This post has been written in specific reference to heterosexual love, in response to many young women who have contacted Tracey Cox for love advice.
1. Settling down with your first love isn’t as stupid as you think.
Many of the best relationships are those where couples got together early but also allowed each other to grow separately.
2. Life’s too short to waste on iffy/undecided men.
If he can’t decide if he wants in or out, he’s never going to be committed enough anyway.
3. Stop making excuses for men.
Adopt the “He’s just not that into you’ philosophy that says if he’s interested, he’ll be interested. Don’t kid yourself. Bad boys are mostly idiots who happen to be good looking enough to get away with bad behaviour. Fun to play with in your early 20s, so not worth the angst past this.
4. Nice guys aren’t boring.
Don’t mistake drama for love. Rollercoaster highs and lows aren’t passion, they’re a sign of incompatibility. Calm is good.
5. Jealousy won’t stop people cheating on you or leaving you, it encourages it.
Who wants to live with someone who’s suspicious of their every move? Constantly doubting how someone feels about you and saying ‘You don’t really mean that’ makes them doubt themselves. You’re craving insecurity but it’s your insecurity that will push them away.
The Three Things relationship theory. Post continues below.
6. Wait one year before trusting fully.
Most people give themselves away within 12 months. Aim high. The ‘safe bets’ are just as capable of dumping you or treating you badly as well as the riskier but more appealing partners. You might as well go for what you really want.
7. Stop expecting love to look like what you thought it would look like.
Who you end up with will probably look and be nothing like what you thought. Give people a chance. You’re probably nothing like they were imagining either.
8. His relationship with his mother will tell you most of what you need to know.
If they get on well but he’s cut the apron strings, it’s looking good. If it’s a messy mix of hatred, resentment and co-dependence, get out of there because you’re never going to be invited in.
9. Relationships aren’t everything.
You don’t just get love from a partner. Close friendships, family, pets, career, books, box-sets, travel, food, wine – all give us pleasure.
10. Just because your father left you, doesn’t mean all men will.
They aren’t him.
11. Love isn’t enough.
You also need good communication skills, empathy, a desire for it to work and the flexibility to mould yourself around each other for love to work long-term.
12. If you’re trying really hard and it still isn’t working, you’re in the wrong relationship.