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5 Pieces of Dating Advice for My Younger Self

Courting Disaster is Jackalope Ranch's weekly column of dating horror stories, observations, how-tos, and more by Katie Johnson. Names of ex-boyfriends, past hookups, and bad blind dates have been changed to protect the guilty.

I have made quite a few mistakes in dating.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still making them. But at least they're not the same ones. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me six or more times, shame on me. Looking back on my early 20s is like watching a terrible romantic comedy but with more crying, worse sex scenes, and no happily ever after ending. If I could go back and tell my young lazy/doe-eyed self a few pieces of advice, these would be them.

See also: How a Nerd Became a Dating Columnist

Don't asks questions you secretly don't want the answer to.

Girls and guys have both been guilty of asking their partner how many people they've slept with. Don't do this. You don't need to know their number, nor do you want to know their number. Just know that all their working parts are clean and leave it at that.

Don't try to track down their ex.

Are you trying to get them back together? Does the ex have access to the White House nuclear launch codes and you're afraid he or she is going to use them do destroy the world? No? Then cut it out with the self-sabotage. Seriously, it makes you look petty and depending on how well that ex is doing and looking, it can also make you feel like an inferior piece of crap.

Don't give your significant other something that you can't easily take back if and when shit hits the fan.

This includes family heirlooms, joint pet ownership, and the unfortunate tattoo of their name or initials on you. Commitment doesn't have to mean throwing out the life raft. Hell, the cruise tickets don't even have to be non-refundable.

Stop making unnecessary apologies.

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Why did I feel the need to apologize for being a late bloomer? Why did I have to say, "Sorry I'm so nervous" or "Sorry I've never done this before"? Answer: I didn't. I handed out way too many apologies in my early dating life and I would like them all back, thank you very much.

The other person is in the same boat as you.

Sorry to keep it going with the nautical metaphors, but the person sitting across from you on that first date is just as nervous or as unsure as you are. I've seen too many people, myself included, losing their mind over dinner and drinks with a new person. Of course, you want to make a good impression but, guess what, so do they. This after-hours interview goes both ways.

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