What My Daughter Needs To Know About Dating

by Joelle Wisler

My daughter is currently a 4-year-old who on most days can’t decide if she wants to be a ninja fighting bad guys or Elsa who can create castles with a sweep of her hand. She has decided that those particular people are badass and powerful and make epic shit happen. And because she came into the world with confidence wrapped around her like a sparkly rainbow-colored cape, I feel like my biggest job is to make sure that nobody takes this away from her. So far, this hasn’t been a problem (and please send help).

But, years and years into the future, my daring self-assured daughter will want to date people. Maybe boy people. Maybe boy people who will want to take things away from her. And while I will let her live her life and make all the healthy and not-so-healthy choices on her own, I will also give her some tools — tools that she can carry around in her body and that will hopefully start clanging around when something doesn’t feel right.

So, to my daughter in the far (far) future world of dating and relationships, here are some of those tools:

He should literally worship the ground you walk on. This is non-negotiable. You should feel like the most cherished being on earth, not like an afterthought or a forgotten text.

But “too nice” is not authentic. He should also call you on your shit when you need to hear it.

Trust every instinct, not every hormone. Hormones lie to you. Instincts do not.

If you ever feel like he doesn’t want you to see your friends or family, grab your phone, call an Uber, and don’t ever look back.

You’ll want to be laughing your ass off when you’re 90, right? Well, if he isn’t cracking you up now, I doubt he will be when you’re sitting there sipping colon-ease cocktails together.

He has to have the ability to say he’s sorry. And so do you, so let’s work on that m’kay?

If he constantly questions your loyalty, his phone is probably locked for a reason.

He should want you to have an orgasm more than he wants an orgasm.

Date a lot of different types of people. The type that makes you feel the most alive may surprise you.

You should be able to talk for hours about anything.

If he can genuinely laugh at himself after he does something dumb, keep him in the running.

Your body, your rules. Hard. Stop.

Watch how he treats his mom. That’s probably how he’ll treat you. And even more importantly, watch how his dad treats his mom — not that people can’t overcome the environments that they grew up in, but this can definitely impact one’s future relationships.

If you feel worse about yourself since you’ve known him, don’t walk. Run.

Get yours.

If the boy plays games, he’s not worth your energy. Move along, little boy.

And don’t play games yourself when it comes to relationships. If you don’t like him, let him go gently.

Don’t date your friends’ ex-boyfriends. Even if they say it’s okay, they probably don’t mean it. Women live longer and you’ll want them around someday when Magic Mike XXXXXXL comes out.

And, when you’re ready to settle down, think about your life in 50 years. Really think about where you want to be, what you want to be doing, and who you want to be doing it with. Does he match that vision? Does he make you shoot noodles through your nose when he tells a joke or roll your eyes? Do you really care if he has hair or not?

I’m sure I will add to this list in the 14 (or 20) years before you start dating, but this is a good start. My goal is to make sure that nobody tries to make you a lesser version of you. And if they could get you to eat your vegetables, that would be great too.