15 Relationship Mistakes You Wish You Could Warn Your Younger Self Against

The reason why people are constantly saying that hindsight is 20/20 is because it truly is. If only we could take what we know about our lives, after we’ve lived them and somehow go back in time a la Back to the Future and change things, what magnificent lives we’d carve out for ourselves. But while that’s fun to daydream about, the reality is that time travel has yet be to figured out, so we just have to look at our past mistakes and deal with them, especially those made in relationships.

However, if you could, what would you warn your younger self against when it comes to the relationship mistakes you’ve made? I imagine these 15 things are probably on the list.

  1. You can’t lose sight of your friendships. I have under my belt more than a few relationships in which I let my friendships become secondary. This was so wrong of me. I know now that my friends are equal in importance (if not more so), to my partner. I’ll never make that mistake again.
  2. Having alone time is essential to not losing your mind. While it might seem like you want to spend every waking hour with your beloved, the key to real happiness is space. You’ll just lose yourself along the way is you don’t give yourself time to roll solo.
  3. Resolution is better than running away. Even if it feels like running away mid-fight is the best way to deal, it never is. Never go to bed angry, never let an argument stew too long, and always look for a resolution sooner rather than later.
  4. Communication should be valued more than assuming. Ugh! How many assumptions did I make in my earlier relationships?! TOO MANY. Why? Because I didn’t have the understanding of just how important it was to, oh, I don’t know, TALK to my partner about crap. I won’t be making that error ever again, that’s for sure.
  5. Don’t take everything so seriously. If you can’t laugh at (yes, AT) your relationship sometimes, then you’re missing out. You should also be able to occasionally laugh through sex. Sex can be pretty funny.
  6. Commitment means on an emotional level, too. Although it might seem absurd, being committed emotionally to your partner is just as important as being committed physically. You might think investing emotional time in others isn’t a big deal, but it is. It’s fine to have a crush when you’re in a relationship, but if you start obsessing and investing in it, you’ve crossed a line.
  7. Always let go of the drama. Sure, drama can be entertaining, but not when you’re trying to have a relationship. Kiss that goodbye.
  8. You actually aren’t obligated to like his friends and vice versa. In my first relationships, I tried hard to like and be liked by my partners’ friends, but then I just realized it wasn’t going to happen. Just like he wasn’t always going to adore every one of my friends either. Stop fighting it. As long as neither one of you is stupid about it, it’s something you can work around.
  9. You shouldn’t ever feel like you’re giving more than your partner. Ever. This isn’t 1860. Relationships are about two people being equal in all ways. If you feel like your partner isn’t holding up his end of the deal, then you have to run.
  10. Work through your jealousy instead of letting it destroy you. Jealousy is an evil, wretched thing. Although it’s normal, to a degree, too much of it is bad. You should never let jealousy take control of you. Deal with it instead.
  11. Don’t stalk your partner. Even if you think your partner is up to no good, nothing says, “I’m super childish and immature,” like stalking your partner, either online or in real life. Instead, talk to them.
  12. Respect their privacy. Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to share everything. This is something that’s really paramount to learn early on when it comes to relationships. Everyone deserves some things to be just theirs and theirs alone.
  13. Never put your relationship before your career. I did this once. It was the biggest mistake of my life. I can’t even imagine where I might be right now if I hadn’t been so stupid. I might have written a dozen books already! OK, maybe not; but you know what I mean.
  14. Let other people settle. Far too many people settle for partners and relationships that aren’t up to their standard out of fear of being alone. Don’t be one of those people. Realize your worth and never, ever, settle.
  15. Love someone who loves you equally, but ideally loves your more. My mother always told my sister and I to marry someone who loves us more than we love them. Although there’s no way of measuring such things, it’s something to at least strive for. You don’t want to be the one who loves more; you want to be the one who falls apart the least amount should your relationship come to an end.
Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.