If relationships are work, so is being single. Dating – pretty much the same. Whichever boat it is that you are sailing in, there are a few nuggets of relationship wisdom that you’d do well to stash in the chambers of your heart. But before we get to that bit, it is important that you know why out of all the pearls of wisdom that I could shower, I chose to serve this hot platter of relationship advice for women. Here’s why, in all the ways it can be:
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If you are single, remember that ‘desperate’ and ‘pathetic’ are deadly words to conjure. These ghastly apparitions would make you settle for a relationship that you might feel ambivalent about, you would never be completely satisfied with (and therefore, unhappy in), and would allow the ‘fear of being alone’ to feed off your soul, destroying its capacity to be whole and love itself and another, a little bit with each bite. There’s a fine line between feeling something unpleasant (that feeling of returning to an empty apartment every day) and feeling something shameful (settling for something that falls short of your standards). The relationship advice for women to take away: Being single teaches you that not everything is in your control, and it’s okay. You may be a woman in your twenties, thirties or even forties looking for love – that does not mean that you should cry yourself out because a date that went fantastically well didn’t quite result in a call-back or that you have to force yourself to feel for a guy your bestie set you up with or even if that magical moment (in case, you are a romantic) that you want to happen will never happen. You simply have to do your best and leave it at that.
If you are in a relationship, remember that the best relationships are those that are rooted in a strong friendship, the kind where your partner becomes your ‘home.’ But this is not to say that the relationship would be free of conflict. He might punch walls, you might walk out the door and circle the block, but at the end of the day, you should be able to count such instances on one hand. A relationship is no walk in the park – so my relationship advice for women: When you are treading down the road of really hard choices – of ridiculous selflessness and constant service – remember one thing – it is the journeying that shall make reaching the destination worth it. You should not calcify as you journey alongside each other, but commit to friendship, laughter, confession, affection, and connection. Those are the five elements that shall build and sustain your bond. And this shall hold as you learn to become less selfish, less impatient, give space, resolve conflicts peacefully or even if he is using dish towels to mop up spills on the floor. At the end of it all, your mundane moments are also magical because your magician is right beside you and he’s teaching you the tricks too!
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Either way, there are a few relationship lessons that you should never ever forget:
1. Be YOU, lovingly, at all times
Oscar Wilde once said, ‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken,’ and he couldn’t be more correct. Nothing is more beautiful than a person who completely accepts you for you – quirks, flaws and all. Only a true recognition of an imperfect, fallible you who is, in every way, perfect for him is a feeling worth keeping for a lifetime. After all, who wants to pull bunnies out of hats to prove their worth – you shouldn’t have to hammer home your value. Your job is to be YOU and leave the rest. Love yourself truly to let the possibility of ‘love’ embrace a lovely YOU.
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2. Own your sexuality
Take stock of your own sexual attitudes and beliefs. Your sexuality is your own business, no one else’s. Conversely, someone else’s sexuality is none of your business either! No one has the right to tell you whether you should or should not have sex and who it should be with. However, it is important to have an acute level of awareness about the kind of sexual vibe and level of sexual energy you put out there and to convey what kind of message. It should be clear if sex is a form of self-value, is deployed to validate attractiveness and desirability, is used to forge a deeper connection or is a means to be completely vulnerable. Pulling out all the stops in the bedroom is neither a way of winning a heart nor enough to keep it. Conversely, the physical zing is an important element of a relationship, and if you are sure about the step, go ahead.
3. Hold yourself accountable
One of the most important things I have learnt about relationships, and for that matter life in general, is that we tend to judge ourselves by our intentions but others by their actions. It is important to learn that nobody, but we ourselves, are accountable for our own lives and what happens in it. Unless you learn the lesson a particular circumstance in your life is teaching you, it will keep repeating itself. You will find yourself rinsing and repeating the same old, familiar patterns, thereby, inviting the same type of situations and maybe even people in your life, over and over again. Therefore, it is important that you take a good, hard look in the mirror, examine your past, recognize the mistakes you made, and own them. Determine how you can prevent them and identify the growth areas you need to work on. Only when you understand yourself and grow into your full being will you love yourself completely. Only then can a new love come a-knocking.
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4. Avoid unhealthy ‘situation-ships’
A relationship is all about balance. From investing time, energy, and effort to being completely present (emotionally or otherwise), you need to have the sense to discern if something is worth you. Whether you are holding back and not investing completely or overcompensating for the other person’s lack of reciprocity, it might be time you reassessed the situation. No relationship is a one-way highway. Always remember that you do not have to stay for scraps and convince someone to be with you or stay back when you are too disinterested to give the relationship your all. Conversely, it holds for the traffic from the other end too – if someone isn’t going all in, it might be time to walk away.
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5. Do not mistake attraction for chemistry
The initial phases of a relationship are always exciting. The thrill of meeting someone new and getting to know them might cloud one’s judgment. It is not until the rose-tinted glasses are thrown off that the real picture comes into being. After all, countless masks are worn and thrown during dating. But it is important that this ‘fire of attraction’ is not mistaken for relationship potential.
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6. Limit the ‘planning’ to the workplace
Planning in relationship is as counterproductive as plans at the workplace are productive. There’s nothing wrong with having standards but too many women have the urge to tick off every item on their ‘traits of a desirable partner’ checklist and decipher if a person is a long-term investment based on their checklist score. Therefore, while it is advisable to know what your absolutely essential requirements and the complete ‘off-limits’ traits are, it is good sense to be ‘flexible’ on the other requisites. Getting around this stumbling block is quite a challenging task for many because of preconceived and mostly, inflexible standards of expectations! Once you freeze the non-negotiables and expand the list of the negotiables, you shall see that the possibility of LOVE becomes REAL in every sense. Remember strategic planning shall only serve to keep your heart protected and prevent you from putting all on the line – which, then, brings me to my next point.
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7. Be brave enough to put it all on the line
Unless you take the risk to share everything you are with the man you’re interested in, you shall never experience the bliss that comes only by being truly vulnerable.
8. Your intellect is an equalizer
It’s proof positive that your gender should not define your worth. Respect in a relationship is very important. Attraction based on superficial aspects is sure to fizzle out sooner or later. Not only does a mutual appreciation and respect for each other edify one’s relationship, but it would also make your connection deeper and stronger. If you do not respect someone’s mind and the way they think, they’ll never double up as a partner for you. You’d never be able to share your life’s yin-yang aspects with them as you’d not care much about what they’d have to offer.
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9. Not everyone will like you back and that’s okay
This is a truth that a lot many have a hard time accepting. All you can do is shake it off and keep moving. Trust me, it makes life easier.
10. Listen to your heart, always
Coz it shall never lie to you. Never, ever.
Remember these evergreen mantras for a TWO-ly special life of laughter and love. Coz only when you are you – in kindness, compassion, empathy, humility, and all forms of grace – shall ‘the one’ meant for you say, “This beautifully imperfect and fallible being is perfect … for me.”
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Yes, you can come thank me for the invaluable relationship advice later. With a letter that spells out your TWO-ly special love story!! J
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