I Put My Boyfriend First & I Won’t Apologize For It

When I graduated college, I could have gone anywhere. I had plenty of opportunities, but when decision time came, I chose an office job in my college town with the boyfriend who still had one year of school left. I’ve been judged for putting my relationship ahead of my career ambitions, but I’ll never feel bad for making my guy a priority.

I’m Still An Independent Woman. 

Putting my boyfriend first doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly dependent on him and don’t have a life of my own. My relationship hasn’t changed who I am as an individual. I live in an apartment with one of my good friends, I have hobbies I enjoy doing alone, and we respect each other’s space. I’m capable of creating my own happiness and sense of purpose outside of our relationship.

He Makes Me Happy. 

When people say you should do what makes you happy, that doesn’t always have to pertain to jobs and careers — it’s also your environment and who you surround yourself with. I knew that I wanted to be with him and long distance wasn’t going to work for me. He makes me happy and maintaining our relationship is the most important thing to me. It doesn’t mean that he is my only source of happiness, but I’m definitely happiest when I’m near him so I don’t mind making choices to ensure we’re close.

Good guys are rare and I don’t want to take him for granted. 

I spend more time with my single friends dishing about the latest jerk in their lives than anything else, and I feel so lucky that is not something I have to worry about. I’m with someone who’s kind and treats me well. These guys are few and far between, so why would I be silly enough to let him go? I’m smart and I trust my instincts. I believe we have something amazing and I want to see it through.

He’s Always Got My Back.

Your 20s can be a challenging, confusing decade and it’s nice to know I have someone in my corner who’s always there for me when things get overwhelming. I’m still figuring out who I am and where I’m going. Those aren’t simple questions to answer. I tend to overthink things and worry too much, but my boyfriend is always there to keep my feet on the ground.

Prioritizing my relationship doesn’t make me weak. 

When I told people about my post-graduation plans, there was a slight feeling of shame associated with it, like I was disappointing my fellow women by putting love first. I’m not letting anyone down. I’m letting myself be vulnerable and taking a chance on love, and that takes strength and courage.

He pushes me to be the best version of myself. 

My boyfriend challenges me constantly. We argue and debate things to no end. He forces me to be open-minded and see other perspectives, and as a result, I’ve become more inquisitive, tolerant, and well-rounded than I ever thought I could be. I’ve learned to understand other people better. He makes me compassionate and reminds me to put others’ needs before my own, which extends to making me a better co-worker, family member, and friend.

I don’t neglect my friends for my boyfriend. 

Uteruses before duderuses, always. I love spending time with my friends. We still have weekly wine nights, we go on breakfast dates and watch movies. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean I have to turn into a cuddly cave dweller. I make sure to get out of the bubble regularly and keep my relationships with my girls strong and thriving.

My guy doesn’t hold me back. 

It’s easy to believe that dating someone long-term in your twenties will make you miss out on opportunities and experiences, but I feel just the opposite. One of my biggest goals is to travel, so we recently took a trip to Thailand together. I haven’t had to put any goals on hold because of him — they’ve just become goals we now share together and he’s helping me achieve them.

He’s My Best Friend. 

The friendship aspect of our relationship is special and important. I tell him everything and I value his opinion when making decisions. He’s my buddy to binge a Netflix series with and snuggle with on Sundays. He’s the person I go to for everything and I know he would do anything to help me. He makes mediocre daily tasks fun. Being with him just makes life easier.

I respect other people’s choices — I wish they’d respect mine. 

This life choice is not for everyone and not everyone will do it. I have friends who are living it up while single and friends who focus on careers. That doesn’t mean that what I’m doing is wrong. They might not always understand my choices and I might not always understand theirs, but that’s okay. I didn’t settle. I didn’t pick someone to be with long-term too early. I’m just doing what’s best for me, and that’s okay.

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