In less than 24 hours, I will be turning 30. When I started this blog 5 years ago, I was in a completely different space, feeling trapped in a relationship that I felt I needed to be in, shedding harmful habits, and struggling to make a name for myself in an industry that I was still learning. I was smaller, weighing far less than I do now (thanks, early twenties). I was living in a bed bug, roach, and rat infested apartment building that I was eager to move out of. (I did, a few months later). I was on food stamps. I was dealing with trauma. I was earning a Masters degree.
Blogging had been a form of therapy for me until it became something more, or different. When I first started with my old blog about 12 years ago, I needed an outlet to discuss my hurt, reconcile with conflicting feelings, and sometimes to vent. Blogging has seen me through situationships, FWB, being cheated on, being with an emotionally abusive person, shouldering the financial burdens in a relationship, and everything in between.
Then people started reading, quite a lot of people from all over the world. And they started having dialogue and heated debates about having a roster, Netlix and chill, and “talking“. And that’s when I realized that I had a tiny bit of influence or at least, people cared a bit about what I had to say. That’s been a gift that I’m so grateful for. So here’s a gift for you: 10 things I’ve learned about love, sex, and relationships (so far).
Potential does not exist – seriously, it doesn’t. And it’s pretty shitty to be with someone in the hopes they may materialize into a person you want them to be. You have to assume that what you see is what you get and while people change, their core values likely will not. I’ve spent a ton of time and money on potential. Issa scam.
Forgiveness is freedom – learning to forgive myself for accepting less than I deserve, ignoring my intuition, being unkind to myself has helped in innumerable ways. And I want that for everyone.
Sometimes you’re the toxic one – in the age where “trauma” “negativity” and “toxic” get thrown around, it’s easy to push off your problems to someone else. But sometimes, you’re the emotionally abusive one. Sometimes you’re the one treating your partner like an emotional punching bag. It’s not always them. And the hardest pills to swallow are often the ones that treat the ailment.
Sex is top 5 and it ain’t number 5 – seriously, it’s important. If you’re not aligned with your partner on expectations, you WILL be disappointed. It was literally created to feel good but women have universally accepted that only men benefit. Don’t fake it. Don’t withhold how you feel. Forget preserving his feelings. You have feelings.
Masturbation – that’s it. That’s the message. Do it often.
Love is not enough – love is what happens when chemical reactions meet opportunity. It does not account for emotional maturity, financial stewardship, communication, sexual compatibility, or anything in between. I loved someone that I financially took care of while resenting him at the same time. Love should have conditions. For some, it does not not. But partnership does.
Sweat the small stuff – seriously, it’s rare that one big event will end a relationship. It’s the moments when you were inconsiderate, lacked communication, spoke unkindly, etc. that chip away at a person’s commitment to you.
Men are simple – they often say what they mean and mean what they say. The hours you spend laboring over a text message, glance, or flippant remark can be spent taking it at face value or directly asking for clarification. Behavior is communication and many times, no answer is an answer. The best apology is changed behavior and the best excuse is a response.
Time is currency – every moment you spend in an undesirable arrangement adds to the time you’ll spend recovering from it. So you’re year 2 in a situationship with someone who has no plans on changing things. What are you doing but giving your therapist more material to help you wade through?
Self-love is a daily action – confidence and self-esteem is woven in every part of your life. It’s in the dates you accept, the conversations you have, the sex you agree to, the relationship you’re in. Self-love doesn’t say, “well, I gained weight so I should probably take what I can get”. It doesn’t say, “I mean he’s rude to me but deep down, he has a good heart”. It’s not, “well I’ll go dutch on the date even though I don’t want to.” It’s not a broken clock that happens to right twice a day. It’s always on point, showing up in the decisions that may not feel good in the moment but will benefit you in the future. It’s in the choice to exercise that day, skip out on dinner with friends, going dancing, and agreeing to a date. Self-love is every damn thing.