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<editorsnote> Hi, I'm Jen Friel, and we here at TNTML examine the lives of nerds outside of the basements and into the social media, and dating world.  We have over 75 peeps that write about their life in real time. (Real nerds, real time, real deal.) Sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the stories!! </editorsnote>

 

 

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Tuesday
Feb192013

#NerdsUnite: The Gospel According to John (My Teenage Daughter) 

<editorsnote> Nerds, you may already know my buddy John as "Confessions of a Video Game Journalist" but what you DON'T know el senor John is that not only does he also help out as TNTML's intern, he is hands down one of the wisest people I have ever met. For reals, you need to grab a beer with this guy at some point in your life. The things that come out of his mouth ... wowzah! I decided he needs a special column devoted to his wisdom - and now here it is. The gospel according to John. I only have one more thing left to say ... HIT IT JOHN !!</editorsnote>

Question this week: What dating advice would you give to your teenage daughter?

Oh boy, this is a great question. Honestly, every man dreads the day he has a teenage daughter. I’ll give you a couple of reasons why. For starters, he worries that he won’t be able to connect with her due to some of the obstacles between male and female in thinking and feeling. He won’t be able to relate to her. Won’t know what to say to her. How to play with her. How to handle boyfriends. The list is endless.

I thought good and hard about this and I tried to come up with the right things to say, but the truth is, there are no right things to say. Nothing can prepare anyone for this moment. It’s like being asked to do “the birds and the bees.”

I’m going to try something a little different, however. I’m going to write this like a letter to her. So, here goes:

Hi Sweetheart,

It’s Dad. Obviously. I know you’re growing up and I know you’re starting to look at people (boys or girls, I don’t care) and you’re starting to have feelings for them.  You want to start dating, to start sharing time with them.

That’s wonderful. I’m so happy for you.

I just want you to know that I support you in your happiness. I want you to find that person who makes you happy and to be with them. But, I want you to know some things and to tell you some things that will help.

Don’t be in a rush. Please, for the love of all things, don’t rush it. Take your time in the relationship and work at it. Don’t feel like you have to make it happen and that a relationship will make you feel grown-up. It won’t. And don’t let the other person rush you either. In any regard. If they aren’t willing to accept a slow pace and they just want to get physical and that’s it, they’re not worth your time. It shows that they don’t respect you and if you don’t respect yourself enough to take a stand for how you feel and what you believe in, then they will walk all over you. And no daughter of mine will be walked over.

There’s a song that always helps me whenever I try to rush things or whenever I worry about things not happening fast enough, and it applies to dating too. I heard it first at a concert when grandpa and grandma were taking me around the country to look at colleges that were trying to scout me for track. It’s by an artist named Billy Joel, from his song Vienna:

Slow down, you crazy child 
you're so ambitious for a juvenile 
But then if you're so smart, tell me 
Why are you still so afraid? 

Where's the fire, what's the hurry about? 
You'd better cool it off before you burn it out 
You've got so much to do and 
Only so many hours in a day 

But you know that when the truth is told.. 
That you can get what you want or you get old 
You're gonna kick off before you even 
Get halfway through 
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

Vienna is whatever you want it to be, but you’re so young and you have so much life to live, don’t rush through it. You’ll get there.

Next, don’t think that the first relationship you’ll have will be the only one. I know that these relationships exist, I do. My parents met in high school and they’ve been together ever since. But, just because that happened for them, doesn’t mean it will happen for you. I know that that’s a hard fact to swallow, but trust me it was harder when I went through it.

I met this girl, beautiful girl, wonderful girl, who I latched onto. We were inseparable. We did so much together and we shared so many memories, we were blinded by each other. While I don’t regret my time with her one bit, all four and a half years we dated, I do regret that by rushing into the relationship I entrenched myself in it.

Oddly enough, it took her parents asking her to date other people to see if she was really happy with me to see that we had blinded ourselves to the problems in our own relationship. This was so difficult. I thought that I would marry this woman, that we would grow old together, but at the end of the day we broke up and moved on. But because we were so blinded by each other, we forgot about being honest with each other and ourselves.

I’m not saying that you have to date every single person who asks you out or that you should go around breaking hearts just because you need to experience different things, but know that if something isn’t working out and there are problems, it may be time to move on if they don’t get better or you find yourself losing interest. It’s hard doing something for other people, but it’s even harder doing something like that for yourself. You’ll feel mean, rotten and bad. But at the end of the day, you’ll be doing both of you a favor, because it’s not fair for them to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with them anymore, and it’s not fair to you to be with a person you don’t want to be with anymore.

If you spend all your time with one person and you’re not open to the possibility that someone else might come along, then you may miss out on the one you’re meant to be with. This could take a long time, but the key is to remember that if you’re not happy, then they won’t be happy. So, be with the person that makes you happy, and that finding them may take some time and that they might not be the first person you meet.

Be honest. Don’t ever think that you have to avoid a topic for the other person’s sake if it genuinely concerns you. If something is on your mind, say it. That goes for them too. If something is on their mind and they don’t want to talk about it, remember it later. Not talking about something that is important is just another way of ignoring the problem. Never ignore a problem. Talk them out, communicate, be smart.

Don’t spend all your time with that person. I know you want to spend every waking minute with them and when you’re apart it feels like there’s a piece of you missing, but revel in the freedom that you have. A relationship is not two people in one life, it is two lives being shared by two people. If your lives cross over so much that you end up not having any identity other than just “You Two,” you’re doing something wrong.

Take some time to do stuff for you. Have a girls’ night. Go out on your own and find people who share similar interests. If your partner likes those too, then great! But it doesn’t mean that they have to be the only person you hang around. You’ll find that if you spend all your time together, you’ll have nothing to talk about because you both know everything that happened. But, if you spend time doing your own things, then when you do get together you’ll have plenty to talk about and share. And maybe they’ll be able to help you with something you thought you couldn’t do by yourself.

Don’t worry about wondering if you’re in love or not. I did that and it sucks. The only advice that I can give is that you’ll know you’re in love when all the songs make sense. It’s something I heard one time and honestly, that’s the best advice I can give. Don’t expect it to be like anything you’ve seen or read about. Don’t expect to feel a certain way, don’t expect anything. You’ll know in your own way because everyone is different and everyone has their own way of feeling it.

Also, dating is never like the movies, it never will be, and fairytale romances are just that, fairytales. Do not expect a prince charming, do not expect to be treated like a princess. You aren’t one. And they aren’t princes or knights in shining armor or warrior princesses or whatever.  You are a person, just like everyone else and so are they. Treat them with respect and understanding and if they treat you the same way, then they’re good enough to date you. If they don’t treat you with respect and understanding, they’re not worth your time.

You will make mistakes. So will they. Don’t write them off right away because they screwed up once or twice. Talk to them about it and why you felt hurt. Don’t be ashamed when they do the same thing. Relationships take work and time and mistakes. Communicate, be smart and realize that nobody is perfect. Neither are you. Do not place yourself above anyone else. The moment you do that, no one will be good enough and you will be looking forever. I guarantee it.

Honey, there’s so much more that I want to talk about with you, but there’s just so much that you have to experience on your own too. I can only prepare you. Just remember: be honest, don’t rush, be understanding, take time for yourself, and communicate. Those are the most important things. I love you so much, sweetie. I want you to be happy and I know that you will be.

And if anyone ever hurts you I will break their legs. I’m your father, not a saint.

Love,

Dad

#nerdsunite

Want more from John? Click here to follow him on the twitter!

Check out his gaming site too!

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