Love is tough. People say that all the time but it always seems more than worth it when you’re in the moment with that guy that you’ve been lusting over for months who finally noticed you. In that moment, all the advice you’ve been given and all your past experiences float away. You’re happy. You hope you stay that way. You never do.
And that’s the truth. You have choices of course. People who wind up getting married are not perfect for each other. They didn’t meet their ‘soul mate’ and know at once that this was the person they are supposed to marry.

Unless you’re a mystic or a gypsy or you contain absolutely no ability to reason, you can’t possibly believe that. That myth was founded by hopeless romantics, passed down over the years through romance novelists and greeting card companies, and spewed out by religious zealots who want you to get married to the first person you date, have babies and live happily ever after. News flash: Life is NOT perfect and love carries even greater imperfections.

You might be thinking, Ashley is the most pessimistic person ever – In actuality, I’m not. I tend to see the good things in people. However, I’m not blind to the fact that no two people are exactly the same and because of this, I see the inevitable conflicts that arise in relationships. But you have a choice. You always have a choice about how to behave and how to feel. I think you should go into a relationship with your eyes open. Love is not flowers and chocolates and romance. Love is not puppies and butterflies. Here is my guide for how to ’emotionally’ go into a new relationship:

1. Don’t get your hopes up. If this guys ends up being great, then wonderful, congratulations. He deserves a pat on the back and quite possibly, a blow job. If it doesn’t work out and you end up finding out he’s a pot smoking pervert with no job that still lives at home with his mom at age 33, you won’t have gotten yourself all excited that this could be the one. Keep your wits; don’t put too much faith in the unknown.

2. Don’t be clingy. It’s like the basic rule for anybody with an addiction. If you do something constantly, like lets say, hang out or constantly think about your new boyfriend, if it all the sudden up and disappears, it will hurt. It will be hard. It will suck. That’s why in the beginning, keep your distance. It takes time to truly get to know someone so until you do, don’t put all your eggs in one basket because if that basket breaks, all you have left is a mess. If you put one egg in at a time, over time you will have made a more emotionally sound basket less likely to break.

3. Keep quiet. When you meet a guy, it’s a natural reaction to want to tell the world how happy you are. I would advise against this. Wait until you know what you have with this person is special and possibly long-lasting before you go jumping the gun and telling everyone you know. If he stops calling you after your third date, it’s a lot easier to chalk it up to bad luck and move on than to have to keep reliving the situation when your friends, family, etc. continually ask you when the wedding is.

4. Be positive. If your new love interest messes up, don’t automatically kick him to the curb. If you end up getting into any sort of long term relationship, he is bound to mess up LOADS of times and so will you. Everybody has flaws, even somebody you were hoping to be Mr. Right. Mr. Right will never be Mr. Perfect. There is no perfect man. The two words shouldn’t even be in the same sentence because they are so contradictory. Take chances but don’t compromise yourself.

5. Don’t be a phony. I was watching Sex and the City last night and it was the episode where Miranda told a guy that she was a stewardess instead of a lawyer. Turns out, he lied to her too and told her he was an ER doctor as opposed to a retail store assistant manager. They ended up liking each other a lot but because of the lies, they couldn’t let their relationship progress. Sometimes we feel inadequate. When we get into new relationships this feeling can consume us and we can make up things about ourselves to make us sound more interesting and desirable. Just like there’s no Mr. Right, there’s no Miss Right either. Don’t live a lie because it will only leave you living alone.

A guest post contributed by Ashley

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