1. The honeymoon stage is everything it promises. The infatuation. The safety. The passion. The feeling that you’ve finally found a companion. And for that period of time you allow yourself to be reckless with yourself. You’d give up everything for that person because they matter most to you and you feel like you want to constantly show that. But the most amazing thing—they’d do the exact same for you.
2. The fine line between dependent and co-dependent. There is a difference. Do you really want to be judged for being joined at the hip 24/7 3 months into the relationship? As you move out of the honeymoon stage, settling into a secure relationship, many things just become understood without the over-the-top, complete surrender of yourself to that person. You also realize a lot of relationships cannot handle this yet. It takes a lot of maturity.
3. Separate interests are necessary. This includes friends. Do not just throw your friends away and never see them while you are in a relationship. You each need your own escape from each other sometimes. Trust me. That’s not to say you can’t tell that someone about what you love, or something interesting you heard. There is beauty in sharing that. But odds are they aren’t going to find everything you say compelling, so find something sacred in that with your buddies.
4. Compromise. You enter your first disagreement and it is a bit unsettling. You worry because you don’t want to break up. Maybe there are tears. Definitely a lot of persuasion. But you talk it out, make promises to avoid a “next time”. You make a motion to improve and sincerely hope you can carry it through.
5. It ends. Very few people end up marrying the first person they ever date, especially without a break at some point. You know it in the back of your mind, but that doesn’t take away from the great (or bad) experience it was because at the end of the day you learned more about relationships, life, and, most importantly, yourself within those contexts.
6. Being alone is just as fine. After you get over the initial shock of the break-up, you finally have the chance to breathe again. In my case, post-clingy relationship, you truly appreciate the simplicity of being able to be selfish again. But being single or alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. It’s a mindset, and I found joy in being independent again. No need to check-in, no need over-think answers and responses, no need to worry about another person.
7. Never compromise who you truly are for someone else. If you have to radically change against your will, they are not right for you. And that’s okay too. You need to be you (and happy with who you are) before you can worry about pleasing someone else. It is never worth it. And if that someone is asking you to change, chances are there is someone else out there better suited for you.