Relationship advice from an unsocial hermit

I asked what sorts of 2016 planning/goal posts you wanted to read. One person responded with, finding a meaningful relationship. At first I totally was going to ignore it. I'm not a relationship expert or love guru. I'm an old married lady. I've spent over half my life married to a guy I met when we were 14. I know jack shit about dating and even less about doing it online.

I'm an unsocial hermit.

But the longer I looked at her request the more I felt urged to respond in some way. I didn't want to leave her hanging. So I've been racking my brain about what I should write. An easy to do list? An uplifting fluff piece on self love? Bleck.

Relationships aren't easy or fluffy. They are beautifully messy things that leave scars, lipstick stains and perma grins on our insides.

I do have some suggestions, you can test them out or ignore them.

Know what a meaningful relationship looks like to you.  Be sure it is YOUR idea and not someone else's or what society tells you.

Know how you want to feel in your relationships, romantic or otherwise. Hang out with people who make you feel that way. Spend time with yourself making yourself feel that way.

Set boundaries, let people know your boundaries and enforce those boundaries. Good boundaries are about building trust, comfort and safety for everyone. I admit to being a bit of an asshole about my boundaries, you don't have to be, but be firm. You can have different boundaries for the different people/relationships you have. Set ones that fit your needs.

Treat yourself how you want others to treat you. I know, they normally say to treat others how you want to be treated and that's nice too, but if you treat yourself poorly, even while being awesome to others, people will see it as you giving them your permission to treat you poorly too.

Realize that every relationship isn't going to be a meaningful one. Some people aren't worth the time and effort. Yes, that is harsh, but true. Even if you totally love them. Realizing this isn't about abandoning or not giving a shit about people, but good self care. Sometimes you have to pull back from people or let them go.

And when things go to hell or you don't know what the fuck to do, ask yourself, what does love look like here? Then do that.

I've probably left out some really deep sage advice, but relationships are hard and people are assholes.