I’ve always admired the disgusting couples who look like they’ve been having fun since the day they met in middle school 20 years ago. You know who I’m talking about. Those two gushy lovebirds who constantly reach a new level of interesting and fun in their relationship. The two show-offs who fall nauseatingly deeper and deeper in love as the years go by.
As a product of divorce, I personally wasn’t privy to this glorified example of long-lasting love. Thus when I began dating, I expected things to be fun for, like, a few months and end once someone didn’t clean out the Vitamix.
But as my 20s have brought me closer to understanding just how little I understand — I’ve managed to come up with some tools to keep my relationships from turning sour fast.
How to Keep Monogamy from Monotony*
TOOL 1 | ABC — Alway Be Changing
I disagree with the common Mom-ism of “people don’t change, honey.” They do. Way to have faith in people! But you can’t focus on changing the other person in your relationship. Instead, YOU have to always be changing — always finding bigger and better ways to self-improve.
For example, I had a vicious cycle of dating men who I felt were immature, and not quite self-aware and sure of their career path. Then I realized the only reason that element in them annoyed me was because it triggered a weakness within me — I was immature, I was not so self-aware, and I was being hyper-critical about every word, action, and outfit of my significant other.
As you evolve, so will your relationship.
TOOL 2 | Know Thyself
Know your personality — the type of dater you are.
Do you thrive off excitement, or do you prefer a grounded and comfortable scenario? Do you prefer spontaneity, or a repetitive routine?
Knowing yourself means satisfying your personal cravings. Don’t deny your thirst on purpose, and then complain endlessly about it. That’s just silly.
If you’re not sure, just examine your relationship with your clothes. Do you get bored of a new shirt in a month? Or do you hold on to those Tommy Jeans since 5th grade because they may one day fit? You’ve found your answer — you are a relationship hoarder.
Something that’s worked for me is writing down the things I like (in relationships, in a guy). Smart, sensitive, filthy rich— I prefer mutual growth, big visions, and Ryan Gosling-esque passion. By writing down your desires, and getting clear on what you want, you will be able to recognize it when you see it.
If I know that I enjoy adventure — I make sure my dates (and relationships) include camping in the deep woods, hikes on the Appalachian, and trying out unmarked Mexican joints downtown.
TOOL 3 | Have a Plan
Make a vision board with lots of cut-out memes and pretty models walking off into the sunset.
The most important step after realizing who you are and what you want, is creating a PLAN!
Buy a bright colored cardboard. Write “6-month plan” or “one-year outlook for growth” on the top, and cut out the images in Vogue, Allure, and National Geographic that jump out at you. Then voila, watch your life manifest a jungle safari in no time!
“Where progresses is measured, progress is improved.” – someone
It’s important to conduct a self-check-up. Just like you’d frequent your gyno annually, you want to make sure everything’s smelling fine in your personal life.
And don’t be afraid to get specific. If you’re impatient and anxious, find a Kundalini Meditation class, and actually GO to a class. If you have major insecurities, write down daily self-love affirmations, and work on self-love with small acts of self-kindness. Actually follow through with those, too.
Help yourself to help yourself, you know what I’m sayin?
TOOL 4 | Keep it Real
I may be slightly more blunt than the average human, but I am a firm believer in relaying honesty.
If you don’t like something, keep it real with yourself first, and then let everyone else know about it.
Here’s the deal, the beginnings of a relationship (whether you like it or not) are one big job interview where everyone has their best suit on. But eventually the masks come off, and you better pray you’re stuck staring at something pretty. To save myself from the shock, I try to save everyone some time by communicating honestly from the very first text exchange.
Prospect: “Can I see you again.”
Me: “I’m a Gemini with a Virgo rising. You can see me when I decide it’s ok, and for as long as I feel is entertaining. I will judge you and critique you, and you will have to be ok with it. How’s Sushi at 8?
Again, there is an element of patience with this whole process. Every other week of my 20s brings with it a new revelation. One day I thought I could change every man I met, and the next year I realized that I had to stop compulsively buying animal-print jeggings.
The key is to find your personal balance based on your personality. If you’re naturally outspoken and talkative, find the middle-ground. Not every thought must be spoken.
And if you’re the strong silent type that broods internally, well ease up from time to time. See what it’s like on the other side of the pond. It may open up a chakra you believed to be forever dormant.
TOOL 5 | Be Happy and Keep it Light
While relationships are viewed as lovely things to HAVE, personally I choose to define them as a playground upon which we learn to play fair.
Yes, I believe relationships are tools to grow and mature.
So even if current bubu is not “the one” — could you entertain the possibility that he might be carrying a lesson for you? If not, thats fine too. Hope he’s good in bed.
Personally, in an effort to enjoy the process, I employ my fantasy of being the star of my own sitcom. I pretend that every scenario and person I encounter is another element of my show. Some roles grow in size, from co-star to series regular. Some roles get re-cast. And some plot-points get rewritten. Sometimes I even break the fourth wall and talk right into camera.
Whatever makes it fun and light. Because at the end of the day you’ll be old and grey, so drink alcohol. Wait, what was I writing about?
*Note: Blog advises on how to Keep Monogamy from Monotony within the first year, after which the blogger has no real life experience.