Some of you may know that Henry and I celebrated our one year anniversary last month (exactly one month ago) and I still can’t believe it. There are days where I can’t believe it’s already been a year and there are other days I can’t believe its only been a year. This past year has been the best year of my life (so cliche, I know. But 100% the truth!) I am by far not an expert at relationships, what I’m about to share with you is what I learned after being with my boyfriend for a year. I still have so much to learn, this is just the beginning!
- Know yourself and your values BEFORE the relationship.
This is so so so important which is why I listed this as number 1. Before entering any relationship, you should most definitely know your views & what you want for yourself like what your beliefs are, where you want to live in 5 five years, how many kids you want to have, & just life in general! I’m not saying have a 10-year plan on how you want your life to go but really think about what’s important to you and your future. The reason I say this is because the last thing you ever want to do is not think about these things, jump into a relationship, fall in love then find out your significant other doesn’t want to have kids or doesn’t believe in God or never wants to leave where you are currently living. When that happens, you are then stuck in a sticky situation where you will either 1. Go through a heartbreak because you have to end the relationship or 2. You will have to change something that’s so important to you to make the relationship work & that just isn’t fair to you. I’m not saying in a relationship you won’t ever have to tweak some things to make the relationship work but just know what you want before entering a relationship. There could be a list of things you’re not too comfortable changing and there could be a list of things you’re okay with changing! Be comfortable with who you are and don’t change yourself based on who you are dating.
- Do things together and apart.
Going on dates is so much fun! Especially in your first year of dating because you’re able to do a lot of “firsts”. Do not spend the majority of your dates watching Netflix. Be adventurous and try new things together! You’re then able to learn about one another. Not every date has to be about spending money, go to the park & ride your bikes, make each other a sandwich and go have a picnic somewhere. Never stop dating, that is a major key when being in a relationship.
Being apart from one another isn’t so bad either. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Sometimes being with your significant other allll the time can lead to you taking your time with him/her for granted. Know what it’s like to actually miss one another so on future hangouts, you really appreciate your time spent together. Not just that but it’s healthy to go for a jog alone, it gives you time to yourself to think. It’s 100% okay to go to see a chick flick with your friends or have a girls night out. You do not have to be glued to your significant others hip. You have your own life too and yes I’m going to say it but you and your happiness come before whoever it is you’re dating. Do things for yourself, have your own things in your life going like blogging or painting, maybe reading a book!? You don’t want someone to ask you what you do for fun and your answer is “uhh hang out with my boyfriend?” LOL no! That’s clearly obvious. You want to be able to say you like to dance salsa or you love to run a marathon every now and then & you also want your significant other to have their own things going in life as well.
- No one controls the relationship but God.
Do you ever think to wonder how you got so lucky to have your significant other? Do you think it is a coincidence how perfect you two are together? Do you think you’re the luckiest person in the world to be in a relationship with him/her? Can I tell you that was not luck & it’s not a coincidence? God knew who you’d be in a relationship before you were even born. I believe God is the reason Henry & I are together, therefore, He gets all the glory and He is in control. Not I & not Henry. Keep God the center of your relationship and know that there is nothing to even control. You don’t decide what you’re going to do on a Friday night, you are ABLE to do whatever you want on a Friday night thanks to God for 1. Blessing you with life 2. Blessing you to do life with your significant other & 3. Blessing you with the funds, resources, health etc to do whatever it is you want to do.
- Be with someone who makes you want to be better.
“Find someone who makes you want to be a better person every day, but loves you for the person you already are”
Confession time. When I was younger I always wanted to be with someone I was smarter than, someone who didn’t know all that I knew (which isn’t much haha) because I wanted to feel like I added more to the relationship and I guess I wanted to be “the better person” (so sad, I know I know). But that was when I was young and immature & before I met Henry who btw is SO smart, I’m scared to answer his questions at times (joking… or am I?). But seriously, when he told me he had feelings for me, I was scared of the thought of being with someone who had already graduated college, had a job, had his own place and basically just his whole life together while all I had together were outfits for certain occasions LOL! But now that I’m with Henry who is not only smart but so sweet, so giving and forgiving with the purest heart who would help just about anyone with anything. He would literally give the shirt on his back knowing it was his last shirt just to keep a dog from being cold. Being with him has really made me want to be better and do better. If you know me you know I HATE school. Not only do I hate it but I put zero effort into it and honestly I don’t think I’d be in school right now if it wasn’t for Henry. Having someone believe in me in whatever I do is so inspiring, how could I not want to work harder, study more or try again? He always assures me that even if I do fail at something, that’s okay! I tried it once, I have a better understanding of it and to try again. He has given me that extra push to want to do better for myself and finish school. He has helped me to believe that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought was possible. His confidence in me is so contagious! Date someone who makes you think twice about how you’re going to treat a person. Date someone who encourages you to go that extra mile.
- It’s okay to fight!
True story, in our first 6 months of dating, we never fought and I was SOOO proud LOL why?? I liked the idea of never fighting and I was not ready for the time to come. Of course, the time did come and we had our first “fight”, it was an argument I can’t even remember what about. But I do remember us laughing about it after literally telling each other “omg did we just have our first fight?”. The point of this is that it’s healthy to fight! It’s nice to know what differences you have, what makes your significant other unhappy, you want to be aware of these things. It’s about overcoming obstacles together and being able to learn how to compromise and learning how to work together and come to an agreement.
- Say sorry even when you don’t have to.
Let me give you an example on when and why you should do this. Imagine telling your significant other something that made him/her feel unworthy, they express how you made them feel and you tell them that’s not what you meant. Yes a lot of people would say stop there, no need to go further but why not just take the extra step to say “I didn’t mean it that way but I’m sorry I made you feel unworthy” I promise you that by apologizing for something you didn’t have to apologize for will make the situation better, your significant other will appreciate you more and most important you will help them feel better about what you said and making each other happy is the goal right?
- Live in the moment.
I am so guilty of not doing this. I love to take pictures and snap everything which is fine and all but it can take away from the moment. You don’t want your boyfriend to have a speech going about how much he loves you and you tell him to pause so you can get your phone out and record him lol bc then you’ve interrupted him, he’s probably going to start over and it just won’t be the same. I have to tell myself at times, “okay Esmeralda no phone”. When we eat, I’ve made it a habit to not pull out my phone (after snapping my meal duh) and to enjoy our meals and most importantly CONVERSATE!
- Have a friendship before the relationship.
I understand some of us may be older and don’t have time to be friends with someone because you know you’re ready for a relationship but just because you’re ready doesn’t mean the other person is ready. And even if they are ready, I am speaking from experience when I say having a friendship before getting into a relationship is so important. When you’re friends with someone, you create a bond and a different type of relationship with one another. You’re able to get to know each other because you want to, not because you’re forced. It can also save you from rushing into things because being friends with someone is going to lead you to either wanting more or wanting to stay as friends. Past relationships were given no thought before I entered into them & you should want to be able to commit to being their friend before being their girl/boyfriend.
Now that I’m with Henry who I was friends with for over a year, we were pretty much best friends without the label. I got to know him outside of being in a relationship together. When I first met him (officially), I did find him attractive but it was honestly nothing more than that. We started off with group hangouts so I got to how he was in a different environment being surrounded by people who made him feel comfortable like his friends. Our friendship ran so smooth, it was never awkward or a bad time hanging out. Not always could our friends join us so we did hang out just us two at times. We’d go have a drink, we’d go dancing, we’d even have dinner together and it was nice due to there being no pressure and I really enjoyed our friendship. I was able to get to know him as a person. I knew his pet peeves, past, what he likes and dislikes before entering the dating stage and that’s really nice! You’re basically ahead of the game. Anyone who is willing to wait and build a friendship knowing there are feelings there is already a keeper.
- Never be against each other. You are a team.
When being in a relationship, I think you should be each other’s backbone. If you don’t have their back, someone else will and you don’t want to not be that person. You should never shoot down their dreams or goals, no matter how crazy they may sound. You should never humiliate your significant other, whether it’s only the two of you or in front of people. I’m guilty of this bc I at times can tease and make fun of Henry & I think it’s okay to play around but know when sometimes is too much. The last thing you ever want to do is have your significant other feel like someone else supports them more than you. Even when they make poor decisions, you should always be there for them and pick them up when the fall rather than making them feel worse about it. Don’t make fun of them for being wrong, you are their rock, #1 fan, biggest cheerleader & support system no matter what.
- God truly loves me.
Never in a million years did I think I’d be this happy in a relationship. They say God only gives you his best and boy were they right. I knew more and more God oh so loved me when He sent Henry my way. To have a man who goes above and beyond to make me happy. A man who never lets his pride get in the way of saying sorry. A man who exceeded my expectations in who I wanted to do life with. I remember praying for a certain type of man, there were a few things I reaaalllly wanted (lol so picky!) and to be quite honest I was okay If I didn’t get “that man” I prayed about but little did I know God already had him waiting for me. I remember when I first met Henry and started to get to know him, I asked him how he was still single because he was so perfect (this was before the feelings came) Henry would just laugh. I remember telling my mom & friends “man whoever Henry makes his girlfriend is one lucky lady” All behind the scenes God was preparing us both for our relationship. He blessed me with someone who will always have me questioning what I did that was so good to deserve someone like Henry.
I hope you all enjoyed reading what I learned in a year of dating my boyfriend. Again, these are all of my personal thoughts & feelings. We all have our own opinions and learn in our own ways! Let me know down in the comments below if you can relate to any of these or what’s something you’ve learned being in a relationship? I’d love to hear!
Xx, Es <3