I've never been good at being in a relationship, and I recently realized that at the age of 25. I don't trust fully because people have given me good reasons not to. I expect too much because I give too much, and I end up losing myself in the process. I date people who are totally wrong for me in so many ways. I end up in relationships with people who don't see eye to eye with me on what being in a relationship even means.
It fascinates me that no matter how confident you are, no matter how high your self esteem is, that being in a relationship can somehow make you start questioning your words, actions, habits, and behaviors. I end up feeling like I'm not doing things right, like I'm not girly, emotional, or affectionate enough. I feel like maybe I'm trying too hard, or maybe I'm not trying hard enough. And maybe I have biology to blame for this. (http://thoughtcatalog.com/2011/why-im-thrilled-about-being-away-from-my-boyfriend-a-lesson-for-the-ladies/)
I don't know how true that is, but I know that feeling--the feeling of finding yourself when you're lost. It's invigorating--there's no other feeling like it. I know the past year and a half of singledom has been exactly what I've wanted and needed (read: http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/why-im-not-upset-about-being-single/). When things aren't right, I have nobody to blame, and I can figure out what I need. This is the time for things to be all about ME. I can figure out what I want my life to look like, and do what it takes to make it what I want. I can figure out exactly what makes me happy, what makes me feel whole.
That's not to say that relationships don't teach you important life lessons. Throughout my relationships, I've learned that I'm a little different--time to "unwind" isn't a necessity. I can't say I really understand what it means to take time to unwind. For some people, I guess that means immediately changing out of work clothes into sweats. For other people it means watching TV for an hour after work. Whatever it means, I don't need it, and having to wait through someone else's "unwind time" is less than ideal.
I love having plans. I love doing new things. I know I'm happiest and at my best when I'm making memories with friends, when I'm volunteering to help others, when I'm getting to know someone better. I'm happiest when I have plans back to back to back. Weird, I know. But at least I know this is a fact. Hopefully that knowledge will help me in my relationships going forward.
There are so many relationship articles out there, but it's important to recognize that it's not a one size fits all approach. Everyone will need something different from a relationship, so I encourage you to take the time to figure that out. Dating is just as good as helping you figure out what you want as it is in helping you figure out what you don't want.
Ways You Should Expect To Be Treated In A Relationship
Aug. 3, 2012 By Ryan O'Connell
Don’t expect to be treated like a ~~~~~~princess~~~~~~ or a queen. What does that even mean? Do you want someone to obsessively dote on you and serve you breakfast in bed, or do you just want to have, like, a good partner? Give as much as you take. Don’t expect someone to give you foot massages every day while you just sit back and get worshipped. Both parties need to feel wanted and cared for.
Expect to be told the truth. Why be with someone if you have to walk on eggshells with them? Be direct, be honest. If they’re being an asshole, tell them. If they’re being THE BEST BOYFRIEND EVER, tell them that too. (Just don’t tell Facebook.)
Call them out on their ridiculousness because it shows that you know them so well. Most times, people WANT to be called out on their BS. They’re just pushing, pushing, pushing, until you’re willing to push back. They like it when you do. It means they’re paying attention.
Expect for them to treat you with respect, to be patient with you, to understand that if you’re being short with them, it’s probably just because you’re having a bad day and has nothing to do with them. That’s the thing: They have to know that it’s not always about them. There are other things happening in your life that don’t revolve around the relationship and that’s okay. It’s not an insult.
Expect trust. Without trust, you have nothing. Your partner should trust you completely until you give them a reason otherwise. If they don’t trust you, if they’re already paranoid in the beginning and try to control you, the relationship is doomed. Because it’s not about you. IT’S NEVER ABOUT YOU. You could be the best significant other ever and it wouldn’t matter because you’re with someone who’s violently insecure and will always find something wrong with you.
Expect to be made to feel good about yourself, especially when you’re naked and vulnerable. Sex should be a “NO JUDGMENT” zone.
Expect differences of opinion, expect fights, expect it to not always feel right, expect to feel a little bit bored sometimes, expect to feel a little overwhelmed the other times, expect to question things, expect to flirt with other people because it reminds you that you’re still wanted by other people who are not your partner, expect to be with someone who loves you as is and doesn’t want to change you. THIS IS A BIG ONE. It seems like so many people get into relationships just to transform someone into another person. Why do we do this? Don’t date a fixer-upper. What’s the point?
Expect to be taught new things. Expect to have your mind blown. Expect to want to be a better person.
Expect your partner to be faithful, unless you’ve clearly discussed otherwise.
Expect to be emotionally supported. DON’T expect to be financially supported.
Expect passion. Expect love. Expect anger. Never expect indifference.
Expect them to hate you when its over. Feel relieved if it’s ever not the case.
Why I’m Thrilled About Being Away From My Boyfriend (A Lesson For The Ladies)
Jun. 7, 2011 By Lisa de la Torre
Okay, so maybe ‘thrilled’ isn’t the word. But I can’t lie—for the past few weeks that I’ve been without my boyfriend, I’ve been experiencing an emotion one can only classify as ‘joy,’ or something like it. Now, I know that the more cynical readers probably think I’m just happy because I get to prey on all the FiNe PiEcEs Of aSS that I see on a daily basis, but I assure you, that’s not why. In fact, I don’t think I’ve even seen that many fine pieces since I’ve been home from school (attractive males were never a selling point for my hometown.) The real reason for my recent happiness is deeper than that, and I think a lot of girls may benefit from hearing it, because I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way or is capable of feeling this way. Check it.
My boyfriend is amazing. He’s funny, witty, silly, gorgeous, blah blah blah. He’s one of my best friends and we’re pretty much inseparable at school, so when I first learned that he would be staying an extra month or so to take summer classes, I was not excited. Yeah, I know, a month really ISN’T that long. But for someone who’d never gone more than a week without him, it seemed like an eternity. Immediately after hearing the news, the worst possible thoughts entered my head. What if he cheats? What if he loses interest? What if we realize we’re only compatible in person, on a physical level? What if he gets kidnapped by pirates? What if I get kidnapped by pirates, and he’s not here to save me!?!?
If you’re noticing a pattern here, you’re onto something. These fears were not only the result of intense over-analysis of the situation, but they were centered on HIM. And when I realized this little flaw, it got me seriously thinking. I used to be a girl who did what she wanted. I used to be totally content with lounging around on my ass by myself, enjoying the simple, slow moments in life. I took great pleasure in hanging out with my girlfriends, an activity that (I’m ashamed to say) falls a little by the wayside when he’s around. And it’s not his fault—he is the least clingy person I know; he encourages me to be independent and is always supportive when I need to do my own thing. It’s ME whose lost control a little bit. But why?
We as females are biologically inclined to attach to our men. It’s nature—they try to ‘spread their seed’ to ensure the passing on of their genes, and we try to lock ‘em down to ensure our own safety and the safety of our offspring. And while this bit of information may have some of you yawning, it’s real valuable information that explains why so many women seem to lose themselves in their relationships – and ultimately end up driving their men away. The key in relationships is to take and learn from the other person as much as you can without losing yourself completely. These past few weeks have been so joyous because I’ve managed to focus on myself again, and find out what makes me happy other than my boyfriend. Hobbies that I simply ‘didn’t have time for’ are suddenly becoming my favorite pastimes, and my friends and I have hung out more in the last month than we have on any other break so far.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I miss him. I still feel a little lonely when I watch romantic movies, and still wish I could ‘Blue Skadoo’* through the computer screen whenever we video chat just so I can lay with him again. But the bottom line is that I’m alright without him. Still living, breathing, and finding ways to entertain myself without my man around. So maybe on second thought, the feeling I’ve been experiencing isn’t necessarily ‘joy,’ it’s just ‘me.’ I’ve been feeling more like myself in recent weeks than I have in months, and I have a feeling that when he gets home, things will be better than ever. I’ll once again be the independent girl he was so attracted to when we first met, and he’ll once again be the boy I can’t wait to share myself with. Falling in love all over again… Now THAT is a thrilling idea.
*A reference to all the Blues Clues fans out there, past and present. Not in any way related to the Urbandictionary definition of the term. Ew.
Why I’m Not Upset About Being Single
May 4, 2012 By Mila Jaroniec
Normally when people say they love being single, we’re hesitant to believe them. They’re all like “Omg I LOVE being single! Being single is the best!” and we’re all like “Yeah, okay Carrie Bradshaw. Tell that to the wine and bon bons you’ll be faceplanting later when a surprise showing of The Notebook catches you off guard.” That whole single-and-fabulous thing has been done to death, don’t you know? Come off it and be single and desperate like the rest of us diurnal humans, please.
But I’m going to tell you right now, I’m not upset about being single. In fact, I would venture to say I love it. And no, I’m not some kind of fiercely independent lone wolf; I don’t see myself staying single forever and being happy that way. But for now, I realize I am 100% content with being alone, mostly likely because I’ve spent most of my life not alone: I’ve been in back-to-back relationships since I was 13, with only a few weeks or months in between. It’s kind of scary, really. It’s like I started dating and just never stopped, and it only recently occurred to me how insane this was this past New Year’s when I found myself at the club, at midnight, in the middle of a horde of kissing couples, totally and completely single on New Year’s Eve for the first time in ten years. Scary and exhilarating, like I had I had grown a new set of limbs.
And I realized what that new-set-of-limbs feeling was: TIME. I suddenly had so much of it. I used to spend so much time wrapped up in other people that I forgot to spend it on myself. Sure, I learned lots of invaluable things about love and relationships during my stint as Perpetual Girlfriend, but damn, maybe if I had spent less time making out in thunderstorms and text fighting and confessing feelings, maybe I would have written more than one short story during my entire undergraduate career or graduated with something better than a 3.6. Who really knows?
But now that I have all this time, I don’t want to give it up. All that time I used to spend talking and cuddling and having orgasms has been replaced with freelance projects, not-for-class reading, working on more than one short story a year and playing on Tumblr (no one’s perfect). It’s amazing how much you can do when you just give yourself the time to do it. I mean, I love those warm fuzzy feelings you get from being close to someone as much as the next person, but god damn it, I also love being able to leave for hours without saying where to and spend hours writing without being asked if I’m done yet. Relationships take work, obviously, you can’t just be with someone and not give them the time of day, but at this point in my life at least, I don’t feel like I have that time to give. It could be that I’m making up for the time I’ve lost.
At one point or another, we all define ourselves by who we’re with to some degree. We spend so much time looking for that other person to complete us that we don’t fully get to know ourselves to begin with; we expect someone to magically fill the void and instead of forming a genuine bond, we end up sapping their energy and draining our own. But what being single by choice has made me realize is that being in a relationship shouldn’t be something you need; it should be something you want. It should come from the desire to share an experience rather than the desire to be completed. You have to feel secure in yourself before you bond with someone else or it won’t work. So, because I still have a lot of work to do on myself before I’m ready to share, I will spare you interested ladies the heartbreak (heh) and remain cheerfully single until then.