We’ve all said ‘I wish I knew then what I know now’ at one time or another in regards to the hard lessons we have had to learn in life. My late grandma used to joke about how I never took advice and always insisted on learning the hard way, and boy, was she right. If I had just listened to even ONE of her warnings in regards to men my life would have been very different!
I’ve decided to put together this list of things I wish I knew about love as a teen so that any mums out there or anyone who has a teenage girl can forward it to her, and just hope she reads it. I have a young 20 year old sister who is learning the hard way too, so it may fall on deaf ears but at least you can say you tried, right?
- There’s a 90% Chance He’s Not ‘The One’
I know you feel like this man-boy is the only person you will ever love again in your entire life, maybe because you lost your virginity to him or you have been with him for longer than you have been with anyone else, but I assure you, he will be one of many. One of the things you learn in life as a woman, especially a girl who is a bit boy crazy like I was, is that you are able to connect with and love many people in your lifetime. There is not just one person out there for you, there are several really good matches. It may feel like the absolute end of the world for you when it ends, but the quicker you learn how to bounce back, the better. Because this WILL happen again, and each time you grow stronger and are better able to articulate and work out what it is you actually want and need in an adult partner.
2. Don’t Quit Your Job Or School For A Man – ALWAYS HAVE YOUR OWN MONEY!
No matter how important and all-consuming your relationship feels right now, please, don’t ever give up school or quit your job for a man. When I was in high school, I left in Year 11 because I had moved in with my wealthy boyfriend and decided I didn’t need to finish my last year. I signed up to TAFE to do a Cosmetology diploma, and didn’t even completely finish that because the same boyfriend wanted to go to London and see Guns and Roses live, and it was happening around the time of the last exams. I chose travel and my boyfriend over my education. Sure, I had an overseas experience but of course that relationship didn’t last and I had massively narrowed my job prospects. I then finally went back to Uni years later and quit again because my partner at the time convinced me that he wanted me to run his business instead – and that was disastrous because he was, lets just say, less than honest in his dealings. I regret not finishing my studies and going to Uni (TWICE!), even though it has worked out for me in terms of life experience. My life experience is now a tool to help young woman like you, so I can tell you to PLEASE not throw your future and job prospects away for a man. Ever. You can still go to school and focus on your career and have a boyfriend if you want to. Your life and career is what is most important. Trust me. Even if you end up getting married and just think you’re going to be a housewife and that’s it – there is still a high chance of divorce and then what are you going to do? It sounds like a negative view but it is a realistic one. You need to consider all future possibilities to protect yourself. ALWAYS have your own account and cash just in case shit goes sour, I promise you it makes all the difference.
3. You Don’t Have To Have Sex To Keep A Man
The first person you have sex with is going to stay with you in your brain, forever. Losing your virginity should be a very carefully made decision. Mine was taken by force, but I still chose to make my decision carefully for the person who eventually would be allowed to do that to me, and you should too. No matter what anybody says or how they try to make you feel, you are NEVER obligated to sleep with a guy. So not let a man guilt trip you into sexual activities. If you are with someone who is pressuring you to have sex, they are the wrong guy for you. Also, keep alcohol drinking to a minimum, and watch your drinks CAREFULLY. If you are drunk or your drink is spiked (which happens more often than you might think) you are more likely to do things you would not have consented to when sober and this could cause a whole heap of mental health issues for you later on. Respect your body and your boundaries, beautiful.
4. Don’t Rush To Have Babies and Get Married
Babies are amazing. If I could have ten more, I totally would. BUT – they are definitely something that you want to have with the right person, when you have already established a career and a long term partner. Babies change everything, your body, your finances, your entire way of living and even thinking. Travel the world, grow as a person and get yourself into a stable position financially and mentally before you take that step.
That being said, accidental pregnancies do happen, so if that is the case, everything still stands. Stick it out with schooling as much as possible and don’t just rely on the father to take care of everything. Make sure you always have your own source of income and support, for both you and the baby’s sake. Of course, it’s better to just avoid this (and a mountain of STD’s) if you just use a condom. See my previous post about STD’s here
5. You Will Both Change So Much
You don’t realise this in your teens and early 20’s, but you will not be the same person in ten years, you may not even be attracted to the same kind of people. When I was a teenager I loved lean guys with blonde long hair and blue eyes (google the band ‘Hanson’ haha), but now I like big solid guys with dark hair and beards. Your wants and needs change, and until you know yourself a bit better, you won’t know what you want. Don’t rush into marriage and babies, there is no reason to. You and your partner will change a lot. I personally don’t think anyone should be allowed to get married until they’ve turned 30 or have been together for at least 3 years!
6. Don’t Ignore Warning Signs
It’s very easy to miss warning signs and red flags when you haven’t yet experienced abuse, or even more so when you have! Men who try and distance you from your friends and family, are overly jealous and possessive, put you down or flirt with other women are men you should avoid at all costs. It’s not just you, you’re not crazy and you need to trust your intuition. Situations that don’t feel right, usually aren’t. You are allowed to wear what you want to wear, think what you want to think and say what you want to say. The moment you let a man tell you what you can and can’t do, is the moment you start a possible spiral into being abused for the rest of your adult life. Do not let it get to that point.
If you are reading this and you are a young woman struggling to navigate the world of love and dating, I really implore you to join my facebook group and ask for any support you need from me and the many women on there like you
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