To all the men I’ve dated….thank you. Thank you for joining me on this rocky yet exhilarating journey in life and in the pursuit of love. Whether you were in my life for a day, a week, a month, a season or for years, I am grateful for every one of you. Because every experience with another human being teaches us something; and every person that passes in and out of our lives acts as a ‘mirror’; an irrepressible energy that requires us to be vulnerable about who we are and where/how we need to change and grow.

Some people help us learn important life lessons, some offer practical advice and some give us the gift of showing us what we don’t want in a relationship, but they all leave us with something.

After 20 years of dating, here’s what I’ve learned from the men who passed in and out of my life:

  1. Always be you. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.
  2. People cheapen talk. Put people on mute and pay attention to their actions.
  3. Love is a verb.
  4. Don’t rely on anyone to take care of you. Have your own thing going at all times.
  5. Have high hopes, low expectations.
  6. Love yourself first. If you can’t do that, you cannot be with another person.
  7. You will not even begin to peel away at the first layer of who that person is until after the first 90 days.
  8. There is a big difference between loving someone and being ‘in love’ with someone.
  9. Everyone has baggage. Know what/how much you’re willing to carry.
  10. Don’t ignore small red flags. Eventually they turn into red banners.
  11. Don’t stay at the fair too long. Leave before the ride starts to break down.
  12. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s greener where you choose to water it.
  13. If they’re not texting or calling you, they aren’t into you. Move on.
  14. Don’t chase anyone. If they want to be in your life they will.
  15. Some will, some won’t, so what, NEXT.
  16. Listen more. Talk less. People will tell you everything you need to know if you just stop talking.
  17. Don’t fight dirty and throw the entire kitchen sink into the argument.
  18. You can always find at least one good thing about a date, a person, an experience. When the going gets rough, try to focus on what’s good.
  19. Be compassionate with everyone, even when it’s the last thing you want to do.
  20. We are all fragile beings and we all need love.
  21. Not everyone is capable of loving you the way you need to be loved.
  22. Everyone has pain. If someone breaks your heart, it probably has more to do with their own pain than with you.
  23. Don’t ever get involved with a married man. You are only sabotaging your own happiness.
  24. Always assume the person has good intentions/reasons before you accuse.
  25. Money doesn’t = happiness. Don’t compromise yourself for anyone or anything.
  26. People will always be who they are, until they aren’t. Believe them when they show you who they are.
  27. You’re a gift to anyone who is lucky enough to be with you.
  28. Seriously qualify your suitor before you let them into your life.
  29. Don’t hold onto anger, resentment or disappointment.
  30. Never look back. That’s not the direction you’re going.
  31. Not everyone is the marrying type. That’s ok.
  32. Your heart is elastic, it will heal.
  33. Never underestimate the power of good cry with a good friend.
  34. Confidence, ambition and drive are very sexy!
  35. You are love-able.