Is “Don’t Mess This Up” Relationship Advice We Should Be Giving?

How many times

  • has someone told you, “don’t mess this up”?
  • have you told someone, “don’t mess this up”?
  • has someone told someone you are dating, “don’t mess this up”?

As the giver of such advice, my intentions were always good. I believed that the recipient was failing to see how incredible her mate was and simply needed some positive reinforcement to quell any doubts she had. And sometimes that was truly the case. But, as I think back on how it made me feel as the receiver of such advice, it was the worst.

sunset over water

In my book, Vibin’ With Tonza…, one of the questions I pose is:

Do I choose the one that sets my soul on fire, or do I choose the one that brings my soul peace?


I have found in my life, the answer is both. The better question is,

Do I choose the one that makes me feel safe when there is no fire and peace?

In a world where the options are limited for women this is a question many seeking long term companionship grapple with.

In a podcast I recently listened to, relationship guru Stephan Speaks talked about the three things that he thinks make a relationship successful: chemistry, connection, and compatibility. He opined that people can have a healthy, thriving relationship if they have chemistry and connection without compatibility. But, it would be difficult to be fulfilled if the relationship lacks chemistry or connection. I AGREE! Now, I know you are wondering how we jumped from soul on fire, peace, and safety to chemistry, connection, and compatibility. Simple.

sets my soul on fire =chemistry

brings my soul peace = connection

or makes me feel safe = compatibility

So, why is “DON’T MESS THIS UP” the worst advice? When I found myself questioning my desire to be, or sometimes stay, in a relationship that made me feel safe, my inner struggle was often worsened by my friends and family speaking those four words: “DON’T MESS THIS UP”. Instead of going with my gut and recognizing the absence of chemistry and/or connection, I would go back to the drawing board and question what was wrong with me. After all, shouldn’t safety make me happy? This mindset is unfair and often leads to people staying in relationships well past their “expiration date”.

Chemistry and connection are to be decided by the people in the relationship. Outsiders are not in a position to sense chemistry and connection, two key ingredients to relationship longevity and success.

heart drawn in the sand

So, the next time your friend tells you that she knows her partner is a wonderful person, but something is missing, accept her at her word instead of rushing to tell her how crazy she is to be considering a break-up.

The next time someone tells you “don’t mess things up”, ignore them and listen to your inner voice.

The next time your partner tells you that people are always telling him/her don’t mess things up with you, have an open and honest conversation to make sure your partner is feeling chemistry and connection and not pressure.

If they are not, dig deep and ask yourself, would you choose the one that sets your soul on fire and brings you peace, or would you play it safe? Always remembering, “this is not your practice life”.

Much Love,


Published by Tonza D. Ruffin

Perfectly Imperfect but VERY PROUD WOMAN, MOM, LAWYER, and AUTHOR, but most importantly...LIFE LOVER! I laugh loud, I work hard, I play hard, I am adventurous, I am curious, I am driven, I have moments of deep insecurity, I am loving, I am vulnerable, I am explosive (not one of my finer qualities), I dance around my house alone, I am an awful perfectionist which makes my insecurity worse, I sing out loud in my car without any concern for whose watching, I have trust issues, I do not live through my children, I no longer try to force my children into the mold that I created so that I could feel validated as a mother, I am a risk-taker, I am guarded in my personal life, I am kind, I am grateful. I am so excited about the rest of my life!

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