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To My Future Daughter: How To Handle Your Love Life So You Don't Get Hurt

Dear baby girl,

Before I start, I just want you to know one thing first. There is no way you’ll never experience pain. You can’t shield yourself from it unless you shut your heart off entirely. But I wouldn’t want you to do that anyway. Because if you never experience pain, you’ll never experience true happiness either.

You have to get hurt at least once or twice. It’s one of your rites of passage into what we call being alive in this world. But once you do get hurt, I’d want you to learn from it. I realize that we all have to make our own mistakes and take our own lessons from them.

But along the way, here are a couple truths about modern love that I’ve come to understand through my mistakes. And this is what I’ve learned…

Have your first time be with someone special.

When people talk about their first times, they describe it as this weird, awkward encounter, perhaps in the back of a car. They just wanted to get it over with. And so did I.

But despite that, I waited for someone to come around, someone to remember the act with and look back on it as a good memory, even if it was awkward the first time.

Guys are less mature than girls.

When you hit high school (or middle school), you’ll find yourselves being attracted to guys and wanting that make out session in the back of the school bus to turn into something more.

But don’t be surprised if the guy wants nothing more. Boys your age are sort of oblivious to the world. They’re still thinking about their video games, their sports, and still depend on their mommies on almost everything. A relationship is nowhere near their radar.

If it’s love that you want, don’t settle for anything short of it.

I made the mistake once of continuing to hook up with a guy who wanted nothing but sex, even though I wanted a relationship. And what happened afterwards? Well, I got hurt. Big time. Biiiiiig time.

Never lie to yourself when it comes to what you want and what you’re settling for. If there’s anything akin to a sinking feeling you have in the deepest pits of your stomach, something’s not right. 

Surround yourself with friends who respect themselves.

You are the company you keep. Your friends will have a pretty big influence on your choices, but I trust you to know whether those friends are the good kind or the bad kind. The good kind will lift you up, encourage you to do the right thing, and lift you up if you’re spiraling downwards.

The bad kind not only don’t care about your wellbeing, they also don’t care about theirs. A friend who disrespects herself, has low self-esteem simply cannot be a good friend. She’s not able to out of her deep insecurity.

Never compare yourself to others.

Not everyone’s right for you. And you are not right for everyone either. It’s what makes you unique, it’s what makes you you. There’ll be times when a guy you think is cute goes for someone else, a friend, or a stranger. And there’ll be times when you think there’s something wrong with you.

But let me just tell you… There is nothing wrong with you. Everybody’s different; everyone has more chemistry with some people and less with others. It’s not your fault if it doesn’t happen the way you want it to. 

There’s a reason it ended.

Ah, the on/off relationship. We will all have one at some point or another, and you probably will too. But before you get in too deep and make one last, huge mistake, please remember… There was a reason it ended. And it’ll probably end again for the same reason.

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