So I had taken about three years off from committed relationships before diving into the one I’m in now. The last real committed relationship I was in lasted four years and this one has just hit the one year anniversary! 🙂
I learned a lot about myself in the time I spent casually dating and being single. It took me a long time to recover from my last break up, to find myself, and to open up to someone again. So here are the things I’ve learned in the one year I’ve been in a relationship:
No two people are the same – don’t compare your current boyfriend to your ex.
Being alone is still very important, you can’t spend all your time with your significant other without going nuts.
There will be doubts, you just have to know if they’re valid or not.
Communication will save your relationship. Be honest, always.
You’ll drift away from your friends. That’s a big part of being in the honeymoon stage and growing older in general.
No one is as happy as they make themselves seem on social media. Everyone fights, bickers, and gets annoyed at each other.
Always show appreciation. I am constantly surprised by how patient my boyfriend is with me and I never stop thanking him for it.
Be yourself from day one. I was weird when we went on our first date and I’m probably a little weirder now, but there were no surprises as the relationship went on.
Being in a relationship isn’t like being in a jail. I used to cringe at the thought of being tied down, but it’s really not bad when you find the right person.
Take everything at your own pace. People all around me are getting engaged and buying houses. But I’m a slowpoke when it comes to big steps and that’s okay!
Every other week someone I know is getting engaged, buying a house, or getting married. When you’re in your twenties, there are three kinds of people in your friend group. The single ones, the ones who met their significant other in high school or college, and the ones who met their significant other after college or a little later in their twenties.
I’m 24 and any friend who met their love in high school or college are now engaged. I fall into the category of the ones who met their love after college, so I feel a little behind. I feel deeply for my single friends, because no matter how happy you are being single, you still feel left out sometimes.
Now I feel a lot of pressure being in a relationship in this stage of my life because everyone automatically expects that engagement and marriage are a few short years away.
But a little over a year ago I didn’t really believe in marriage. I didn’t want it, I didn’t want a relationship, and now while I’m in a relationship I’m still not 100% on board with the idea of marriage.
When I mentioned my boyfriend and I are planning on moving in together, I was asked if I thought a ring was in the future and I replied, “god, I hope not.”
I’m just not ready, but I feel a lot of pressure when a lot of people my age are ready and have been ready. It’s just what comes with my age. When you’re single in your twenties, you’re pressured to find a boyfriend. When you’re in a relationship in your twenties, you’re pressured to get engaged.
As much as I know what I want, it’s hard to ignore that nagging pressure.
When I was single, I decided that I was tired of being screwed over by putting other people first and getting nothing back. I decided that I needed to find my happiness alone and it wasn’t fair when people tried to get in the way and hinder that happiness. I decided to be selfish.
And it worked out so well for me. I became a healthier and happier person and didn’t let anyone get in my way. It was a couple of the best years of my life.
But now that I’m in a relationship, it doesn’t seem okay to be selfish anymore. Because when you care about someone, you want to do what you can for them and sometimes that means sacrificing things for yourself. But is that okay?
Or can we still be a little selfish. In the end, should we always put ourselves first? I feel like we should because when it comes down to it all, all we really have that is 100% guaranteed is ourselves. But then we feel bad for being this way. And how can you even be selfish when all you feel is guilty?
When you’re in a relationship, is it still okay to be as selfish as you were when you were single or should you really sacrifice some of your happiness for someone else’s?
How do I know when a girl just went through a break up? She starts posting selfies, deep quotes and poetry, and sharing Thought Catalog articles about how being alone is better (at least share my blog posts guys, come on). And then all of her relationship pictures start to fade from her social media. Her profile picture changes to a solo pic or a photo of a girl’s night out. And the status quietly changes to single.
It’s all a little cliche. That whole dying your hair a wacky color after a break up to try to change your identity. People talk about it all the time and poke fun at the girls having their poetry induced break through. They talk about how much she’s changed and how funny it is that she never used to act that way.
Well, they change because break ups change you. They force you to look at yourself as a lone person and understand who you truly are. Maybe you are a blonde at heart, a party girl, or an independent being.
Who cares what anyone else thinks? As if they’ve never had a life shattering break up, as if they’ve never hit their single and ready to mingle phase.
We’re all guilty of it, and even if we weren’t, girl, DO YOU! Do what you have to to find yourself, to feel better and move on. If you have to make out with a lot of people, do it. If you have to talk crap on your ex, do it. If it makes you feel better I did it on a blog for all of the world to see, you can just do it in a group chat. Or start a blog. Why not?
If you have to share poetry about fueling your fucking fire, shout out Christopher Poindexter, then DO it. No one can tell you how to heal. Don’t ever feel silly about the things you are doing to better yourself and move on. I’m rooting for you and every girl who has had their life changed by a break up is rooting for you.
I grew up being very shy and dependent. I was probably in my late teens before I could even order my own meal at a restaurant, I would always whisper it in my mom’s ear first. I didn’t think I could do anything new on my own, I was terrified at the thought.
The first time I ate alone was when I was a freshman in college, I went to the cafeteria by myself because no one was answering their phones and I was getting so frustrated with making friends. I sat by myself and a couple of kids asked me to eat with them, they ended up being kind of creepy, and I didn’t feel empowered at all. I just felt like a loser.
But not being able to do things on your own is such a debilitating fear. I missed out on plenty of things I wanted to do just because I couldn’t find anyone to go with me.
So I started forcing my hand. I would buy two tickets to a concert or one airplane ticket for a weekend trip, I left it up to fate if someone would end up going with me. And I wasn’t afraid to do it on my own. Why waste time and experiences by being dependent on someone else?
This weekend, I spent the day in Philadelphia – a place I’ve been to many times before. I went with my boyfriend, but he had plans that I wasn’t really interested in. So while he was busy, I went off on my own. I ate lunch by myself and then saw a movie by myself. I took a walk by myself and just reveled in doing something by myself that wasn’t laying in bed and watching Netflix.
If you own it, it’s eye opening and empowering to do the things you enjoy by yourself. The key to your happiness shouldn’t be in someone else’s pocket and you need to learn how to unlock it yourself before depending on other people. I encourage you to spend a day on your own, learn about yourself, and just have fun.
I’m not sure why being single seems like it’s the end of the world. I guess no matter how hard I looked at it, no one looked as happy when they were single as they did when they were in a relationship.
There was a good chunk of time for me when being single was like torture. There was also a time where I held onto it real tight, avoiding every relationship possible.
But I never really stopped feeling hopeless. When I was happy being single, I still got lonely. My friends all were in relationships and when they were off doing their boyfriend/girlfriend thing, I was alone. It taught me to be by myself, but it made me think I would always be by myself. When I started to become comfortable alone and do well by myself, I felt even more hopeless that I would never find what my friends had. That I would never find what I was reading about in books or binge watching on Netflix.
And when I was sad being single, I was more than hopeless. I felt that I was hard to love. There had been a time where I had given the boy I loved everything. But then I felt like I had nothing left to give.
It’s normal to feel hopeless when you’re single, whether you’re happy or sad. But even when you give up on yourself, the person that’s right for you won’t be giving up at all. It takes time, patience, and a lot of learning. But you’re not hopeless.