Remember being in elementary school and thinking relationships were as easy as a check mark in a yes or no box? Or receiving hand written letters from a secret admirer? Or sending your crush a rose on Valentines Day for a dollar twenty five? Those were the days weren’t they!? Innocent, pure and uncomplicated. Fast forward to high school thinking who you liked in math class would be relevant later on in life…boy was I ever wrong! Then comes college and dating apps! Yikes. I think I had to swipe for like 3 years before finding my match! (Thank god for my dedication because I was about one more bad pickup line from staying single for the rest of my life). I remember being 21 and my dad telling me I needed to put myself “out there”. When your own dad is giving you dating advice, you know you’ve hit an all time low! At the time I worked at Pandora and in Child Care. Needless to say, the only men in my life were happily taken and shopping for Valentines Day gifts or picking up their child from preschool…what a time to be alive! Finally, along came Jake! My besty. My side kick. My game changer. My forever guy. Thanks to the trusty tinder app, I received a “super-like” from a handsome guy that wasn’t too far away! So I took a chance, set up a date, went to the drive-in, talked too much, kissed a lot and fell in love. The real kind! Ever since then, I haven’t looked back!
Consider this a love letter to myself (and now to you gals!) as a reminder of all the things I’ve learnt so far about having a healthy relationship, myself and about my *insert Chris Harrison’s voice* “journey to find love”.
- In order to fully love someone else, you need to love and accept yourself first. Inside and outside, on the good and the bad days, throughout the different phases of life and as you continue to change and grow.
- Be open. To meeting new people, to trying new things, to doing things outside of your comfort zone and to giving someone who may not be your “type” a chance! Don’t take everything so seriously, dating and meeting new people should be fun! If you put yourself out there to new things or experiences and it doesn’t work out who cares! Move along and be open to the next opportunity that comes your way.
- Let go of societal pressure. I cannot stress this enough! You do not need to be dating, engaged, married or wanting children because the people around you are doing it. You do not need to be at a certain point in your education, career or life to be worthy of love. You do not need to look a certain way or be a certain size to feel confident enough to date. You do not need to put so much pressure on meeting someone in a cliche coffee shop setting for it to be considered “real”. Don’t get me wrong that would be cute, but so is my relationship that stemmed from a dating app! You do not need to wait for a guy to ask you out or tell them they love you, if you want to say it first say it! Stop putting so much pressure on yourself based off of societies standards and start focusing on your own standards!
- Nobody is perfect. Not me, not you and nor will your s/o be (even if they come pretty dang close!) When meeting new people, it’s important to keep in mind that nobody will ever be perfect. Everybody has their flaws. What matters most is how they treat you and if you’re accepting of who they are as the best (and worst) version of themselves!
- If somebody wants you, you’ll know! There’s nothing worse than getting to know someone or continuing a relationship with someone that leaves you consistently guessing. Do they like me? Do they want to hangout with me? Do I text them too much? Are my feelings reciprocated? Where do we stand? Is this a relationship or a situationship? Trust me the games aren’t worth playing, fore-fit now, because the right person will make it known…not through their words, but through their actions!
- Understand the “5 Love Languages”. Read the book or google it! Trust me it’s a game changer to understanding how other people give and receive love. Trying to understand a man’s brain in general is a full time study. The theory of the 5 love languages is like the intro to decoding what’s going on up there, if you know what I mean.
- Relationships aren’t always 50/50. Being a “team” is crucial to establishing a healthy relationship. Some days you will feel like you’re carrying the team, other days you’ll feel like you need to allow your partner to take the lead. As you go through a serious relationship you’ll begin to notice and accept this more!
- Communicate! Communicate about your wants, needs and expectations. Talk about your goals independently and as partners. Talk about your views on certain topics. Be open minded to what you can learn from other people! Share how you’re feeling even when it’s hard. Talk about things until they are resolved. Be mature, patient, understanding and think about what you’re saying before you say it! And whatever you do, do not go to bed upset!
- Your other relationships matter too! When you get into a relationship, don’t forget about your other relationships. Of course this can be challenging in the beginning, because you want to spend every waking hour talking to or about your new person! It’s an exciting time! But at the end of the day, your family has been by your side throughout your entire life and your friends will be there for you throughout the rest of your life. They matter too, so make sure they feel it!
- Set healthy boundaries. It’s important to love your relationship, but it’s also important to love your life with or without a relationship. Set healthy boundaries with your partner that will ensure you have time for yourself, your hobbies or your friends! Your s/o needs to be an extension to a life that you already love!
- Never stop dating! Growing up with parents who have had a successful 30 year marriage really gave me something to look up to. Something I always loved about them is that after all those years they would still date! They would go for dinner alone, they would go on stay-cations or vacations together and to this day they still hold hands in public! One date night a week has always been a non-negotiable in my relationship. And trust me, it will stay a non-negotiable no matter what life throws our way!
- Learn to let go! Of your past and your significant others past. After all, that’s what got you to where you are with them today. Do not carry your past baggage into a new relationship and for the love of god stop trying to dig up their baggage! Trust someone until they give you a reason not to. Make your own judgements. Don’t compare. Listen to your intuition. And honestly, just be excited about where the future is taking you together!
- Stop trying to change people. Their clothes, their hobbies, their taste in music, their friends, their goals are what make them, them! Take it or leave it! If you don’t like someone for who they truly are (or vice versa) it’s not meant to be!
- Happiness comes first. Relationships are supposed to be happy, loving, respectful, trustworthy, caring, fun and affectionate! Don’t get me wrong I know relationships take work and life will throw you curve balls as a couple. But at the end of the day, it’s all about surrounding yourself with the person who brings you happiness and that you’d be happy to go through anything with!
Whether you’re single and ready to mingle, in a relationship or celebrating with your gals I hope you feel the love today! Let me know what you’ve learnt about love in your current relationship or what you’ve learnt in your past! Sending you all of the mushiness today, because you deserve to feel it!