Love is one of those topics we can’t ever claim to have mastered. I am very interested in discussing dating and I like to think in an alternate universe I could be a Carrie Bradshaw sitting in my apartment (among my fabulous shoe collection) watching the world and dissecting my own theories on love. Oh and did I mention getting paid for it? That’s where the alternate universe comes into play.
I listened to solely Taylor Swift and acoustic love songs for longer than I care to admit (thank goodness Jordan introduced me a few new genres of music). I like to think my years of steady meditation on love combined with my own dating experiences have taught me a thing or two on subject, yet, I am fully confident I’ll look back five years from now in awe of my growth.
Wait for someone you think might be Magical
I distinctly remember it was the day before Valentine’s Day a few years back and I had no idea what to do for my (then) boyfriend. I was irritated because I knew he had yet to make reservations for dinner and I was certain all of the good restaurants would be booked. As I wandered through the aisles of Target searching for inspiration it dawned on me that I should have felt excited to craft a sentimental gift for my (then) boyfriend. I should have wanted to pour out my love but I didn’t, it felt like a huge chore.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand not everyone likes writing love notes or decorating the living room with homemade posters and streamers and balloons but I do. I do like those silly, over the top, cheesy, romantic acts…but for whatever reason I had not the slightest urge to give my significant other a sentimental Valentine’s Day. Inevitably we broke up just a couple weeks down the road. I had realized I didn’t love the man I was sleeping next to each night. He wasn’t my best friend, I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t even comfortable. From that moment forward I grew more and more miserable until one day it became apparent the relationship was not going to work.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit how head over heels I am towards Jordan. I look for little ways to make his stressful days feel brighter. I look forward to curling up next to one another every night. I want to shower him with little surprises like decorating the bathroom mirror with love notes via post it, or a random card waiting on his pillow when I head out of town. I want to be the best girlfriend because I can’t contain the love I feel for him. Of course, I’m not always perfect. There are days and weeks I look back on and think “why was I such a major brat?!” and I know there will be more days and weeks when I am not the perfect girlfriend. In fact I will be imperfect far more than I will ever be perfect. However, my love is so strong I yearn to be the best girlfriend I can be because loving Jordan feels a little bit like magic.
But understand even your Perfect Unicorn Boyfriend has flaws…
When I was kid I remember hearing someone tell me “love takes work“. At first this phrase made me relentlessly willing to stay in the absolute WORST relationships because I didn’t want to give up on love just because it was difficult. Next I learned “you shouldn’t settle for someone who doesn’t treat you like a goddess” and I realized my standards of what it means to be treated like a goddess required quite a bit of non stop effort. It’s true, I can be a high maintenance girlfriend. Sometime after these two lessons and a handful of relationships I deduced that love won’t always be easy but it should be easy at first.
Looking back on all of my long term relationships, #SerialMonogamist, I can see that each of my relationships highlighted my strengths and weaknesses in new ways. Though I have changed and grown over time, I can definitely see that many of my weaknesses are the same, just broadcasted in different light.
I consider myself a fairly analytical human yet when I encounter the weaknesses in others I tend to project them through my own personality lens. For example, I hate being late and consider it not only anxiety inducing but very rude. So, when someone I am dating is consistently late it takes constant mindfulness for me to remember that this trait isn’t a direct insult to me. Likewise, I tend to adopt the stress and negative energy of those I love most. Living with a significant other has reminded me that even though I love Jordan endlessly, he won’t always be perfect. Some mornings he might get out of bed stressed and angry (not at me) and that stress might effect me. Just as somedays (too many days) I handle anxiety by snapping into bossy mode (even if that anxiety isn’t directed or caused by Jordan).
Umm, it’s not always about you!
For me this lesson all boils down to narcissism. Yes, you read that right, narcissism. I’m so convinced that my significant other’s every stress or bout of anger or sadness or anxiety has something to do with me or our relationship. It weighs on me so heavily (read: I cry at a lot of inappropriate times) and usually when I finally bring up my concerns in conversation Jordan consoles me that his stress or anger or bad mood does not stem back to me. Taking a step back to breathe (not analyze) is essential for me in relationships. Distracting myself from overanalyzing is the best thing I can do because when I give myself too much time to think about something unimportant I will turn a mildly cold response into a full blown breakup. Whether this makes me a full blown psychopath or not it’s a quality I need to be aware of in order to prevent needless anxiety.
Love is Weird.
My favorite, FAVORITE, favorite thing about being in love is being able to dance around my living room giving my own private interpretation of Rent (the musical) while Jordan watches without once noting my awful singing voice. Or that I can say “Let’s pretend to be bunnies” and Jordan knows I am not implying anything sexual but rather that I really do want to pretend to be bunnies. Or that I can pick up a hanger from the back seat of the car, roll a $5 bill on to it and say “let’s pay for Starbucks using the hanger as a hand” and Jordan says “okay” without batting an eye. Jordan has personally confessed that he believes I would have been lobotomized back in the day because I am a strange human, but I know he loves me for it. Jordan is silly and to me his genre of silly is like true magic on earth. Nothing makes me smile bigger, laugh harder or feel less like an outsider in this big (sometimes mean) world than the weirdness we share.
I absolutely love that love is weird. You can fall for the most unexpected person at the most unexpected time. What is more beautiful than discovering that the once stranger from your Biology class is the soul you can confide in? What is cooler than realizing someone from a whole different upbringing, or background or part of the world understands your fears and hopes and wants to see all of your dreams come true? It is the vulnerability of love that makes falling in love so scary but it is also this vulnerability that makes these relationships rare and special.
Today’s post has turned a little sappy but I like to talk about love. I haven’t hit “publish” and I’m already ready to write another post about what I have learned from and about love, but I suppose I shall save those thoughts for another Tuesday! I would love to read about your own personal love epiphanies! What have you learned about love thus far?
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