February is all about Valentine’s Day isn’t it? Everything goes all pink and heart eyed! Not that I mind. It’s sweet. Though I can’t really say I’ve always been the biggest fan of it. Who needs a holiday to show someone how you feel! But, what girl doesn’t love an excuse to eat their weight in chocolate? Love is in the air just now, and I’m taking a minute to look at a few of the love lessons I’ve learned along the way! Valentine’s Day may have passed, but these are things I’ll definitely be keeping with me for a long time!
My husband and I have been together for about seven years now (well, eight come October). Prior to meeting Mr. Actually, I had a smattering of boyfriends and shorter term relationships, followed by a few years of singledom.
I mean, I’m thirty now, so I’m talking about my late teens and twenties. The thing is, relationships during those times can be pretty damn defining, can’t they?
Even now, I still remember every boyfriend (though some I wish I didn’t…) and looking back on those relationships is a little bit weird!
Still, I can tell you, I learned a thing or two from those boys (yup!).
Your relationship with yourself is the most important
Not gonna lie to you, this was something it took me a long time to learn. Maybe if I had more self confidence when I was younger, I wouldn’t have made the same choices.
Honestly though, I was looking for validation. I was looking for someone to say, ‘yes, you have value, you have worth.’
Aren’t we all?
Especially as teenagers, it’s a big deal to not have a boyfriend. When someone expresses an interest, it’s exciting!
But I also made some not great choices about who I dated or who I slept with that actually caused even more hurt.
Over the years, I’ve dealt with that relationship and learned to love myself, flaws and all. Sure I still have days when my confidence is totally knocked, but in general, because my relationship with myself is better, so to are all my other relationships.
It wasn’t really until I started working on myself, and that relationship, that my romantic relationships improved. They had a lot more value.
That’s certainly not the only love lesson I’ve learned with time… Keep reading!
You can’t force someone to want you… and you shouldn’t
It really sucks when you like someone and they don’t like you back. Or they like you, but not in a romantic way. I’ve definitely been in that situation a fair few times. There is absolutely a love lesson there, though.
If they can’t see how wonderful and cool you are, well… they just aren’t worth your time.
I wish someone had told me this when I was younger.
So much time wasted trying to woo boys who had absolutely no interest. So many tears shed and pints of ice cream eaten because a boy I liked didn’t like me back!
You can’t force it, and you shouldn’t. Appreciate people for who they are (especially when they tell you up front). If you’ve expressed interest and they’re not game, fine. If you can be friends with that person without the prospect of anything changing, fine.
Don’t hang around in the hopes that they’ll change their mind.
Rom-coms have definitely taught us that if you wait long enough they’ll realise the error of their ways, but I’ve honestly never had this happen. Plus, it’s not fair to you or to them.
This definitely applies to all aspects of life too. It’s not just about romantic relationships.
Allowing someone to grow and wanting someone to change are two different things
It’s another classic romantic comedy trope. Bad boy falls for good girl. Good girl wants him to change, so he does. Happy ending. I’m gonna be honest here, that doesn’t happen in real life.
We’d all love to be the person who inspires the bad boy not to be such a dick…
If that’s who they are though, that’s who they are. You can’t change them.
What you can do is allow them to grow.
No one stays the same over time. My husband and I aren’t entirely the same people we were when we started dating 7 years ago.
But I know that he supports me and that I can talk to him about things. He’s always encouraged me to aim for my best self. Sure, there are things he’d probably like me to change… I’m not perfect!
The difference is, we aren’t trying to force each other to fit into a box and change who we are. We grow together and we support one another.
Is that every love lesson I’ve ever learned in my life? No, probably not. They’re the ones I think are pretty damn important. Sometimes I think that if I had met Mr. Actually any earlier than I did, or before I really had an understanding of what I’m talking about above, we wouldn’t have gotten together. Or it might not have lasted. It’s different for everyone, and I’m by no means an expert. All I can do is share my own experiences, and when it comes to affairs of the heart, this is where I stand!
Also, if you really want some tea, I’m sharing what each of my past ex-boyfriends taught me in this month’s newsletter! Sign up so you don’t miss out!
Photos by Nicole