As the big 3-0 is approaching me, I can safely say that I've got my fair share of dating experience.
I've done the crazy college stuff. One night stands. Falling in "love" for a week. Dating multiple people at once.
I've been in short term relationships. Not flings, but relationships. 3 months. 6 months.
I've been in long term relationships. 1 year. 2 years. 5 years. I actually have kids stemming from this.
I've been on Tinder. I've been on "dates." I used that term pretty loosely these days and I don't think I'm alone in that.
My point being, I know what I'm talking about. The reason I know that is because I can admit where I've messed up. I can admit the mistakes I've made, and what I would change if I could go back. I know, most people say, "your past brings you to where you are" and "God Bless the broken road" and all that. It's fine to say, but there are things I wish I had realized a lot sooner in my life.
1. Take Things Slow and Chill the F out!
I know. You're in that fun first few months of dating stage where you're getting all these cute texts and chatting all the time, but you don't really know if you're dating or not. It's too early to ask him if he's seeing other people or to tell him that you don't want him to. You don't want to be "that girl" who rushes things and scares him off. I get it.
Now, I don't condone dating games. I think they're a stupid waste of time. Your life isn't a game. If he texts you and you're by your phone, answer. If you're busy, don't pick it up when he calls, but call him back when you're available. Don't cancel your plans for him. Trust me, if he likes you, he will ask you out again.
You don't need to start Pinteresting your wedding 3 days after you've met him, but if all he is doing is making you question every decision you're making, there's a good chance you're not going to be happy with him.
Dramatic exits with a Tinder date that turned into 5 dates, 2 sleepovers, and 3 weeks of anxiety aren't worth it.
2. Don't Stay If You're Not Happy.
Now, I'm not saying bail if he's not buying you everything and treating you like the princess you think you are. If you're past the casual dating portion of the relationship, and you're putting in a good amount of effort, he should be returning it. I have found that all of the following holds true no matter how long you've been with your guy.
One sided relationships don't work.
You should be supporting each other.
You should be trusting each other.
You should be having some damn fun.
If you're not happy, and you know this relationship isn't working for you anymore then you need to end it. Like an adult of course.
Again, dramatic exits still aren't necessary. I very dramatically left the 5 year relationship I was in and I regret it to this day.
3. Keep Expectations In Check.
If the guy you're with works 60 hours a week, or plays video games 8 hours a day, or has a standing "guys night" every Thursday, let him do those things without guilting him. These are commitments and lifestyles he had way before you came along. His job isn't to morph his life around you, and if you try to get him to, he's not going to like it. You want a guy with good work ethic, don't get pouty when he has to work. You want a guy who has hobbies, support those. You want a guy who can survive a weekend without you because he has his own friends, let him hang out with the guys. Don't be the reason he's skipping work or bailing on his friends. That doesn't end well for anyone.
These are the basics. Keep these in mind to keep you sane as you navigate through your life of love. I'm not going to tell you that they're out there, because maybe you're all you need. But try to have some (sane, non-dramatic) fun while you're looking!