We made it through Part 1, 2, 3, & 4 of the Unperfect Love Story series!
I hope these stories brought you laughs, insightful reflections, and a few awkwardly entertaining moments in the process.
Also, I can not say this enough – Thank you so much for being here. You scrolling down the page means we are all speaking the same language and get each other – We are not alone!
Now, let’s get down to brass tax…
After re-reading the series, I feel the most important lesson I’ve learned about a relationship is standing firm in what you want for your life, whether your partner agrees or not. Because no matter how in love you are with another person, you need to love yourself first.
I don’t mean that in a selfish way.
More in that, you must nurture your soul so you’ll have the ability to nurture the soul of another.
Love thy self, then love your neighbor.
Why Get Married?
I also discovered that it was never about marriage for me.
It was about chosing a partner who would prioritize my needs as I do theirs.
Although Chris didn’t believe in marriage – as read in Part 2 – he understands it is an experience I need.
Luckily, for our partnership, his love and dedication mean he will do something he didn’t plan on doing just to make me happy.
That eventually meant more to me than if he blindly agreed to get married in the first place.
(“Eventually” is the operative word here, as I was crushed when he first said he didn’t want to get married.)
Get on board or get out of the way…
As Cameron Eubanks of my favorite BravoTV show, Southern Charm once said, “Do you know all the shit that I do that I don’t want to do to appease my husband? Do you know all the shit that he does that he doesn’t want to do to appease me? That’s called marriage.”
Preach, sister! Because I sure as hell do things I prefer not to do because I love Chris.
If you’re having a hard time with the word “marriage”, replace it with “partnership” or “team,” then see how you feel.
For example, a team works together to meet an end goal.
Like, if you’re expecting a child (as my sister has reported), living on a sailboat (as we experienced for three years), or simply learning to live with one another person, life rolls on unexpectedly, and the person you choose for your team better carry their weight.
Otherwise, you’ll both lose.
This is one of the reasons I am such a huge advocate of dating.
Dating is one of the best opportunities for one-on-one interactions with another to learn your likes and dislikes about yourself and others.
I always tell friends to date for the learning experience and NOT PUT PRESSURE ON FINDING THE RIGHT PERSON.
Instead, use that special time to learn more about what you can tolerate and what you can’t so you can decide who is worth your love, time, and mad skills.
Because when you actually decide to get into a relationship, the real-ass work begins.
And half of that work is personal development.
**The crowd groans with irritation.**
I know, I know. I HEAR YOU.
And this is the twist: In relationships, personal development comes in the form of good ‘old emotion triggers, which can occur daily.
(Or, as one writer friend told me, they aren’t triggers but, “reflections with love.”)
Regardless, it’s annoying AF.
So, while you’re single, date your butt off until you’re good and ready to dive into a partnership.
**Stands on a soapbox, picks up megaphone**
BECAUSE ANY RELATIONSHIP SHOULD BE FOR THE BETTERMENT OF YOUR LIFE AND SOMETIME IT’S EMOTIONALLY HARD TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF BUT YOU HAVE TO DO IT TO TRULY FIND PEACE IN YOUR HEART!
Basically, it comes down choosing a person that will prioritize you in their life as you do theirs.
End of story.
Speaking of stories…
It’s one thing to write the essays for the Unperfect Love Story, but it’s quite another to re-read and feel all the feels again. Excitement in Part 1, sadness and anger in Part 2, confusion in Part 3, and a little embarrassment combined with a slight ego boost in Part 4…
Today, Chris and I are happy together and in our individual lives.
So much so, we are knee-deep in a long-distance relationship.
He is currently commercial fishing in Alaska for the summer and I am traveling the east coast between North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia to see family and friends.
Another thing that makes our love story “unperfect” in the conventional sense is that long-distance dating is still apart of our relationship today.
Here’s why long-distance relationships works for us:
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. We all know that.
Also, when I reflect back on past boyfriends, it turns out that each relationship had an element of long-distance: From my first boyfriend who went to a different high school, another who went to a different college, city, state, even one from a different country (I dated a British chap for a significant six-months).
I wonder if my former-military brat-turned-gypsy-life has anything to do with travel being a part of my love life?
Or, maybe it’s the introvert in me that likes the space?
Maybe both? Maybe more?
Ok, so…what’s next?
Fair question! Now that you know the dirt on our love story, this month I’m sharing the challenges of what it’s like to:
A) date long-distance
B) date a commercial fisherman.
Although the stories are funny, the challenges, rewards, and tips can help in your relationships, too!
Look out for a new blog post each week!
Thanks again for your time in reading and being a part of the conversation.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
Do you have any relationship advice or notes on dating you’d like to share? Please, comment below. We’d love to hear!
Get caught up on the Unperfect Love Story series here!
What do you do when your friend needs help meeting a man? Boom!: HOW TO BE A WINGWOMAN