A couple of years ago, I came out with a list of 6 sassy pieces of advice about love, sex, and men that I wished my mother had told me.
I wrote it for Valentine’s Day and it got passed around a bit on Facebook.
I thought it’s time to update it.
Here’s the truth about “the one” – there will be many of them.
- The one who got away
- The one who broke your heart
- The one who was only a friend
- The one who thought of you only as a friend
- The right one at the wrong time
You get the picture. Liberate yourself from the pressure of looking for this mythically perfect person who is supposed to complete you. (Read the original Facebook post about how no one can complete you because you complete yourself.)
There are going to be many “the ones.” Just remember that with each one of these people, there are memories to be made and experiences to be had. Not all of them will be good but make sure the lessons you get from them are.
2. Love isn’t about destiny
Love is about choice.
When I say that, I’m talking about the long-term-can-see-you-growing-old-kind-of-love. The puppy stuff can have all the fluff about fireworks and butterflies, but if you want to go into hardcore stuff, then we have to talk about choosing to commit.
Ultimately, that’s what sticking around is all about: choosing every day to stay and give it go even when it feels like it would be simpler and more convenient to leave.
This is a gender-universal rule and applies to any kind of relationship – straight, gay, whatever. You choose.
3. Virginity is a personal choice
It’s not an indicator of character or lack of it. (READ: Dash of SAS: The problem with virginity)
Unless there is scientific evidence proving that the status of a woman’s hymen is linked to her integrity, her kindness, intelligence, strength and everything else that matters, I refuse to reinforce this notion that virginity is the “most precious gift that you can give someone,” usually a man.
Virginity is a personal choice that you will make based on your own feelings, beliefs, and how intense the moment is. (Seriously, I’m just keeping it real here.)
And what if I will tell you that the significance of losing your virginity is that it’s a “first time”? You never forget a first.
So choose to gift yourself with a memory you can always look back on with fondness rather than regret.
Choose to make your first time with someone who will not coerce you or pressure you. Do it with someone who will treat you with tenderness and make you feel cherished. You owe yourself that gift.
4. ‘I love you’ isn’t the default indicator of love
Respect and kindness are better indicators of love.
I know, I know, that doesn’t sound romantic. But this is supposed to be a post about all the other life nuggets mothers don’t usually give.
I have often wondered how some men could treat their buddies so well but treat their wives and girlfriends like sh*t. Often, the one thing that’s missing was respect and its attendant value of kindness.
It’s easy to say “I love you” and show up with flowers, plan nice dinners, and buy extravagant gifts, but it’s a lot harder to say “I’ll be kind to you” and do everything that it entails like listening, compromising, and forgiving little transgressions and hurts that you will inflict upon each other.
5. Controlling is not caring
Control is a carry over from a parent to a child, not from a lover to the loved one.
Parents do the control thing. You have to ask them for permission before you get to do most anything in life until you reach a certain age when you are old enough to think and decide for yourself. It’s borne out a parental duty called raising a child.
This permission setting thing is not transferrable to your lover for the simple reason that “being allowed to go out with friends” and “needing permission to do this or wear that” connote an unequal relationship where one has control and holds power over the other.
And honey, that’s not being caring. It’s being oppressive.
6. Marriage is not an achievement
Neither is it necessary.
Once upon a time, a woman could not work, get a loan, buy a house or vote for no other reason other than because she was a woman. Try to imagine how limiting that was.
Getting married was necessary to securing a woman’s financial future. Now, not so much. You can take charge of your financial future yourself, enjoy the liberating feeling of earning your own keep, and find work that not only fills your pockets but also feeds your soul.
Don’t give in to the pressure of being judged for your civil status. Whether you get hitched or not, know that it’s not seen or flaunted as some kind of an accomplishment.
Aspire to make the moral of your story to be: Marriage is not an achievement. Being the kind of woman who takes charge of her own narrative is. – Rappler.com
Ana P. Santos is Rappler’s sex and gender columnist and independent journalist. In 2014, she was awarded the Miel Fellowship by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in Washington, D.C.