It’s no secret that I love How I Met Your Mother – in fact, rarely a day has gone by over the past 9 years when I haven’t quoted or referred to the show in conversation. Yes, I’m that friend. With only a few episodes left before we say farewell to the show on March 31st, I’ve already begun preparing myself (as I’m sure many of you have) for major withdrawal symptoms. As a closet romantic, I’m a sucker for the show’s on-going love stories. So, before we say goodbye and use ALL THE TISSUES in the world, here are a few things I’ve learned about love and dating from Ted, Robin, Lily, Marshall, Barney & the gang.
1. Too much compromise is never a good thing – Every relationship requires some level of compromise, after all, a couple can’t work if they both had a personal mandate of “my way or the highway.” Being part of a relationship means working together. However, when you expect your partner to go to great lengths just to please you – for example, when Barney asked Quinn to quit her job, or Victoria asked Ted to stop being friends with Robin – it essentially means you want them to be someone they’re not. A relationship shouldn’t require you to give up things that are important to you. If it does, it means you’re in the wrong relationship.
2. Trust is Key – In order for a relationship to be successful you need to trust each other completely. Lack of trust is essentially is what undid the pairing of Quinn and Barney. However, when it comes to Lily and Marshall – the fact that they are willing to share everything and anything with each other (even bathroom habits) – keeps them in sync and connected.
3. Even “perfect” couples fight sometimes – Although Lily and Marshall are basically one of the most perfect couples ever, they don’t always see eye to eye. They fight. They make up. They do it again. Being in love doesn’t mean being “perfect.” If you’re afraid to have arguments, everything will just build up to the point where it’s unhealthy, resentment breeds or things become completely explosive. The fact that most of the couples on the show are shown having arguments on a fairly regular basis reminds us that like them, we’re all just humans trying to do our best.
4. Re-visiting exes usually doesn’t end well – Failure to follow this advice may find you on a date with your balding high-school ex-boyfriend from Canada who still works at a water-slide park, or getting kicked in the face in middle of a restaurant. Tread wisely my friends.
5. Love means accepting someone’s quirks – Whether it’s your best friend or the person you end up marrying, loving someone unconditionally means accepting their quirks, even if one of those quirks is a pair of bright red cowboy boots that they insist they’re “totally pulling off. ”
6. Sometimes your friends know you better than you know yourself – This is especially true when it comes to the people you date. When it comes to Ted’s love life, often the gang can spot things are amiss before he does – for example, when he gets back together with his painstakingly pretentious ex from college, Karen. Love is blind and sometimes we only see what we want to see. This is why you should always keep your good friends close. They want what’s best for you, whether you can see it at the time or not.
7. The “crazy eyes” are totally real – Listening to your intuition is an important part of dating. If you look into your date’s eyes and feel uneasy,or your friends tell you that this person gives them really bad vibes, take a moment to consider that the Universe may be trying to tell you something – i.e. that you should stay far, far away from this person.
8. You never know who you’ll end up with – [Spoiler Alert] At the beginning of Season One we never would have guessed that Robin would end up with Barney, but it happened. In fact, at various points throughout the show, several characters (including Ted himself) thought that Ted and Robin were destined to be together (even though as viewers we knew she was not The Mother.) This just goes to show that you can’t predict love. That guy that you currently don’t take seriously may just be the love of your life…or not.
9. Letting go is hard, but necessary – Throughout the series Ted struggles to let go of the feelings he has for Robin, to the point where it actually screws up several of his relationships. It’s only when he finally finds the courage to let Robin go that he opens himself up to finding true love. Coincidence? I think not. Sometimes we need to let go of good things to make room for amazing, awesome things.
10. Sometimes it takes a really, really long time to find the right person – If Ted’s 9-year long narrative has taught us anything, it’s that the path to true love is a long and winding road full of joy, heartache & lots of twisty turns. There’s someone for everyone and if you don’t give up faith, you will eventually find them. In the mean time, you’ll get by with a little help from your friends…