01/07/2013 13:24 BST | Updated 31/08/2013 06:12 BST

Twenty Things I Wish Someone Had Taught Me About Love

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Writing, tweeting, living and breathing all things online dating for a living means that I know a thing or two about this whole love thing. To be honest, most of my dating knowledge was learned the hard way, and while these past romantic experiences of mine sure make for interesting stories and wise lessons to share, there are times when I wish someone had sat me down and said, "Listen up, darling. Here is what you need to know about love." To (hopefully!) spare you from making some of the same mistakes I did when it comes to matters of the heart, here are 20 things I wish someone had taught me about love.

1. Be yourself. Hoping to make a great first impression is fine, but don't pretend to be anyone you're not. The right person for you will love everything about you, so keep it real.

2. Breakups suck, but don't let them get you too far down. The clouds will lift, you will love again-promise.

3. If a guy says he'll call, and he doesn't call...he's not interested in you.

4. It doesn't matter what someone SAYS. All that matter is what they DO.

5. You'll meet the person of your dreams when you least expect it. It's cliché' but it's true.

6. Not every date has to be something out of a romantic comedy. Maybe it's just a convenient excuse to get out of your house on Friday night and meet someone interesting. Or maybe they aren't interesting at all, but at least you aren't sitting at home.

7. Love follows no time-line. If you want to get married after four months of dating someone, go for it. If you want to end your 10 year relationship because it just doesn't feel right anymore, break it off.

8. Protect your heart, because nobody else is. Don't hide behind walls, but don't serve your soul up to just anyone...make sure they're worth it first.

9. Keep busy doing things other than dating. When you're busy, happy and fulfilled, you naturally attract the right types of people who will add to your life, not take away from it.

10. Shake off the bad dates, jerky guys and players. Don't let them get you down or make you fear dating. Not everyone you meet will have shady intentions.

11. Put yourself out there! Try online dating, let your friends set you up on blind dates with their coworkers, ask your brother for his good-looking mate's phone number. Love doesn't always find you, sometimes you have to go after it.

12. Sometimes, dating will be really, really hard and painful. You might think that you're going to be alone forever. You won't be. Love is in the cards for you.

13. When you meet the ONE, you'll know it. If you don't know it, you might not be dating the right person.

14. Take breaks from dating if you are feeling burnt out or overwhelmed. There is nothing wrong with pulling back, spending time alone or with your friends and evaluating what you really want.

15. Never, ever beg someone to be with you. Period.

16. Communication is the most important thing in a healthy relationship. The person you date has to be someone you can talk to, confide in and trust.

17. Love is not a fairytale. Meeting your soul-mate doesn't mean your life will be perfect. Every problem you had before they came into your life will still be there. Love is not a band-aid.

18. Throw out your checklist of the things a potential partner has to have before you'll date them. You aren't perfect, it's unfair to expect another person to be.

19. Enjoy every moment. Every kiss, hand hold, date night. Love is beautiful-don't take it for granted!

20. You have to love yourself before anyone else can love you.

What is your most valuable love lesson?