Relationships, at any stage of life, are a learning experience — especially during the college years. Unfortunately, love doesn’t have a clearly written guidebook, and your education can only come from experience. But somewhere between the first dates, the hook-ups, and those painful break-ups, there are a few simple lessons one can learn.
Yes. You will get hurt.
Bad relationships will happen. You will get your heart broken at least once. There will be break-ups, screaming fights, and plenty of tears. It’s inevitable. Though that isn’t a valid excuse to close yourself from the next opportunity. Take each failure and mistake as a learning experience for the future. It’s the negative experiences that will teach you to recognize the good when it comes along.
The risk is worth taking. Usually.
At the end of your life, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did. And the same remains true in relationships, romance, and love. Never waste too much time waiting for the right opportunity or moment, because honestly, there probably isn’t one. If you love her, say it. If he means the world to you, let him know. A little bravery can take you a surprisingly long way. And when it doesn’t, at least you know you had the courage and capacity to try.
Never let a person – or a relationship – become your everything.
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in another person that you forget about someone just a little more important: yourself. If the relationship fails, you are left with absolutely nothing. Take time to enjoy the things you did when you were single. Dedicate time to your favorite hobby, hang out with your own group of friends, or spend a weekend back in your hometown without your significant other. Whatever it takes, never sacrifice your sense of individualism for a relationship or someone you think might love you. If they really do care, they’ll never ask you to give up the things that make up whom you are as a person.
Being single doesn’t make you anything less.
It’s not usually easy to be along in a room crowded with couples – figuratively or literally speaking. But is it worth it to say “yes” to a relationship, just to avoid being alone? Sex is great, but so is having the self-respect to wait for what you really deserve.
Follow Callie at @calliegisler