dating in your 20s

Cold Weather

I know we fight

I know we don’t always get it right

I’m sorry I didn’t pick up your calls

It’s just that my mind was going crazy inside these walls

I’ve never had someone mean so much to me

Being this vulnerable can make me a little uneasy

Even if I cry, just know I always want to try

Even in cold weather, I’ll always want to stay together

-Jan 2018

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What’s Better the Spark of New Love or the Slow Burn of an Old One?

As I’ve been on the dating scene for a few years, I’m inclined to think I know a thing or two about short term relationships. But seeing as my current relationship is my longest, I needed to call on some friends who have been in multi-year long relationships to get some true insights on that slow burn. And here’s what I learned:

If you’ve been together for multiple years you’ve probably experienced some major life events from birthdays to funerals and new chapters of your life such as graduations and job changes. We change and grow over the years and it’s important the relationship grows as well. You go through struggles and celebrations together strengthening your bond.

Common issues in short term relationships like self doubt and self consciousness fade out. All shared experiences and trust over the years have made jealousy a thing of the past. Any girl can go up to your man, you’re confident in your relationship and you know she’s just wasting her time. Your man loves every weird inch of you, and trust me, by now he has seen it all! There’s no hiding anymore, he’s experienced every one of your odd behaves and they didn’t scare him off! You’re more relaxed and secure in your long term relationship now.

Being committed to someone for multiple years gives you faith in love and hope in the future. Being able to depend on someone for anything that life throws at you makes you confident in yourself that you can handle all of life’s ups and down.

I, personally, have never been able to date someone if I didn’t see a future with them. So being with someone for many years makes it more certain that they could be a life long partner. Life doesn’t really give you a lot of guarantees but knowing that you’ll always have this person beside you could ease some stress. Making future plans with this person could be exciting to think about and plan for.

This leads us right into cons of long term dating though since having to factor someone else into your future means less freedom. You can’t just take that job a few states over, you have your significant other and their career to consider as well. You can’t just buy that new car if you wanted, you have to talk to your significant other about future housing and other expenses. You’re not just looking after yourself now.

The other side of the coin of having someone there for you always, means that you can become dependent on them. All that confidence you had suddenly evaporates when you have to do something by yourself. For example, I have social anxiety and get very anxious having to shop for groceries. I’ve now gone to the grocery store with my boyfriend a few times and that anxiety has really receded (granted probably because my focus is now concentrating on not yelling at my boyfriend for walking too slow but that’s besides the point). Now if I go to the grocery store by myself will I be pushed right back into that same anxiety or will the positive shopping experiences healed that issue for me? Will I be dependent to only go shopping with my boyfriend?
I’ve heard from lots of long term couples that they don’t think they could handle modern dating now. Dating apps seem shallow and hopeless and finding a new partner would be a difficult journey. This could make someone feel trapped in their long term relationship, like they’ll never find someone else to love them as much again.

They have forgotten that the beginning of every relationship is new and exciting! You’re thinking of all the endless possibilities and early love gives you hope for the future. The beginning is still fun and light. There’s no need to dive right off the deep end into tough situations and deep insecurities. For now you’re both showing your best selves and seeing if it’s worth the risk to be vulnerable and show the rough sides too.

In the beginning, every new conversation, date, and touch gives you butterflies. And you still get to keep your freedom too as you two dance around each other, give one another space and not trying to seem too desperate for the next date.

On the other hand, the dating world creates a revolving door of people in your life and the lack of stability and support can make a person feel lonely. This could also make you feel hopeless that love will never work out for you. You begin to think something is wrong with you, afraid to show your true self because you’re not sure what might makes them leave. You meet new people that you have fun with but you haven’t met the person you can be sad with.

Sure, a new spark will catch your eye and make you wonder, but it’s the slow burn that will keep you warm through a cold, dark night.

Forest Fire

You talk about her and it lights a forest fire of destruction in my heart

my immediate reaction is to mention him so you might feel a lick of the pain I’m in.

It doesn’t make it any better when you speak ill of her

with so much emotion in your voice, i can still feel her claws deep in you

Am I that deep in you yet?

Will you ever be able to forget me?

Can I replace her in your heart?

What’s it like Blogging about a Current Relationship You’re in?

Some people might think it’s kinda weird to tell a bunch of strangers your inner thoughts on such an intimate relationship. Others might be more open minded. I think in a lot of ways blogging helps my relationship. I’m able to sort out feelings, become self aware as I continue to reflect, and I think it helps keep the relationship honest.

What I mean by keeping the relationship honest is that we can’t really sweep issues under the rug when I’m analyzing them, debating various outcomes, and asking for advice on here. Boyfriend then, of course, reads these articles and depending on the situation perhaps learns where I’m coming from and any hidden anxieties that are contributing to an issue.

I may also be able to work out some personal hang ups by writing them out and saving us from a future disagreement. It’s important to be self aware and know what topics you’re sensitive about. I might be able to discover the true reason why I’m upset about something whether it’s because I was hurt before in a similar way or I was just deflecting  because I didn’t want to face the true issue (i.e. being mad at your girlfriend for always being late but you’re actually upset that she doesn’t value your time/effort).

It allows him insights he might normally not find in positive situations as well. It allows me to express my appreciation for him since I usually have a hard time verbalizing my thoughts. (I think I get romantic brownie points but let’s be honest, after the 30th poem I think the shine wears off) He may also learn things that help to ease his worries as well, ones that he might have been too nervous to tell me about or just have yet come up in the relationship.

Blogging about my current relationship is kind of like having a free relationship counselor.

The Parasite

I’m not sure why you still talk about her

Can’t you see that it hurts me?

You haven’t spoken to her in months but yet

Here she is again in our conversation

In your mind and in mine

I feel like she has a permanent place inside of you

Inside our relationship.

I feel crazy for not being able to let it go

But have you let her go?

She’ll drain us both if we let her

Are Crazy Exes a Myth?

Now I’m not saying that crazy exes don’t exist, because they totally do. I’m just saying you need to acknowledge the role you play when it comes to stirring the crazy.

For example, Stubborn drove me crazy. Just like anyone would go crazy by being tempted by the thing you so desperately want just out of reach. Your thoughts can go crazy wondering what he’s doing and thinking, reading into all words and actions, and craving the attention that runs hot and cold. The uncertainty would put anyone on edge, you don’t feel safe when you’re surrounded by all this doubt.

Of course, maybe she’s just insecure and you haven’t done anything to make her question your trust. Yet she still acts ‘crazy’ and you wonder how you yet again have ended up with a crazy ex. I’m sure all your exes are bitchy and insecure, the question is why do you keep picking these girls? Do you want to fix these girls? Are you self sabotaging because you’re not ready for a relationship?

Lastly, love is crazy. The chemicals released in your brain for love are strikingly similar to some mental illnesses. So even a chemically well-balanced individual may experience some out-of-character thoughts and behaviors while in a relationship. You’re a strong independent woman who don’t need no man! And yet… just one day without your significant other makes you ache with need and you wonder how you let yourself lose this much control!

So I’m just saying, yes, your ex might be crazy but did you make her that way?

Dating Expectations (The Learning Curve)

For those well versed in dating apps and the modern dating world, you probably are familiar with how much expectations can mess with a date. I went on many first dates but second dates were few and far in between. And when I did agree to a second date with a decent guy and good conversation, it usually tanked horribly! How was that even possible?!

Well when you go on so many terrible first dates, you start to think they’ll all suck (because they do). And then you finally have one kinda decent one and in comparison it seems amazing! Then you get your hopes up that you finally found a decent guy and your excitement for the second date and potential for more plays a huge factor in why they so often fail. At the end of our second date, the boyfriend and I both admitted to being extremely worried the date was going to go terribly because we’ve both experienced it so often in the current dating world.

Luckily that second date went well and our relationship blossomed, but this is still my first relationship. I was learning how often couples text and hang out. When the right time is to introduce your significant other to family and friends. I was experiencing the learning curve of being in a relationship!

But perhaps my lack of relationship experience is helpful when it comes to expectations. When you’ve been in relationships before you might think you know how it will all play out but certain behavior that your ex was okay with may make your current significant other uncomfortable. You need to learn your new SO’s communication style. Do they not like texting? Do they walk away during an argument? You’re also learning what makes her happy and what topics/situations stress him out. Everyone is different making every relationship different. And having expectations can sometimes make that hard.