My Relationship with Relationships

This is an article discussing certain aspects of a relationship through my opinion. I would like to disclose that I try to remain general in my opinions, yet when I discuss my relationship specifically to show my personal growth as a human being, I disclose that I am in a heterosexual relationship. I believe that this article can translate to any form of sexuality and I support any form of sexuality.

 

Societal norms seem to dictate what is acceptable when it comes to relationships. Normally the flow chart is as follows: two people meet and “talk,” in which there is just a constant string of flirtation between these two people à “talking” leads to non-exclusive dating, in which these two people go on dates yet are not limited to dating only each other à finally, the two people decide to become exclusive, resulting in a relationship. The publicity of this relationship can be kept on the DL (down-low), or become Facebook official. There seems to be a constant battle as to the duration of how long each of these steps are, as well as if each of these steps are actually necessary.

There are many unofficial rules of relationships as well, like when one can meet the parents of their significant other, or when the “L-word” can be dropped for the first time. Breaking these rules can result in misread signals between partners. With the start of each relationship, there is always stress as to how serious you can get with a new partner given a certain amount of time.

However, what stresses me more than these norms is actually the idea of giving oneself to their partner, body and soul. The person you date not only should learn of you on a physical level, but they should also know your dreams, your passions, and even your fears. There are those people who are open books, constantly sharing every tiny piece of their soul with those around them.  There are also those who share their secrets after they feel like their partner deserves to hear them. Opening oneself up to another is a huge showing of trust that can make or break a person and their relationship.

Personally, I always let people in and out of my life. As seen in the last article I wrote, I constantly make and lose friends. Therefore, I do not put much faith in simple verbal commitment. I don’t want to trap someone to me, nor would I want them to feel as though I don’t care for them. I am a strong believer in that those who come into your life have a reason to come, and possibly go. In regards to my last couple guys who have entered into my life, I have learned a valuable lesson from each of them: James taught me that it is okay to have standards; Christopher showed me that feelings constantly come and go; Jack taught me that there is more to a guy than just a pretty face; Alex showed me that I am worth more than just a one-night stand; Bryce showed me that it is okay to go after someone who you never would have seen yourself with; and Brian taught me that even the most perfect guy can be the most unperfect for you. These men were not the ones for me, yet they have prepared me for each guy after them.

I have seen those who seem to only justify their relationship through social media. We all have been mildly disgusted by those who post BS posts on Instagram, discussing how true and pure their love is (sometimes after only a few days). We have been skeptical in the relationships of other in which we have no business being involved in, even though they seem to create a more public appearance rather than a personal one. Sometimes, it appears that a relationship is not a relationship unless there are 12,000 social media posts about it. Please, please understand that all that matters is you and your partner. The opinion and knowledge of others do not matter. All that you need is your love and you.

Since coming to college, I have become more cautious when it comes to who I am dating. In high school (and even earlier schooling), I would constantly catch feelings, only to be disappointed by the lack of offerings of “promposals.” Once I started going to parties, I was taught, and even saw examples, that college-aged men are only interested in you for one night. Even if a compliment was given to me at a location where there wasn’t a large crowd of intoxicated people, I felt as though there was never any strong intention of a guy wanting a relationship with me that lasted more than an evening, much less a  week.

And I am not any better, to be fair. I started “talking” to more than one person at the time, and sometimes, I started the non-exclusive dating process. Never did it advance further than that though. I have been guilty of ending something early on with a guy due to petty reasons, such as him having a certain personality trait that I could not get past. Still, I don’t consider myself all that picky when it comes to my preference in boys, yet I was never really clicked with anyone to such a level that I wanted us to be official for whatever reason – out of fear of commitment or lack of the desire for a relationship, I honestly couldn’t tell you which. All I knew was that I didn’t want to waste time on a guy, ever. I also believed that if I followed these societal norms completely, I would have a way higher chance of maintaining and advancing things with the guy.

Now I see that these rules of relationships are such BS.

I never believe in chemistry with another person. However, recently I’ve entered an actual relationship (yes, it’s Facebook official), and I cannot believe how wrong I had been in how negatively I have seen relationships, and the male gender, in the past. I cannot believe that I had put so much faith in societal norms. I have been groomed to see men only as those who have an ulterior motive and those who would only crush my spirit. I have been taught that I am never good enough, and that good men are only found in works of fiction. I have been told to protect my heart, my body, and only trust myself.

However, my boyfriend and I barely follow all these societal norms and rules. We skipped so many steps in our relationship (including “talking” and the majority of the time set aside for dating), we’ve already met each other’s families, and the “L-word” was said relatively early. I’m not going to lie, I struggled with all of these things happening out of order simply because I wanted to follow the norms of society. I was overly cautious (and still am TBH), however now I feel extremely stupid in not believing in my boyfriend- and myself-  from the start.

Still, we are not perfect. It is still early in the relationship and there is still much of us to learn about one another. I am happy to say that we both have been extremely honest with one another, and we have even had a few bumps along our way that resulted in some serious bruises. I know I will always have issues in trust and hesitancy in opening up completely, in that I constantly am avoiding and hiding from compliments my guy has thrown at me. Never have I gotten sincere compliments from a person not looking to get something from me in return. As I said earlier, many guys have tried this with me, making me apprehensive towards compliments and the feeling I get knowing someone actually cares for me in a genuine way. Society and past experience has shown me that many times, people have mislead me into thinking I am one of a kind, only to be left the next day. I can say that this is not true for all who walk the earth. Some people, boy or girl, friend or partner, will see you as more than an object to be use. They will see you as beautiful. They will believe you are wonderful. They will be there for you. There are true people out there.

However, by learning from my past self, I have become my own person. I have had to create a relationship with myself before I could create one with another person. I have not let anyone else dictate who I should be or what I should think. I do not try to change myself because of the opinions or views of my partner, nor would I change them simply to please him (and I am lucky to say that he respects my views, as I do his). I stick towards my own moral compass. I have seen so many girls be twisted into becoming someone only their boyfriend wants them to be. I have even seen girls tweak themselves into a being who they believe their significant other would want despite their own personal morals. Through lessons learned from them, I have created a relationship with myself, in that I see myself as an individual that can achieve so much without someone by my side, and even though it would be nice to say that I have someone constantly in my corner, it is not required. I have become my own self and I have learned that no one should come before me in my eyes.

In the past, I have followed the unofficial rules and steps set forth by society. Now that I am not focusing on following the typical flow of relationships, I can say that I am unbelievably happy. I do not let the stress of what society says I should be doing get to me. I did not fall for a guy who believes that I am only allowed to do what he wishes, for however long he sees fit before I am no longer of use to him. I see myself through my partner’s eyes in that I am not an object. Within my time with my boyfriend, I have seen only positive changes in myself in how strongly I can stick to morals. I have no fear him. I have not become a different person, nor have I changed a single bit about myself in a negative way other than my relationship status on Facebook.  I know I will always struggle with trust, however, I feel like my heart is warming up. I know I will always struggle with compliments, mostly because I lack the self-esteem, yet I am starting to see myself through his eyes. I am still cautious with my heart, but I am making progress. I am treated well and I feel loved by myself and by my boyfriend. Despite my change in attitude towards relationships, I will still always prioritize myself and my morals over any man. I will still keep the words of Meredith Grey to heart, “I can live without you, but I don't want to. I don't ever want to.”