This archived article was written by: Katrina Wood
In my 19 years, I’ve been on about… let’s see… one date, not including high school dances. And if you were wondering, yes, I was the one who asked.
I’ve been crushed on by no one. I’ve been the subject of a young man’s affections as many times as Lady Gaga’s outfits have made sense. I can count how many times I’ve been kissed on my third arm. To put it simply, I know as much about dating and relationships as I do the history of Alpacas.
So who better to give dating advice than me?
True, I’ve never had the opportunity to feel that loving bliss, to experience the wonderful, euphoric, awe-inspiring peace so excitedly described as true love. My hand has never been held, I’ve never been gazed upon lovingly and never been called beautiful. But, I have seen it. I’ve seen the best examples and the worst examples, and though I have yet to be a part of a healthy relationship, I’ve learned a lot from watching others.
One of the simplest lessons I’ve learned is that communication is important. Don’t ever assume the person you’re dating knows what’s going on in your head, because last I checked, mind-reading technology has yet to be invented.
Men and women think differently. While a girl may be thinking, “He likes me!” after he kisses her, he may be thinking something along the lines of, “I want pasta for dinner.”
If something is bothering you, for crying out loud, don’t stay quiet. Unless you want your relationship to end in the most overly-dramatic, tear-jerking, not-worth-your-time fashion, don’t keep it to yourself. Even if it’s only here a little and there a little, talk to each other.
Tell them how your day went, what went right and what went wrong and what you hope to do, both short term and long term. Your discussions don’t have to be grand every time, but they shouldn’t always be casual. If you care about the person you’re dating and you want your relationship with them to grow, make an effort so it happens.
Another observation I’ve made, and this one should be a no brainer, is that you shouldn’t go too fast. I guess this applies more to my area of dating (the nonexistent branch), but I feel it has some claim to those who are deeper in the world of relationships. If there’s anything one can do to demolish a relationship as quickly as possible, it’s going too fast.
I get there are exceptions to this one. I know a couple who, after two weeks of dating, were engaged, and to this day have four kids and are still happily married. Sometimes moving quick can work. But often it can lead one, or two in this case, down a road of discomfort and unhappiness.
With that being said, there really aren’t any rules dictating how fast or slow a relationship should go. With this, as with many aspects of life, the best path to take is the one you and your mate feel is best. But for the love of all things good in the world, don’t push too hard or too quick. The last thing you want is to make the one you’re interested in suddenly very, very, very disinterested in you.
The final word of wisdom I’ll share, because listing everything I’ve learned would take forever, is to be yourself. Though it sounds cliché, I’ll tell you from my own experience that this one is key. But hold on a second, didn’t I tell you guys I had no dating experience?
While no guy has actually had a crush on me, the opposite is not true. I’ve had a few crushes in my life—two to be exact—and learned the most powerful advice of all; be yourself.
When you do this, there are two positive outcomes. Either your romantic interest will like you and your relationship with them will continue, or they won’t and you won’t have to deal with them. You either further a relationship that may lead to endless happiness and joy and whatnot, or you cut someone from your life that you won’t need. Either way, it’s a win-win.
The biggest point I’m making is there’s a lot one can learn about dating from watching others. You don’t have to make the big mistakes.
If you’re smart about it, you can avoid the particularly unpleasant aspects of dating. Yeah, you’ll probably have an argument or two, assuming you go on dates, but it won’t have to be heart-wrenching every step of the way.