5 pieces of relationship advice I wish I knew (and believed) 10 years ago.

Dear Me, 10 years ago,

Another late night hey? Flicking through your paperback copy of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus – and armed with a neon pink highlighter. Your well worn early edition of The Rules has become a permanent fixture on your bedside table, and right now is doubling as a coaster for your second hot chocolate. You keep refreshing your browser, waiting for your Inbox to signal delivery of the eBook you purchased minutes ago online – the one that tells you how to have the most amazing relationship possible… (along with that other less intellectual title – ironically called How Men Think).

I know that you're searching for answers. I know that you are sick of meeting the wrong guys, and getting into relationships that just don’t feel right. Somehow you keep getting the short end of the stick, time and time again.

You’ve kissed some frogs, yet there is still no sign of Prince Charming. You can’t help but feel a bit gypped, right? A pre-internet adolescence reared on soap operas and romance novels seems to have lined you up for a young adulthood of confusion and disappointment.

You have asked for a sign - a bolt of thunder, a visit from a guardian angel - anything to let you know that there is hope for your love life yet.

Well ta-freakin-dahhh - here I am. You, 10 years from now.

Image: Sex and the City/HBO.

There’s a lot of so called dating and relationship ‘advice’ out there (and certainly more headed your way) so I am going to simplify it for you. There are 5 key things I wish I - you - knew (and more importantly believed) ten years ago.

Listen up.

1. The warning signs are always there

In the early days of a relationship, it’s all too easy (and convenient) to disregard behaviour which should be regarded as a red flag. When you are twenty five, you meet a charming and engaging man who enjoys impassioned conversation and debate. One evening, you express an opinion that differs to his. He berates you, questions your ability to form a sound opinion and slams the phone down. He refuses to talk to you for several days. Your gut tells you something is off and you should find the nearest exit, but you are resolute in mending the relationship and end up apologising to him for no good reason at all. You persevere for six more months, hoping things will change, only to suffer through several more irrational temper tantrums. Finally, you end it.

2. Any one who unnecessarily criticises and cuts you down - needs to be cut off

Later in your twenties, you meet a man who appears to be laidback and easy-going - a welcome contrast to the last. You notice from time to time, he unnecessarily criticises you - your hair, your clothes, your choice of friends.

Tell 'em, Charlotte. Image: Sex and the City/HBO.

He tells you he thinks that the protein bars you have been eating are ‘chunking you up’. When logic fails to explain his behaviour, you begin to suspect that he is simply trying make you feel insecure for no other reason but to feel better about himself. It works, as you feel your confidence slowly ebbing away. Your gut says to leave before irreparable damage is done. You persevere with him for another year. You know it was a year longer than necessary.

3. Relationships actually take work

That’s right. In the future, leagues of young men and women will complain that relationships are difficult. They will say that while they want nothing more than to find someone special to have a relationship with, it all seems like a lot of work. They prattle off their lists of what they want in a partner, yet look confused when asked what they themselves plan on contributing to the union. Sadly you will meet quite a few men with their long and tedious lists who will ask the world of you, but offer nothing in return. Abort mission immediately. You know better.

Watch below as the team reveal cliches single girls are tired of hearing. Post continues after video. 

4. Your heart will go on

As much as you never cared much for that song, Celine Dion nailed it. Not all love will last, and you will experience more heartbreak than you think your tiny pulsating heart is capable of managing in one lifetime. To make the post break up pain more bearable, you try and work out exactly what went wrong - analysing every pre-break up detail, re-reading texts and emails, proposing outlandish theories with your girlfriends late into the evening, and searching retrospectively for clues. Please don’t. When someone gives up on you or a relationship, they might very well take their real reasons to the grave. All that you need to accept is that they gave up, and that needs to be enough to move on.

5. Just do you

Congratulations on not spending the better part of your twenties trying to be somebody that you're not. However you did spend a lot of time trying to hide the parts of yourself that you didn’t want to justify or explain. So what if you wanted to spend a few (maybe more than a few) Friday nights at home, in your pyjamas watching the Golden Girls with a cheese platter? To hell with any partner who scrunches up his nose and tries to make you feel like a lesser human being for engaging in the small things that make you happy. Team Sophia all the way.

Sometimes we just need to be home on a Friday night. Image: Bridget Jones' Dairy/Miramax Films.

Ok, that’s it. No really. I couldn’t arrange a thunder clap for extra effect, so I hope this magical letter from the future will suffice.

Part of me wanted to write to you to save you the pain of having to learn these things the hard way (your favourite method). But the other part of me thinks you will better off because of your dating and relationship experiences, not in spite of them.

You already know all this, don’t you? Deep down, in your gut. Maybe this letter is just the reassuring nod you need to start trusting your gut.

And I know exactly what you're thinking at this point (funny that) - how could future you be such a numnut to take the time to write a whole entire letter without providing some clues to the future.?!?! You're sweating bullets, because you're still single mindedly focused on one thing - do you, or do you not, end up meeting someone really special and finally having a solid relationship?

I don’t want to spoil the surprise (haha… future jokes), but I’ll tell you this. Marriage is just the tip of the iceberg. In the future, your husband will drive you nuts but you love him like crazy and wouldn’t have it any other way. You challenge each other and learn new things as the years pass by. You're probably reading this and thinking ‘What does that even mean!?!’ so I’m going to have to pull the old ‘You’ll understand when you're older.’

And you will. I promise.

Put down the books and go to bed, hon. Everything is going to be OK. Really.

Night night.

Future you x

PS. Invest in Google. That sh*t is going to go OFF.

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