When you’re in your 20s, the kilig that hits you can make you so deliriously happy, you feel like you could marry this man right now and you’d live happily ever after, because isn’t he the greatest? But similarly, when heartaches hit you, they can wreck you so bad, you feel like you’ll never recover and you’ll just be weeping in the shower with your back against the wall while slipping down to the floor—forever.
Here, we got 11 women who have survived the romantic ups and downs of their 20s to share the love lessons they’ve learned to twentysomething Pinays. These women of varying relationship statuses are here to help their younger peers realize any or all of the following: (a) that dude who never texts is not the right person, (b) the right person can come along, and (c) if he doesn’t, bitch, you’re still fabulous.
“‘Wag kang desperate for love masyado.” –Steph, 32, in a relationship
“Being too desperate for love attracts all the wrong kinds of guys. You are always a catch and if someone really likes you, then he will put in the work—and time—to truly win your heart.”
“You have better things to do with your time than obsess about him.” –Shar, 32, in a relationship
“It’s so tempting to give in every time you feel like messaging an ex or that dude who won’t give you the time of day. Just don’t!!! Distract yourself, do something productive or even just a simple task, whatever. Just get busy every time you feel that urge. You’ll be surprised by how much you can get done with the time you spend obsessing about him.”
“Don’t have a boyfriend just to have a boyfriend.” –Jessica, 33, single
“Don’t rush to get into relationships just for the heck of it. Being single is actually a blessing as you get to know and understand yourself more. Be with someone worthy of giving up your freedom for. And once you do find that someone, make sure it’s someone who will never make you feel like an afterthought. Being with the right person will never make you question and feel uncertainty about the relationship, or make you end up compromising yourself.”
“Cheating is a no-no. Nip it in the bud.” –Wilma, 35, in a relationship
“Some of us can be masochists sometimes, even martyrs, and would think we can still suffer some more and try to give him a chance after he cheats. But, please lang, if he cheated on you once, he’s hooked on it and everything will fall like domino pieces. He’s gonna feel sorry for a while, then he’ll look for your flaws and point those out to you to make himself feel better and to justify why he cheated, and you two will become miserable. It’s gonna be a process for him, and believe me, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere between his guilt and his ass-saving tactics.”
“Sociopaths, psychopaths, and narcissists are walking around us in plain sight—your partner could be one of them.” –Kris, 36, single
“If he treats you so terribly it’s unbelievable, there’s a chance he’s a sociopath, psychopath, or narcissist. I know your misguided romantic idealism will make you want to fix the relationship and be the one to change this troubled man for the better and blah blah blah, but he’s a lost cause. Sociopaths, psychopaths, and narcissists are walking around us in plain sight; these are not just psych mumbo jumbo you come across in online articles—they are actual personality disorders. Look up the symptoms and see if your partner exhibits the same. If he does, get out while you still have the strength to do so.”
“Always build a strong foundation of friendship first.” –Ingrid, 34, married
“Kilig and romance will always fade, so it helps if you genuinely enjoy spending time with one another, even if it’s to do mundane things like laundry or doing the grocery. Friendship is a stronger foundation for love because unlike romantic notions like being fated for one another, you choose to be friends with someone, you choose to nurture a friendship, you choose to respect and be honest to a friend—all of which you want to give and receive in a love that’s to last forever.”
“Be with a man who has direction in life.” –Kath, 32, married
“When I was in my early 20s, my family and closest friends would always joke that I change boyfriends as fast as I change my shoes. I took it all in stride because, after dating several jerks and one major asshole, I told myself that I won’t put up with bad behavior anymore. I raised my standards as high as my well-groomed kilay until I found the right match for me. A decade and three self-published books later, here’s what I learned: You want to find and be with a man who has direction in life. There is nothing less sexy than a man who doesn’t know what he wants. Romance eventually fades, but often reignites when you’re with someone who brings out the best in you. Be with someone who can grow with you and who can be strong for both of you at times when you feel at your lowest.”
“Hold out for someone who accepts you just as you are.” –Coreen, 36, engaged
“When I was younger, I was often told that I would not sustain a man’s interest because I was too smart/too driven/too focused on my career/too outspoken/not feminine enough/et cetera. This affected my love life so badly because I would always be scared no one else would love me other than my current boyfriend, and I stayed in unhealthy relationships because of that fear.
So girls, if you’ve been told the same, know that it is all BS. A real man will accept you and love you just as you are and will do everything he can to make you the best version of yourself, including when it comes to your career. If you’re going be together for the rest of your life, then he should know your passions and fan your inner flames.
Now, I am engaged to an Ivy League summa cum laude who fully supports my alpha femaleness. You do not need to change to be loved.”
“You’ll know immediately if you’re with the right person at last.” –Nat, 33, married
“With the right person, you feel whole because of meeting them, but it grows into a deeper, more genuine wholeness as the years go by, the kind where you’re still complete even when they’re not around. Only a supportive, mature partner that fully understands you can do that. That person respects your dreams and encourages you even if it means putting you above their wants and needs. And in that perfect environment for growth in a relationship, you instinctively want to do the same for them, to watch them soar.
It’s usually a long list of partners before that one magical unicorn rolls around, though.”
“You can’t give love if you don’t feel love.” –Emily, 30, single
“Your 20s is a great time; it’s a time for learning new things, and if you make a mistake now, it’s totally fine. But love is very crucial. You can’t just say ‘I love you’ to anyone; it’s not a simple thing you say just because you feel it one moment yet after a few minutes, you won’t feel the same.
I grew up in a Christian family, and my parents taught me that you can’t give love if you don’t feel love from above. And you can only truly share that gift with someone else when you yourself feel the wholeness of it—love, compassion, and mercy.
So just wait. Wait for the right person, and more importantly, become the right person. Don’t settle for less just because nakakitaka ka ng cute, or kasi ang tagal nang walang nanliligaw sayo at nakaramdam ka ng kilig ulit. Kilig will fade. But the love from above that you feel inside you, it’s the best thing you can give to your partner.”
“You do not need anyone to complete you—YOU complete you.” –Kristine, 30, single
“My advice to all the twentysomething out there: You are whole by yourself. You do not need anyone to complete you—YOU complete you. If you are lucky enough to meet someone whom you want to share your life with, please, do not lose yourself. And if life takes you on a different path and you find yourself leading the single life, do not be sad. You can find fulfilment in your friendships, passions, and family. Don’t feel like you are incomplete, because you aren’t.”