8 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self About Love

When we’re young, we don’t really know much about love. We have to learn as we go and it isn’t always easy. Sometimes we have to go through pain and embarrassment before we can really know what we want in a partner. Here is a list of things that I know now that I often wish I could tell myself 10 years ago.

  1. You don’t have to find your soulmate at 18. In fact, you shouldn’t. I know there are high school sweethearts out there that find the love of their lives in their teens and are together forever, and I think that’s amazing! That doesn’t happen for most people, however, and yet the books and movies and infectious love stories of our peers make us think that it should. I sincerely thought something was wrong with me when I was 18 because I had never really had a serious boyfriend before. When you’re young, your focus doesn’t need to be on finding a husband, it should be on finding yourself. You have your whole life ahead of you.
  2. Young, immature guys are so not worth your tears. If I had a dollar for every time I cried over some loser that I met between the ages of 18 and 22… Many times, young guys are just immature. They don’t know what they want, they don’t know how to appreciate a woman, and they certainly don’t know how to love you the way you deserve to be loved. A lot of the time the guy is just a jerk, but sometimes he’s just too young to know better. He’ll eventually grow into a great guy (hopefully), but for now, he’s just not ready for all of that so, don’t waste your time pining over him.
  3. Casual dating is overrated. I’m not talking about an adult relationship where two people mutually decide to take things slow and just see where a relationship goes. I’m talking about young people who constantly have a different flavor of the week, refuse to commit, and in turn end up hurting themselves or a lot of different people in the process. It might seem cool when you’re young, but it’s just a waste of your time. You’re not learning anything in the process, except maybe the guys that you never want to date again, and you could end up with a lot of regret and heartbreak. Save yourself the emotional pain and just get yourself a tight-knit group of friends, focus on things that make you happy, and save the romance for later in life!
  4. Don’t let your friends pressure you to meet guys. It’s hard not to be sucked into the world of online dating, mutual friend hookups, and casual dating when all of your friends are doing it and they’re pressuring you to do it too. If you truly want to meet someone and are interested in dating around, go for it! Just make sure that it’s your idea and not your friends’. It’s completely okay if you want to just focus on school, or work, or yourself and want to put dating on the back burner. You have plenty of time to have many relationships in the future. Peer pressure is a powerful force but your true friends will support you no matter what you want to do, even if you’re the only one of them who isn’t constantly dating.
  5. Find yourself now so that you’re ready to meet your match. When you’re young, you don’t always have your priorities straight, and even though meeting guys and find a boyfriend might seem like a priority at the time, your main priority should be yourself. You’re so young and you have so many experiences to live through, so just focus on figuring out who you want to be and what you want to get out of life. Once you have yourself figured out, you will be so much more ready to meet the amazing guy who is perfect for you because you will truly know yourself.
  6. You won’t be ready to love anyone else until you can love yourself. You’ve heard this a million times before, but it really is accurate. Self-love is absolutely essential before you can find true love with someone else. It’s not to say you can’t do work on yourself and improve things that you want to about yourself once you find your soulmate, but if you can’t find that acceptance and compassion for yourself first, it’s going to be extremely hard to give it to another person. When you’re young, it’s often difficult to truly love yourself because you’re still trying to figure out who you are. Learn how to love yourself first, do work on yourself, then you’ll be ready to enter a serious, romantic relationship.
  7. Regardless of what other people say, there is no “clock.” I absolutely hate it when people say that you have a “clock” or a “window.” It’s just an antiquated idea that love, marriage, children, career success, etc. have to occur during a specific frame of time in your life, or else you will never have those things. That’s completely ridiculous for so many reasons. Everyone is on their own journey and everyone hits different milestones in their life at different times. You can have anything you want in life and you absolutely are not confined to a certain window of time. Don’t let the fear of something that isn’t even real convince you to rush into something that isn’t right.
  8. You will find your way. Don’t give up on yourself. It’s really hard to focus on yourself when you see everyone around moving in all different directions and you’re not even sure what you want out of life yet. Don’t let yourself get discouraged or feel like there’s anything wrong with you. You will figure out what you want and how you’re going to get it but you can’t compare your life to anyone else’s. Just trust your own self, focus on your own goals, and the rest of your life, including your love life, will fall into place.
Shelby is a journalist and fiction writer raised in the South but built for the big city. She's a book nerd (well, an overall nerd, honestly) and coffee addict and obsessed with all things leather and lacy.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Sam Houston State University and worked for her university newspaper, The Houstonian, as well as serving as a producer and part-time entertainment anchor for Cable 7 Huntsville. You can follow her on Twitter @shelby777.