The Ultimate Guide For Dating In Your 20s (That I Really Wish I Would’ve Followed)


I love love. I love everything about it. I love how it causes people to do unthinkable things. I’m obsessed with the power it exudes. Most of all, I can’t get enough of how it’s the closest thing we have to magic. I’ve had many-a-boyfriends come and go. (Okay, really only two and a kind-of fling, but whatever, you’re catching my drift.) So, I thought I’d write about what I’ve learned from each situation.

Boyfriend A: The Manipulator

Now, boyfriend A and I had probably the worst relationship I’ve ever had. It was manipulative, hard, from a distance, and overall I felt the lowest I’ve ever felt with this person. When it comes to dating manipulative significant others in relationships, this is all I have to say: Get out now. They can’t change, they won’t change, and you will never be able to change them.

I learned this the hard way, and I’m passing it on to you in hopes that you won’t end up changing half of your personality before and after the relationship ends; even when they beg you to stay when you try and break it off. They’ll tell you everything you want to hear, and they won’t follow through with it. If that voice in your head is telling you it’s not right, 99.9% of the time it’s not. These are the kind of people that change you and you don’t even realize it.

How-to spot the ever-so-sneaky manipulator:

1. Your friends and family don’t like him/her.
2. You find yourself thinking before you do, well, anything.
3. You change how you would normally do something in order to please your significant other, or to avoid a fight with your significant other.
4. They pick fights over the stupidest, most irrelevant things to make you feel bad about yourself.
5. Overall, your self confidence and self-esteem is very low. (in order to make themselves feel better).
6. Nothing you do is ever good enough for them.
7. They pick apart things that make you, you.

Reading this you might think, ‘how could anyone ever stay with someone who does these things?’ Well the answer is simple; love. Love is powerful in the sense that it can mask reality and make you think on the brighter side of things. It can make things appear better than they actually are. In reality though, being with a manipulator will never make you happy. You will always be waiting for prince charming to appear and; spoiler alert! He never will.

Boyfriend B: The Long Distance Lover

Now before I get into this, let me just start by saying that long distance relationships can work. In my experience, they never have, but I’ve seen them work.

My advice to you in this category would be to make sure you and your partner are on the same page. So often, long distance relationships start out as a fun, spur of the moment thing because you get so caught up in the moment and the passion that lures you into the relationship. Especially when you’re starting long distance, it’s important to do the following:

Long Distance Relationship Starter Kit:

1. Discuss the end-goal of your relationship right off the bat. Will they move to your city? Will you move to theirs? How long will this remain long distance? Do either of you have plans to move to be closer to one another?
2. Discuss how committed you both are to the relationship. Long distance relationships require a ton of communication and a ton of time.
3. Can you both afford a long distance relationship? These relationships are exoensive. Between flights/gas/missing time from work, it adds up, and fast.
4. Try and set an end date, if possible. No, not an end date to the relationship, and end date towards the “distance” part of the relationship.

Alright, let me just say that I didn’t do either of the four things I just listed above, and my relationship failed. Like went down the toilet. If I’d had this discussion in the first week, let’s just say that 6 months down the road, we wouldn’t have broken up over the fact that neither of us wanted to move to each other’s towns, and I wouldn’t have had to drive eight hours back to my city after it ended. Not the best drive, lemme tell ya. Lots of Taylor Swift.

If your relationship started in the same city but is going long distance:

1. Set an end date. Say you both have 4 years of college, you’ll know that the end date would be four years from when you say your goodbyes. This way, you have something to look forward to.
2. Make set times/days of the week to talk on the phone/Facetime/Skype. Always follow through with these and maintain them. They’re your date nights.
3. Put in equal effort to make the trips to see one another.
4. Surprise one another; whether that be with a surprise in the mail, (mixed CD, their favorite candy, a love letter, etc.) or just showing up at the other person’s door. One of the most challenging things in long distance relationships is feeling needed/loved.
5. Learn how to use your words. If you’re not the best at verbal appreciation or verbal communication, now’s the time to step it up. It’s all you’ve got for the x amount of time you’re apart.

Long distance relationships are hard, but often so worth it. Even if it doesn’t work out, in my experience, it’s one of the easier breakups you’ll go through because your life remains the same despite a texting/facetime buddy everyday, especially if it started long distance. All it takes to have a successful long distance relationship is a plan, communication, and dedication to one another.

Boyfriend C: What is communication?

Being in a working, functioning relationship now, I can tell you that every relationship is doomed if the communication isn’t there. Now, a lot of the time, it’s neither parties fault on the lack of communication, it’s just a simple understanding that your forms of communication do not register or make sense to the other partner. Basically, you’re not compatible in the communicating world. You might be compatible everywhere else, but not here. This can be changed, but it takes work from both parties to get it there. I, unfortunately, was with someone who made zero effort to change that, and quite frankly, over the years I’ve learned that I need to date someone who is sensitive and can talk openly about emotions with comfort.

How to tell when your communication isn’t lining up:

1. You constantly feel like you’re trying to pull something out of the other person.
2. You constantly feel let down or like you’re doing all the work.
3. You can’t figure out why there’s chemistry everywhere else, but your conversations only go surface level.

Now, some of this might have to do with the fact that this person is shy, so it’ll take some digging to get it out. In other situations, this person is perfectly fine with staying on the surface level, so digging will not get you anywhere. In this case, it’s best to figure out whether you want to deal with that the rest of your life, or try and find someone who will go deeper in conversations.

One of my favorite things to do to understand a partner better is to take the Meyers-Briggs Personality test. This will tell you not only more about yourself and how you act in relationships, but also more about your partner and how they act in relationships. Basically, it explains why you do things the way you do. You can take the test here:

I highly encourage you and your partner to take the test. It will open a lot of doors in your relationship. (Shout-out to all my fellow INFJ’s out there!) Another thing that can help if communication isn’t lining up, is figuring out which of the five love languages you are. Everybody speaks one of the five, and every person needs their partner to speak theirs in order to feel loved. Sometimes, you have to learn how to speak another love language specifically for your partner, but it makes a world of difference. To take that test, you can go here:

(Words of Affirmation, please stand up!)

Relationships are work, but are one of the best things in life. Having someone there for you when you don’t even want to be there for yourself, is a very special thing. I hope this helped you in some sort of way.