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Memoirs of Lis: What I’ve learned in dating

Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 02:02

There’s a drought and then there’s the flood.

I didn’t date in high school. Well, unless you count those two games of spin the bottle and junior prom — but I don’t. I call those the drought years. I figured I was going to be a savvy single journalist until I was 26, suddenly fall in love, get married, have a family and squeeze in a Pulitzer Prize somewhere in between writing my first screenplay and taking the kids to soccer practice. I still look forward to the Pulitzer, screenplay and soccer practice, but my plan of staying single all through college so I could become a world traveling journalist didn’t work out the way I planned. However, I am so glad I didn’t because of everything I’ve learned along the rocky road of heartbreak and heartbreaking. Welcome to the flood years.

Suddenly in my freshman year, I got a boyfriend. Don’t ask me how, because I really don’t know. One crazy Percocet-tripped-out-first-date to the Sherlock Holmes movie — two words: wisdom teeth — and I had this adorable guy — we’ll call him Marvin — taking me out every weekend. And it was great, except for the parts that weren’t. We dated nine months, talked about marriage and then Marvin dumped me. I cried, Facebook stalked him everyday for a month, listened to sad music and then I was back to swinging single and partying at frat parties with my girlfriends.

Here’s my advice for getting dumped: Don’t look back, but still look back. Confusing? Of course. Let me explain.

Take a piece of paper, make two columns and write down everything you didn’t like about your previous relationship on the left side. Then, list everything you loved about it on the right. Afterward, write your ex a nice letter saying thank you for all the good stuff, say thanks for relieving me of the bad stuff and toss it in the trash.

Do not try to contact your ex. Ever. Let them contact you. For one, it makes you look like a sappy love sick loser who can’t get over things, and that is unattractive. I tried texting Marvin three months to the day after we broke up and it was awkward. We stayed friends on Facebook until this last fall, two years after the break up, when one night when I was curious about what he was up to. I tried looking at his timeline and discovered he’d un-friended me. Ouch. I was mad.

But, it felt like pulling off the last of the Band-Aid. Even though I had moved on, dated several guys in the meantime — two at once, but that’s another story — I still had trouble shaking my first taste of young love. Finally, with that last line severed, I could move on.

Remember that list I had you make? I hope you still have it. Examine your list. Study it. Add to it, cross out, make revisions and when you do finally start dating again, use your list to make your next dating experience better.

My list has gotten embarrassingly long over the past three years, but here are a few choice tidbits of advice learned from dating experience I did not expect to gain in college:

Because I’m sure a few of you are still wondering, do not date two people at once. It gets messy trying to sort it out at the end of the summer, and unless you live in a society where one woman can marry more than one man, somebody’s heart will get broken.

If the guy — or girl — you are seeing tells you not to tell your roommates about your late night trips to Village Inn, don’t keep him. Also, the phrase “You’re special” is not an excuse to not introduce you to his friends.

Enjoy being single while you are single. While I love the benefits of a relationship, there are certain things I miss being able to do with my friends that are not going to happen when I’d rather spend Friday night with my special someone. Life is meant to be enjoyed no matter your relationship status, not endured.

If you don’t get along with his friends or family, chances are you two will eventually have a falling out. We act like our friends and ought to have the chance to be around them without feeling bad about it.

Abuse is not necessarily physical. If your significant other criticizes your looks, makes fun of you in front of others, tells you he does not think you can do any better than him or does not respect your opinions or values, then say goodbye.

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