20 Dating Mistakes I Made In My Twenties That I Wish My Mama Could Have Warned Me About
Now that I am in my 30s, sometimes I look back on life in my 20s and wonder what the heck I was doing. Between all of the things I’d like to say to my 25-year-old self and the crazy things I got up to, I almost can’t believe I survived back then. But the biggest thing I learned in my 20s was that being single is totally awesome… Though I admit that it took quite a few dating mistakes to get there.
Although I’m now happily married, it took kissing quite a few frogs to get there. Beyond that, dating in my 20s was complicated for a variety of reasons. I spent quite a few years dating people that weren’t right for me for a variety of reasons, including guys who didn’t want to “put a label on it,” guys that tried to convince me to do something that I wasn’t comfortable doing, and girls who just couldn’t commit. And when talking with friends of mine, I know that I wasn’t the only one to make more than one major dating mistake in my youth. From dating someone just because they are “boyfriend material” to staying in a relationship because you’re afraid to be alone, here are 20 dating mistakes we’ve all made in our 20s.
1. Being with someone who refuses to “put a label on it.”sasha11galina/Instagram
Sometimes, people are just sketchy AF when you first begin dating them. While it’s normal in our hookup culture today to not put a label on things for a while, eventually… it needs to happen. But when you’re in your 20s, you might end up dating someone who refuses to put a label on it for much longer than you should.
2. Dating someone who won’t commit to you, but swears they will… someday.rahe1_/Instagram
Similar to the person who refuses to “put a label on it” is the person who says they will commit at some point but isn’t there… yet. I was with someone like this for two years and it was probably one of the biggest dating mistakes I ever made. Seriously, if you want to commit to someone and they don’t want to commit to you, don’t wait around. If they aren’t sure yet, they’ll never be sure.
3. Staying with someone who is upset when you try to dump them, and swear they can change. And then they don’t. Again.naijasbutterflyclare/Instagram
Whether it’s a cheater or someone who isn’t making enough time for you, we’ve all made the grand mistake of being with someone who promises to change and then doesn’t. It might seem like a good idea to give them a chance once or even twice, but you can’t keep doing it because it will only drive you crazy. They won’t change. Move on, girl.
4. Dating someone simply because they seem like “boyfriend material.”supernovaa_cosmos/Instagram
Another mistake that I made in my 20s is dating someone that I thought would be good “boyfriend material.” This could mean someone that’s super cute or just someone that is really well put together but you kind of end up dating them just because they seem like a good idea even though your heart isn’t fully in it. Don’t do it.
5. Dating someone who is “good on paper.”twigguk/Instagram
The whole “boyfriend material” thing can extend and get even worse when you date the person who is “good on paper.” This is typically someone who seems like an ideal match for you, but you just aren’t attracted to them. Trust me when I say that it’s better to let them go than to try to date them for a month and a half only to decide in the end that you just can’t do it. Trust me.
6. Chasing after someone that you want to date… for too long.aai.indonesia/Instagram
Being in our 20s, we are still figuring out what we want. But we might also have a crush on someone that we think we want and end up chasing them for way too long. It happens to us all because crushes are hard to ignore, but at the same time, if it doesn’t happen then you need to let it go sooner than later.
7. Dating (and marrying) someone at a young age.lorelco.mulzac/Instagram
This was advice that I got from a friend who made the unfortunate mistake of getting married at the ripe old age of 22. Granted, not every young marriage ends in catastrophe, but many of them do. There’s a reason why so many of us are waiting longer to get married and, primarily, it’s because we are just too dumb and unsure of life at a young age to know what we want in a relationship, much less a marriage.
8. Thinking you’re going to marry the first guy you slept with.robert_minich/Instagram
This happens, but it’s pretty rare in today’s world. Although I have seen these kind of relationships work for some, I’m personally a fan of dating around a bit before settling down. The advantage of this is that it allows you to figure out what you want in a partner and what you want in the bedroom. At the same time, though, I definitely though I was going to marry my first boyfriend at some point. That was a huge mistake.
9. Changing your lifestyle dramatically for someone you want to date.nessie1722/Instagram
A friend of mine went vegan for the boy she was dating because he was smart, ambitious, and seemed like a great catch. Unfortunately, going vegan made her bloated and she ended up gaining a total of 30 pounds. It wasn’t a good look for her mostly because she was miserable and just couldn’t keep up. In your 20s, it’s easy to want to change for the people you love… but you should probably be smarter and make those changes for YOU, not for someone else.
10. Agreeing to do something you aren’t that comfortable with because you like someone.relationship_goals_moments/Instagram
The worst reason to do anything, as far as I am concerned, is because your partner is pushing you into this. Although this can happen with having a baby too soon (which is just TERRIBLE), it can also happen with smaller things like experimenting in bed. You just don’t want to go there.
11. Staying with someone who is uncomfortable with your unexpected weight gain.caitsgettingstronger/Instagram
Remember that friend of mine who gained weight after she converted to veganism for a boyfriend? Well, said boyfriend said she got “fat”. Thankfully, she was smart enough to dump him right away but it still impacted her self-esteem. If someone thinks your body isn’t good enough for them, then they aren’t good enough for YOU.
12. Breaking up with someone because you’re too similar.republicofsin/Instagram
Sometimes, in our 20s, we don’t know what we want in a date and we don’t know what we don’t want either. This can be really frustrating, especially because sometimes we end up breaking up with people who are actually quite similar to us… needlessly. We think that love should be more exciting instead, and make this disappointing mistake.
13. Dumping someone because they’re “boring” when, really, it’s just that you like the drama.federicacompagnini/Instagram
This is another mistake that a friend of mine has made and had to learn from. I’ve made it to, to be honest. I used to think that love should be super exciting and dramatic, and so I broke up with anyone that I thought was “boring” not realizing that really, I was the problem there.
14. Not knowing how to fall for the “nice guy.”koredrama.kpops/Instagram
I made this mistake many, many times in my 20s. In fact, I continued to make it all throughout my 20s until I finally met my husband a month after turning 30 years old. It’s crazy to think back now, but I used to think that nice guys really did finish last and that they weren’t for me. I don’t know what I was thinking, but it’s a mistake I wish I had never made because I missed out on being with some good people in my youth.
15. Ignoring the red flags when you’re dating someone new because they seem great.confite_canibal/Instagram
That guy that seems really exciting but is a bad tipper? Well, that’s a bummer. And it may not seem like a big deal at first, but his lack of generosity to wait staff may translate to many other relationships. It’s no wonder that I fell hard for my husband, who is not only the nicest guy I’ve ever met but also incredibly generous. That’s just one example of a tiny red flag and the kind of thing that many of us ignore when we’re dating someone.
16. Constantly putting the other person’s needs above your own.thoughtfulflutterings/Instagram
In my 20s, I made a lot of dating mistakes (as you can see on this list) but none was bigger than putting everyone else’s needs ahead of my own. This is actually a mistake that I am still trying to work on because, as a people-pleaser, it’s not easy to do. However, this is where the whole self-care trend comes in… Definitely a necessity, in our 20s and after.
17. Making compromises all the time for their benefit, but not asking for the same for yourself.ohhhlolo_/Instagram
Look, compromises in relationships are good and even necessary. However, you know what’s NOT good? Making compromises that benefit the other person, and never asking for the same in return. We all know that a compromise doesn’t necessarily mean that something is 50/50, but rather that someone gave in a bit more than the other person. Don’t be the one to give in a bit more all the time, please.
18. Being with someone because you don’t want to be alone.2am.regret/Instagram
I’ve seen many friends make this mistake: Stay in a relationship for much longer than they should have or simply date someone that they weren’t totally compatible with all because they were terrified of being alone. Look, being alone can be terrible, but it can also be great. In fact, learning to be alone is a vital part of growing up and coming into your own… So don’t stay in a relationship simply for the sake of having some company.
19. Not dating because you’re afraid to open up your heart.chrisstehm/Instagram
Another thing that some of us (cough, ME, cough) do is that we simply don’t date in our 20s. Okay, so I did technically date… But other than a couple of boyfriends earlier in my 20s, I generally kept myself off the market. This was because, as I realized later, I was terrified of opening up my heart because I was afraid of it getting hurt. In the end, though, I realized that this was a terrible reason not to date and I had to get out there again.
20. Never advocating for what you truly need in a relationship.msirinagonzalez/Instagram
It takes a lifetime to learn and put into practice, but advocating for your needs and wants in a relationship is key. In fact, advocating for yourself is one of the most important things you can do in life in general — with relationships and everything else for that matter, too. I’m lucky that my husband and I have become really good about this even before we met, and we continue to do this in our relationship now. In fact, sometimes he has to push me to advocate for myself… and I’m always grateful for it because the truth of the matter is that the only way you will get something you want or need is to speak up. After all, your partner can’t read your mind and know that you want roses once a month, but they can certainly do it if you ask them.
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