Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Best and Greatest Love

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"The best love is the one that makes you a better person, without changing you into someone other than yourself."

I saw this quote on twitter this morning and I absolutely loved it. This entry is going to have a lot of personal back-story, so bear with me. It all comes together I promise! It also has multiple parts to it and will probably seem very sporadic, but I have quite a bit on my mind.

Something that a lot of you probably don't know about me is that I have only been single for about four months
 (two separate two-month time spans) since I was 15-years-old...and I'll be turning 22 this June. Which sounds freaking crazy! No, I'm not one of those girls who has had twenty boyfriends. I dated the first guy for about two months before we decided it wasn't going anywhere, and then a few months after we broke up I started dating again. This relationship lasted about nine months and ended the summer after sophomore year. That winter I started dating another guy who I dated for about two years and broke up with after we graduated from high school. About a month after my 18th birthday, I wound up with the boy that I dated for nine months in high school...and I'm lucky enough to say I'm with the same stud today! So, now for the point of all that.

I'm a 21-year-old who has been in a relationship for my entire adult life. This July I'll be celebrating my 4-year anniversary with my boyfriend and I couldn't be happier. Often times I'll encounter those ignorant people who say that because I've been in a serious relationship since I was young that I haven't "experienced life", or those who suggest that if I was single I could "live" more. For some people who are in serious relationships at a young age, this might be true. However, for me it's been quite the opposite.

One of the reasons it irritates me when people argue that you can't "live" or "experience life" when you are committed to one person is because quite frankly, I just don't understand where they're coming from. The only thing that being in a relationship has prevented me from doing is being in a romantic relationship with others or hooking up with people, which is something I have no desire to experience either way. So unless "living it up" means sleeping around, there's no reason being committed to somebody should prevent you from living a full life. Some people want to be with all sorts of people to figure out the kind of person they want to share their lives with, but what's so wrong with finding that person when you're young? I don't know what the future holds for my boyfriend and I, but I know that I love him and there's nobody else I'd rather share my time with. And I think that's a beautiful thing. No part of me feels as if I'm "missing out" on something.

To find somebody you truly love at a young age just means that the potential is there to be a part of each other's lives for longer than if you had met them at an older age. I don't believe in love at first sight, but I sure did have the hots for him when I saw him across the classroom when I was 15-years-old. I was an extremely nerdy girl who wore skinny jeans and a thermal shirt to school almost everyday that had owls on it. I had braces with rubber bands and heavy bangs that covered half of my face. I didn't think I had a chance in hell with this boy, but I hunted him down on Myspace (that feels like ages ago), added him as a friend, and we started messaging each other. I remember when he first asked me out on a date, it was towards the end of October 2007 and my best friend at the time was sitting on my knees while I was messaging him on the computer. When he asked me if I'd like to go to the movies sometime, I started screaming and bouncing up and down. My friend jumped off my lap and started squealing too, and I'm pretty sure we ran laps around my dad's house. Embarrassing.

So even though our relationship in high school didn't work out, those memories are priceless to me. And during the years we weren't together we still remained close friends and made hundreds of memories. It still blows my mind sometimes that we ended up back together, but I couldn't be more thankful. I feel like most people aren't lucky enough to have grown up with the person they love and have those fun memories of being young together. While some people would rather be out there "living it up" and dating dozens of people (there is nothing wrong with that by the way), it's simply not for me. I'm living life to the fullest and I'm having plenty of "experiences", the only thing different is that I'm experiencing things with a person that I love. I'm going through life, living, and growing with a person by my side that I wouldn't give up for the world. To me, being committed to somebody from such a young age has only enriched my life...not taken anything away from it.

The quote that inspired me this morning was
"The best love is the one that makes you a better person, without changing you into someone other than yourself", and that's what I believe I have. The best relationship you can have is one that brings the best out of you without changing you. I think a lot of people confuse trying to help somebody grow and become a better person with trying to change who a person is as a whole. Being in a relationship means that you have to accept a person for who they are. However, this doesn't mean that you have to necessarily accept everything they do. Being in a relationship is about sharing your life with somebody, supporting each other, and encouraging each other to grow and be the best person they can be. Accepting who somebody is  doesn't mean that you can't speak up, let them know if something is hurting you, and try to come to an agreement. That's key to a successful relationship. Communication and compromises. If you can't make compromises, give up seemingly insignificant things that might be significant to your partner, or put their needs before yours at times...then you really aren't ready for an adult relationship. When you commit yourself to somebody, your life is no longer just about you. There are two of you working as team and you need to take care of each other. Just like when you have children, you have committed your lives to building a family and from that point on it's not about the two of you, it's about your family a whole.

If your partner has a drinking problem and it's affecting your relationship or you're concerned about their health, you are entitled to voice your concerns because you are half of the relationship. If your partner constantly puts you down around your friend's because they think it's funny, you have the right to say something to them in private. 
This doesn't mean you don't accept them, it means you choose to not accept their behavior. Trying to alter or improve things in your relationship isn't the same as trying to change somebody in general and I think many people need to realize that. So many people are afraid to speak up and make their concerns known because they don't want to make their partner feel like they're trying to change who they are.  If your partner is doing things that hurt you, you're going to be unhappy. And if you're not happy you likely won't be able to make them happy either, and your relationship is going to suffer.

I haven't been in a relationship for this long because I "need" to be, I'm not a person who feels they need to be with somebody else. But it's what I want. Being with somebody and sharing my life with a person I love is where I want to be, it's my happy place. Nothing makes me happier than sharing my life with another person and having my focus be on somebody other than myself. I enjoy making my boyfriend happy, supporting him, and helping him grow while he helps me grow in return. I like celebrating accomplishments with him and even going through trials, tribulations, arguments and hard times with him. Not because I like pain and hardship, but because I'd rather go through it with somebody I love than go through it myself, and I'd rather be there for him when he's experiencing a hard time than watch him go through it alone. Not only do I have a wonderful, supportive and loving boyfriend, but I have found a best friend throughout these years as well and I truly couldn't imagine my life without him.

I don't encourage people to actively go out and look for love necessarily, because it really will find you when the time is right, whether you're 15-years-old or 50-years-old. But I do think it's important that young people don't turn down the opportunity for real love to grow just because they're "too young" or because others tell them that they'll miss out on life if they're in a relationship in their 20's. If you think you might have found somebody you could see yourself having a future with, give it a shot. The worst thing that could happen is that it won't work out. I also encourage those of you who are the ones saying those things to young people to maybe not discourage them. I have seen happy couples break up because the words of others have been so influential. Their parents or other adults who are older have told them for so long that they're missing out on life by being in a relationship that they end up breaking it off. And then a few months down the road they realize that they were much happier in that relationship, and now it's too late to go back to it. Live and let live. People are going to figure out what's best for them on their own. As long as a person's partner isn't overly-controlling, their life isn't any less colorful because they're sharing it with somebody else. And a "good love" will only encourage you to grow and bring the best out in you, not try to change you, control you or hold you back. 

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  1. Hey, I just discovered your blog, I love your articles and completely agree with almost everything you said. It is a pleasure to read your articles, keep it up :)

    1. Thank you so much! That means a lot!
      Do you have a blog I can check out?




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