The last relationship I was in was the first serious relationship I’d ever hard. When this project first started it was a way to cope with losing my first love. These are ten things that I’ve learned about relationships based on my personal experiences.
10. Settling Doesn’t Work
I’m a devout Catholic. He’s an agnostic. When we first started dating I didn’t think that mattered much. In the two years that we dated I grew in my faith more, though, and he stayed the same. He was athletic and health conscious and I preferred hanging out in my pj’s all day. He wasn’t exactly my type, but I loved him. I didn’t realize that those things could be “deal breakers,” as he called them. But even he could feel the differences and we ended up just being too different to make it in the end. It took me a while to realize that I was settling.
9. Know My Boundaries
Boundaries are something I had problems with. Because he was the first serious boyfriend I had, when it came to physical intimacy I didn’t know exactly where I was comfortable stopping. I let him push me and for a while everything was fine, until we went too far. But even then I didn’t tell him that I didn’t want it to happen anymore. I got scared and would start to control every aspect of our physical relationship. He’d start to kiss me and I’d stop him. Eventually we stopped being intimate altogether, which became a major strain in our relationship. It took me a while to know exactly where I was comfortable and now that I do, I won’t cross that line.
8. Cast Fear Aside
In the beginning of our relationship I had walls that I had been building for nineteen years. He took a lot of time to carefully tear it down. I was afraid to let him in, afraid to try new things. Essentially I was afraid of change. Fear kept me from really living my life. Getting me to lower my guard and really fall in love was one of the best gifts he could have ever given me. He told me, once, after we broke up that if there was one thing he knew it was that I loved him. That, for me, makes everything worth while.
7. Communication is Key
We were in his apartment one night, towards the end of our relationship, and he said something that really offended me. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I remember being so hurt that I started crying. I ran into the bathroom, closed the door, sat on the tile floor and bawled my eyes out. He stood on the other side and started apologizing. I’d never locked the door and I wanted him to come in. He asked once, I think, but I never told him yes or no. I wanted him to come in on his own accord, because he wanted to. But because I never told him he could, he never did. He couldn’t read my mind, but I’d expected him to anyway. In the end, I didn’t get what I wanted. I should have just asked.
6. His Way of Loving May Not Be The Same As Mine
We talked about love languages a lot. His was physical touch, mine was words of encouragement. We didn’t exactly cater to the other’s as much as we should have. We figured that if we were feeling loved a certain way, the other would as well. But when I didn’t want to kiss him he didn’t feel loved, and when he didn’t tell me he loved me, I didn’t feel loved. We needed to be conscious of the other’s needs in order for the relationship to last.
5. Always Have Someone To Talk To
Throughout the entirety of my relationship I talked with my mom. When things were going well, I told her, when things were taking a turn for the worst, I called her and asked what to do. She knows me better than anyone else, and she knew exactly what to say and how to steer me in the right direction. I couldn’t have handled everything without her.
4. Being Single Can Be A Good Thing
Not every relationship lasts. Mine didn’t, and I had to cope with the fact that I was single again, after two years. I can honestly say, however, that I’ve learned so much about myself in this time that I’ve been single. Without having someone else to please or make happy I could finally take a long look at myself and figure out what I wanted to change, what I wanted to be different in my life. I couldn’t have done that in the relationship I’d been in.
3. Longevity In A Relationship Doesn’t Guarantee A Lifetime
I had this idea in my head that because we were together for so long that we could make it through anything. Obviously, that’s not the case. I invested a lot of time into this relationship. I opened up, I got him to open up, and now I feel like I deserve to fix it. Not everything can be fixed. If we were ever to work again things would have to change, and I’m not sure that’s possible at this point.
2. Relationships Should Be Learning Experiences
I learned a lot about myself in this relationship. I found out where my boundaries were, I grew in my faith, and I learned how to take care of myself more. In a sense, I grew up. He taught me how to love, how to be passionate. He encouraged my dreams. After a while, though, we became stagnant. We stopped learning, stopped growing, and just stayed in a comfort zone. Our relationship suffered because we stopped learning from each other. That was the biggest reason to end our relationship.
1. Always Look For Happily Ever After
I believe in happily ever after. I believe that for those of us looking for that one person to share our lives with there’s another out there that will match us. The purpose of dating and being in relationships is to figure out what we need in our partner and to pursue that special person. It may not have been my ex, but because of him I’m one step closer to finding him. I know he’s worth the wait.