“What I Know Now” is created by Chrisina Vuleta, the founder of the excellent website 40:20Vision.com, where forty somethings share all the things “they wish they’d known then” with 20-somethings. May we all grow happily older AND wiser.
The other week I shared a story here about the importance of not losing yourself in a relationship. “Stay true to yourself” is a healthy relationship truism – but sometimes it’s hard to do in real life. What is the line between being true to “you” and being in a true partnership? After all, there is a natural desire to please the one that we love.
But we have to separate pleasing another with knowing our own boundaries. It’s one thing to support your partner’s dreams and to understand their weaknesses…it’s another for their weaknesses to chip away at our own strengths. 40-something women agree, if you twist yourself into a pretzel – bending to his needs and interests over yours – it can only end with a loss of respect on both sides. So how do you avoid getting the bends? It all starts with building a healthy mindset around dating …and not falling prey to the self-doubt traps. These five women shared with me what they learned about building a strong self of self while dating in their twenties.
“The biggest attraction is being yourself. If you don’t care what he thinks, then you will be more comfortable being yourself when you are around him. Then he can only fall in love with the real you.” – 40-something, divorced in her 20s, engaged, marketing exec, 44, LA
“Confidence really is sexy. Don’t worry so much about what men think is sexy or what they like. Do you know what men like? They like women. A guy is not thinking about that spot on your thigh. We are so inundated with media about what is sexy we focus on what we don’t have. But I know now that men want what I have. They just do. It doesn’t’ require a lot of effort. That’s just the way it is. I don’t think it has much to do with anything else. Unfortunately. When you stop worrying about what you think men want and focus on what you want – then you can pick and choose. – 40-something, fashion designer, wife, mom, Brooklyn, NY
“Let a guy be a guy. Being independent doesn’t mean never letting a guy take care of you. Let him make you feel like a woman. If he wanted to date a man he would date a man. You …are a woman. Respect that you are both human beings but you have different parts and make ups.” – 40-something, wife, mom, philanthropist, Los Angeles, CA
“Don’t panic. The first time one of your friends gets married in your 20s, there is an underlying state of panic. It’s best to be the first of your friends getting married or the last…because then you know you are doing it for the right reason. For my friends, and me the big year was 25. The age may be a little later today — but just make sure you are doing it on your timeline not your friends timeline.” – 40-something, executive, wife, mom, Los Angeles, CA
“You didn’t do anything wrong.” In your twenties you question everything you do when you are dating. It was so hard. You ask yourself, “What are they going to think?” You wonder, “Why didn’t call?” Now it’s, “What did that text mean?” But it’s all about, “What did I do wrong?” You didn’t do anything wrong. They just didn’t like you. Same with women…some guys you don’t want to go out with again. Period. It didn’t mean they did something wrong.” – 40-something, wife, mother, Cleveland, OH
Thanks for the 40-something perspective. The first step to staying true to yourself is tuning into yourself – what you think, want and love about you.
Chrisina Vuleta is the founder of 40:20Vision.com, where forty somethings share all things "they wish they'd known then" with 20-somethings. She's on a mission to give 20-somethings a head start on making decisions that are right for them. No more woulda, coulda, shoulda. Follow her on Twitter @4020vision.
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