What I’ve Learned from Relationships

I am single again. I have been since May. That’s okay. I have learned even more about myself. I always learn a lot from relationships. I have learned much from my own past relationships- as well as from those of my friends. Not just their past relationships, sometimes even their current ones- to include marriages. Sometimes I learn something really big about what I want out of my forever. Sometimes I learn to appreciate something about myself. This is a list comprised of everything I now know about love, myself, and what I want.

1. I appreciate my body- every piece of me is sexy, strong, and wonderful. My legs, my breasts, my belly (flat or not) my big ears, my button noes and my cheeks. My body has been nit picked by past flames and by mean girls. I was helped to really appreciate some of these body parts by some men. Either through their appreciation- or learning to love myself despite their opinions.

2. I have embraced my lovely hair. I have straitened my hair for years because I had exes tell me it was ugly wavy. I looked like I out of the “80’s”. I had one ex teach me how to style it with my natural wave. He taught me the right products to use. How to dry. How to use elephant hands. I now have and rock beautiful waves. 

3. I enjoy running & working out. It’s true I started to do these things to lose weight to “keep” a man. That never works -as we know, but I fell in love with how strong I am. I fell in love with what my body is capable of. I love to work out even if I complain. I am a beast when I set me mind to it. It has started me on a journey to help inspire others.

4. I learned about eating clean. I have learned SO much from two of my exes about eating clean. I have learned about additives they put in food from hormones to dyes. All of which is unnecessary and only cheapens food. I’ve learned the best products to buy, the best stores to shop in, as well as the best sale days. It is probably my favorite thing i’ve learned.

5. Communication is key. No yelling. Honesty. Even with the things that hurt. If it can’t be said in person than the person is not worth the relationship. I’ve learned a lot about communication from watching my parents- from hearing my friends struggles- and dating a number of men. It’s a two way street- I need to ask and speak up for myself as well as listen to their points of views. Nothing is worth having a throw down fight over. Nothing should have to not be said because I a relationship there shouldn’t be secrets or hidden parts of yourself. 

6. Family is most important. If men do not feel a tie to their family I am not interested. If they do not understand when I dodge plans for my family they are not for me. If a man doesn’t want a family or doesn’t plan to be the active, helping part of the other half of parenthood, I’m not sticking around.

7. That my interests are important and should be pursued. I would say my last 4 boyfriends have pushed me to read my sic/fi fantasy, to keep writing in my novel, to camp, to hike, to kayak. I have become more of myself because of these men who’ve pushed me to embrace the parts of myself that other men urged me to hide and feel ashamed of. For that I am thankful.

8. I am a great teacher. Man after man has praised my career choice. Telling me how big my heart is. How patient I am.  I had an ex tell me what a worthless profession teaching was. It has it’s challenges, but it is an important and meaningful career choice.

9. I need a man who is driven. I don’t mean he wants to epically climb the corporate ladder, but he must have goals. He should be driven to constantly be bettering himself with a growth mindset. I don’t want a man happy with mediocrity.

10. Adventure. I need a man who likes to explore. He should be up for going out and about local venues- as well as traveling. He should like to try new things and not be so stagnant in life that he is content to do the same things day after day.

11. Relaxation- on the flip side he shouldn’t think that spending a day or two binging on netflix is a lazy activity. Unwinding and relaxing are very necessary to keeping a sound mind and spirit.

12. Faith. It is important that our beliefs align – not necessarily perfectly, but my Faith is too important to me. It’s been the only reason I’ve survived much of my life and that should be valued and understood if not completely shared.

13. They should see me in their future and build real plans with me. No more of this ‘just talking’ NO more of this ambiguous relationship where titles are left off and I’m left in uncertainty. Life is too short not to be all in. 

Bottomline is I’m not settling for a life less than I am capable of living- so I won’t settle for a man less than worthy of me. Compromise is NOT the same as settling and I’ve watched too many friends settle when they think it’s compromise. I’ve seen friends give up their dreams because they don’t have the needed support. It breaks my heart for them. I can’t wait to find my Mr. Right. For now, I’m content loving myself and becoming the best me possible.

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