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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northeastern chapter.

I’ve been incredibly lucky in my first relationship. I’m dating what some might describe as a ‘golden retriever boyfriend,’ which Urban Dictionary defines as “a significant other that is easygoing and makes it fairly simple to maintain a happy and fulfilling relationship.” Even after six months of dating, it feels just as exciting as those early so-called ‘honeymoon stages.’ A lot of times you hear about the excitement dying down as the relationship progresses, but I get just as jittery to see him as I did during the initial stages of our relationship. In this relatively short time, I’ve discovered the essence of love, something I thought I understood before, but was mistaken. 

Before my current relationship, I was under the impression that love was synonymous with drama, characterized by intense, passionate conflicts followed by reconciliations. Well, here’s a spoiler: it’s nothing like that at all. Transitioning from a background of familiarity with drama to my first healthy relationship has been challenging. The tranquility and security can initially seem dull or even make you question whether your partner feels as deeply as you do. Let me share this insight with you: that ‘boring’ feeling in a relationship? It’s love. This was a completely foreign concept to me initially because I was accustomed to chaos in my closest relationships with people that I love, and that’s all I expected from a romantic relationship. 

Even in a very healthy relationship, I sometimes find myself self-sabotaging. I experience moments of fearing abandonment or doubting my worthiness of the love I receive. There are times when it all feels too good to be true, and I question whether I truly deserve such affection. Perhaps it’s because I’m not accustomed to it? I’m not entirely sure of the underlying reasons just yet. I do know that this relationship has challenged me and allowed me to grow immensely. One important realization I’ve had is that I tend to have an anxious attachment style when it comes to relationships. According to Simply Psychology, this means that even in a healthy and secure relationship, I often find myself feeling insecure and on edge as if I’m in a fight-or-flight mode even when there’s nothing actually wrong. 

I’ve come to realize that this struggle is internal. I’ve acknowledged that I need to break free from the cycle of anxious attachment. I have someone who loves and cares for me, and it’s essential for me to trust in that and not constantly question it. The biggest piece of advice I have received regarding this is that trusting your partner in their feelings for you is your gift of love to them.

In my first real relationship, I’ve learned that love isn’t always about grand, showy gestures. It’s those small, unexpected acts that truly define it. It’s him making breakfast for you, lugging your stuff to your college apartment, saving you a spot at his desk (and continuously ensuring your comfort) or giving you a ride on his one-seater bike where you get the comfy seat while he does all the pedaling. Love means pulling one another close when you’re both half-asleep, following the unwritten rule to walk on the edge of the sidewalk and him passing over the last bite of his McChicken sandwich. Love, in essence, is simple and deeply genuine. 

As an independent person, allowing someone to take care of me has been difficult. But what I’ve learned is that it is okay to allow yourself to be taken care of. Especially because he wants to. I have to remind myself that he wouldn’t be doing any of this if he didn’t want to. Additionally, I am so accustomed to keeping my feelings in, thinking what I say is invalid or unimportant. Having a partner who encourages me to talk and wants to help has been so refreshing. Communication is the root of relationships. Being passive and not expressing how you feel will only make things more difficult in your relationship. Your partner can’t read your mind, and you can’t blame them for things they don’t know. 

I’ve come to appreciate the value of spending time apart even though I adore my boyfriend and want to be with him most of the time. It’s true that distance makes the heart grow fonder. Although it can be tough at times, being apart is when our relationship faces its real tests. If we can make it through those moments, it’s a significant sign of a strong connection. In my opinion, there’s something incredibly attractive about watching your partner thrive with their friends or indulging in their beloved hobbies, and vice versa. 

Sometimes, I question whether I’m qualified to speak on any of this considering I’m only 19 and kind of have imposter syndrome since I don’t have a lot of experience under my belt. Being in my first real relationship is wonderful, even if it sounds a bit silly. I’ve found someone who has seamlessly become a part of my life, and it’s crazy to think that we were once strangers. 

Isabella Heilbronn

Northeastern '25

Isabella is a third-year student majoring in Communications with a minor in Marketing. She uses Her Campus as her space to share life stories, personal experiences, and create relatable, diary-like articles. She's passionate about connecting with other women through her writing.