The Right Relationship Goals To Have

If you are on social media, I am sure that you are familiar with the hashtag, #RelationshipGoals. If you are not, let me fill you in: relationship goals are usually tweets or pictures — usually unrealistic — of a couple behaving in a certain way. For example, they usually consist of a guy showering a girl in some materialistic way.

Recently, I saw a tweet on Twitter about one girl’s relationship goals. They consist of: flowers and money for the girl to get a pedicure. Even though I wouldn’t necessarily condemn that, a part of me thought it was kind of nice. Don’t get me wrong — it’s easy to get your own pedicure. However, having a guy that showers you in that sort of way is completely heartwarming — and should go both ways.

But should those be relationship goals?

Maybe.

I think that having a relationship where your partner does things — from time to time — that make you smile is awesome. These are little things — like surprising them with their favorite food on a night that they are stressed out, buying flowers to celebrate an accomplishment (or just because), or writing a note to them. These little things are so important in a relationship, at least in my opinion.

But, should that be the only relationship goal that we have?

Absolutely not.

I think that the relationship goals that we have individually should differ from person to person. It should consist of the following: what you need in a relationship, qualities that your partner has, how you wish to be treated by your partner, and so on.

Those goals are so much more important than being surprised with a teddy bear. Having these goals in place when you’re dating is important so you can know what you want — and not settle for anything less.

And, let’s be honest. Dating is rough. By knowing what you want makes things a million times easier.

 

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Ladies, Get Off Your High Heels

It’s 2017, yet there are so many old fashioned notions about dating that existed when my grandfather was courting my grandfather —  in the ‘50s.

Don’t be the one who pursues a guy, that looks desperate. Let him pursue you.

You shouldn’t kiss one a first date.

The guy should be the one paying.

Actually, I can sit here all day and name all of them out there. However, for time’s sake, I’ll leave it at those.

Dating has shifted in so many ways. What we call a relationship has shifted in so many ways as well — we have friends with benefits, bae, partner, and everything in between. Nowadays, Netflix and chill sessions are considered to be a date. Sad, but true. Even the way people are meeting has changed too — we’re using apps like Tinder and OkCupid in the attempts to find a mate.

While all of this change, I think the way that women should approach dating should. I think we should move towards more equality towards the sexes. I think that women should be able to make the first moves, if they want to. I think that they should text first, if they want to. I think they should ask the guy that they like out, not because they are desperate, but because they want to get to know that person.

I’m not going to lie — I think it’s nice when a guy wants to take the wheel and ask the girl out. It takes balls to do so. It’s nice to have a guy that tells you that he wants to go out with you, and wants to spend time with you.

I think though, by the guy doing all of the work, it can get frustrating on their part. That is similar to making the guy always pay. Sure, it’s a nice gesture especially in the beginning, but if you’ve been dating a while it gets expensive on their part. After all, boyfriends aren’t ATM machines. So, every once in awhile, I think women should further treat their fellas out for a nice dinner.

With that being said, aren’t relationships supposed to be mutual? If the guy and the girl both like each other, does it really matter who messaged who first, who pays or who asked the other to hang out? Because ladies, let’s face it — if we waited for men to read our minds, then we will be waiting an awfully long time. By having that equality helps each of you learn to love and respect the other for more than material goods and stupid protocol.

So, if Hillary won the popular vote, then you could surely take the plunge and ask that guy you’ve been flirting with for his number. It will have one of two outcomes — be a complete and total disaster or you’ll have his phone number.

The Man Factor

Since my last relationship ended in August of last year, I decided to take a time out from dating for a period of time. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. I began to fall in love with myself, something that is more important than having an ‘in a relationship status’ on Facebook or a Man Crush to post about every Monday if people even post about them anymore.

During that time, I embarked on a journey of self-reflection and growth – kind of like Eat Pray Love without the travel. I learned to be okay with going to coffee shops alone, I learned to go on long hikes with only my iPhone for company, and I began to expand my social circle. I joined a book club, meet friends through a local worship service, and just became comfortable with who I was as a person.

This sounds cliché, but it was just what the doctor ordered. For the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I am in a place where having a boyfriend is nothing but an extra, not something I need like oxygen. Truth be told, I don’t need a guy to feel awesome. And, that is everything.

Right now, I’m in a place in my life where I want to enjoy every second that I can. I want to wander through unknown territories, I want to try new cupcake shops, and I want to enjoy the people I spend my time with, whether they may be friends or lovers. It’s not like I’m chasing away the idea of having a boyfriend – I’m learning to live life in a way that he’s dessert, not the main course.

And for those who ask me to the question don’t you want a boyfriend, here’s my answer: I’m not waiting around for Prince Charming to get his act together, and ride his white horse. Sorry.

However, there are some people who think that just because you don’t have a boyfriend, a pending relationship, or even someone that you’re ‘talking’ to, it means that you are missing something in the equation. And, for some, that may be the case. But, for me, not so much.

Throughout my time alone, I’ve given a lot of thought about the type of relationship I want and the type of guy I deserve. I’m going to share those thoughts with you now, in case you’re interested.

I am looking for the best and nothing less. Why? Because I deserve it. I deserve a guy that will bring me flowers, one that isn’t afraid to pick me up at home and shake hands with my mother. I deserve a guy that takes me to the movies, to dinner, anywhere pretty much that’s not his bed. I deserve real dates, not just a Netflix and Chill session in your bed. I deserve someone will treat me like I am the best damn thing that happened to me, because trust me, I am. And, I am not afraid to ask for it.
I’m also not afraid to demand what I want. I want someone who respects me, and my friends. I want someone who is not afraid to proclaim his feelings for me. I want nights of great conversation and to spend a good length of time getting to know this imaginary Prince Charming before committing. I want someone who makes me grin like an idiot, and someone who makes me laugh.

And, I’m going to hold out until I meet this person, because not only do I deserve it, but I respect myself enough to not settle for anything less.

At the end of the day, I’ve learned to not be afraid of being alone. I learned not to be afraid to tell someone what I want. And, most importantly, I learned that I deserve to be happy more than I need to find someone to call bae.

What’s In a Label?

Define the Relationship (DTR): When two people discuss their mutual understanding of a romantic relationship.

Source: Urban Dictionary 

Nowadays, there are so many labels to a relationship – boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, friends with benefit – that it can make anyone’s head spin. With every relationship, comes two things – commitment and mutual understanding.

I began to think about the concept of dating, relationships, and the ultimate label that every girl that I know craves – boyfriend.

But, my question is, what does it mean to have a boyfriend?

When someone is in a boyfriend/girlfriend/or in a relationship that is similar, both parties agree to a monogamous relationship and have a mutual understanding of such. They are committed to being with each other solely for the time being. There is also a mutual love and attraction shared between the two parties, and thus, both a committed to giving it the proper nutrition for it to grow.

When someone is in this sort of committed relationship, I believe that there is a lot of communication that occurs. For example, asking your partner some of these questions — what makes you happy? What can I do to make you happy? What is something that may otherwise prevent you from having a relationship, such as divorced parents or a terrible relationship? – are some that often occurs. When you do something that hurts the person that you are with, what is something that you can do to help mend that hurt? Basically, there’s a lot of talking.

I recently began to think about what it means to have a boyfriend, and the whole meaning behind the word. In our society, there is a huge pairing between the words ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ and ‘commitment,’ as the connotation of having a boyfriend is loyalty. By having a boyfriend, you are committed, and there’s no other ways around that.

However, I began to question the label and the importance that we stress upon it. There are so many people out there – on dating apps, friends, etc. – who desperately search for a boyfriend/girlfriend as if they were lost in the desert without food. While to each their own, I think that by looking for only that limits your sight, and speeds things up. Having the relationship that you crave requires time, love and tenderness, and does not happen overnight people. You need to get to know your potential partner before slapping a label on it.

My personal conclusion on the label is that it shouldn’t matter, and should not be the central focus on a relationship. Call me a hippie or someone that simply wants to have a relationship that has a recipe set up for disaster. But, hear me out for a second.

As I mentioned a moment ago, slapping a label on the relationship too soon causes both parties to feel pressured. The movies, at least the ones that I watch, often portray relationships as whirlwind, and the couple often is together within the timeframe of the movie. That’s not how it works, sorry to say.

To fall in love with someone, you need to truly get to know someone – sexually, personally or both depending on your beliefs and comfort levels. I think each couple has to have deep conversations with that person, learn their ins and out, and just spend sometime together in that regard – without worrying about the l word.

But, but, but, what about the commitment factor?

I think by my description of a healthy relationship, that the label will come naturally — when each party is ready for that commitment.

And, when the relationship reaches that stage, it will thus be strong and have the foundation to blossom into something bigger.

So, as many of you rush into a summer romance, I invite you to throw out the need for a definition of what the relationship is, and instead focus on the person and how you feel. Chances are, eventually, it will all fall into place.

 

Not Tonight Dear, I Am Having A Panic Attack: Anxiety and Dating

As a person with anxiety, it is safe to say it has had an impact on my relationships. When I was in my previous relationship, it was when my anxiety was in full swing, and panic attacks were a regular occurrence. However, I was really lucky to have a boyfriend who was supportive and did whatever he could to help me with dealing with it.

While I am lucky to have minor anxiety now, it still exists. I am unsure how anxiety will play out in my next relationship. But, I learned enough about it over the years to give advice to couples that may have to deal with anxiety.

Note: While this post mainly talks about anxiety, these tips pertain to all mental illnesses, from eating disorders to depression.

Talk it Out

With all relationships, you need to communicate, as communication is key. When it comes to my anxiety, I pretty much am an open book and am completely honest with my partner, or a potential one. If not, then you are putting on a façade of someone you may not actually be. Since my anxiety is a part of me, I like to take the time to have a thoughtful conversation about it with my partner. In that conversation, we’ll discuss things such as what makes me anxious? What are my triggers? What is my role in this anxiety thing, and what can I do to help?

One thing that my former partner and I did was go to therapy together to have an open space to discuss anxiety. I believe that it was a helpful thing for us to do, because it induced productive and effective conversation, and is a worthwhile option for those who are willing. However, therapy is a private thing – meant only for the indexed individual. So, if you don’t want to have your partner sits in on a session, then that’s okay too.

Be Supportive

With that being said, always do what you can to show your support for them and their journey. This can be something as simple as hugging your partner while they hit a low, asking them about their therapy session, or just reminding them that you’re here for them.

While the ideal partner is always supportive, it is especially important for when your partner has a mental illness.

It’s Not One-Sided

Sometimes, sadly, a relationship can be consumed with anxiety. It can be overwhelming for anyone to deal with anxiety, especially the loved ones of that person – I am not going to lie. However, it is important to remember that your partner does care about you as well, and wants you to take the time that you need for yourself.

While it is up to you how you prioritize how you divide your time, it can be overwhelming when you constantly feel like you are on call for your partner. Newsflash, you are not a doctor. So, Be sure that you take care of yourself. Play your video games, go for that run, or do whatever it is you do for fun.
In addition to that, do not be afraid to be honest with your partner. If you feel overwhelmed, tell them. I definitely understand, and to be honest, I would want my boyfriend to tell me how he’s feeling.

Just Be There

Sometimes, all we need is a hug and someone to tell us that everything is going to be okay when the world feels like it’s crashing down on you. You may have to do this a lot sometimes, but trust me, it does not go unappreciated.

Be Understanding

You might not understand what a panic attack feels like, or the effect it has on the person going through one until you see your partner stare off into space while kissing you because they are scared and feel unsafe. This is especially true if you yourself have never dealt with anxiety. However, all you can do is just understand and be patient. And, if this does happen to you, kiss their forehead and remind them that it will truly be alright.

Remember They Are More Than Their Anxiety

I am much more than my anxiety. I am a writer, a photographer, a person, a bookworm, and so much more. Mental illness, especially the label, does not define the patient. Remember that they are much more than that, and they too are human. So, whatever you do, be sure to remember that there is more to them.

A Note To My Future Boyfriend

Last week, I read this wonderful article on the Odyssey called “To My Future Girlfriend.”Reading that article inspired me to write my own verision of that article. 

Dear Whatever Your Name Is,

I want you to know that I am looking forward to the day we meet, if we haven’t met already. Despite whether or not we are in each others’ lives, I genuinely hope that you are doing well. And if you’re not, I hope that you get to a point where you are.

I am interested in learning how we meet – whether it may be online (as many relationships nowadays consist of people who met online), at a library, through work, coffee shop, grad school or through an event that we both attend. I am looking forward to getting to know you as well. I am looking forward to long conversations, easy laughter, and learning your story and who you are as a person. I am looking forward to smiling like a complete moron, just because I am your girlfriend and you make me laugh like a hyena.

I can’t wait to sit across from you in coffee shops and drink fancy lattes, share meals with you that come with a side dish of easy conversation, and sharing events together such as concerts and parties. Despite the fact that I am eager to share these things with you, I am patient enough to realize that they will come at their own time. Until then, I’ll be able to do those things on my own or in the company of friends. I also want you to know that I am so incredibly lucky to have you in my life, even if I don’t verbalize it often. You are awesome. After all, that is the very reason why I chose to date you, a decision that I will never look back from.

With that being said, I want you to know that I come with my own set of baggage filled with rocks, and scars that grow faint every single day. Those scars, though, still handicap me. I promise to share how I got them with you, and despite their existence, will not let that be a roadblock in our relationship. It may cause me to show hesitation in our relationship, and for that I am sorry. But, I am working on not letting them prohibit me from living my daily life, and hope that you help me grow so we can overcome them together.

In the event we break up, which let’s face it might happen, I want you to know that I can live without you. I promise not to bash you on social media and on my blog, even if you did something shady. I also will cherish the time that we did spend together and respect you, because while our relationship did not last forever, it still existed. It may hurt and take time, but I will move on from that. I will grow stronger from it, because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

But, no matter what, I want you to know one thing. I am really looking forward to being in your life, whether it may be long or short term. And until we actually meet, this is probably the last time we’ll speak. So, until then, take it easy.
With love,

Natalie

Too Much?

When it comes to dating, I am the type of woman that knows what she wants. I also am the type of women that does not take any crap from anyone — whether it may be a friend who is upsetting or annoying me, a guy that won’t leave me alone, or a guy that uses cheesy pick up lines in the hopes that will make me weak in the knees.

Lately, I’ve been on a bit of an online dating kick. When I talk to guys, I don’t put on a facade or pretend that I am someone I’m not. Instead, I am sarcastic and witty. I also am not afraid to go after whatever it is I want, and sure as will send the first message. Why? Because rules are stupid, and if I want to talk to someone, I will. And, if someone is trying to use some cheesy line on me, that sure as hell ain’t gonna happen either.

For some guys, it can be a bit of a turn off. That is a complete and total mystery if you ask me. I can not tell you how many times a guy has unmatched me because I saw right through the cheesy pick up line, made a clear attempt to get to know him or because I clearly stated what I want.

Well, I am so sorry for not falling for that cheesy line you’ve used for every girl on the app that you match with. I am so sorry for knowing what I want, and for not being afraid to ask for it. I am sorry for not falling all over you, and losing my dignity because I want to date you. 

As a woman in the dating world — or looking for love — I am tired of feeling as if I have to be submissive to someone else. Yes, I can be too much. Sometimes, it can be too much to handle. However, if a guy is turned off by a strong, smart mouthed woman, who knows what she wants, then he is not the guy I want to date.

Plain and simple.