I am by no means a relationship expert (I just play one on the Internet) but at 28ish years of age, I’ve had my fair share of great relationships, bad ones, boo-tay calls and the like. Recently, I was going through a ton of old high school journals that my mother saved for me. Most of it was standard teenage rhetoric; boredom, self-loathing, hating high school and of course boys, love and sex.
My Teenage Dreams!
As I flipped through the entries, I realized that as I wrote about not having time for a serious boyfriend, there was still a want there. And as most young girls won’t tell you, they care about boys, A LOT. If my journals are any indication, I was a teenage girl infatuated and confused by boys, being in love and having sex. Yikes. Looking back from my now vantage point, I’ve learned a bit (and am still learning) about love, men and relationships.
Inspired by a post on the hilarious relationship blog Very Smart Brothas of the same title, I thought what if I could sit with my imaginary daughter (or teenage self).
What would I tell her? What lessons about love, relationships and men could I share. Here’s what I came up with. Hopefully, she’ll have a journal one day to look back on.
1. Boys are not the Entire Universe
As young girls we’re taught to believe that the world revolves around boys. As we mature we realize that men are only a part of life and not the main aim or motivation for living. I would tell my young daughter that boys are not the end all be all and life will be much fuller and richer if she learns to do things for herself instead of winning the charms of some guy.
2. You Will Experience Heartbreak. It will Make you Wiser, Stronger & Better
Heartbreak is inevitable. Show me someone who’s never had their heart broken and I’ll show you someone who never stepped out on a limb or truly loved. Heartbreak can feel like the end of the world, but it’s not. I would hope my daughter would realize that while you may get hurt in love, you will always be OK.
3. Your High School Sweetheart will not make it all the way
There are exceptions to every rule but in my eyes serious relationships are for adults not young kids. I would tell her not to get too attached to any one boyfriend and to know that just because you start together doesn’t mean you’ll end up together.
4. Books Before Boys. Trust Me
School comes first. Smart girls are the best girls. And if a boy doesn’t like you because he says you’re a nerd, kick him in the nuts.
5. If it’s not working, break up!
Echoing #3, serious relationships are not for young people. I think being young is for getting to know yourself and what you want out of life. If a relationship is causing you unnecessary stress, keep it moving.
6. Keep Your Cookies in a Jar
Sex is great between two consenting adults. But sex changes things and having it too early or with certain expectations can be a recipe for mis-communication and hurt feelings. Plus I would want to make sure she has a strong grasp on having safe sex, her body and being comfortable enough with her sexuality to ask for what she wants.
7. Respect is the Minimum
Respect is a non-negotiable. If he doesn’t respect women at a very base level, stay away. And remember he has to work to win you, not the other way around.
8. Friends before Boys
In life, there will be plenty of moments when your girlfriends will be more instrumental than any man. Remember to not disregard your friends for a guy. And please don’t let me catch you fighting with your best friend over a boy. That will be your tail. You shouldn’t even be thinking about boys!
9. There’s always another guy
He broke up with you and it feels like the end of world. Trust me it’s not. School will still be in session tomorrow, your homework will still be due and there will be another guy around the bend. This is at the very foundation of what I hope to teach my kids, but especially my daughter, who society will try to brainwash every chance it gets to settle for less than she deserves.
10. Trust your Instincts & Expect the Best
Don’t demand, simply expect. Expect the best treatment, the best friendship, the best that he has to offer and don’t be afraid to walk away. Give your best and remember nobody’s perfect but trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
These are just a few of the things I hope to teach my daughter one day about love, men, relationships and sex. I would also like to teach her to not to sweat the small stuff, order pitiful salads on dates or trust men who don’t open doors, but that’s a whole ‘nother conversation.
Stylish Thinkers, what lessons would you tell your daughter (real or imagined) about love, relationships, sex and men?