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My previous ideas about relationships all stacked up to the things I had heard from friends, what I had seen in the movies or what I read about in my books. They were often beautiful and sentimental feelings, but they weren’t truly mine to cherish.

Leading up to my senior year, I spent most of college challenging myself to break out of my shell. It didn’t always work. There were often a lot of nights that I chose staying at home and being with close friends or my roommates instead of going out places. Sometimes it was hard to think about how much I possibly missed out on.

Now I know that when things are meant for you, you will come to experience them no matter what.

The person I’m dating now is someone who has been a friend to me for many years. We were always just good friends. The type of people that randomly texted each other every few months and the conversations just flowed as if they never once stopped. The type of people that always went to each other when we needed to rant about the relationships in our lives and get some dating advice. The type of people that constantly aimed to build each other up and give compliments on our accomplishments. It’s so funny how all this time we were slowly building our relationship too.

Being my first genuine relationship (Let’s not count my eighth grade boyfriend that only knew how to talk about baseball and flirt with other middle schoolers during our whopping three months together.), I had and still do have nerves and insecurities that I must weather constantly. I think it’s only natural after being with just myself for so long that I feel a bit disorientated when it comes to being in a partnership.

When you choose to be with somebody, you aren’t automatically responsible for their feelings, their accomplishments and their burdens, but sometimes you definitely wish you could just carry all of that weight on your shoulders to ease the load of your person. Though, it just can’t work like this. It took me some time to understand that relationships don’t and shouldn’t make you morph together as one, seeing as we are both two entirely separate people. There must be a balance between the care you give to yourself and the care you are willing to give to the people you date. 

love at the beach
Original photo by Brooke Dixon

I’m lucky enough to be with a person who respects my time, honors my feelings and works to understand who I am as a person. I don’t feel like I must constantly change myself just to make things work. Healthy boundaries and honest conversations make dating feel light-hearted and fun, as it rightfully should be.

I’d say to anyone out there who often finds it hard for themselves to speak up about situations and feelings that may be awkward or uncomfortable, just let it out somehow to let it go. Maybe that’s having a talk with your person, journaling on your own or even going to your friends for support. If you don’t do something, these experiences will carry with you wherever you go and with whoever you meet. You need to feel free in expressing yourself, especially to someone who is committed to being in a relationship with you. They should be a supporter of yours and a best friend.

Sometimes we can’t control when a conflict will occur and that’s okay. Once I started to shift my focus toward the good parts that come with being in a relationship, I realized I’m helping to build something that will be strong enough to navigate any tougher waters that may come. When you work as a team together, you win together.

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Brooke is a senior at FSU pursuing an Editing, Writing and Media degree with a minor in Psychology. She has a passion for working within her community as an Enrichment Tutor for young children. Brooke hopes to become published in an accredited magazine with an eye-catching editorial piece one day. Check out @dixon_brooke12 on Twitter for more!
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