What I’ve Learned About Love (So Far)

I want to try and make this a series of essays based off of my experiences and things I’ve learned throughout my life about love, relationships, intimacy and empathy. This is my first installment–enjoy! 

 

My dad had the best relationship advice. He was a romantic — but you wouldn’t know it. He had many relationships in college and he learned a lot from them, but he didn’t over-romantisizing his stories, because he talked about them as friendships and learning experiences. His main advice was this: love out, rather than in. And he quite literally showed this with his hands, when he talked to me.

He said,“Your relationship with a person needs to be like this” — and he would put his hands together in an “V” formation, to signify to hands coming together at the bottom of the palms, and with the fingertips facing out. Then he would continue, “It can’t be like this” and he would put his hands in an opposite “A” formation where the hands are closed in and the tips of the fingers are touching.

In the short time I’ve been on this Earth, I’ve experienced quite a scary thing — love. And with that I’ve had many experiences that have shaped the way I look at love and relationships and how they have changed me and my perception of things. I wouldn’t call myself a relationship expert, but with each relationship that I’ve had, as well as the ones I’ve seen with people close to me, I’ve looked at what could’v been done better, and how my opinions change with each experience I see. So in the least cheesiest way possible, here are just a few things that I’ve learned (so far) about love;

Love Out

The first thing I’ve learned goes off of my dad’s advice. Don’t lock yourself into your relationship so tightly that you aren’t seeing the world. The relationships you are in shouldn’t close you in, but it should help you open your heart out more to everything around you. This can make you nervous, but it shouldn’t make you scared. A lot of people say that being scared to go into relationship is good, that it means you’re excited. But there’s a difference between being nervous-excited and just plain nervous. Because more than anything, the person you want to be with should give you courage. The person should make you brave about the world and be ready to hold your hand through it.

Love Someone Who Inspires You

A relationship means you are committing to someone. You are taking the leap of gluing yourself to someone because of extreme infatuation and compassion. That’s why it’s important to pick someone that pushes you in the right direction with them. Because when you fall head over heals — as we all know — you really fall hard, so you want to make sure the person you are falling for is helping you be a better you in the long run, instead of being just a “significant other placeholder”, that may not have the traits that will help you grow positively.

Don’t Rush It

Always take it slow until you feel it 100%. This is when deciding whether or not to make a serious commitment to someone. Disclosure: you will not always succeed at this. You’ll sometimes only be at 95% and be absolutely convinced you’re at 100%. And this will lead you into relationships that you will ultimately realize you aren’t supposed to be in, but ultimately, you live and you learn. Because the one thing I’ve learned when it comes to seriously committing to someone, if you don’t feel 100% about it, there will be problems in the future. Of course, these problems can be solved, if the other person is willing to work around things. But what I’m talking about is more related to chemistry and the pure feeling of “yes I want to do this”. Taking it slow is especially important after getting out of a rough relationship. Which is why when it comes to new romantic relationships especially; grow first, then move on. That is the best advice I can give from my own experience of sometimes (a lot of times) taking it too fast and being overwhelmed.

Don’t expect to be Fixed or To Fix Someone

This is my longest one, and also goes off of advice my dad always gave me; don’t expect to fix someone. I want to add to this: don’t expect to be fixed by someone else.

There’s too much romanticizing about the craving to be “fixed” by someone. We all go through traumatic things because of past relationships and experiences, and unfortunately those usually cross over to new ones, whether friendships or romances. And when this happens, it’s easy to lose trust in everyone and assume everyone is out to get you.

But I’m telling you right now; don’t expect to be magically cured by the new person. These are your wounds. Own them. It is ultimitaly up to you to revive yourself after the aftermath of the past. Because the reality is, you’re going to get hurt again, as much as you don’t want to. Because pain is a part of everything, even in successful, healthy relationships. You can’t expect to just have a perfect relationship after another one falls apart, and you can’t expect the next person to be the perfect savior that has zero flaws. All you can hope is that you learned from your own history and you can have a fresh start with a person who is willing to be there for you. There are going to be new problems, and sometimes you’ll get hurt again. It’ all part of the process. And if you have such high expectations when starting something new, you’ll end up falling apart. You’re allowed to feel hurt by someone, but it’s not their responsibility to heal your old wounds.

-AC