Fans of ABC’s General Hospital recognize Jen Lilley as the most recent actress to step into the very fashionable shoes of the sassy, Maxie Jones. In addition to her role in the world of daytime soap operas, Lilley also appears on MTV’s hidden camera romance show Disaster Date and plays a supporting role in the Academy Award-winning film The Artist. Her diverse acting resume, coupled with her family history (her parents are both marriage counselors), makes her a valuable source of advice for all questions related to relationships.
Lilley’s time on General Hospital has already taught her a lot about the choices we need to make for love. As viewers of the show know, Maxie is currently involved with both Dr. Matt Hunter and Damian “Spinelli” Spinelli. “Maxie really wants her relationship with Matt to work because of the status it gives her versus the love and security it gives her,” Lilley explains.
Despite the complications of Maxie’s love triangle, there’s a clear frontrunner in Lilley’s eyes. “Ultimately, I really want Maxie to be with Spinelli,” she reveals. “He’s head over heels in love with her. He’s very selfless and relentless in his love for her.”
Unfortunately, Maxie could make a very common mistake by overlooking the good guy. “I think it’s a subconscious thing that girls do because we feel like we don’t deserve love.” Lilley went on to draw her characters experience to a real life example, explaining, “Maybe that’s part of what’s going on with Maxie. She thinks she doesn’t deserve something so good with Spinelli.”
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Thankfully, Lilley’s love life is much less dramatic than that of her character on General Hospital. She’s been in an “awesome relationship” for eight years and is very much in love. She cites balance as one of the most essential parts of a healthy relationship and uses her own romance as an example.
“My boyfriend is an introvert, and I’m an extrovert. But it works for us,” she says. “I have these really lofty dreams, and I want to do a million things at once, but he kind of brings me back down to reality.”
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As Lilley discovered from her time on Disaster Date, there are a few key things that a couple should agree on, such as religion, finances and children. “Children are one of the big things that you don’t talk about on a first date — and I would always bring it up on Disaster Date,” she says with a laugh. “But it is important to know. If one of you wants kids and the other one doesn’t, your relationship is probably going to end. Hopefully, you won’t have that disagreement after you’re married.”
Of course, Lilley grew up with parents who were marriage counselors, so many of this was ingrained in her since childhood. From the time she was young, her parents made sure she, along with her three siblings, knew how to talk about whatever was going on in her life. “Even though I wasn’t in a relationship, they taught me how to discuss things rather than fight through them,” she explains. “In a lot of ways, they really helped me understand conflict resolution.”
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They also ensured that their daughter developed a strong sense of self-value — an indispensable quality for a girl as she’s growing up. My parents always said, “You have worth. You don’t need a boyfriend. They also taught me how to have confidence in who I am and not crush on boys so hard.”
Lilley reveals that this guided her decision making later in life, “I think every person, before they get in a relationship, should know their self-worth. Know that you’re worth having someone love you.”
Perhaps most importantly, Lilley’s parents provided her with a wonderful illustration of a strong marriage. “My parents have been married for thirty years, and while no marriage is perfect, I really respect their relationship. They never fought in front of us, which was really nice. It was always very admirable that they talked through things,” she says.
Based on the example that they set, she developed a distinctive opinion about relationships. “I really, truly believe that, in any relationship, the guy has to be a little more in love with the girl than the girl is with the guy,” she begins. “I’m not saying that I don’t 100 percent love my boyfriend — I do. But at the same time, for a marriage to last, the boy has to be a little bit more infatuated with the girl.”
Referencing her parent’s marriage, she adds, “My mom would do anything for my dad. They love each other so much. But my dad is still so completely charmed by her. It’s very endearing.”
Taking a cue from her parents’ line of work, Lilley dispenses a bit of her own advice to our readers. She believes that guys are most attracted to confident women. “I just think confidence is so sexy — not self-centered confidence like Maxie but just confidence in who you are,” she says.
Another suggestion for single women? Play hard to get. “My mom would always tell me, ‘Jen, men are hunters by nature, and they don’t like an easy target.’ I hated it, but it’s so true!” Lilley says. “I don’t mean that you should be rude or be a bitch but just don’t be so available. In the beginning, leave some room, leave something to be desired.”
Keep your eyes open for Jen on General Hospital as she plays Maxie Jones and tries to decide between the hunky doctor and dorky Spinelli. For more information about what’s next for Jen, follow her on Twitter or Facebook.