As my 20s are nearing an end, I can’t help but reflect on the whirlwind of experiences, heartbreaks, and lessons that the world of dating has thrown my way. From the highs of newfound love to the lows of painful breakups, my journey through romance has been anything but dull. I’m hoping that as I enter my 30s, the lessons I’ve learned while dating in my 20s will set the stage for bigger and better dating experiences as life moves forward.

Never Fall for Potential

Oh, the allure of potential! In my early 20s, I found myself drawn to partners who seemed to have endless possibilities. I believed in the power of transformation, thinking I could help them become their best selves.

They all had these amazing dreams and seemingly had the ambition to make those dreams come true. As time went on, those dreams just simply stayed in their heads. Whether it was the type of career they wanted or the type of man they aspired to be for the relationship, it was simply all talk.

But here’s the truth: potential doesn’t pay the bills, and it certainly doesn’t guarantee a fulfilling relationship. I’ve learned that it’s essential to love someone for who they are today, not who they might become tomorrow. It was equally important for me to understand that no matter how much I wanted to push them to achieve what I felt they were capable of, no change would’ve been made if they weren’t choosing the change for themselves.

Good “On Paper” Doesn’t Mean Forever

Many of us have met someone who ticks all the right boxes on paper. They have a stable job, share your interests, and seem like the perfect match. But life isn’t a checklist.

Every relationship has its expiration date. Whether it’s three weeks, five months or 45 years, unfortunately, things come to an end. I found myself staying in relationships way past their expiration date. I felt my partner was perfect for me because of who they were and not how they made me feel.

I’ve discovered that genuine connection goes beyond superficial attributes. Don’t be afraid to walk away if the spark isn’t there, even if everything looks flawless on paper. Trust your instincts, they rarely lead you astray.

Address Signs of Insecurity Immediately

Insecurity can be a silent relationship killer. Whether it’s constant jealousy, lack of trust, or a need for constant validation, it’s crucial to address these issues head-on.

Sometimes, women who make more money or are experiencing more growth than their partners can get the short end of the stick in their relationships. It didn’t take me long to realize that a former partner felt inferior to me because of all I was achieving. He started showing signs of jealousy and was unsupportive. Unfortunately by the time I understood what was happening, it was too late for me to try to salvage the relationship. Ultimately I had to walk away.

I’ve learned that open communication is a cure to insecurity. Ignoring the signs only allows them to fester and poison the relationship. Confront the issue with compassion and empathy, and you’ll either grow stronger together or realize it’s time to part ways.

Dating Many People is the Path to Clarity

Contrary to popular belief, there’s no magic number when it comes to dating. Embrace the idea that each person you meet adds a layer to your understanding of what you truly want in a relationship. Take your time with dating. Get to know people for all of who they are before deciding to settle down with them. Go on multiple dates with multiple people per month. Soak in all the lessons you can learn from each individual.

It’s okay to explore and figure out your own preferences. Sometimes, it takes a few wrong turns to find the right path. Don’t rush the process, just enjoy the journey,

Put Yourself and Your Needs First

In the grand dance of love, never forget the most important partner; yourself. I’ve realized that prioritizing my needs and well-being doesn’t make me selfish, it makes me strong.

For the majority of my twenties, I wanted to be the rock that my partners could lean on and always focused on building them up. I wanted to be the perfect partner for them but I lost sight of being perfect for myself. Doing things for others that you aren’t even thinking of doing for yourself is a setup for you to lose who you are in your partner.

Whether it’s setting boundaries, pursuing personal goals, or simply taking time for self-care, making yourself a priority is key to building a healthy, lasting relationship. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Adios to Dating in my 20s!

Dating is a continuous journey of self-discovery. I’m excited to see what the future holds. Here’s to love, laughter, and the wisdom that comes from navigating the maze of relationships.