9 Things Your Mom Should Have Taught You About Relationships

Relationships should come with a manual.

But they don’t! What I’ve learned about having a successful romantic relationships, I’ve learned the hard way.

Why didn’t someone teach us more?

RelationshipSchoolOne would think our mother would teach us a little more about how to keep a romance going strong. Maybe yours did. Maybe you’re like me. My mom really hasn’t had a successful romance that I know of. So, how could she teach me about one?

The sad part is, when it comes to learning interpersonal skills, most of us look to our mothers for guidance. Everything you read-from Cosmo to scholarly articles-will tell you that most women are better suited to these skills.

We are born nurturers to some extent.
We take care of those around us.
We have an almost biological drive to help.

Sometimes these traits help us. Many times they hinder us.

How can I help you?

I won’t try to cover the huge range of the whole gender debate on relationships. I don’t think I could even begin to formulate an unbiased thought on that topic even under threat of death!

What I can do for you today is lay out some things I have learned in my many romantic failures.

Some were gentle.

Some were failures of epic proportions!

But each and every one taught me a valuable lesson.

Here are 9 things that I wish my mother had taught me about relationships while I was younger.

1  Relationships are Hard Work. There is no “happily ever after”.
Fairy tales can really screw up our perceptions of how love should be. Happily ever after is a myth. You will get angry. He or She will hurt your feelings. Both of you might even cry tears that are not joyful. This is where the hard work begins. Be prepared for it. Don’t run from it. Anything worth having will take work, and this extends to your romantic relationships as well.

2  Your partner may not be perfect, but they could be perfect for you.
Noone is perfect. We all know this. But sometimes even the smartest of us will catch ourselves acting like we think our partner should be! No, he won’t remember every birthday, first kiss, anniversary, and important date you have locked in your head. Yes, she will probably nag you from time to time. DEAL WITH IT. Also known as not sweating the small stuff. Trust me, you will be happier for it.

3  Disagreements don’t have to be loud enough to be heard outside your home.
No matter what your partner did, there is no need to shout at the top of your lungs. First of all, it is very disrespectful. Two, do you really want to share your whole story with the entire neighborhood…. I thought not! Walk away for a short time if you have to, but don’t argue over things. Discuss them. In a mild tone of voice. You are more likely to get a positive change this way than by yelling.

4  You don’t have to make everything a make-or-brake issue.
Yet another don’t sweat the small stuff piece. She doesn’t put her clothes in the laundry basket, but piles them in a corner instead. He doesn’t say excuse me when he farts or belches. SO WHAT! If these are the worst things they do, you probably have a keeper. Not everything is worth a discussion on how to fix it. Nothing is worth an argument, yelling, or any of the other things we do to undermine our relationships. Decide if you can live with it…it probably won’t change.Then take action…which includes letting it go.

5  Know what you will and will not put up with.
A corollary to the above. Know which behaviors are truly deal breakers for you. Never let anyone abuse you emotionally, mentally, or physically. They probably won’t change, so get the fuck out fast. Beyond that, deal breakers are very personal and different for each of us. I don’t care if he leaves his socks in the living room floor. Unless we have guests coming over. Then I can pick them up, and not make an issue of it. For you, it could be a deal breaker. Only you know what your deal breakers are. But try to keep the deal breaker list short. If you can’t figure out why, see number 2.

6  Don’t be the pot.
Have you heard of the pot calling the kettle black? Do you know what that means? In case you don’t, it refers to one person calling out a flaw in someone else that is a fault they both share. Don’t do this. Own your faults. If something you are both doing is hurting your relationship, remember the word we. Something we need to change is easier to do when we both acknowledge the need and do it together.

7  Have a life. Of Your Own.
You and your love should each have interests out side of the relationship. Shared interests are awesome. But sometimes you need to step out and do things on your own. Being under each other all the time (work doesn’t count, btw!) will cause you to become boring. You will run out of things to talk about. Do something just for your. Take a class. Start a blog. Volunteer with a non-profit. Anything that gets you interacting with others besides working. Keeping up with your own interests will pay off in the long run. And you are less likely to begin to feel smothered.

8  Don’t use sex/affection as a bargaining tool to get your way.
This one should be self-explanatory but so many do it that there must be something getting lost in translation. Basically, you should never withhold your affection just because you didn’t get your way. I am not saying you should act like nothings wrong, but don’t totally withdraw from your partner until they give in either. It won’t work. Even if it works once, it will backfire on you in time.

9  Don’t let the sun set while you’re still angry.
Even if you can’t agree on a course of action or whatever maybe needed, find a way to reconnect to the love and the anger will fade. Some easy ways are to say you are sorry it’s been a hard day for you both and that you still love them. Agree to disagree til morning. Just don’t go to bed mad. You never know when the day will come that one or both of you don’t wake back up.

Over To You

What lessons have you learned from past relationships that I missed? Tell us in the comments below. I’ll do a follow up post in a month or so with the best lessons you share with me.


  1. If your partner does verbally and emotionally abuse you, do not think that you can change him! Just as she says above Get the F Out! Trust me, after 30 years he ended up asking me for the Divorce because I no longer make him happy. This is because now I’m handicapped and I didn’t have the energy to keep being the Only One working at the relationship.

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