Before you roll your eyes at me for considering my relationship an achievement, hear me out first! Relationships are really hard—they take work and require effort. I’ve given my relationship both of those and I’m really proud of where it is now. Why shouldn’t I be?
We worked through some rough patches and established healthy relationship habits. When my boyfriend and I started dating, everything was far from rosy between us. Although we had all the feelings there, our relationship wasn’t as consistent as I would have liked. We even went through a weird break when we took a step back to evaluate what we really wanted and whether we actually desired a relationship with each other. Needless to say, it was super painful. Fortunately, we found a way to come together again and create a healthier relationship.
We treat each other as equals. I’d always dated guys who made me feel inferior to them until I met my boyfriend. In many ways, I let them make me feel that way because I didn’t demand to be treated with the respect I deserve (even though I shouldn’t have to). In this relationship, I demand to be treated fairly and equally in every aspect of our relationship and always have from the beginning. As a result, I’m much happier because I feel that my needs, ambitions, and dreams are equally as important to him as his own and vice versa.
I’m learning from my mistakes. I’ve been really careful in this relationship not to make the same mistakes that I made in my failed relationships. It’s so easy for history to repeat itself if you’re not careful, so I’ve made a concerted effort to apply the lessons I learned in all my failed relationships to this one. That counts for a lot.
I’ve worked really hard at being the best version of myself for the relationship. I firmly believe that a successful relationship first starts with two individual people bringing their best whole selves to the relationship. In this relationship, I don’t neglect my needs like I used to in other relationships and I’m a little more mindful about not giving so much of myself away to my boyfriend that I have nothing left for me.
I’m holding onto my independence. Similarly, I’m proud of how I’ve been able to maintain my independence despite being in a long-term committed relationship. Earlier this year, I made the decision to prioritize my career over my relationship because it was important for me individually. We’re doing long-distance now and as nervous as I was about it, I feel really good about the decision because I know it was the right move for right now. Now I’m doing my thing by myself and still making my relationship work and it feels really empowering.
I don’t let my fear of losing him take over. In previous relationships, I was so afraid of communicating honestly with my significant other about conflicts between us because I was afraid that confrontation would cause him to run for the hills and dump me. I was really afraid of being vulnerable. In this one, I’ve been able to get over this fear and stay as open and honest as possible. I’ve never let issues fester for too long; we communicate really well and he hasn’t run away from me yet!
We don’t have the same fights all the time. Maybe this is strange, but to me, one measure of an unsuccessful relationship is whether a couple continually fights about the same topics, or whether they know how to resolve things and move on. In previous relationships, the same problems persisted acting like a deeply woven thread that we couldn’t just tie off or pull out. In this one, however, my boyfriend and I make conscious efforts not to fight about the same thing. We make an effort to take the time to actually resolve our issues so that we can move forward, not backward.
I haven’t adopted any unhealthy habits. In a previous relationship, I developed a nasty drinking problem that turned me into a very unhealthy, very unmotivated shell of who I really am. I stopped being the independent badass that I know I am because I was indulging in the wrong stuff. In this relationship, I haven’t succumbed to any bad habits or crazy indulgences. I think that is because I don’t have any voids to fill. For me, that feels like an accomplishment.
All of my family and friends really like him. There is nothing worse than having family and friends who don’t like your significant other, or when you break up with someone and everyone tells you they never really liked him anyway and you look back and totally realize how much face they were saving for your sake and your feelings. In my current relationship, everyone whose opinion matters to me seems to genuinely and sincerely love my boyfriend and support our relationship. That makes me happy because I feel that way about him and our relationship too, especially given the few rough patches we had in the beginning. It’s all coming together in the best way and I couldn’t be prouder.
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