half I put in my coffee each morning (what is half and half? Is it half cream and half milk? Life and milk are daunting).
My whole adorable neurosis-fueled lifestyle is just one aspect of who I am to own. I am a million other things, that I am also learning to take pride and ownership in. I want to be the kind of person who owns who I am and whatever I’ve experienced. To have someone accept me and all the ridiculous and quirky things that I am, I need to accept all of it first. I need to like it and I probably need to love it. The people we choose to date (if you operate similarly to me, for which I apologize) will hopefully be patient and understanding. It’s probably not going to workout otherwise.
5. We should all accept that, in terms of dating, no one knows exactly what they’re doing.
I’ve read/watched variations of the following recently:
“Those millennial kids don’t know what they’re doing!”
“My name is Borris and I’m 70 and I was a heart surgeon for forty years but honey, even I don’t know what I’m doing!”
“I have a multimillion dollar company but like I wake up every morning, eat my grapefruit. I’m just like everyone else. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.”
I feel like I’ve read 7665353920101882 disparate versions of this concept and each time I’ve been like NOPE, you’re just trying to be cute or endearing, YOU TOTALLY KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING.
Dating, however, may be a minor exception.
I think relationships, especially in the beginning, are kind of like baking cookies from scratch when you’ve misplaced your favorite recipe but have a general idea of how it’s all supposed to come together. You do not know how to make it perfect, but you have general ideas on the things that you need to make it work.
I’m dating someone right now and I’m not even sure if I’m that great at it. I tell my boyfriend all of the time that he’s great because a) he is great and b) he deserves to hear it. He also once watched me eat a piece of chicken picatta with my hands and still willingly dates me sooooooooooo here we are. I don’t know a lot about relationships. I feel like I’m doing the whole immersion thing and learning as I go. It’s like I’m doing Rosetta Stone, but for like healthy relationships with cute dudes who like the Red Sox.
I feel like I may arguably lack a lot of dating experience for someone my age (I am, after all, at the ol’ geriatric age of 25). I’ve spent some time dating the wrong guys. They weren’t horrible people; they had some great qualities. They’ve actually all taught me what I need. I need someone who is nice to me, and who can put up with listening to me ramble for hours about my dog. I need someone who isn’t going to be cruel, who accepts that I can be a frizzy-haired mess. Mostly, I’m just looking for respect and acceptance. I honestly just need someone to be there for me. I think that’s something everyone deserves.