I Chose to Be Selfish in My Relationship, and It Changed My Life
"Sweet, loyal, loving." These are adjectives that my friends and family usually use when describing me. Though I'm incredibly flattered that people close to me characterize me as this, let me tell you — these attributes can really bite you in the ass when it comes to love. When I'd put myself out there in the dating realm, it was a common reality for me to instantly become a total pushover. Time and time again, I'd find myself feeling isolated, investing too much of my time into my "other half," and ultimately getting my heart broken. As I learned from my past mistakes and finally understood how to be fully comfortable in my own skin, I met someone who — shockingly enough — was able to capture my heart in an instant and seemed to make my world stop all at once.
Though everything in my life had seemed to be coming together seamlessly, I quickly realized that time was not on our side. I had dreams of moving to San Francisco and seeing where I could take my career. He was happy in his job and wanted to stay near family to help out. The ball was in my court this time, and for once, I chose myself. Though I knew I could seriously be screwing this up by putting my dream first and sabotaging a relatively new and promising connection, this decision truly strengthened my relationship and I have absolutely zero regrets. If you're finding yourself at a crossroad in love, here are five reasons why you should take a risk and invest in yourself — without ditching your relationship.
1. What's meant to be will be.
I know you're rolling your eyes right now, and I don't blame you. I used to absolutely despise this advice because I needed to feel constant security in my life and it's hard as sh*t to trust that things will naturally work out. After moving to San Francisco, this legitimately put my relationship to the test. I'm not going to say that keeping a relationship going over the phone is easy, because it's not. This is the ultimate test of a partnership because you either walk away after you and your partner have become distant over time, or you become stronger due to overcoming the challenges that distance can create. Even if it becomes too much for your partner and they decide distance isn't for them, you didn't make the "wrong" decision by moving in order to improve your life. It may be difficult because heartbreak hurts, but would you really want to be with someone who isn't willing to make a few sacrifices in order for you to reach your dreams? It's important to not lose out on your objectives due to making too many compromises for your significant other.
2. Your inner circle is everything.
Risking a relationship is terrifying, but you can't let love be the only priority in your life. Power to you that you found an incredible person — just don't forget that life is all about balance. Continue to foster friendships, talk to your family members on the regular, and take the time to splurge in yourself. You've earned it! Keeping your inner circle close will remind you to stay true to yourself and honor your individuality. After all, no one will cheer you on like the people that have been around since day one! No matter what the outcome is with you and your beau, these experiences and relationships that you've been fostering will enrich your life and make it all the more rewarding.
3. "Me," not "we."
When you're hanging with your significant other regularly, it's easy to take on the "we" mentality as in: "we love to do this" and "we don't stay out late because we don't like to." While it's perfectly fine to enjoy having commonalities with your partner, you don't want to merge into one person. Do you like to explore new places while your partner prefers dates at home? Does your partner constantly ask you to grab sushi but you can't stand seafood? That's what friends are for! Enjoy doing what you love alone or with someone who shares common interests. Do internal check-ins with yourself to make sure your wants and needs are being met out of life. Don't forget to communicate with your partner and be receptive to their individual needs to ensure everyone is satisfied. Your partner should complement you, but they don't have to necessarily complete you.
4. You'll always have a cheerleader.
We've all had those days. You messed up at work, gum is stuck to your new shoes, and your car isn't starting (all in the same damn day)! There's something sincerely comforting about calling up your partner and knowing you have their 24/7 support. Plus, even though your coworker pissed you off and your partner has no idea who they are, you best believe they'll join in on the smack talk. Even though you're off leading different lives, it's almost as if they're right there with you. I have never felt more pumped up for my day than when I get daily supportive messages — aka our ritual. Plus when you encourage each other to chase their dreams, it pays off. Bring your worst, world!
5. You know your worth, and so does your partner.
This perk is very near and dear to my heart. Before loving someone, it's critical to embark down the road of complete and utter singleness in order to truly discover who you are, what you stand for, and know what you deserve. When I fully accepted myself, I was able to fully accept love, and that's an amazing thing to let into your life. Embracing self-love and being confident in what you bring to the table is pertinent to finding your happy. Having a partner who respects your ambition and looks up to you for chasing your dreams is incredibly valuable. Hold the person who sees you as an absolute force to be reckoned with close! Mutual respect and appreciation for each other will take you far in your journey together.