Why I believe this relationship worked:
During my relationships before Brandon, I encountered the many DON’TS of dating. Many of them ultimately resulted in break ups, long cries with friends, revenge phases (to get the guy back), and of course, my single summer. However, looking back at it all now, I’m not sure that I believe there are DO’s or DON’Ts when it comes to dating, and I’ll tell you why.
I was always a relationship girl. I feel like most of my life I’ve had a boyfriend, starting with the guy I dated throughout my junior and senior years of high school. I broke up with him when I graduated and decided I wanted to trial the single life. The independence didn’t last long, and I had at least three different boyfriends during college. Exhibit A, B, and C, below…
The first was long distance, and despite him being such a great guy, I had to end it with him when I felt it was becoming too serious. I didn’t feel like he was the right one, and when you know you know. The second serious relationship I had in college was with a guy from a different school, which ultimately ended for the same reason as the others-I didn’t feel it anymore.
Thirdly, a guy came around and taught me the most important lessons a single girl can learn, which led me to start my blog. The search for the right guy ends with the realization that there really are no lasting “dos and don’ts” in dating. Whatever “don’ts” you might feel guilty of won’t matter with the right guy. The mistakes that I made with my first real boyfriend, (we’ll call him John), I also made with Brandon. But, because Brandon was the right person for me, the obstacles didn’t outweigh the relationship.
The things that were super beneficial for a healthy relationship between Brandon and I were as follows:
- My relationship didn’t run my entire life.
- I had my own thing going and he was happy to be along for the ride.
- I let him be independent.
When ‘John’ broke up with me, the best thing he said was “you need to figure yourself out before being in a relationship.” I remember resenting him for that statement, but it ended up being the most accurate piece of advice that I’ve ever gotten.
When we started dating, I didn’t have a job or a career in mind yet. My entire life revolved around that relationship, and he felt it. After 9 months, I started moving a bunch of my things into his apartment (which ended up being a big DON’T, but at the time I was too close to it to realize).
The problem was that I always assumed that my boyfriends would be like my sisters. That they’d be around forever, wouldn’t judge me, wouldn’t abandon me, and could be trusted with anything. I’m an open book. I share who I am and how I feel at all times, and share the majority of it as a living. There are pros and cons to that lifestyle, but I would rather be transparent than guarded and inauthentic.
With Brandon, I basically moved in after 3 months. He didn’t mind or make a single complaint. I annoyed him every day about being my boyfriend, even though he wasn’t ready. I said “I love you” first–I even asked him when he was going to propose. At the end of the day, all of that didn’t affect our relationship because we were MFEO (“made for each other”, it’s a Sleepless in Seattle term-ha!). My point is: he knew I was the one, and all of those things didn’t scare him off because he loved me regardless.
You have to be who you are, act as you would, and communicate how you want to. At the end of the day, if you’re fulfilled and happy with yourself (without a guy), it will be far easier to find the right one.
But never forget, it’s always good to play a LITTLE hard to get. 🙂
Illustration by: Molly Keene