If you follow me on instagram you know that my most recent boyfriend and I went through an uncoupling. What I went through is pretty similar to the first uncoupling I went through before him which you can read about here: Broken up but not Broken.
I’ve taken the time the last couple of weeks to heal. Even though the break up was mutual, it was loving and it was done with care, I still needed to fully cleanse myself of the relationship. It took me losing a bit of myself, some tears and feeling numb to get back to where I am now.
I’m happy to report that I am back to normal and back to Andreaming again. Now, I’m here to share what I’ve been thinking about: the things I’ve learned from my now ex-boyfriend and my ex before him… both rare specimen and people I still deeply respect and care about.
- The importance of processing together. There are two of you in a relationship. It takes two to tango. This means that you cannot make decisions on behalf of the both of you. You cannot just leave without explanation. You have to use your words to articulate what you’re thinking and feeling. It will feel vulnerable and scary but it’s important to understand where each person is coming from so that you BOTH can arrive to a conclusion and solution. If you have a question, ask. If you have a concern, express it. If you’re not sure, be open about your doubts. Talk through it together, think through it together. You’re in this together to help each other become a better person. Use that person as a trusted resource and partner. If this person is important to you… you will do your best to communicate and let them know what is going on with you.
- It’s all about give and take. For both parties to be happy… there must be a healthy exchange of giving and receiving. If there’s an imbalance and too much/too little of either, it will be exhausting and toxic. Someone will most likely feel unappreciated, unacknowledged or neglected. To give, you must understand how the other best receives love (words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, gifts, touch). To be a great giver, you must know how to receive and what it feels like to receive, to fully understand the weight and impact of what is being given. A relationship isn’t sustainable without both giving and receiving. Giving attention… affection… appreciation… and all of the other good stuff that makes someone feel seen and heard in a romantic relationship. Be sure to really see, hear, know and feel each other.
- There are no “shoulds.” Whatever relationship you’re in…. will be different than the one you were in last and will be different than the one after if you move on. The person you are with now isn’t the person you were with last. Whatever did and didn’t work last time might be different this time around. Whatever works for someone elses’ relationship might not work for you. Relationships are unique to where you are in that point of time, where the person you are with is at that point in time, and the kind of relationship you are both working to build. The only rules you have are the ones you two decide on and live by. There is no “I should do ______ for you to be a good girlfriend/boyfriend.” There is no rule except to love that person well, show/tell them that you do, and to make that person a better human by knowing you. You get to decide what that looks and feels like. What kind of person do you want to be in a relationship? What kind of person do you not want to be?
- A healthy relationship is one where you feel safe. There was once a time when I couldn’t sleep next to someone I was getting to know because I didn’t truly feel like I could be myself. I felt like I had to be perfect and look perfect all of the time. I knew that I could really be myself when I slept well (aka PASS OUT, mouth open) next to both of my exes. There is no such thing as a perfect person, but if you’re with someone who treats you well, respects you as a human, listens to you and truly has the intention to love and share their life with you… the relationship is one where you both grow and explore life fully. It’s a relationship where you feel safe to share your thoughts, dreams, fears, ideas… instead of one where you’re spending time having to explain yourself to them. A healthy relationship has a solid foundation of trust and honesty, even if it’s not what you want to hear but it’s best for you… no judgment just openness and acceptance. You and he person you’re with both understand that you’re both a work in progress.
- You can’t change anything they don’t want or aren’t ready to change. If all you see is potential but no action from the person you’re with… they might “know” they need to work on something but until they do something about it to show you, you’re just waiting. Yes, be patient but if they don’t want to change, you can’t force them. You can only make changes in your life and yourself to lead by example or, support them/be there in whatever change might be scary. There’s a difference between giving suggestions and trying to enforce change with force and as a demand/ ultimatum. If you ever have to force anything to work in a relationship, it’s probably not right.
- Vulnerability is strength. In my last two relationships with rare specimen, I found that the deep conversations we had… the truly vulnerable moments we shared were the moments I felt most connected and most attracted to them. The moments when someone shares a part of themselves and you see them for who they are (and vice versa) is really beautiful because it requires a level of emotional maturity, empathy, non-judgment and unconditional love. Men are expected to act a certain way to be masculine and to be taken seriously, but to me there’s nothing more confident and sexier than someone who knows what they want and what they believe in. A true gentleman is able to give you hugs and kisses that make you feel warm and fuzzy the same way they should be able to say something that makes your heart just overflow with love. A true man speaks their opinion without having to be right, is ok with you being better at something than they are, and isn’t afraid of how they feel and how to express it. It’s not always easy to be vulnerable, share faults, or accept responsibility for the things you do but that’s what makes it that much more of a strength and power.
- Love is transformational. There is a healing power in a healthy relationship. Not only do you get to be yourself unapologetically which empowers you in your everyday life… but also you feel less alone and have someone to share it with in this world. Being in a relationship teaches you things that you otherwise would not learn on your own/by yourself. Love is a force that ignites passion in people… helps people confront and discover who they really are… and empowers them to do things that your logical brain might stop yourself from doing. Once you experience that soulful connection and deep love, not only do your standards go up… your hope for everyone else becomes boundless. Love can transform someone into a more positive being and influence in this world, and I’m all for that because we certainly need more of that in this world.
Love isn’t always easy. It’s takes work. It takes self awareness. At the end of the day, it is so so worth it.
I’m so grateful to have known and loved (and be loved by) two rare specimen during my time here in LA. I know that much more about myself, am that much more confident in myself, and am that much more excited about what is ahead.
Nothing but love.
Stay in touch on instagram! I am creating t-shirts inspired by the rare specimen in my life.