Taylor Swift won big at The Teen Choice Awards Sunday night, and we’re sure that she will eventually win big in love too — after all, this beautiful, talented girl is barely old enough to vote! Hopefully she’s been learning from her mistakes and successes — because we all can. We asked our pal and dating expert Hunt Ethridge for his top tips based on the highs (and lows) of Taylor’s love life so far.
1. DO flirt with trouble, trouble, trouble.
One of the things I hear from my female clients a lot is, “Well I knew I wasn’t going to marry him, so I didn’t want to date him.” **Pinches bridge of nose, shakes head** Okay, so I understand the sentiment at its core:, “Why waste my time?” However, so often our most passionate, most romantic, most exciting, memorable, HOT times were probably not with ones we’d take home to mom. All of these experiences teach us about ourselves, let us learn to see the world through a different lens and create great memories. As long as your eyes are open, enjoy a little trouble. Because I guarantee you that when you’re laying home in bed on a cold January night, you are NOT going to be fantasizing about the deep emotional connection you had with your last boyfriend!
2. DON’T come on too strong.
One of the worst things to do is come on too strong, especially at the beginning! As men, we do enjoy the chase aspect of the burgeoning relationship. Also, we’re still trying to figure out how much we like you and whether we should potentially move to a more serious area. Quickest way to quash that feeling? Buy a new house down the road from your new fling a la Connor Kennedy. While I know that you lovely lasses probably couldn’t and wouldn’t plunk down a couple mil for nearby love nest, the point is the same. Let him have some space, let him miss you, let him look forward to seeing you again!
3. DON’T lose your ability to laugh at yourself.
I’ve got to give the Taylor Swift credit, she seems pretty self-aware. Doesn’t mean she won’t blindly walk into the next minefield, just that afterwards she’ll say, “My, that was a minefield!” Her recent appearance on Ellen was both cringe-inducing and amusing as Ellen paraded a plethora of pictures of Swift with different guys asking her to ring a bell for every one she’s (allegedly) dated. Hilar! We all make mistakes. Most of us, lots of ‘em. Don’t stress them, and be the first one to agree, “Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking then!” It lets us know that you’re okay with who you are and not afraid to show us your battle wounds.
4. DO use writing as catharsis.
Granted, I’m a writer so I’m biased. However, writing therapy has been used for decades as a form of expressive therapy. Putting something down on paper is a great way to deal with one’s own complex emotions. Swift, as a songwriter, knows this and puts pen to paper to help her with her (numerous) break-ups. ‘I couldn’t trust a therapist the way I could a piece of paper. Paper’s always there to reread or rewrite. Once you’ve said something you can’t unsay it, but with a page of writing you can. “You don’t ever have to share it. You can burn it if you want.” – Gillie Bolton, author of The Therapeutic Potential of Creative Writing.
5. DON’T keep mementos that keep you hung up on someone.
Ms. Swift has said that she keeps a trunk filled with mementos of her exes that she riffles through for inspiration for her newest song. There is nothing wrong with having a little private box with some old pictures, gifts, notes, etc. The people they came from were a part of your life and help influence who you are. However, it’s just not healthy to revisit the past in such a visceral manner. It can keep bringing back negative emotions and not let you move on. You don’t need to go as far as Tai does in Clueless when she burns a box of things from an ex. Keep one or two special things, throw them in a box and shove them under the bed to be forgotten until the next time you move and you can then look back more fondly on that period of your life.
6. DO look fantastic after parting ways.
Most of us, when exiting a relationship, don’t feel at our best. In fact, sweatpants, ponytails and comfy Tees usually start surfacing around this time. One thing that Taylor well does is come back out of the gate swinging! Go out and look fabulous! Let that guy know he made a mistake when he sees you lookin’ all hot and s— in photos! While we may not be strutting down a red carpet, getting all dolled up with heads held high can’t NOT help you feel like a million bucks! Check out some of Swift’s best break-up looks.
Bonus: DON’T date John Mayer. Just, don’t. Unless you want to join the ranks of Ke$ha and Vanessa Carlton and Jennifer Love Hewitt and Rhona Mitra and Jessica Simpson and Minka Kelly and Jennifer Aniston and Giada De Laurentiis and Reena Hammer and Katy Perry and…
Hunt Ethridge is a dating and relationship expert. He is the senior coach at New York Dating Coach and founding partner of International Dating Coach Association. Watch his videos and read his articles at www.HuntForAdvice.com.