Relationship Advice from My Dad

4:22:00 PM

Father's Day around the corner, and I have been thinking about my dad recently.  He may not realize it, but I have learned a lot about relationships from him, based on both his verbal advice, but also based on his actions.  I never really started dating until college, but when I opened that chapter of life, my dad was definitely the first person I would call before and after each date.  It was routine.  Even if it was 2 a.m. I would call right after and say, "Oh my gosh, you won't believe what just happened" and, playing along, his response was "What happened!?"  He listened.  He would be excited for me.  He showed empathy when I was disappointed.   He and I have the same sense of humor so we always found a way to laugh about different dating situations.   It's almost like we turned dates into Seinfeld episodes.   It just worked.  If you're in the dating scene right now, hopefully these principles will help you!

1.  When you're casually dating multiple people to find what you like...  

"Dating too many people in too short of time is like smelling different perfumes.  They all start to smell the same." -Dad   If you go on a date with a different person every day, then you're not going to have the time to reflect on any of it.  They will all start blend together, and you'll never have clarity.

2.  When you don't know if a relationship is right/wrong or if you should stay together versus break up.... 

"Sometimes not making a decision is your decision." -Dad  My dad always emphasized that you don't need to make yes/no or black/white decisions.  Sometimes not deciding is making the decision to give something more time or to let things play out naturally.   You don't need to decide the fate of something immediately. You can choose to not decide, and that's a perfectly good decision.

3.  When you feel like there is something going on... 

"Where there is smoke, there is fire." -Dad  This advice doesn't only apply to cheating, but it can also apply to general honesty, or the concept of words not lining up with actions.  People can talk a GREAT game.  If actions do not line up with words-- that's smoke.   If they break promises-- that's smoke.  If they treat others poorly-- that's smoke.  If you sense arrogance-- that's smoke.  If they don't defend you to their friends-- that's smoke.  If you can't tell you're a priority-- that's smoke. Your intuition is a great smoke detector.  Where there is smoke, there is fire.  It's just a matter of time before you get burned. 

4. When you're never sure about things....  

"Doubt means don't." -Dad  If it's been a few months and you still doubt the relationship, then don't deepen your commitment.   Deepening the relationship when you have doubts will not solve anything.  It will only make you feel like you have more invested, which can muddle any gut feelings you may have had.   You're trying to talk yourself into it.

5.  When you feel annoyed..... 

Don't be too hard on the guy/girl.  Picking people apart won't do any good.  Don't compare them to others.  It will create insecurities that may never go away.   No one is perfect.  Always look for the best in someone and focus on what you love about them.

6.  When it comes to disagreements.... 

Never have a difficult discussion after midnight.  My dad always reminded me of this.  It's tempting to want to resolve things right away, but when two people are tired and it's late at night, your logic is clouded.  Nothing good happens when you argue while you're tired.   Wait until you're both rested and level-headed.

7.  When it comes to living a double life.... 

If you cannot be 100% honest and 100% yourself with someone, then it's not going to work out.  You cannot live one way around the person and live totally different when you're not with them.  Hiding things never works.  It only leads to destruction. If you cannot maintain one version of yourself, then you need to end the relationship.  Longevity is impossible when there is lying.

8. When it comes to depending on others....
Trust, teamwork and reliance is healthy.  Utter dependence is not.  You need to make sure you are independent enough to be "okay" if the relationship ends.  You should never need someone to be happy or worse, need someone to live.  If you're afraid to be alone, you will never feel secure in a relationship.  You need to be able to be happy on your own in order to be happy and healthy with someone else. :)

I hope you can find something here to help you in your relationships!  
Thanks, Dad!  



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