5 Love Lessons for Nieces
Maëlis Mittig is a proud NYC Savvy Auntie, and the Director of Marketing at Francis Financial, a Boutique Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. She has mastered various facets of the Marketing “umbrella” including Networking, Event Planning, Branding, PR, Strategic Partnerships and more. Maëlis is an active member of Step Up Women’s Network’s Connections Committee and a dedicated volunteer with The Pajama Program. She graduated with four degrees in International Relations, Business, Spanish and French from The Pennsylvania State University, and is currently working towards a certification in Event and Wedding Planning.
“A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.” — Mae West
In the spirit of the holiday, it’s only reasonable that we explore relationships, or as my friend Austin would say, “Wait until you’re 30, then you can call them REALationships.” All jests aside, there will come a time when our nieces will enter the infamous “boy crazy” phase. We all know that this time is difficult, sometimes prolonged, and naturally filled with diverse (sometimes unpleasant) emotions. Whether this phase just began or whether your nieces have been through a few difficult heartbreaks, it’s only right that we mentor them through this complicated “world of dating” to the best of our ability.
Lesson One: Love yourself.
The most important thing they can do during and especially before engaging in a relationship is to be happy with themselves. If they have unresolved issues with trust, self-confidence, goal setting, etc., work on this with them before they commit to someone else. In my experience, when someone is unhappy with themselves, they tend to project their issues on their significant other, which can only lead to a negative outcome. Be their mentor, and help them establish well-balanced self-esteem before any type of commitment.
Lesson Two: Think with your heart; act with your brain.
“The basis of optimism is sheer terror.” — Oscar Wilde
Trusting in a gut feeling is one of the most difficult things to do, but it almost always serves us right. Let them know that when in doubt, it’s okay to ask for advice. If they have a bad feeling about a situation, let them know that they can open up to you. The same goes for a good feeling. Falling in love can be scary, and knowing that they have someone to rely on is very important.
Lesson Three: Learn to communicate.
“Be straight with him from the start. If he gets scared and runs away, he wasn’t right for you.” — Susane Colasanti
Open and planned communication is key to relationships, romantic or not. Teaching our nieces how to communicate in a mature, understanding manner is indispensable. Teach them to listen. As Henry Winkler said, “assumptions are the termites of relationships.” It’s better to let things out than to build up negative emotions, which turn into passive aggressive behavior. If they are stressing over whether or not a boy likes them, help them come up with a good way to ask. The worst thing that can happen is rejection, right? This brings me to the next lesson.
Lesson Four: He’s not that into you.
“So trust me when I say if a guy is treating you like he doesn’t care, he genuinely doesn’t care. No exceptions.” — Alex (He’s Just Not That into You)
This is the hardest one, but if we can teach them to master it, it will make their lives easier and help them be open to positive relationships. When women and men feel rejection, they automatically internalize it. “What did I do wrong? Am I not good enough?” This is a self-destructive pattern and one that must be discussed. The truth is not everyone will be romantically interested in our lovable nieces—just like our nieces will not be romantically interested in everyone else. Yes, it will be hard to watch our nieces get rejected by their crush, but if we can help them understand this one concept, then we’ve done our job. Things happen for a reason. Their crush isn’t a jerk. He just isn’t interested, and perhaps he can become a wonderful friend. There are plenty of fish in the sea, right?
Lesson Five: Things happen for a reason.
“You simply cannot drive forward if you’re focused on what’s happening in the rearview mirror.” — Steve Harvey
I strongly believe that, although emotionally difficult, breakups are one of the most powerful learning experiences our nieces will get. Breakups help them figure out what qualities they need in a partner and what qualities they can offer in return. In my opinion, the main lesson we can teach our nieces is that every “failed” relationship is a gift. Every person walks into their lives with a purpose. Every person they engage, whether it’s through a smile, a quick chat, or a romantic relationship is here to teach them something. Watching our little girls go through heartaches will be painful, but we can help them realize that it’s not the end of the world—far from it. Forgiving is key. They move on; they grow; and they look back and understand why the relationship didn’t work and why it brings them one step closer to finding their perfect match.
Photo: Stuart Miles
Published: February 12, 2013