Today’s blog is being published on a special day: mine and Dawson’s first anniversary of being engaged!
While I am extra eager to write this, I am also pretty tired from the past week, anxious to get off the computer to have Hot Cheeto fingers and watch this week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
Today, I have been extra lazy. Usually, I spend my Sundays getting most of my work done for the following week. Today, I woke up tired. So, I took a nap and still woke up exhausted! I felt kind of bad for being so lazy, but Dawson was next to me, reassuring me that chilling isn’t bad and sometimes it’s necessary!
His kindness and continual support are what inspired today’s blog – along with several other things.
We’ve been together for about four and a half years.
So, Like, what have I learned?
Romantic relationships are very complex, and they all vary a bit.
Growing up, I was convinced that relationships were about tremendous hardships that would keep a cute boy and I apart. Maybe our dads would own competitive pizzerias, maybe he would be a prince and live in a different country, or maybe I’d live half of my life in a blonde wig.
Sure, my dad couldn’t care less about pizza, a prince would never visit Indiana, and I have no singing abilities. But it could still happen for me! Right!?
And if he cheated on me, well, the other girls and I would team together to destroy him, then eat our feelings in hazelnut chocolate.
But, as I found out at fourteen, love does not play out as it does on television. You see a cute boy, he asks for your number, then you both date other people.
When you finally reconnect and become boyfriend and girlfriend, the butterflies could make your stomach explode. The excitement consumes your life. Will it feel like this forever!?
Then, it doesn’t feel like that forever, and you stress.
So, Like, Now What!?
Romantic relationships are not seventy-years of the last minutes of A Cinderella Story on repeat. They are getting up and going to work. They are shoveling the dogs’ poop. They are begging for another dog. They are figuring out what’s for dinner, throwing out a suggestion, and that not being it.
Eventually, your world comes back to reality, the Friday night lights end, and you start growing as an individual.
These changes are normal – even if they feel scary at first. Here are a few things that I have learned over the past years.
Chill on the Buffalo Wings
When Dawson and I first started dating, we felt the need to go on dates constantly. We would grab whatever cash we had from previous holidays, babysitting gigs, and odd jobs. Then, we would go straight to Applebee’s! Half-priced apps? Uh, yes, x3000!
Give us all the boneless wings.
Seriously, I can’t tell you how many times I have split an Applebee’s appetizer with this guy.
Once we started eating fries and bingeing Netflix Originals, I started worrying. Why weren’t we going on dates much anymore? Instead, we just started chilling in elastic waistbands, shoving our faces in fries, and screaming at Joe Goldberg from the couch.
Were we becoming more friends than boyfriend/girlfriend?
After talking to Dawson about my fears, I realized this was totally normal. Life isn’t a Disney movie!
Having lowkey days is okay. It is okay to not even talk sometimes but just spend the time together. It is all okay, normal, and fun.
It’s also okay to sometimes indulge in those half-priced apps. It is a good deal, after all.
Say Hey to Hobbies!
I have learned that it is so important to have hobbies. This maintains a healthy lifestyle: your work/home life stays balanced, your relationship doesn’t become everything you have, etc.
You can probably find me clapping for Ben on The Bachelorette, having a dance session to Taylor Swift, rocking the cheetah print, listening intently to true crime, organizing anything in sight, or working on a craft.
You know who despises all those things, minus the true crime?
The guy who is reading a book, listening to a four-hour podcast, watching a director’s commentary, waiting eagerly to go fish, learning about historical dates like the creation of banana pudding, or playing video games.
Dawson and I are very different. We both have our hobbies, which is okay! I know that there is no way he could listen to Taylor Swift on repeat, wrap Christmas presents for 4,000 hours, or get his craft on. Just like I could never stand there waiting for a fish, finish a director’s commentary (shut up and let me watch the movie!!), or have an interest in trying various beers.
We are in the same relationship – we are not the same person.
With that being said, I have found it very significant to have hobbies that we do together! For example, we love going to lakes together, bingeing You and other short shows, or discussing serial killers.
Have your own hobbies, but also have hobbies together! Both are very significant and healthy.
‘Tis The Season for Change
Every day, I am changing and evolving.
For instance, I have recently gotten very into dieticians’ studies, trying different coffees, and true crime podcasts.
None of these things were on my radar when Dawson and I started dating.
I was so nervous that all these personality changes, belief alterations, and interest swaps would weird him out.
But they don’t.
They are growth. Something both of us will do forevermore (or should I say evermore!!)
Growing is normal! Growing is good! Don’t be afraid of changing, learning, or evolving. It’s all good, healthy, and fun.
Boundaries Are for Everyone
In life, there are thousands of relationships. Some relationships with significant others, with parents, with friends, with pets, with coworkers, with the typical 6 am barista or social media relationships.
In those relationships, it is necessary to establish boundaries.
If a local Barb told me I should wear high-rise jeggings to hide my stomach, I’d be angry. I would also be angry if someone on social media, my barista, or Dawson said that.
This is an extreme example, but it is a boundary. One that applies to all relationships.
I do not like it when people compare my body to other bodies or talk about my body in terms of improvement.
This boundary does not exclude Dawson.
Additionally, I don’t like it when someone tries to add additional stress to me after completing a task. I don’t tolerate being told how to dress, and I hate when people continually give their contradicting opinion when I don’t ask.
These pet peeves apply to anyone and everyone. That’s okay – they are boundaries and boundaries are healthy.
Dawson doesn’t like being frequently asked about something, so I learned to stop doing that. Dawson isn’t a huge fan of texting, so I learned to call if I want a conversation. These are Dawson’s boundaries, and I understand that they apply to me.
I am bad at establishing and enforcing my boundaries. But it is important in all relationships. It’s something that you can sometimes do by action, rather than verbally addressing it. That may be the easier way to go, and I highly suggest starting with those small steps.
If someone is trying to set boundaries with you, don’t keep asking: why, why, why, why? It’s what makes them comfortable, so roll with it – even if you don’t get it.
What’s Your Language?
I have said it before, and I will say it again:
Know your love language.
Dawson loves quality time, so I make sure that this is a huge part of our relationship. In the car, we have meaningful conversations. When we watch TV, we share our theories. When we have massive loads of homework, we spend the day snacking and working together. It’s all about quality time!
I love gifts – not shocking; I admire Santa on level 100. Dawson brings me 8oz of tomatillo, a coffee, or a new roll of wrapping paper. When he does these things, I feel incredibly happy!
These are the things that we love.
And he is the one that I love!
And will love evermore.
Longer than Hillary will love the guy from One Tree Hill.
All my life, I’ll work on keeping our relationship happy and healthy!
It’s all about learning.
Cheers to the next 388 days of learning as an engaged couple! Then, we’ll be learning as a married couple! ❤