I met my first love in the restaurant I worked in. I was his waitress and I slipped my number into the server book when I gave him the bill. He was born in South Africa to missionary parents, and I was raised in the US and went to a Buddhist preschool. It was a whirlwind and there were ups and downs, but I learned a lot from the relationship.
I met my second love in a bar. Funnily enough, I had given him my number as well. He never called. But about a year later, we ran into each other in town and we hit it off. He was born in the conservative south, and I was raised in liberal Colorado. But we never let those differences impact our relationship. We dated for a long time, traveled the world together, and even though things ultimately didn’t work out, we had a great relationship.
None of my relationships followed typical dating norms. None of my relationships have followed the whole boy meets girl, boy asks girl out, boy and girl have first kiss, boy and girl date, boy and girl become official, boy and girl live happily ever after. None of the people I’ve loved have had similar backgrounds as me or have followed a standard timeline.
My relationships have been all over the place. Up, down, and all around. Yet, my relationships have never seemed any less real than anyone else’s.
It seems like, as a society, we have fallen into certain relationship traps. We have latched onto certain assumptions about what relationships should look like and the steps we should take when we pursue someone.
But, the truth of it is, no two relationships are alike. No two people fall in love in the same way. So why do we assume that all elements of our relationship will match up with everyone else’s relationships? We all experience life in unique ways — and the way we experience relationships is no different.
That’s why I think most “relationship rules” need to be challenged.
Who says the guy should be the one to make the first move?
Society has told us that a guy has to ask a girl out. But I’ve found that if you flip roles, you usually get a good result. If you are into a guy, you shouldn’t just stand by and miss your opportunity. Who knows if the guy is going to pluck up the courage to ask you out.
If you’re worried that the guy is going to think you’re desperate for asking him out… Well, you don’t want to be with that type of guy anyway. A good match will be impressed and flattered by your boldness and confidence, not turned off by it. Sometimes, if you see something you want, you just have to go after it. And if it doesn’t work out? Then hey, at least you aren’t stuck wondering about what could’ve happened.
Just because you aren’t on the same career path, doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed.
We don’t live in a day and age where everyone is doing the exact same thing. Some people go to college, others don’t. Some people pursue office jobs, others pursue artistic dreams. Some people work really hard at what they do, but maybe what they do doesn’t involve a set salary. Just because you’re on a different career path as someone you’re dating, doesn’t mean that you should give up on the relationship.
We no longer live in a world where the man has to be the provider and the woman has to stay at home with the kids. As long as you’re in a supportive, compatible relationship, don’t let your separate career goals tarnish a good thing. Opposites do attract, and as long as you believe in what your significant other is doing, then that should be enough.
Different upbringings don’t necessarily mean you aren’t destained to end up together.
In a world where people are becoming more and more transient, it makes sense that we would date someone who had a different kind of upbringing than us. You and your beau could have been raised in totally different parts of the country, you could have different religious backgrounds, you could even have different political views.
How you were raised and the way you think about the world has a huge impact on who you are as a person, but if you are two open-minded and loving people, perhaps you can make your different upbringings a positive thing, instead of a negative one. Maybe your two different upbringings will help you learn from each other and make each other even more whole.
You should share some interests, but you don’t have to be twins when it comes to your hobbies.
It’s important to have some things in common with your significant other, but you don’t have to love every hobby that the person you’re dating loves. It’s fun to be able to go out for walks, cook dinner, or watch scary movies with the person you’re dating. But just because one of you wants to stay in on a Sunday and watch sports, while the other one wants to go for a hike, doesn’t mean you won’t last.
It’s good to have things to do as a couple, but it’s also good to have hobbies that are reserved just for you. Spending time with the person you’re dating is great, but having separate hobbies also means you have some built in alone-time, which is important too. Learn to give your lover’s hobbies as chance, and respect them for what they are, but don’t sacrifice what you like to do for your relationship, and don’t expect the person you’re dating to sacrifice what makes them happy either.
No relationship is the same. No relationship follows one certain set of rules. Just because society tells you one thing, doesn’t mean that always has to be the case. You could marry the love of your life after two months together, or you could stay with someone for nine years before calling it quits. You could fall in love with someone who is opposite from you in a million different ways, but who completes you all the same.
No one falls in love in the same way, so even though society, rom-coms, and fairy tales have told you one thing about love, don’t always rule out a person you want to be with just because they don’t fit a typical mold.
My love story has never followed a typical path. I have never had a guy ask me on a first date. I have never dated someone longer than six months before leaving the country.
Love is love, and a unique love is something to cherish.