Cuffing season is upon us and love is definitely in the air! I’m excited to say that my Date. Dump. Repeat streak has come to an end! No, I’m not engaged, but I have recently become exclusive with a young man and I couldn’t be more excited to see what the future holds for us. I’m not saying that he’s the one, but I am saying that he has and is definitely aiding in my growth as a person, and that’s really what it’s all about when it comes to relationships. If the person isn’t helping you grow, then they need to go!
For the past year, I’ve been preparing myself for my next relationship. You’re probably wondering how a person prepares for a relationship without actually being in one. For me, the process was all about changing the way that I approach dating, as well as how I view love, and men. Last year, I read every self-help book I could get my hands on, because what most people fail to realize, is that the type of relationship you want, starts with them first. Every thought we have, every word we say, will direct our path on the journey to finding love. I’m excited that I get to put all of things I’ve learned into action and that I get to share five lessons that I’ve learned in love with you all too.
- Become friends first. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge goof ball and I’m glad to say, so is he. We laugh constantly, which is one of things we find so attractive about one another. The first time I cooked him dinner, we sat talking for hours about how differently we grew up. As we discussed our childhoods and the games we use to play, it led us to randomly start making paper planes. Needless to say, that date is going down in the history books as one of the best dates ever!
- Constantly extend grace. This has been one of the biggest lessons for me. In the past, I had a very hard time getting over when someone disappointed me or if things didn’t go as planned. I would write people off without a second thought. The circumstances around the 1st time he disappointed aren’t very relevant since I now realize how silly I reacted. He was patient with me, we talked it out, and we still managed to have a good time together that day.
- Live in the moment. So often we get caught up in daydreaming about what the future holds with our significant other that we don’t really enjoy the process of getting to know one another. This is still a very new relationship and as much as I enjoy it when he starts discussing our future, I make a conscious effort to remind both of us not to get a head of ourselves. If we truly have our whole lives ahead of us, then everything we want together will come when its time and not before then, so there’s no reason to obsess about it or rush. I don’t want to fall in love with the life we think we will have. I want to make sure we appreciate one another for where we are in life right now.
- Speak each others love languages. Learning how to express love for one another is necessary in every healthy relationship. I learned after the first time I cooked for him that acts of service is one of his love languages. Even though he enjoys eating out, he appreciates it every time I whip up something, which according to him, doesn’t even have to be often. But I’m learning to keep things around just in case he wants me to throw something together.
- Love without fear. This one was the ultimate lesson for me because I was allowing the fear of losing him before I really even got to know him dictate how I reacted to a few things when we first started dating. After having a conversation with one on my sisters about the possibility of use spending a few months apart after Thanksgiving, I came to the realization that if I was truly going to give us a chance, that I had to stop allowing fear determine how I viewed him. I won’t lie, when I met him, I was tired of going on out on a few dates with someone new, getting excited about the possibility of building something with them, only to have them disappear without a word.
What let me know this time could be different, was that before I even expressed my concerns to him about him being gone so long, he brought up that he was thinking about cutting his trip short because he wanted to give us a fair chance. Once again he let me know that I wasn’t alone and that I was safe with him. I felt the fear starting to leave me and the possibility of love being to flow. I’m not saying that I will love him blindly and that he can do no wrong, but it feels good to finally be able to let my guard down and not be on high alert.
I value all of these lessons but I’m truly thankful to have realized that where there is fear, love cannot grow because you will eventually suffocate the person or push them away, and I didn’t want either of those things to happen. And even though I’m not ready to make it Facebook official and start plastering his photo all over my page, our time together is definitely worth writing about. I’ve learned plenty of other lessons as well, but I’ll save those for another time. Until then, as always, this is from my heart to yours.