As unromantic as it sounds, finding your forever and always person is all about giving people chances and dating, dating, dating. One piece of important advice I give to allof my friends is that dating is a numbers game. The more people you go out with, the more people you won’t hit it off with, but the greater chance you have to find the person who is rightfor you.
Some common complaints I hear about dating are:
“Online dating doesn’t work for me. I’ve been on two Match dates and they were both nightmares!”Well, maybe that just isn’t the right site for you, but honestly about 1 in 8 dates are going to likely be duds that won’t even turn into a second date. Sometimes you’ll have more bad dates, sometimes you’ll have a few good ones in a row. Giving up after only a few chances, though, isn’t going to be the attitude that helps you to meet someone great.
“I don’t want to tell people we met online. I want our story to be better than just meeting on a dating app!” I don’t get this. At all. Who cares how you meet someone amazing, as long as you do? When Robert and I tell people how we met we start off by saying that we met online, but then we immediately jump into our first date story about how he almost stood me up, then how when we did actually meet that I was more interested in petting a cute dog I found outside the restaurant than greeting him. I love our story so much, and we have so many fun moments to sprinkle into it that “OK Cupid” is only a sentence in the story of how we met.
“There isn’t anyone cute near me. Guys here are lame.” Unless you live in a teeny tiny area, this is an enormous statement for the entirety of the young adult population where you live. First, pictures can be deceiving. I have a few friends who I absolutely know would make great matches, but they’re unwilling to even give someone a chance because of a few Facebook photos. Sometimes attraction can’t be felt over a computer screen, and although I think it’s an incredibly important component of a great romantic relationship, I think giving someone a chance — even just a 1 hour date — could be a game-changer for you. If a friend wants to set you up, give their match a try! After all, there’s a reason you came to mind when they decided to pair you with your date. The very worst-case scenario is that you wasted an hour or two of your entire life on someone you’re never going to see again. Then, if the same friend tries to set you up again you can politely decline if it was really that bad. Having an open mind can be such a great asset to the dating world.
“I don’t want to do the casual dating thing; I want an exclusive relationship!” Okay. 99% of the time that’s not going to work. Unless you turn a friendship into a relationship, odds are you’re not just going to meet Mr. Right on the street and realize that the two of you are perfectfor each other. You have to be casual at some point in your relationship; you aren’t supposed to know right off the bat whether someone is going to be your new significant other. Sometimes people will tell you that they knew right after meeting someone that they were going to marry them, but that’s a rare miracle in the dating world. You typically become more drawn to someone as you get to know more about their heart and values, and it takes time to really get to the nitty gritty of someone’s true personality. I totally know that dating around is exhausting and can be a chore, but you rarely get beautiful things in life without working hard for them.
Today’s Lesson: Your dating motto for 2018 should be, “It’s just a date.” Stop overthinking dating and start taking chances on things that scare you, and open up your mind to the possibilities around you. I strongly believe there is more harm to being close-minded than being too picky with who you choose to spend your dates on. Be careful, and be smart, but open up your dating pool to some people you might not typically go out with. Then, watch how your dating life transforms through the lessons people teach you and as others begin to open their hearts up to you.
The first Love Language I want to touch on is “gift giving” because although it seems incredibly simple and is arguably the “easiest” of the five, anyone with this as a top LL will tell you otherwise. It’s not at all materialistic or about the amount of money you spend. Gift giving as a love language is never about money; it’sall about the time you put into thinking about your partner for picking out something you know they’ll love.
I would definitely argue that nurture plays a large role in developing your Love Language as an adult. Ever since I was teeny tiny my mom has always loved surprising me with little goodies and treats. When I was a kid I would sometimes crawl into bed at night and feel something fuzzy against my feet. I peeled back the covers to find a little stuffed animal with a note attached, telling me that I was special and incredibly loved.
When I reached high school she still loved me this way and often left little cookies and notes scattered in the kitchen for me to find when I got home from cross country practice. I still have some of those cards to this day, and I have a really hard time throwing away letters because they are one of the most special things to me.
Even at 26 I will sometimes come home to find a little tube of lipstick or another fun cruelty-free beauty item on my bed. It makes my day every time, and the notes always give me a smile and my heart joy, too. Just knowing someone is thinking about you when you are away is a really special feeling.
Since I feel well-versed in gift giving, I wanted to come up with a little list to help people who might not be fluent in this love language yet. Just because one of the LL’s isn’t important to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t to your partner! It’s great taking this quiz and knowing your significant other’s results, as it can be hard to use LL’s that feel foreign to you. Working on speaking your partner’s language, though, can be a really rewarding task. I highly recommend reading the 5 Love Languagesbook if you haven’t! It teaches how to love on a whole new level.
Ideas for Guys to implement this LL:
Flowers. This is the answer to so many of life’s relationship problems. If you get in a fight flowers are great to say you’re sorry, but they’re also amazing for anniversaries, birthdays, sick days, and even “just because.” When gift giving was my top love language I used to always say that someone could go outside and pick me a bouquet of dandelion weeds and I would still find the gesture incredibly sweet. As I said before, it’s not the price sticker on the bouquet that we find so charming, rather it’s the sentiment that goes behind the gift that really matters.
Bring her favorite dessert home. This is one of the most underrated things, but I’m going to give my mom props in this post for always bringing me a new dark chocolate bar to try. She keeps my “chocolate drawer” (Yes, this is a thing in my household) stocked with my favorite Trader Joe’s 73% dark chocolate, and often brings home little treats from trips to the grocery store or when she goes to the neighboring town that holds the best gluten-free cupcakes around. The chocolate is great, and it always makes my heart so happy that she thinks of me even when I’m not around.
As a special treat girls love jewelry, but we know it’s expensive. Robert happens to be the best guy I’ve ever known about picking out beautiful jewelry. I’m always wearing something that he gave me, and it makes me smile and think of him when he’s not around. When we first started dating I wondered if this was Robert’s LL, as he always seemed to have a new little present for me. Two favorite stories come to mind with Robert. First, was a journal he bought and gave to me on our fourth date. It was a really beautiful leather journal — the kind I had always dreamed about getting, but could never justify buying for myself. I wrote in it the entire time he was deployed, and I just recently finished the last page. The second was actually a really goofy gift. I told Robert about someone calling me a mean name on my blog when I first started writing it, so he got me a book called, “Insults And Comebacks: Lines for All Occasions,” and told me to flip through it the next time someone got nasty with me. I’ve never actually used it for that purpose, but it made me laugh and cheered me up — and prepared me for the very few nasty comments I got during the Tom Brady YouTube video going around (Listen, I’m sorry I don’t watch football and had no idea I was “interrupting playoff season — I was just trying to do something nice for someone I love!). I still keep this book on my desk as a reminder that I am loved by the people who truly know my heart, and to write about things that scare me, even if I know everyone won’t be a fan. I’m still working on that.
Leave a sweet note on her pillow. This melts any girl’s heart, and whether she goes to sleep before or after you, it’s great to fall asleep with a smile on your face or wake up to a bright “good morning” from a loved one.
Ideas for Girls to implement this LL:
Since I feel very familiar with gift giving as one of my love languages, I’m going to use all personal examples. Please feel free to sound off other ideas in the comments! I am always looking for new ways to love, and would appreciate your tips.
“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” There is a reason this is such a popular idiom that is thrown around — because it’s so true! I am going to make a massive generalization and say that 95% of men love to eat. Bringing him his favorite dinner, surprising him with a treat, or packing a Snickers or Almond Joy (Yuck! That’s Robert’s favorite and I always feel funny buying it; I wish we were friends when we were younger, as he would have been the best person to trade candy with after a giant Halloween haul… “Here, I’ll trade you all my Almond Joys for your Peanut M&Ms and Junior Mints!”) in his lunch is a fantastically simple way to show him he’s on your mind. Add a note for extra sweetness!
Guys are so darn hard to shop for — at least the men in my life are — because they seem to buy the things they want. Pay close attention to what might be old or worn. I gave Robert a gift from Tom Brady and the Patriots on his 30th birthday this year (Oh gosh, I need to tell this story soon! I can’t believe I keep forgetting), but it was so darn hard to figure out what I wanted to buy him this year. I treated him to dinner and gave him a present 4 months late because no matter where I looked, I couldn’t find anything that screamed “Robert” to me. I ended up realizing the answer was right in front of me when he pulled out his worn leather wallet to pay for a toll to Boston. In that moment I smiled widely and decided that I needed to get him a nice new leather wallet. Not only would he think of me because he would see it every day, but he deserved to have nice things that were used as often as a wallet. I think this is hilariously enough one of the proudest presents I have purchased, as it took me such a long time to come up with it.
An experience can be a great gift to give a guy who is difficult to shop for. Whether it’s tickets to a football game or concert or an impromptu date night, he’ll be excited that you took the time to come up for a special day just for him. This is a great gift for guys who really value quality time as another love language.
Jerseys, event tickets, and video games are all nice presents, but they can be expensive to do on a really regular basis. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, get creative and make little surprises that he’ll love. Whether you go back to my #1 tip about food and decide to bake his favorite food or put together a nice picture frame for his room, you can always get creative with your presents.
For girls and guys:
Let’s mix 2 love languages and add a pinch of “Words of Affirmation” to gift giving. Cards and letters are incredible everyday gifts, as they hold a little piece of someone’s heart inside. I have an enormous box next to my bed that holds some of the most special letters I’ve received from friends, family, and Robert. I call this box my “happy box,” and will sit on the floor and read a handful when I’m feeling lost, sad, or just want to smile a little before bed. Several of the letters have become worn from use, but they are some of my most prized possessions. Each card couldn’t have cost more than $5, but the words painted on the page are what really hold value for me. This is the perfect example of gift giving not being about the money spent, rather the thought put into the gift that really matters.
Lastly, pay attention to the things your significant other loves. This is the easiest way to choose a gift, whether it’s a food or drink or a gift from their favorite store. People who have gift giving as a primary love language don’t care so much about the item you give to them as they do about the thought you put into the present. Instead of spending a lot of money on something just for the heck of it, feel free to choose several small tokens of love to spread out through the month. Giving to your loved ones won’t just make them happy, but I find that giving the perfect present makes my heart even more joyful than receiving things.
This is my first post about The Five Love Languages cheat sheet. Come back tomorrow for tips on using another LL. 🙂
Although I’m not an expert on many things, I would say having a chronic illness is a subject I’m pretty well versed on now. I’ve been both single and in a long-term relationship with a CI, which isn’t a super-common thing for someone in their twenties.
We never know what the future holds and sadly there is a lot of pain in this world. I could have never in a million years imagined getting a chronic illness at 22 years old, but here I am. It’s still so weird for me to think about. You don’t ever think things like this will happen to you.
Through this crazy journey life is taking me on I’ve realized the enormous difference of someone staying with you through an illness and someone supporting you. Guys, you have no idea how big this is.
When someone stays with you just to be around, you feel alone. You feel like a burden, and it’s not going to help you get any better.
But when someone is there because they want to be and because they are able to put your needs above their own for a period of time, you have a significant other who is giving a genuine and selfless love — and, in turn, you can be there in their time of need.
This, to me, is one of the most beautiful things a person can offer, and it’s something that can’t be faked. Sickness still isn’t easy, but life is a heck of a lot more wonderful when you have someone who will support you when you need a shoulder to lean on. On the other hand, it’s an amazing feeling loving someone enough to want to be able to take away their pain, no matter what that may be. I’ve felt very strongly about a few people that way in my life, and it’s a very genuine and incredible feeling that I can only attribute to the selfless love I am hoping you all get from a partner.
Today’s lesson: There are amazing people in this world who will love you through your trials, whatever they may be. Don’t settle for someone who will just stay. Wait for the person who will hold your hand and be with you every step of the way, no matter where life takes you both.