For women, there’s no shortage of relationship advice.
Walk into your local library or bookstore and you’ll find a whole section of books titled “Not Tonight, Mr. Right”; “He’s Just Not That Into You”; “Be Honest, You’re Not That Into Him Either”; “Dating Up: Dump the Schlump and Find a Quality Man” ; “The 30-Day Heartbreak Cure”; “Good Girls Guide to Bad Girl Sex” and our favorite “Think Like a Lady and Act Like a Man”.
[Full disclosure: Surveying my own bookshelf for those titles, I’m aware that therapy would have been cheaper.]
Beyond books, there are magazines, blogs, television shows, single friends, engaged classmates, married cousins, divorced aunts, ex-boyfriends, nosy neighbors and well-meaning mothers all ready to give you advice – both solicited and non-solicited.
However, just because there are a surplus of books with often contradicting and/or redundant information, or people who give you advice without realizing their life is one you thank God you’re not living, there are some gems out there.
Every now and then, I get some relationship advice that really resonates with me.
If I had to list the best relationship advice I ever got, I would be hard pressed to list them all, but I can think of two examples.
A few years ago, I was telling my friend how I was stuck in a merry-go-round with a particular guy. “It’s been two years”, I complained. She responded: “Two years is better than two years and a day.”
It was like a lightbulb went off! Here I was moaning and groaning about how I wasted the past two years of my life and she pointed out such an obvious truth. There is nothing I could do about the time I wasted, but in that moment I discovered that I could resolve not to waste another day.
I took her advice in that situation and, now, every time I want to complain about the time I wasted on something, I remember her “and a day” comment. There is nothing we can do about the past except move on from it and refuse to let the past be the future. I hate wasted time, but I can’t combat that hate by wasting even more time.
Another piece of advice was given to me recently: “Don’t compare your relationship with anyone else’s.”
It was basic advice given to me in conversation during my wedding weekend. My friend was a newlywed at the time and she told me “It’s weird because you’re going to want to look at other people’s marriages and compare it to your own. Don’t. Everyone is different and their relationships are different.”
Normally, I would have dismissively filed that away in things-I-already-know but, for some reason, that conversation has stuck with me. I remember it every time I launch into comparison mode subconsciously – which is more often than I care to admit.
As a newlywed, I tend to look at what other married women around me are doing to judge if I’m doing the “wife thing” correctly. I actually think that’s beneficial because I can learn a lot by observing. However, if I begin to compare, I undoubtedly come away feeling guilty like I’m not meeting up to some arbitrary “wife” standard or feeling resentful because I’m doing more than someone else’s wife. Guilt and resentment are not productive feelings.
There is a difference between observing and comparing. I’m grateful that a friend felt the need to warn me about this, so when I feel a mental comparison session coming on, I can shut it down.
Of course, I’ve also gotten other great relationship advice from various venues, sprinkled in with absolutely horrid advice, but that won’t help anyone.
What about you? What’s the best relationship advice you’ve ever received? Sound off below!
Follow Alissa Henry on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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