Photo used with permission from Creative Commons and Nicolas Raymond

Photo used with permission from Creative Commons and Nicolas Raymond

Hello, lovely readers. As I set out to write about love and relationships, I can’t help but be strongly reminded of my own very recent break up. The thought of anything even slightly romantic makes me want to retreat back into my cave where my bed is permanently imprinted with the outline of my body in the fetal position. I ate a whole box of Chips Ahoy, drank a lot of wine and made my mother worry. However, in the midst of all the moping and feeling sorry for myself, I had a realization. After spending hours thinking “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve” and replaying scenes in my head, I’ve come to the conclusion that while I can’t change the past, I might as well learn from it. I’m definitely no relationship expert, but I know if I could go back in time and give myself this advice, there’d be no stopping me.

My first newly discovered rule for relationships is to never stop trying. We all remember the magic and butterflies of the beginning of a relationship. The universally known “honeymoon phase.” That won’t last forever and it shouldn’t. It happily transitions into being comfortable and content with your significant other. You know each other inside and out, and they feel like home to you. This is where it gets tricky. Sometimes, we get TOO comfortable. The trick is to not entirely let go of that excitement and passion you originally had, that desire you had to make them yours. Sit back for a minute each day and think about how lucky you are to have found this person. We often forget this and consequentially stop doing the little things for each other. Surprise your significant other with their favorite Jimmy John’s sandwich, leave them little love notes. Do whatever it is that you do that makes your relationship special.  The important thing is to let them know you continue to love them even more as time goes by. Let them know you’re constantly thankful for their presence in your life. Appreciating each other and showing it – that’s the key to keeping the magic.

Now, you’ll all have to bear with me for my next rule because it’s about as cheesy and cliché as it gets: Love yourself. Unoriginality aside, I’m still a firm believer in having a strong relationship with yourself before ever starting a relationship with another person. Being in a relationship means being vulnerable and letting go of control. You lose that ability when you’re constantly plagued with insecurities. You close yourself down and refuse to let your significant other all the way in because you’ve convinced yourself they’ll hurt you if you ever let your walls down. In reality, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, any relationship is a risk. But you increase that risk when you put up walls. A relationship won’t work unless you’re both all in. It’s about loving yourself and then being able to fully share that love with another person. Accept your self worth; accept that you are worthy of being happy. Happiness will ensue.

Love can hurt. Love can suck. Despite those truths, I don’t regret a second of my past relationship. You live and you learn. I’m currently working on transforming my own emotional pain into the ultimate learning experience. I’m not sure what’s in store for me now, but I continue to be a strong believer in what’s meant to be, will be. So to sum it up for my readers, if you’re lucky enough to find someone you love and who loves you back, don’t make my mistakes. Let them in, appreciate them, try and don’t hold back the love. And, of course, a healthy sex life never hurts.

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