I used to think I wasn’t qualified to offer any advice on romantic relationships simply based on the fact that all of my romantic relationships have been failures.  But then a thought, completely steeped in logic, occurred to me: 

Almost every relationship is a failure.

Sound cynical?

Not in the least. 

Hope always triumphs over experience when it comes to relationships.  

How many of you are still in an LTR or married to the first person you had an LTR with? 

Maybe there are a few high school sweetheart-types hanging on to the dream or living in some sort of bliss not attainable by those of us who view life as a buffet. 

How many of you are multiple LTR failures?  Divorcees?  Multiple divorcees?

I’m a three-time LTR failure, so even if I knock the next one out of the park, I’m batting .250.  That’s not Hall of Fame material, but when I look back over my dating life, I would tell the younger version of myself a couple things.

Have more patience with yourself.  Be glad you didn’t physically peak early—awkward phases are just phases.  I only know what I know, but growing into myself and getting more attractive with age is great.  I wouldn’t trade it for being a hot 19 year old that all the dudes want.  Of course never being the pretty one was terrible 20 years ago, but the fact of the matter was I let myself feel undesirable.  And now I know that the hot 19 year olds weren’t as happy as I thought they were.  Had I made more of an effort to love myself, others may have followed my lead.  Or at the least, I would have been happier and more confident.

Quit trying to date the cool, hot guy.  We’re all just messes of insecurity and anxiety when you break it down to the bare facts.  They are just as scared as you are.  Nobody likes rejection.  I was once dating a guy so cool and hot, when we were out people would say things like, “You two look like an Abercrombie ad.” 

That was a compliment back in those days.

The cool, hot guy and I initially met at a bar, one of those moderately dive bars that dudes liked to frequent to get away from the ball and chain, play pool, and watch NASCAR and football.  I deplore NASCAR.  I understand there is much skill and stamina involved in being able to operate a vehicle in that manner.  I also find watching advertising spinning around in circles for hours on end insipid. 

As I walked into that bar, super skinny and tan, wearing one of the world’s shortest dresses, the cool, hot guy was on me like white on rice. 

He immediately started talking about himself.  And then NASCAR.

As bored as I was, my heart was like, “Don’t miss out on the cool, hot guy.”

So we dated for a while, which could probably best be described as wasting time.  My brain finally took over when, mid-thrust, he asked, “Aren’t you going to tell me how good-looking I am?”

We are all just messes of insecurity and anxiety. 

Date the dorks.  The musicians in the marching band might not have as good a drugs as the guitar guys, but they are far more likely to show up on time and have better earning potential in the long run.  As old and boring as it sounds, that advice may have saved me heartache and bail money.  Plus, you never have to feel guilty about your Star Wars (Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, anime, whatever your thing is) fandom around a dork.  Early on in one of my LTRs, I found out my partner didn’t like Star Wars.  He went so far as to refer to the films as “generally boring.”  At that moment, I knew we would never work out.  My brain was telling me to run hard and fast.  My guts were all twisted up, scared and sad that I was sleeping with someone who never contemplated if he was more of a Han, Luke, or Vader. 

So what does it all boil down to? 

Trust your instincts.  That whole idea about the heart wanting what the heart wants may have a bit of truth to it, if you are an emotionally healthy person who is with an emotionally healthy partner.  But if you’re someone who attracts chaos or likes to surround yourself with unhealthy people to minimize your own issues, the heart cannot be trusted. 

This isn’t a proposition not to feel, so please don’t have that be your takeaway.  Being able to explore your emotions makes you human.  Feel, baby, feel!  Just trust your gut, you’re a lot smarter than you think you are.