So you’ve just graduated from the single life and picked up a beautiful human being in the “serious relationship” isle. Before you know it, you’ll start noticing all of their little traits that you were oblivious to beforehand. They tell you they don’t like tomatoes (great, neither do you), they prefer cats over dogs (big no no) and they just don’t understand why you love Beyoncé so much (HOW DARE THEY!?).
In learning about your new honey, you’ll also learn things about yourself. These lessons are far more important by the way. For me coming out of two serious relationships in the space of 3 years was pretty damn hard. I had to come to terms with a few things that I had never considered before. Basically, I learnt that sometimes it takes a shit load of heartache to finally come to the conclusion that you are boss AF with or without a bae by your side.
Let me give you a rundown on just some reasons why:
Only you can define your own beauty
I am beautiful without validation. Yes, the two guys I dated helped me to overcome certain (if not all) doubts about my physical beauty. They taught me that my scars were loveable, that my frizzy hair and crooked nose were cute but what I taught myself was even more important. I learnt that even on the bad days when they weren't around, or when we were fighting and I'd spend the whole day being mad at them that this not not detract from my own sense of beauty.
This is so important, especially post-breakup when your heart caves in on itself. It means that you can still slay your winged eyeliner, pucker up to your mirror and kiss your beautiful self good morning. It may seem vain to some or just downright unacceptable that a woman can find herself attractive, but I do. My worth is not dependent on who finds me good looking on a particular day (although some days I just want the cute barista to flirt with me a little). My worth is what I define it to be - that I am smart, strong, independent and fierce.
2. You are more than a relationship
You are not defined simply for being in a relationship. No sir-ee! I can hold my own damn self thank you very much. Sure, it's nice to hustle with ya boy or girl, but in the absence of such significant other you still need to be comfortable to do your own thing.
It may seem hypocritical considering I haven't been single in 3 years (until now, holla at me!), but I'm so upset when my friends feel worthless or aimless simply because they are single. You are allowed to want someone you can depend on, someone who you can steal the blankets off and watch twisted Anime with at 3am. Wanting affection and to spend all your time with someone does not make you dependent on their company.
You are still an independent person! As much as I love sharing a bed with someone I love, I really, really like sleep. So if my boy wants to wake up at 6am and go for a run, he can sleep alone tonight. If he doesn’t want to join me in my Orange Is The New Black marathon (I don't understand why he wouldn't), no biggie. I’ve been told that I am not an independent person because I want to spend my time with my partner. Well, duh? If I’m dating someone of course I bloody want to spend time with them - it’s kind of a given. But don’t you dare tell someone that they seem like nothing without their significant other around.
3. Hold your own
Be your own self. I learnt this hard way and probably hurt a lot of people in the process, but it's a valuable lesson. Make plans for yourself, be selfish and be assertive. People seem afraid of confident, assertive women and I don’t understand why. You shouldn’t have to be labeled a bitch just because you hold your ground and won’t take anyone’s shit (this includes from your partner, also worth noting).
A relationship is about growing and supporting each other, but you've got to be able to support yourself first. They will most likely not have the exact same personality or interests as you, and that's great! Diversity is sexy. But they are not allowed to make you feel like shit for having a different opinion or taste to them. There's a difference between a little healthy competition and being a downright arsehole. Learn to pick it early.
You literally have your whole life ahead of you to do whatever (and whomever) you want. Mr. or Mrs. Right is out there, I promise you. But in the meantime, the hottie with the tattoos and perfect beard just licked his lips and flashed you a smile.
You do you boo.
Image: Alex Jack