Dear future child*,
Right now I’m 27, which probably seems endlessly old to you, but I promise it’s not. In fact, writing this letter to you at all seems a bit presumptuous. What I know about love is so limited. What I know about lasting love is even less.
Hopefully by the time you read this I’ll have some years of good love under my belt and can give you all sorts of brilliant insights into how to make a relationship work. I’m sure by the time you read this I’ll shake my head at everything I thought I knew.
The first thing I know, maybe the main thing, is love shouldn’t hurt.
Oprah said this so you know it’s good, but I mean it. If you’re “in love” and he is hurting you– that’s not love.
No if ands or buts.
You can try to justify it all you want, I’ve been there before and done it with more drama than you can even imagine, and I’m here to tell you. Love should not hurt.
But! You say. The good times! When we’re good we’re so good!
And I say no. Love doesn’t hurt.
And also, how good are the good times, really? Are they just good in comparison to the bad times? When was the last time you had a really, genuinely good time?
Love doesn’t hurt.
Being treated poorly is not “part of the deal” or a consequence of passion or anything other than being treated poorly.
Another thing I know for certain: the things you care about as a teenager, the things that make someone a a great high school boyfriend, they have nothing to do with anything that matters.
How popular he is or how athletic he is or even how handsome and tall he is.
Throw those things out the window.
Those things stop mattering early on, if they ever truly did.
The things you should look for are kindness. And respect. And kindness again.
If a boy tells you he is unkind. Believe him.
If he shows you he is unkind believe him.
Walk away from people who hurt you. Don’t look back.
Truly, don’t look back. Don’t play that game. It never, ever ends well.
Don’t put yourself in a situation where you reduce yourself to begging for scraps of attention and love. Don’t put yourself in a position where you get 1% of what you want, simply because you “love” him.
Love doesn’t hurt, remember?
His favorite thing about you should not be your looks. He should make you feel beautiful, yes, and appreciate your beauty, but if his favorite thing is your looks he doesn’t see you.
If he’s uninterested in your work, uninterested in your opinions, this is not just a “boy/girl” “red/blue” “opposites attract” dynamic.
Ask yourself questions about your relationship.
How do you solve problems?
How and why do you fight?
Does he purposely try to hurt you?
Why are you with him?
The answer to the last question should never be “because I love him” and nothing else. Love doesn’t cover all manner of sins.
You should love him, but more importantly, you should like him.
And if you don’t–
You don’t need to think he’s perfect, but you need to think he’s a pretty good guy.
And if you don’t–
Also. You’re not going to like this. You’re going to say you’ve heard it and it’s not true. But I mean it, find someone who is your friend not just because they are your romantic partner.
Find someone who challenges you and makes you a better person and brings out the most you, you.
Someone you can spend calm time with.
Relationships need a lot of calm.
Calm doesn’t mean boring, either. Rethink that.
I love you, future child of mine. I love, you, I love you, I love you.
*Please change pronouns as necessary. I wrote from my personal experience.