Dear Boog,

As far as I know you haven’t begun dating yet, and I can’t tell you how happy I am at that. There’s so many other things to focus on right now than a love interest. But I don’t want to come off as completely cynical here. I know more than a few couples from high school that are still together today, 20 years later. And there were a few more that stayed with their high school sweethearts for many years, but aren’t with them now. So yes, it can happen, you could get lucky and find real love at a young age…but for most of us, it just doesn’t turn out that way. And unless your love interest is someone you can talk to for hours, supports your dreams and goals, encourages you to be the best version of you, and brings you so much more happiness than grief, there isn’t any reason to pursue them. Just wait until you’re older, and can truly see the potential in someone to be your partner.

With that being said, age and maturity is what will help you to be a good partner as well. You want to be able to handle a healthy relationship, which includes being able to stay an individual while also being able to prioritize a significant other. Finding that balance can save yourself a lot of drama, and being able to recognize others having the same ability will save yourself a lot of heartache. There are many types of relationships, so you will need time to get to know someone and see if you fit each others needs and wants . Many people don’t believe in monogamy, which means being with one partner, and there are others that do. Many people have certain needs that you may not want to fulfill, and vice versa. But it’s all normal. If we were all the same, the world would be a very boring place.

It also won’t work if you are with someone that wants to change you, or if you want to change them. There are things that you both can work on, and may improve upon, but it can’t be a complete overhaul…each person has to become who they want to be on their own, and then find someone that is compatible. If you do it the other way around, resentment is a heck of a wall to get over. Always be up front with what you want from someone, and what you are willing to provide…and always, always, always have protected sex until an actual conversation is had that you have both gotten tested and are clean of any STD’s, you are not having unprotected sex with anyone else, various other pregnancy precautions have been taken if you aren’t ready for babies, and are very clear on the consequences if any of the above do occur.

Please know that you may have your heart broken more than once, but that you will be o.k. and you can always talk to me. Know that AS SOON as a partner says NO to any type of communication, touching, or sex, you STOP no matter how far along in the interaction you are. Know that you have the right to say NO as well. Know that you have to be observant of your intuition telling you if a situation doesn’t feel right and to walk away from it. Know that there are people that will lie about your interactions with them, will take advantage of you if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, will possibly slip something into your drink or food to make you unaware or unable to remain alert, and will physically try to harm you. People can really suck.

But please also know that there are those that will love you so unconditionally your heart will feel like it can explode with how much love you feel in return. Know that there are those that will want nothing more than to make sure you are happy, safe, and healthy. Know that there are those that are excited to get to know you, can’t wait to spend time with you, and count down the minutes until they can talk to you. Love can be so amazing, and you should always be open to letting it find you, and to be able to love in return. Know that there is a difference between loving someone, and being IN LOVE with them…and know that even if you don’t want to fall in love at all, you can still have a happy life, and love yourself.

I love you Boog. And everyday I wish that you grow to old age, safe, happy, healthy, and successful…physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, spiritually, and financially.

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