Relationship Advice I Unintentionally Gave My Sister

My sister is three years younger than I am, and although there are many aspects of our lives that we have in common, one thing that we have completely different approaches to is relationships. While I’ve dated many-a-boy, flaunting my heart around and giving it out to all who ask, she has always been much more guarded.

Although she is generally more "chill" than I am, I can’t help but wonder if her a lot of her attitude towards dating has been a reaction to my own. She’s seen me with a lot of different people over the years, some more serious than others, and she has been with me through all of the highs and all of the lows. I often forget how much of my own actions are watched by my little sister, and I’ve come to realize that the majority of the relationship advice that I’ve given her has been completely unintentional. A lot of what she has learned from me never came from a conversation we had, it has just come from observations that she has made. So here are some of the things I’ve taught her:

Changing yourself for others is never worth it.

I’m quite sure that this is something my sister has heard before, seeing as it’s that clichéd statement that every magazine relationship column uses. However, I think that, just like most things in life, seeing it first-hand made everything seem more real. I, like many other teens, went through a lot of phases growing up, but to say that some of them weren’t motivated by a particular person would be a flat-out lie. When I dated the skater, punk-rock dude I tried to be that relaxed bad-ass girlfriend who didn’t care about anything, pretending I didn’t actually care about my grades. When I dated the football player, I took on a more All-American persona, trying to be the perfect suburban girl who loved sports but was also the perfect amount of feminine. And, while trying on these different parts could be fun, they never quite suited me the way my true personality did, and more importantly than that, I was just playing the part—the people I dated weren’t actually dating me.  This meant that inevitably I would get tired of pretending, and things wouldn’t work out. My sister saw me fail time and time again simply because I wasn’t being myself.

 

Just because someone’s nice, it doesn’t mean that you have to date them.

My sister has watched me drag too many relationships out on the sole basis of not wanting to hurt the other person. I care about the people that I choose to date, and even when things end, I have a hard time intentionally hurting them. I mean c’mon they’re nice people! But, just because they’re nice, it doesn’t mean that they’re a good partner. Kindness is not the only quality necessary for a person to be dateable, and there are many more things that are just as important.

There’s a difference between lust and love, and sometimes they seem interchangeable. They aren’t.

I’m an excitable person, and that often manifests itself as me jumping headfirst into anything and everything that excites me. Although this brings a lot of great opportunities and experiences my way, in relationship settings, it’s much less desirable. As we already know, I really hate to hurt another person’s feelings, and there is nothing worse than thinking someone is super cool and getting super involved super quickly only to realize two weeks later that you aren’t as interested as you thought you were. Infatuation is a thing, people. Wait it out a bit, and see what happens before you make major decisions that can affect others.

 

People can be immature, and there’s really nothing that you can do about it.

Fighting with a loved one can bring out the irrational tendencies in all of us, but just because you’re able to keep yourself level-headed in a time of distress, does not mean your partner will. And, unfortunately, no matter how much you try to model positive behaviors if someone is too immature to be considerate of your feelings, there is nothing you can do about it. They need time to learn and grow, and that responsibility does not fall on you.

Sometimes, even if you do everything right, it just doesn’t work out.

There are times when relationships just aren’t meant to be. Even if they’re a great person, and you both care about each other, the timing might just be off or one of you might need something different from the relationship. And that’s okay. Sometimes we end up in one-sided relationships, and you can put all of your love and effort into it, but that person just isn’t able to be there in the way that you need them to be. That’s okay too. Just because a relationship doesn’t last forever, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t worth the effort or that you failed.

 

It’s okay to have feelings.

I’m a talker. I can’t help it, I just really value communication with the ones that I love. I enjoy hearing about your day and telling you all of the exciting things that happened to me. I enjoy telling you how I feel and knowing your mood as well. But our society spends a lot of time trying to see who can care the least. I’ve played this game time and time again, and I can’t remember a time that I’ve actually won. In fact, most of the time, the more I try the worse I end up because without communication it’s impossible to know whether the relationship is actually good. A relationship should be based on communication, and you should be with someone who wants to hear about your feelings. Don’t be ashamed of them.

 

It won’t hurt forever, even if it seems like it will.

Heartbreak sucks. And, I’ve found that no matter how hard you try to get over the end of a relationship quickly, it’s something that moves at its own pace. Although I know that’s not what you want to hear, I can say that the first two weeks are the hardest. The first month is a lot of time only remembering the good memories and for some reason, all of the reasons you had for leaving don’t make any sense, but I promise that they will eventually. The silver lining though is that with every relationship comes new wisdom and growth.

You deserve the best, and only you can decide what that is.

I know that we all have that image of our dream partner, and something that I always want my little sister to know is that you can find that person. She sees me with people that we both know are wrong for me, but at the end of the day, she knows that I won’t settle for less than what I deserve, so if something isn’t right, I never feel obligated to stay. We all know that we deserve someone wonderful.

 

It would appear that I’ve actually taught my sister quite a lot over the years, and although that has meant a lot of heartbreak and challenges for me, I’m happy to know that she’s learned from my mistakes. And, I am confident that she knows that she is a boss ass bitch who knows what a healthy relationship should be.

 

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