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We’ve all been there. When the “newly single” excitement wears off and we realize we still have our old bad habits. The realization happens after dating two or three shitty people in a row that all seemed “different” but all ended up exactly the same.

We don’t notice it until we’re sitting with our friends having literally the exact same conversation about needing “someone who has their shit together” or “someone who isn’t scared of commitment” two weeks in a row about two different people. You know it’s bad when your bestie stops you midsentence to ask “Wait are you still talking about Jake or David?  yikes.

So we sit down and write a list of the things we really need in a relationship. What does a great partner look like. Maybe we might create a list of “How I want to feel in a relationship” for the more evolved women. I have a notebook full of these lists.

(Hopefully – after reading this you’ll never want to do that again.)

Relationships fail when we create rules and expectations. Those rules are often disguised as “needs” and “wants”. Don’t worry – there’s a better way to get to the same result.

  • I want someone creative
  • I need someone who loves me unconditionally
  • I need to feel fully supported
  • I need someone who’s open and honest
  • I need someone who deals with my crazy family
  • etc.

Without these rules we feel like we would let someone walk all over us, take advantage of our love and break our heart. It’s a well-meaning effort to find a relationship that is healthy and fulfilling. But it isn’t fixing the real issue.

The problem isn’t that you can’t trust other people. It’s that you don’t trust yourself.

We create these rules to ensure that we don’t let bad relationships slip past the gatekeepers of common sense and rationality when we are caught up in the throbbing chemistry experiment of new love.

But common sense and rationality aren’t the voices you need to listen to. They work with the information that they. That info often says “there’s no reason NOT to date this guy, I guess”.

It’s your intuition that’s always spot on. It can see and feel things that won’t become rational for another six months.

Too many people beat themselves up by asking “How could I have not known? or “Why was I such a blind idiot?” “How did I miss all the red flags?” Because the flags didn’t show up for a year and a half. It’s not your fault for not seeing them.

The better question is “Why didn’t I listen to my intuition?”

We listen to our rational brain and it fails us, but our intuition is always right. ALWAYS.

We have been trained to analyze every interaction and text conversation to make sure the relationship is “working”. We need to justify that sense that things “just doesn’t feel right”. Why? There’s no need to overanalyze when you trust that your gut feels something you can’t see (yet).

Everything changes when you start listening to your gut intuition and start acting intelligently – not just rationally. Emotional intelligence is saying:

“this guy is amazing on paper – he checks all the boxes on my list – but he feels kind of dodgy. I’m out. No explanation needed.”

I believe having a list of criteria is important. But not a list of rules that a relationship needs to follow. A list of promises that you make and keep for yourself.

The way to build self-confidence and self-trust is to make small promises to yourself. And keep them!

Seriously, fortheloveofgod, keep those promises.

Here are a couple of my most recent promises to myself.

I promise:

  • not to date anyone who relies on texting to communicate – call me, yo.
  • to occasionally question my assumptions
  • to always make my own plans for life and then be flexible to fit with someone else’s
  • to never prioritize convenience over awesomeness
  • to accept that I can’t fix everything
  • to say things that are awkward
  • to say things that are important even if they hurt feelings
  • to ask myself “is this really important” before nagging. And to nag if the answer is “yes”.
  • to expect better sex. And ask for it in detail.
  • to say “i don’t know”
  • to accept that not everyone needs to get along
  • to know the difference between being hurt and not getting my way
  • to love myself first
  • to get out of a relationship early
  • to get back in a relationship if it was right
  • to surround myself with people and things that make me feel
  • to eat chocolate even when I feel chubby
  • to take responsibility for my own life