Welcome back! If you read my last article, you already know that romance isn't my strong suit: my personal experience with it is minimal, and the last time I "dated" a guy was in 8th grade. And yes, I'm still chronically single and handing out free relationship advice. Even so, my friends still love to come to me for advice and according to them, I'm pretty good at it. So, while I still can't manage to listen to my own suggestions, hopefully, they work for you.

Step 3: The Honeymoon Phase

Last week, I gave you tips to become a master flirt and when to DTR (define the relationship). But what happens after that? If you're successful, you'll find yourself in The Honeymoon phase. In the beginning of every relationship, everyone is still wearing rose-colored glasses, and it's hard to see the flaws in your new love. For a brief moment, everything seems perfect. The old saying proves to be true, every time: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. This is not to say that your new boo is not an amazing person! As fun as the Honeymoon phase is, it is equally important to remember that your significant other is only human: they will make mistakes, they do have flaws, and they will almost certainly make you mad.


A Song for when you're ready to take the rose-colored glasses off www.youtube.com

The true test of a relationship's strength is making it past the lovey-dovey honeymoon phase. Accepting your partner, flaws and all is the most important takeaway. The more comfortable you and your partner get with each other, the more honest your relationship can become.

Step 4: When Things Get Real

With honesty comes a whole new set of problems. Getting to know your partner is great, and clearly the goal of being in a relationship in the first place. While there are amazing benefits to relationships and many happy memories to be made, there is a specific issue that couples usually face.

Contrary to popular belief, opposites only attract to some extent. As society becomes more diverse, so do our relationships. Chances are, your partner is of a different, race, gender, religion, political standing, or even a combination of multiple factors. The way we all view the world (and relationships) varies. While you may expect good morning messages every day, your partner may feel they are a waste of time. This doesn't make your partner inconsiderate, but rather someone with different expectations and opinions about how a relationship should function. Differences in expectations can lead to a lot of arguments about communication, sex, and quality time. While most of these arguments can be resolved by effective communication, there are situations where you and your partner may be too different.

Step 5: Letting Go

You're not going to marry every person you date. While DTR can lead to exclusivity, it doesn't define longevity. Breakups happen and they are very common. Each breakup is different, and some are more traumatic than others. Whether you're the one doing the breaking up, or the one being broken up with, breakups suck. There are a lot of reasons to leave a relationship, and there are too many for me to go into detail. But, one of the biggest things that make breakups so hard is codependency.

Loving your partner and relying solely on your partner are very different things. When you find yourself constantly depending on your partner, it's time to take a step back. Think of it like a Venn Diagram: a healthy relationship should have a small amount of overlap. Relationships become toxic when one circle completely takes over the other. We all know how annoying and concerning it is when your friend seemingly disappears after getting into a relationship, so don't be that person. Remaining a complete individual separate from your partner can help soften the blow from a breakup, at least a little bit.

I've seen so many of my friends lose their self-confidence after a breakup and it hurts me to see. Rejection is not easy, especially when it is from someone you love. It is important to remember that you are more than your relationship status. It can be disheartening to feel like you've "failed" at love.

Take comfort knowing that you're not alone: whatever you're going through, there's bound to be at least one other person who's going through the same thing.

Hopefully, my advice helps. If not, here's a quote from my Mom that may give you more insight:

"If they were so great and it still ended this way, then imagine how much better the person who's meant for you will be." Cheesy, but effective. Thanks, Mom.

Whether you're single or taken, love is messy. Just remember that we are more than our relationship status.

Keep it cute.