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You eagerly waited for Meg Ryan to find Tom Hanks at the top of Empire State Building. You sighed in contentment when Julia Roberts told Hugh Grant she was just a girl asking a boy to love her. And you blew through half a box of tissues when Mr. Darcy finally proposed to Elizabeth (for the second time). But if you learned everything you know about love from Hollywood and classic literature, it's likely time to go back to school.
If you have a child, you know unconditional love does, in fact, exist. And the truth is, you can feel unconditional love for a spouse or romantic partner. That being said, there is no such thing as an unconditional relationship. Relationships are conditional by definition. They are full of "rules and expectations," according to Psychology Today. Don't allow your partner to take advantage of you (or vice versa) by disrespecting those conditions.
2. Love is not enough
The Beatles said, "love is all you need" but they likely didn't have kids, a mortgage or perhaps even self-respect. As stated above, love and relationships are not synonymous. Relationships require compatibility, shared interests and common goals. Without these, your relationships will burn out, even if the love is alive.
3. Overthinking isn't as bad as you think
If you've ever heard the term "stupidly in love," you understand the stereotype that claims women are happiest when they don't overthink their relationships (or see them for what they truly are). But being smart and analytical doesn't have to hold you back. The more you analyze, the more you understand your partner, yourself and your relationship. Your relationship isn't just about your heart - your mind must be on board too.
4. Doubt him first
Watch any episode of The Bachelor and you'll understand that breakups make a woman question her value. If you allow your self-esteem to take the brunt of your latest romantic disappointment, stop. Before you doubt yourself, doubt him. A breakup involves two people. Not just you.
Any woman who assumes men are all about looks has likely been burned before. But rest assured, while physical attraction is important, it's not the only thing a man looks for. According to USA Today, more than half of men notice women's teeth - but nearly as many also notice her grammar. If you find yourself shopping for whitening toothpaste, throw a dictionary in your basket too.
6. It's all about what you give
Life is unpredictable, but one thing is certain: the more you love, the more you're loved. Practice love in all aspects of your life, such as opening yourself up to romance, giving back to charities and using products and services that promote love (like Ziphub where you can give back to charities - and get a little back for yourself - just by using their search engine), not division.
7. It starts with you
A few failed relationships will certainly show that you can't fully love someone else until you love yourself. If you learn to forgive yourself, accept your flaws, take pride in your accomplishments and recognize your potential, you'll be able to do the same for others.
Kristen has a journalism degree and has experience writing in a variety of fields, including art and culture, health and fitness and financial and real estate services. Kristen has written for USA Today, SFGate and the Knot.