Have you ever heard of the, ‘if she’s so smart, why does she make dumb choices when it comes to a relationship’ trope? Or this excuse, ‘I’ve never had a relationship with someone who treated me well because I’ve always been unlucky in love.’

Today is the day we’re unpacking those two things. It’s 2019, and women are smarter and more powerful than ever. As we like to say at The New Savvy, “The future is female.”

Yes, we want to give you the best possible advice when it comes to your finances, investments and your career, definitely. But we also need to get down to the nitty-gritty, your heart-choices are also very important.

These two things are probably the two biggest factors that affect our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing—love and money. And as much as we want all TNS women to build their money smarts, we also want you to build your relationship smarts as well.

So here are some truths that will help you become a woman who makes smart relationship choices.

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Smart women are truthful about what they want, as well as what they deserve, in a relationship.

I could have stopped at “smart women are truthful.” That would have been enough, to be honest.

One way to guard your emotional future is to always, always be honest with yourself. Practice this as early and as often as you can, even in the little things. Especially maybe in the little things—the truths you need to tell yourself.

Let’s face it, we women are reared to be nice, to be obliging and compliant. We’re taught to not upset the applecart or rattle cages. It’s so much more socially acceptable to be “nice person” if you’re a woman, that’s why there are “good girls” and “bad boys.”

But oftentimes our niceness makes us liars. We say no to that last cookie, even when we’re starving and we really want it. Sometimes we say yes to taking on extra work, to volunteering to clean up after meetings or events. Women are known to volunteer to take minutes in meetings, week after week. And we find ourselves saying ‘okay’ when we’re not okay with something.

The danger is that this will spill over into our relationships. When the guy we’re dating does something we’re not happy with, we tend to just let it go, because we’re used to holding our tongues.

This should not be your life. Say no when you don’t agree with something. Practice saying, “I’m not okay with that.” Raise your voice. You may feel shaky in the knees at the start—that’s all right. Be nothing but honest until it becomes part of your DNA. You may even feel your backbone growing stronger every day.

Smart women don’t make fear-based relationship decisions. They don’t live with relationship FOMO.

One of my closest friends was engaged to a man who, truthfully, none of us were crazy about. But she loved him, and so we tolerated him.

But we did have a friend who was the bravest of us all, and at one point she asked her why exactly she was marrying that not-so-great-guy. And she asked her to be really, really honest.

As it turns out, my friend was already in her early thirties by then, and she was afraid that this guy was her last chance at getting married. She was afraid that she would miss out on marriage and motherhood. She and our brave friend had a good heart-to-heart talk, and then they both cried. A lot. And then the next day, our friend broke up with her fiancé.

Honestly, I have never seen her so happy and so free. She’s no longer making decisions based on fear and has chosen to take charge of her life and her happiness, single or not.

Need some inspiration from some empowering women? We recommend this: 4 Successful Women Who Overcame Rejection & Achieve Immense Fame

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Smart women trust their gut when it comes to relationships.

We were all born with an inner compass that can pretty much tell us the right thing to do, the best way to go. I like to think of it as an inner traffic light that shines a strong green when I have the go-ahead to do something, flashing red when it’s not safe to proceed, and a blinking yellow which tells me to proceed with caution.

Trust your inner compass in dating. In my youth, I met a man who was an immediate flashing red—but dated him anyway. Boy, did I get hurt, and boy did I learn from that experience. With some things, you do get a chance to say ‘never again.’

I’ve met guys with whom I experienced that yellow light. They were okay, good men whom I liked well enough and maybe could have a relationship with. And that’s the thing about yellow lights, they will either turn green or red, but you won’t know unless you wait and keep checking in.

When I met my now long-time partner I got a lot of green lights, almost from the beginning. We started slow, since we were both older and quite independent—and, at that time, were living in different cities. So ours was not a whirlwind romance. But as the months went on, as we got to know each other, the green lights kept on steadily, and I knew I was with someone who was right for me.

Believe me, I looked for red lights or even yellows in this relationship. I’d gotten my heart broken in the past, and wanted to prevent getting hurt again—I wanted to wage a preventive strike against rejection if this guy turned out to be just like other guys I dated. He wasn’t. And I’m so glad we’ve stayed together.

Now how about you?

If you’re in a relationship now and are not completely satisfied in your gut that you’re with the right person, it would be good to find out why. Be brave, be honest with yourself, and trust that you are worth the best that life can give you.

PS—If money is an issue that’s giving you some red or yellow lights in your relationship, you may want to check out our article “How to Have the Money Talk with Your Partner.”This might help you clarify any underlying issues that need to be talked through.

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