I whole heartily agree with you gmwilliams.
The teens and 20s are a period of self-discovery. The focus should be on learning about ourselves: our wants, needs, and finding out what it is we like and dislike when it comes to relationships. Odds are whatever we consider to be an "ideal mate" at age 18 will be something completely different at age 28 or 35.
Having said that there will always be those who hit "the relationship lottery" early in life. "We met in Jr. High and have been together ever since...etc" However the vast majority of us tend to "fail our way to success" when it comes to relationships.
Oftentimes the advice given to our youth is ignored for many reasons. Chief among them is our hormones are raging during our teens and early 20s. Every teen or person in their early 20s believes they're smarter than their parents or elders when it comes to love, sex, and relationships. Teens want to be seen as being adults and have their relationships viewed as such.
It is not until we have (personally) experienced heartache and disappointment that we start to do some introspective thinking to examine our (choices) we have made with regard to selecting our mates.
Each of us chooses our own friends, lovers, and spouse. There is no getting around that. If we are unhappy with the choices we've made we can (learn) from our mistakes and make better choices for ourselves in the future. It's important to know yourself, love yourself, and trust yourself BEFORE you choose a mate. Too many people however would rather blame their exes for their bad relationship experiences instead of acknowledging (they) selected that person!
I made this the central theme in my book: My Cat Won't Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany). Our lives for the most part are the end result of the decisions and choices (we) have made along the way. Whenever we "blame" others or outside forces we negate our own power of choice. Self-empowerment comes from realizing we always have "options" and being willing to take responsibility for our own happiness!