Cutting the cord with negative friends:

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I used to have a friend that leaned towards the negative side. She always had a lot to say about people, things, events. It was all bad. Nothing was above gossiping. I put up with it for a while because I still enjoyed the company. I enjoyed when we went out to do things. At my worst I’d play into the gossip a little, at my best I’d change the topic to something else.

The friendship didn’t go up in flames, or maybe it did on her side, maybe I’m the object of that negative gossip now. I wouldn’t have a way to know. What I do know is that despite red flags that this wasn’t the healthiest friendship I continued it till one night. That night we went to dinner, a normal occurrence. I remember walking out of the restaurant and saying goodbye. I felt awful. I was in a bad mood. I felt drained. I had gone in in a good mood and left a mess. After all the red flags, somehow that shift of mood told me that this was the last time I was going to dinner with her. So I went home and I put a lot of space between us until communications halted.

There are times in relationships were we need to bare our friends burdens. When our friends are going through hell they sometimes need to unload. We do it to them and they should be able to do it to us. Depressed friends need support, you can’t just drop people when they get negative about the things in their life. It’s when that negativity continues and spreads to all aspects of life once the circumstance improves. It’s when life gets better for them and they still want to trash on everything and everybody. It’s when the the conversations of others go from “they wronged me” to straight gossip.

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The process of loving someone teaches you a lot about yourself.

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Photography by: Sarah Warden Photography

I feel like I’ve been learning a lot about myself lately, every corner I turn I’m faced with either a reality that¬† should have been obvious or something I had never even considered about myself. These revelations have been both good things and bad things and a lot of things that don’t really categorize as either, but one thing that has proven true is most of these revelations come in relation to Chris.

He’s marrying me, so obviously he pays a lot of attention to me, in some ways he pays more attention to me than I pay to myself. He catches small mood changes that hardly register in my mind. He notices repeated habits that are so normal to me I don’t even realize I’m doing them. He speaks on them a lot, pointing them out or asking what’s wrong. It makes me realize how much of my everyday life and being I dismiss because they’re normal to me. That doesn’t make them any less a part of me though, in fact, maybe it makes them a bigger part of me than the intrusive acts or emotions. Maybe these small things, are the foundation on which my personality is laid.

Now, most of these things are neutral acts or positive acts, they aren’t things I feel the need to change, rather they just make me think, but that doesn’t mean that the act of loving someone doesn’t make you notice your flaws. Love may be blind, but it sure opens your eyes to yourself.

You see love makes you want to be a better person for the person you love, and in my case, it has made me critical on some aspects of myself. It’s not negative and I don’t mean it to sound that way. Seeing these flaws are a good thing, because it gives me the chance to approve upon myself, for both him and me. It’s room for growth, which we all desperately need no matter how good we already are.

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Let’s talk online dating:

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I meet my fiance on Tinder, so lets talk dating apps, shall we? Everyone is moving to them, maybe they aren’t as cliche or frowned upon as they used to be. I remember when I started using them Junior year of college (in 2014) they still had a ton of stigma around them, and rightful so, it can be dangerous to meet a random stranger off the internet, that hasn’t changed over the past 20 years.

But what is the key to making dating apps work for you, in a way that you want them to? In the “I’m not looking for a hook-up” way, the “I’m online shopping for my future husband” way?

Here’s some things I noticed after being on and off of them for three years (about a passive year in total) and finally finding love via swiping right.

  • First things first, let’s start with safety: Maybe it’s not worth saying anymore, maybe we have all learned enough by now, but I still feel like I need to mention it. Meet your dates in a public location. Drive separately, don’t let them pick you up and don’t let them know where you live. Spend your time with them around other people and don’t get yourself into a position were you could get hurt. Tell someone where you will be and what this guys first and last name is.
  • Keep your bio direct and your motives clear: State what you’re looking for. If you want to start as friends and see were it goes, put that in there. If you’re looking for a relationship, put that in there. Maybe all guys don’t read your bio (it’s true that a number don’t) but it’ll help weed out some of the ones that do but aren’t interested in what you are. If it’s not in his bio? Ask him and ask him early on. Don’t beat around the bush. It’s needed information. You want to be on the same page. Another thing? Believe him when he says he’s not looking for anything serious and don’t bother.
  • Make them text you for a bit: It doesn’t have to be terribly long, but it’s a good idea to text someone for a few days to get an idea of who they are. I know some people go on dates the night they match or the one after, but if you want to keep yourself from going on a lot of bad first dates it’s a good idea to slow the process down enough that you have an idea of who you’re going out with.

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Friendship: Beautiful but often temporary.

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We like to think that everyone in our life is there forever, and it’s true with family, but with friends it’s normally not the case. We love the concepts of best friends for life and we don’t like to think about the fact that most people only end up passing through. It sounds terrible to say that people are temporary, but yet, their time in our lives often are.

As I was making the guest list for my wedding I found myself thinking back to high school. I thought I’d have a different group on that list then I did, if you flash forward to college, my list would still be a little different. I’ve lost a lot of people over the years, and most of them fell off naturally. It’s not something I think about often, after all, I’ve gained a lot of people too, but some of the people I lost I thought would be around forever. I never thought it was naive to think that, but clearly it was. It got me thinking on how I view friendship and how I should.

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Romantic relationships are partnerships and should be treated like it.

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In Australia they don’t say ‘my significant other’ they say ‘my partner’ because that is what relationships really are, they’re a partnership.¬† I often see hear people talk about how you shouldn’t rely on your partner, and I agree with 50% of what they’re saying.

I agree that you need to be able to function without them, you need to be able to live if something were to happen to them or if something were to happen to the two of you. But not being able to function without someone and relying on someone are not the same thing. You should be able to rely on your partner. They should be carrying you when you can’t carry yourself. I know that there’s an idea out there that you should never be unable to do things alone, but it’s false, everyone needs help, and sometimes we need a lot of it. I touched on this in my relationships and mental illness post, but the same way they should carry you when you can’t, you should carry them. It’s a two-way street. It’s a partnership.

The whole premise of dating isn’t just for fun, though it’s turned into that over the years, it’s that you’ve got someone by your side to tackle life with. It’s a try out session for the partner that will last you a lifetime. And being a partner means a lot more than being in love with your best friend. It means that you ask each other for permission before making sizable decisions. It means that you seek each others advice on near everything. People hear you talk about these things and think that you’re in a controlling relationship, but that isn’t what its about. It’s about wanting the others opinions and wanting them to agree with you as you make choices that will effect both your lives.

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Mental illnesses and romantic relationships:

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You don’t need to love yourself before someone can love you, that is something that I hate hearing, mainly because it’s not true, but also because it doesn’t inspire one to love themselves, it just tells them that they are worthless now. The intent behind it is something to talk about though, and that is that you need to take care of yourself sometimes before you get in a romantic relationship. That is true, even if the saying people have made out of it is false and cruel.

You can have successful relationships when struggling with your mental health, there is no question in that, but there needs to be some serious reflection on how your mental health is affecting your actions and also affecting your thoughts.

Mental illness can make us more stand off-ish or more clingy. It can make you hide the truth or deliver it in hurtful ways. Mental illness effects us all over, which is one of the reasons society needs to take it more seriously, but it is also a reason why you need to evaluate yours before you dive into a romantic relationship. What behaviors are your mental illness affecting and how will they effect a loved one? Everyone has a few behaviors that aren’t ideal, everyone has things they need to work on, but if we currently have more than normal, we need to address them before we make a significant other address them.

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Actually it does matter: Not dismissing your emotions.

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When I get upset I tend to tell myself “it doesn’t matter”. When people get angry they tend to tell themselves that the people they’re angry at “don’t matter”. When big things go wrong in our lives we tend to say “it doesn’t matter”. As if saying this over and over again will make it true, like it will take these things that obviously do matter and make them cease to.

It might seem harmless, but pretending things don’t bother you doesn’t make them stop bothering you, it just suppresses them so they can come back and bite you later. It’s why people bring up long past arguments in fights. Those things were never resolved, and yes, they’re still angry about them, even though the person they are fighting with has long since forgotten them. It’s a surprise to them, which normally makes the fight deteriorate at a rapid speed.

So yes, it does matter, it all matters. If you’re trying to dismiss something because you don’t think it should matter, that’s still something you need to dissect. If it shouldn’t be a big deal you need to figure out why it still feels like a big deal to you. Maybe you don’t need to get the other person involved, maybe it has nothing to do with them. If it is you, you should adjust, but if it’s them, or even a little bit of you both (which it normally is) you need to talk about it. Notice that I said talk, not scream, it’s normally best to calmly discuss things so you don’t end up attacking instead of resolving.

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