Figuring Things Out: The Search For Balance In New Relationships

Figuring Things Out: The Search For Balance In New Relationships

Dating is beautiful, but you still have a life, and it's not going to be the same.
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I believe there are people who are genuinely happy to be single. I was not one of them.

Not that my life was an unhappy one just because I wasn't dating anyone — I am thankful for my life and acknowledge that I am blessed no matter my relationship status — but I never stopped desiring romance, and my recent relationship has confirmed my suspicion that I am far happier to be with someone than not to be.

Though I am by no means an expert on relationships after having been in one for just over a month, I still feel that I've learned a thing or two.

I've learned a lot about him; I know all about his likes (soccer) and dislikes (golf), his timetable (late to bed, late to rise, late to pretty much everything), his values (conservative), and his family (fun and very close), just to name a few. And I guess I've learned about myself, too. I've learned that I will never compromise on important standards (like my faith), but that some of my more arbitrary and unrealistic expectations of a significant other were just that— arbitrary and unrealistic.

But something that I'm still figuring out is whether or not anything else about my life ought to change now that my relationship status has. What I mean is, so many things feel different to me now, and I'm not sure if they should. Probably the most difficult question is how much to involve this new person in the various existing aspects of your life. Obviously, you want to be with them and want them to enjoy the same things you do, but you know you still ought to have your own space. So where's the balance?

One area where this question is relevant is in existing friendships. Naturally, you want your new boyfriend or girlfriend to get along with your other friends, but you don't want to allow a new relationship to change or distance an already-strong bond.

This seems especially challenging in regard to single friends. Having been a single girl who tended to feel self-conscious around more demonstrative couples, I know that I never want my relationship to leave anyone feeling awkward or left out. But at the same time, I want my friends to be involved in this new aspect of my life, too. While I would hate for my friends to dislike my significant other or feel like they didn't know him, I would hate even more to grow gradually apart from my dear friends and find myself distant from them in the future. This, too, requires balance.

Whether single or dating, the proper management of time, commitments, and friendships takes work and practice. Even though I feel I've already learned so much about what it means to add another type of relationship to the mix, I realize that I haven't perfected this balance just yet, and probably never will. But that doesn't mean that I can't still enjoy this new, imperfect, and exciting season while admitting that I'm still figuring things out.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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An Open Letter To My Boyfriend's Mom

A simple thank you is not enough.
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Your son and I have been dating a while now and I just wanted to thank you for everything.

Wow, where do I start? Ever since the day your son brought me into your home you have shown me nothing but kindness. I have not one negative thought about you and I am truly thankful for that. I first and foremost want to thank you for welcoming me with open arms. There are horror stories of mothers resenting their son's girlfriends and I am blessed there is no resentment or harsh feelings.

Thank you for treating me like one of your children, with so much love but knowing exactly when to tease me.

Thank you for sticking up for me when your son teases me, even though I know it’s all in good fun it's always comforting knowing you have someone by your side.

Thank you for raising a man who respects women and knows how to take responsibility of mistakes and not a boy who is immature and doesn’t take responsibility.

Thank you for always including me in family affairs, I may not be blood family but you do everything you can to make sure I feel like I am.

Thank you for letting me make memories with your family.

There is nothing I value more in this world then memories with friends and family and I am thankful you want and are willing to include me in yours. I have so much to thank you for my thoughts keep running together.

The most important thing I have to thank you for is for trusting me with your son. I know how precious and valuable he is and I won't break his heart. I will do everything I can to make him happy. This means more than you could ever imagine and I promise I will never break your trust.

The second most important thing I must thank you for is for accepting me for who I am. Never have you ever wished I looked like another girl or acted like another girl. You simply love and care for me and that’s all I could ever ask. Every person in this world is a unique different person and understanding that means a lot.

The third most important thing I must thank you is teaching me how to one day in the future treat a potential girlfriend that I may interact with as a mother. I am not a mother, but I one day plan to be. If I ever have a son it is because of how you treated me that I am able to be a humble loving mother to this new face that could one day walk into my door. How you have treated me has taught me how I should one day be in the future and I thank you for that.

This may seem all over the place but that’s how my brain gets when I try and thank you for everything you have done for me. It’s all so much and even the little things are so important so I promise my scattered thoughts are all with good intentions and not meant to bombard you. I just want to get the idea across to you that you are important and special to me and everything you do does not go unnoticed.

Sincerely,

Your Son’s Girlfriend

Cover Image Credit: Christian Images and Quotes

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People Who Invalidate Your Feelings Don't Actually Care About You

People that refuse to acknowledge that they've hurt my feelings and say I have no right to feel how I'm feeling are not people that I want to be my friends.

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I'm an emotional person, to say the least. Whenever I get upset about something, I usually end up crying about it. Crying is one of the main ways I process my emotions and get sh*t out, instead of letting it bottle up. When I was a teenager and younger, I was definitely the person who wanted to bottle up my emotions and just never deal with them. Bottling up my emotions ACTUALLY ended with me blowing up every once in a while or having a huge breakdown.

Processing my feelings as they come is a healthier approach for me in handling my emotions AND it allows me to communicate when I'm upset with my friends shortly after the fact.

Sometimes, I'll confront one of my friends about how their actions made me feel like garbage and they'll go off about how I shouldn't feel this way and they're doing all they can to be a good friend. This dialogue is frustrating because I'm not saying they're a bad friend or a bad person. All I'm saying is they hurt my feelings and I would like for them to acknowledge it and try to avoid it in the future, if possible.

Another example, I have this other friend who doesn't listen to me at ALL when I talk to them. Sometimes, they will seem to register what I'm saying and connect with me, but two weeks later, they won't remember ever having talked about it. We went out together after getting back from winter break and they never stopped talking about themselves the whole time. Whenever I talked, it seemed like an interruption in their monologue. They wouldn't even acknowledge what I said and their actions hurt my feelings. How can someone say they care about me, yet treat me like that? They only wanted me to hear THEIR side of the story, without retaining any information about me.

People that refuse to acknowledge that they've hurt my feelings and say I have no right to feel how I'm feeling are not people that I want to be my friends. I want friends who recognize my feelings, even if they don't agree with them. I can't do anything to change my feelings! All I can do is accept them and tell my friends when they've hurt my feelings. When people try to change how I feel by saying I shouldn't be upset or saying I'm overreacting, it shows how little respect they have for me. Why would I want to be friends with someone like that?

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