Let’s be real, dating sucks sometimes. Other times, it’s wonderful! Falling in love is intoxicating, exciting, and well….FUN! But with more ups and downs than the worlds largest roller coaster, finding “the one worth putting a ring on it” can be all but emotionally draining! I’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt and the healed scars on my heart to prove it! Below, are some of lessons learned that helped me get to where I am now: happy in my relationship, but even more critical, happy with myself.

God Bless The Gal Who Has Her Own. How many times have we seen grown women who have the world at their fingertips today, but are all but destitute tomorrow all because they were depending on the love of a man to feed, house, and clothe them? It’s a situation all too common among able body, potentially fabulous women. Take the time to assess and value your intellect and talents. Use them to become independently successful! Dancing, singing, writing, party planning, or fashion; consider returning to school to hone your skills in whatever you’re good at! When you’re able to stand on your own two feet, you have your own staying power. Even more importantly, If things are to go awry (which they most times do at least once in your life time), you’re not at the mercy of your ex partner to stay afloat.

Look Like What You’re Looking For In A Significant Other. You are smart, you are fabulous, you are gorgeous and you deserve the best. But, if you aren’t showing off all that fabulous, brainy, gorgeousness with a cherry on top, how the heck are you expecting to bag someone with those exact same qualities? If you’re looking for an athletically fit partner, who is financially secure and educated, expect that he or she may be looking for for the same thing! It can be straining on a relationship when both partners aren’t on the same page or at least in the same book, when it comes to lifestyle choices and intellect. Put your best foot forward and keep your eyes peeled for other feet as fantastic as yours! 😛

Don’t Ever Give Up Your Goods and Services At a Discount Rate. Goods and Services, Cash and Prizes, Grace and Mercy, whatever you refer to as “the deed”, should be regarded as valuable. At the end of the day, there is sex everywhere to be had but there is only one YOU. Treat your body, your sensuality, your gift, like it’s priceless (because it is)! He may be nice, he may be showering you with gifts, he may be wining and dining you, but what you’re working with should be appreciated, respected, protected at all costs, because it’s that damn good. Don’t give up the cookies until he’s done all but scaled the side of Mt.Everest to prove that he’s worthy of your love below.

Don’t Ever Allow A Man (or Woman) to Define What’s Beautiful and/or Special About You. Way back when your girl was on the dating scene, she went out on a few dates with a really sexy, slightly older, cop dude. Yes y’all…lol! At first, we hit it off really well, but then I started noticing that he’d be stingy with the compliments and would block the hell out of compliments that other people would make about me! Once while waiting to be seated at dinner, a waitress complimented my shoes. Deputy Douchebag pipes up “They look aight” and rolled his eyes o_O. As dinner progressed, I started to get bored and found myself admiring my reflection in the window next to our table. “You really think highly of yourself, don’t you?” he bitterly commented, “We’re gonna have to change that.” AW HELL NAWL! CHECK PLEASE!!! That was the last time I went out with him! lol! I’m saying this to say that it’s important to find someone who recognizes how beautiful you are and would gladly head any “My Baby is Stunning Inside and Out” campaigns if you needed him or her to.

If He’s Not Right For You, Let Him Go So Your Hands Are Free To Grab On To Whatever Blessings God Does Have For You. As women, most of us are naturally nurturing and will stay until the bitter, dirty end because we don’t want to disappoint or hurt the person we’re miserably with. If it is not a healthy realtionship and you are not spiritually and emotionally content, you should let go. God has better for you. It may not even be a man at the moment! It may be a better job, it may be a nicer home, it may be a college degree, whatever it is, it is surely better than fighting for something that’s not yours to have or keep anyway.

Find Someone Who’s Stupid Enough To Love You, But Smart Enough To Never Let You Go. As awesome as you are, you’re not perfect. There are some qualities that we all possess that drive our significant others up the wall. But, what makes them worth the wait, worth the fight, worth the tears, is the fact that they love us in spite of our shortcomings, idiosyncrasies, and downright bad habits.

Accept, But Never Settle. The perfect man or woman does not exist. If you find him or her, let me know, I’d like to interview them. With that said, you shouldn’t be forced to settle for disrespect, emotional unavailability, or abuse, just because that’s what the other person is willing to dish out. Learn to accept people for who they are, but let them go if they are not what you’re looking for.