Here’s What I WON’T Teach My Kids About Love & Relationships

Whether I like it or not, at some point my children are going to fall in love and probably get married and no longer be my babies. Being in a relationship is a big deal and there are so many mixed messages about what to do and how to act when you’re looking for love or you’re already with someone. As I raise my kids, I plan on skipping over these terrible bits of advice.

  1. If you’re single, you need to be looking for love. Being single is so much fun if you allow it to be. You get to date yourself. You have the opportunity to figure out what you love and hate on your own terms. You can go to bed at 7 p.m. or stay up all night and watch the sunrise in your pajamas. You don’t need to be out there looking for love from someone else. Love yourself first and the rest will fall into place.
  2. There’s one perfect person for everyone. If this was true, there’d be a lot of single people out there in the world who were still looking for “The One.” The truth is that there are many people you can love and who will love you back. True compatibility comes down to so many factors like personality, likes and dislikes, future plans, and life goals. It comes down to finding someone who makes you happy and making a choice to be with them every day.
  3. Look your best all the time or risk losing him/her. There’s a reason why “for better or worse” is a common phrase in wedding vows. There are days where we all look our best and, man, there are days where we look our worst—bedhead, drool hanging out of our mouths, last night’s mascara, pizza sauce on our chin, bags under our eyes, and ratty sweatpants. Looking your best all the time is exhausting and if you have to put in that much effort to keep someone from leaving you, you don’t want them anyway.
  4. Love is a feeling. Repeat after me: love is a choice. Sure, it starts out as a feeling when you fall for someone, but there comes a time when the rainbows and butterflies fade and you’re left with an imperfect person with flaws and bad days and you have to choose to love them that day and every day after that. It is not easy to love someone. It’s work. Hard work. It takes trust and tenacity and an “I won’t give up” attitude because there will be days when you definitely want to give up. The twitterpated feeling won’t last forever, but love will if you put in the work.
  5. Relationships get easier the longer you’re together. My husband and I have been together for only nine years and things are way harder now than when we tied the knot. These days we have jobs, kids, responsibilities, bills to pay, money problems. Sometimes we’re selfish, other days we’re impatient. We’re putting forth the effort to get through this life together, yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s easier or that it will ever be easy. By the time we’re old and gray, though, we’ll have weathered a multitude of storms together and can look back on a relationship that was worth fighting for.
  6. You have to seize the moment or you’ll never be in a long-term relationship. Not true at all. Guys and girls will come and go and it’s OK to take your time when choosing a partner. This isn’t like debating between broccoli beef or sesame chicken for dinner. This is life and love, hearts and souls, and should be taken seriously Furthermore, fear that you’re running out of time to be in a committed relationship is a terrible reason to jump into something like that.
  7. You should always say yes to every date offer. You are your own person and you don’t owe anyone an explanation. A simple “no, thank you” is all that’s required if you’re not feeling the vibe from someone. There is no reason to be polite and no reason to fear coming off as rude or uptight. This is your life and you can date who you want. You don’t have to go out with people you won’t want to. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
  8. Never go to bed angry. I don’t know where this one came from but let’s put it to rest. Sometimes a good night’s sleep is good for an argument. The new dawn can create a fresh perspective. Taking a breather and getting some sleep can help you wake up with a fresh perspective which can help you work out your beef with your significant other. I’d rather continue an argument well-rested than beating a dead horse until 2 a.m.
  9. Sometimes you have to change who you are for someone you really love. Never ever ever. You are a unique individual worthy of love and respect for being exactly who you are and who you desire to be. If someone wants you to change something about yourself whether it’s your hair color or your political views, you can freely walk away because that person doesn’t value you. Someone will love you just as you are and that is a person worth waiting for.
Toni Hammer is an author, freelance writer, and comedian. She's married to Luke, her college sweetheart, and is the tired mom of Lily and Levi. They all live in Portland, Oregon where they sometimes see the sun.