10 Love Phrases to Ditch In 2016

" I love you, but..." "It's complicated." "Is he The One?" You've heard these phrases before, maybe even used them in your love life. But, hey, it's a new year! It's time to leave these commonly abused sayings in 2015 and open the way to love.

Charreah K. Jackson Jan, 05, 2016

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In coaching women to more fulfilling love lives, it has been eye-opening to see the number of women who say they've never been in a relationship, then recount stories of love and heartbreak. Even if you didn't establish titles, a shared connection establishes a relationship and counts as experience that impacts your future encounters.

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Dating today is certainly different than any generation before, but you still should be able to sum up your status in a few words. Either we are dating. Or not. Don't be afraid to ask for clarity as you share yourself with another person. And check that you are on the same page sooner than later.

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This is the statement I probably side-eye the most. No, there are not fine, eligible bachelors falling out the trees every time you walk down the street, but there are good men looking for a solid relationship in whatever city you are in. The next time you are on the train or in line at the grocery store, do a man scan to see who’s around. You might be surprised at what you discover.

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Whether he's not looking for a serious relationship or doesn't want kids, believe people when they tell you about themselves. Don't waste your time when someone has shared up front they want something different than you do. If you set out to change them, you are more than likely setting yourself up for disappointment. People can change, but only by their own choice, not ours.

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This often pops up in sharing the story of a midsummer's night hook-up. It's in the same neighborhood of "I don't know how it happened" and down the street from "And then I woke up." Consensual sex doesn't just happen. It is a progression of acts that we allow. Since there is nothing passive about passion, be active in the important decisions of sharing your body with someone and own your sexual desires.

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When looking for clarity, try your best not to blurt out "what are we?" to the man you hope wants to be your only man. Instead of giving him all the power to define the relationship, be open on what you want without any pressure. Replace those words with honest thoughts like "I'd like this to grow to us being exclusive,” and “Where would you like this lead?"

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These are phrases we use when we've done something unloving or someone has been uncaring to us. Love is not an emotion. It is our actions. So to be loved is to be respected, protected and cared for. If it's not that, it's not love.

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Since I’ve been with my guy, I am often asked if I think he is "the one?" And three years later I still sigh at the question. We all have soulmates in life with some as friends and others romantic partners. Some are for a lifetime and others just a season. So even if you’ve had a great love that ended, there still can be another soulmate in your future. Don’t limit yourself or your relationships to a number.

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As long as there is a person involved, it's personal. In sharing unpleasant news like a break up or a pet peeve your partner does, be sensitive to the other person's feelings and think how you would want the news delivered to you.

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Let go of the fear of how a person will react and speak what’s on your mind. Trust your gut when things feel funny and know that you deserve an open and honest relationship. In our ESSENCE cheating survey earlier this year, one of the top ways women discovered their man was stepping out was their own intuition.

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Ladies, please share your thoughts and questions below and send your love questions to relationships@essence.com.