Hello younger me, as much as I love you and I do, because without you I would not have become the person I am today, you need some help. Like many of the other young women out there you’re going down a wrong road that ignores your self-worth.
I’m offering you the real talk that only your older, wiser self can. It consists of part dating advice, part developing your own values advice, and part developing your own healthy identity advice.
Develop a Healthy Self-Identity and Relationship First
Hey, younger version of me, you don’t just need a peaceful relationship with your family, your significant other, and your best friend. You genuinely need a healthy relationship with yourself. Only then, you will be able to have relationships that are healthy.
You need to understand the value of spending time alone yourself. If you cannot love life when you only have yourself as a company, then you cannot love life. You need to love yourself truly before you can love another person.
Spend Time on Self-Development Because You Matter
Your relationship status doesn’t define you. Your own self-confidence, self-worth and self-determination does. You must own your own values, not someone else’s. Finding your own way in life means thinking for yourself, something it took older me too long to embrace even though I always have spoken my mind.
Avoid Drinking and Drugs
If you read this before you take your first drink of alcohol or smoke your first joint with the cute upperclassman with the motorcycle, just skip that. High school and college don’t require you to party. I simply thought that because the popular kids did it. You can’t see how everything turned out yet, but trust me skip drinking and never try drugs. If you already started when you read this – stop. Find AA, Lifering, or SMART Recovery and get to the great part of our life.
The men you meet when you party lack good quality. You see, dear younger version, they party, too. They only think about the next drink or the next high – not about you or your mutual life together. Neither of you focuses on what really matters – your career and making a successful life separately and together.
Popularity Doesn’t Pay the Bills
Dearest younger me, you’re kind of dippy sometimes, like our older sister would say. You think you need a ton of acquaintances to seem popular and let me tell you what I learned in my 40s. Popularity does not pay your bills.
All those parties and events suck up time you could have spent getting ahead in your career. You’ll suck down too much alcohol at those events and no nice guys.
Find one or two nice humans that you get along well with and develop a lasting, healthy friendship with them. You’ll meet better potential mates through these superb, high-quality individuals than you ever would trolling bars or parties.
Stay away from toxic people!
Many of your potential mates you meet where you frequent. Oh, young me, trust me – many toxic people frequent bars and wild parties. Very few toxic people go to Chamber of Commerce meetings, the library, guest lectures at the local university, the orchestra and the opera. Listen to the punk rock at home.
Toxic people suck up your time or try to do so. Do you know that person who constantly complains? Toxic. Do you know that person that pressures you to game with them knowing that you have work to do? Toxic. That person who wants you to go to a bar with them and won’t accept no for an answer? Toxic. I could shorten that to – do you know that person who won’t accept no for an answer? Toxic.
Cut out every toxic person in your life. Make it permanent.
A Relationship Consists of Two People
If you show this letter to some of our acquaintances, buddies and pals, young me, it won’t apply to them. Their life choices do not apply to me. As a heterosexual CIS woman, I want a relationship with a heterosexual CIS man. I want the man and me to comprise the entirety of the relationship. More than that makes a crowd and I’m not into that.
Some people dear to us in one of our future careers will choose bisexual relationships. Others choose polygamous relationships. What they each chose for themselves works for them. I won’t settle for anything less than what I want – a straight relationship with a man who will not cheat on me.
Sex matters. If he doesn’t get that, leave.
In the 21st century, dating and sexual intercourse go together. I hate to admit this, even in my 50s, but Mama and Daddy were right. I could hardly handle the influx of feelings at 19 that sexual intercourse added to a relationship; younger than that would have been a disaster.
On the adult hand, if you’re 18 or older and reading this, dearest younger Moi, sex matters. It comprises an integral part of a normal, adult relationship. Here’s your reality check. If you or he won’t have sexual intercourse, then whichever one won’t have sexual intercourse does not belong in a relationship. That person has yet to reach adulthood.
Sexual intercourse comprises a vital part of adulting. Handle it. If he won’t put out, you leave. You do not have a real relationship. Grow up and embrace your self-worth. Leave him for someone willing to enter an adult, real relationship that mutually benefits you both.
If my partner hits me, I leave.
Young self, I allow no type of abuse in my life. Stop staying with idiots who disrespect you. The one that hits, he in no way belongs in your life. A relationship either proves healthy, happy and enjoyable or I leave.
If my partner degrades or disrespects me, I leave.
That guy I dated in college that stacked the dirty dishes in the bathtub, then wanted to do sexual stuff in the shower with them – skip him. Forget any guy into kinky stuff like that. He’s insane. Normal relationships do not ask you to degrade yourself.
If he’s into that master and slave stuff, forget him. If he needs a mommy or a nursemaid, forget him. Only date real, capable adults who already handle their own life by themselves. Set a standard of a sober, gainfully employed, career man with a normal mental state, and don’t lower your standards.
If you read this before we get to college, skip the crazy guys. We did not date well, young self. Change that.
Discuss Finances and Agree on Everything Before You Get Serious
Young self, we’re in our 50s and still single because no good guy asked us to get married. Quite a few kooks, but no button-down, serious-minded, smart, with-it guy who had his eye on the prize. Older and younger me just wanted him and me to work at our careers, volunteer in the community, earn a terrific living, buy a really nice house, each drive a nice, fully paid car, and rear the proverbial two kids – bookends if you will.
None of the dudes I dated thought this way. Please, younger version, be smarter than me. When you find out that the boy or man you’re dating does not agree on those career and financial goals, drop him. He won’t be worth your time. His thinking won’t change.
In the 21st century, you should agree on matters of financial management and money goals. That tops the list of must-haves for any relationship. Most married couples fight about money. It leads the list of divorce causes in the US. He either wants the nice life and will work his butt off for it or forget him!
Your Friends and Family Cannot Pick for You
Those seemingly well-meaning women friends of yours who suggest guys do not know or understand what you want in a man. Only you can pick a mate for yourself.
They will suggest every individual they know who remains single because the type of person who volunteers to match make wants attention. They do not care if you meet the right man for yourself. This type of “matchmaker” only wants the constant attention of introducing people and to pair every person off. They erroneously think that every person needs a spouse – any spouse.
Ignore those people. Develop your own interests and meet men by attending events related to that interest. That way, you start with common ground and you already know the man devotes his time and efforts to something positive and productive.
Building the best life for yourself first means the most. When you love yourself and your life, everything else comes naturally. Instead of preparing for the worst, choose the best from a crop of bests.
When you date, talk with one another from the start. When you discuss life goals in an honest manner, you set yourself up for relationship success.
You either both want the same things in life or it’s over. I learned that if the guy isn’t as goal-oriented and determined to succeed in life as I am, we won’t get along.
Peace and quiet in life tops having a significant other. If dating an individual or even befriending him takes away from my peace and quiet, forget about it.
Every relationship must include mutual respect. If someone disrespects me, I leave.
Me time matters, young me. When I say I want to spend time alone, not as a couple or with family/friends/their kids, my partner must respect that. I love alone time.
Conversation means a lot. Both people need to agree to a time to converse and make it in neutral territory. Trying to talk when one person is busy, will only start a fight.
Young me, I hope you listen to this. I hope this honest advice would help the younger version of a multi-career girl get it all together sooner. Why delay the time in life when things become beautiful? Respect yourself from the start and make great relationship choices throughout life.
Topics & Questions
What relationship advice would you give your younger self?
Put your true happiness first. If the relationship consists of constant arguments or degradation, you need to leave. If it consists of seething silence, instead of comfortable silence, you need to leave. Why waste your time miserable when you could live a fun, fulfilling life?
What do you want to say to your young self?
I love you. Please, do listen and don’t make the same mistakes that I made, so we can get to this great place in life sooner. We have 11 books out now, imagine what we could have produced without all of the mess that bad relationships and drinking caused.
What advice will you give to yourself?
Focus on school more and boys less. Dearest young me, you need good grades and college degrees first and foremost. You can focus more on dating once you establish your career.
What three words would you tell your younger self?
Love yourself, first.