Relationships

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.

Relationships

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.

anxiety, mental health, Mental Illness Awareness Month, Relationships, Uncategorized

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.

Relationships

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

Relationships

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.

Relationships

6 Things Every Guy Dating a Career Oriented Girl Should Know

For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to be a journalist and a writer. To reach that goal, I held roles at publications, nonprofits, and websites. Add in classes, a job to pay the bills, and it’s safe to say that I was a pretty busy lady.

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via Pinterest

Because of that, maintaining a social life and a relationship can be a bit exhausting, and was a priority that often fell to the bottom of the list. Before I continue, I would like to say that in some of my relationships, I received endless support in what I wanted to do with my career. Other times, usually in guys I met online or have dated once or twice, they would simply complain I never made enough time to hang out with them or didn’t answer their text timely enough.

Uhm, excuse me?

Therefore, I decided to write this list as a reminder of guys who will either date me, or another career oriented girl.

  1. Sometimes, I am just too tired for date night. Friday nights are usually date nights. However, after a long week at the office, the only thing that I want to do is go home and watch 90’s sitcoms on Netflix. It’s not because I don’t want to hang out, it’s just I’m exhausted. Therefore, please don’t take offense when I say that I am too exhausted to go out on the town with you.
  2. I won’t respond to messages right away. Whether it’s because I have a day full of meetings, trying to get things done, or just engrossed in my work, I’m not paying attention to my phone 24/7. I get it that it can be frustrating when you’re trying to make plans with me and I’m not answering. However, please understand that I’m not ignoring you – I just have to get my work done. And, I will answer. Eventually. Just be patient.
  3. I might have to work late – causing me to have to cancel plans last minute. Sometimes, I’m on deadline so I’ll need to stay at the office much later to get things done. As a result, I may have to cancel or reschedule or movie date. Try to understand that I don’t want to cancel, but I genuinely need to be at work.
  4. You’ll be asked to read some of my stories – and give your honest opinion. This one applies to my fellow journalists out there. Whenever I write a piece for my blog, or an article, chances are I’m going to ask you to read it. Just do it, and tell me what you think.
  5. Sometimes, I’m going to need pep talks. Work has good days and bad ones. On the bad ones, be that extra shoulder of support and be encouraging. It will go a long way.
  6. I’m extremely passionate about my career and will talk about it to anyone who will listen. While the work sometimes is stressful, I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. Therefore, my passion for writing is greater than anything else I have in my life. On dates it’s something that I talk about constantly – and that’s okay. Just listen attentively, and eventually, I’ll shut up.
Relationships

Honest Thoughts About Dating

Let me be bluntly honest by stating that I freaking hate dating. I hate the awkwardness of first dates, the whole DTR (defining the relationship) concept and the rules about what is okay to do at what given stage. I find it both crazy and confusing, and I graduated college with a 3.0 GPA, so I am not that dumb.

Now, I have written a lot about dating and my opinions of it on my blog and other places throughout my career as a writer thus far. I probably will end up repeating some of the things that I have mentioned in those posts, but hopefully whoever is reading this can find some humor in my opinions.

I am currently single, in case you all were not aware. As a single woman in my early 20s, I have friends that are committed in relationships (which I am happy for by the way), and even know a few that are even married. I see these couples, both online and around me, and I can not help but feel like I am the lone single girl (a little melodramatic, but you get the idea) who whines where’s my guy?

While I do crave a relationship some of the time, my current state of mind most of the time is that I am not interested in dating. It is not although I want to remain single forever. It is not that I want to say “fuck you” to the opposite sex and want to never get married or anything like that. It is just that for right this second, I do not see myself dating someone. And, I think that is perfectly okay.

I feel like dating is similar to shopping for the perfect pair of jeans. Sometimes, you get lucky and the first pair that you try on is the perfect pair for you, the kind that fits in all of the right places and makes you look thin. Other times it can be a trial and error process of going to several different stores, and spending several hours trying on different colors and sizes before giving up because you spent the entire afternoon at the mall looking for it, and just want something to eat.

The same rules apply for dating. Sometimes, the first guy you meet after ending a relationship who is the person that makes you laugh and makes you grin like an idiot whenever you think about him/her, and ends up being the next person you are committed to. Other times, it takes kissing several frogs before you find the one, and even taking a break to work on yourself by meeting new friends and trying new things. And both scenarios are perfectly okay.

In the novel “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero, Sincero writes that in order to get what you want, you can not force or chase it. I believe that is true. So, I am taking the lunch break before finding that perfect pair of jeans, or in my case, my Prince Charming (who is a tall, nerdy guy who has both brains, a sense of humor and is a sweetheart) rolls up in his white horse.

Now, I can probably hear my friends out there say no! Don’t give up! Keep on going out on dates.  To shut them up, I can assure you that I am not giving up. I am just taking that lunch break, because I am frustrated with trying on several different guys that do not feel right.

Let’s face it, dating is stressful (mostly for me, as dating me is the best experience that the guy can ever have). With that being said,dating is about the only way to try people on, just like the only way to get clothes is to face the harsh lights of the dressing room to try everything on. Both scenarios are stressful, but to get what you want, you have to deal with them.

With that being said, I am 22. I am still young, and have another 20 years before I need to take up knitting and adopt a bunch of cats. While I wait for my next boyfriend, I plan to hang out with the community of good friends, family and my dog. I plan to read all of the books I can get my hands on, I plan to explore and truly learn to be happy. I feel like there is a huge empathsis on dating, on having that relationship, that we often forget the most important thing is to love ourselves. That way, the relationship will be a healthy one, which is the kind of relationship that I want to have.

I don’t know when my next relationship will be, as my Magic 8 Ball refuses to tell me no matter how many times I shake it. But, util then, I loudly and proudly to Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’, and spend Saturday nights curled up with my dog Maggie (who is currently looking at me as if to say ‘hey sissy, are you almost done writing your blog entry?’) reading chic lit novels and living vicariously through their protagonists.

anxiety, mental health, Relationships

6 Tips For Dating Someone With Anxiety

Being a significant other to someone with an anxiety, or any kind of mental illness for that matter, can be a daunting thing, especially if you have no experiences with the disorder. Anxiety can cause many different problems, especially in your point of view, you do not understand why your partner is freaking out about something small or a larger thing.

As a person who deals with anxiety, and has had relationships, I can tell you that it is not easy. In my experiences, my anxiety had become the third wheel in my relationships. While I was lucky to have a partner who wanted to understand, dating someone with anxiety can be tricky, and I hope this list becomes a resource of everyone who has a partner who has an anxiety disorder. While these tips pertain to people who have anxiety, these also pertain to all mental illnesses-from depression to eating disorders.

1. Communication is key. This is crucial in any kind of relationship, but this is especially crucial in a relationship with a person with anxiety. Ask them about what makes them anxious, ask them about what triggers a panic attack and talk to them about the things they can do to help make them feel better. The more talking you do, I think the better off you are.

However, with that being said, dating someone with anxiety can be overwhelming. If you feel like they are leaning on you too much, be sure to tell them (in a nice way, naturally). I am the first to admit it is not the easiest thing to date me because of my anxiety. With that being said, I also think that if my boyfriend should speak up if he is feeling like he is lost in my anxiety, because I feel like anxiety can consume the relationship as well. Therefore, if you are feeling like that, then please speak up.

2. Do not ever make them feel guilty or tell them how to feel. One of the worst things that anyone can do with someone who has anxiety is make them feel guilty for their anxiety, or tell them to stop feeling anxious over something so small. Whenever I hear that, I want to slap someone in the face, and say “if I could control it, don’t you think I would?” By saying that, you are shutting them out, and making them feel even worse then they already are. Instead of saying “stop being anxious,” replace the sentence with “I do not understand how you are feeling, however I would like to try to. Can you tell me what is going through your head?” This sentence is ten times better because not only are you opening up communications, but you are also making them feel like they can come to you for support, and not pushing them away.

3. Remember they are not just their anxiety. As I mentioned in my sermon, I am a lot more than my anxiety. That is something I want every guy I date to remember. Sure, I deal with this thing called anxiety. But, there is more to me than that. I am sure that every person out there who deals with any kind of mental illness can attest to that. Chances are, there is a reason why you are with that person, and attracted to them, whether it may be because of their sense of humor or the things you both have in common. Therefore, remember that their mental illness is not the whole part of them.

4. Come to a therapist appointment, if you want. In my last relationship, my ex-boyfriend attended a therapist appointment with me to further learn how to manage my anxiety, and become a support system.

While I do not think it is a necessary thing to do, I do think it is something that is beneficial for both communication factors and to help understand exactly the circumstances of your anxiety is. In addition to that, I think it is important for partners to do this, just because it can help create an honest communication with each other, and learn more about anxiety/whatever if not familiar with it.

5. Take care of you. Just because you are dating someone with anxiety, and needs constant support, does not mean that you have to give up everything just to be there for them. Going through a year’s worth of therapy helped me learn to manage my anxiety on my own. However, from time to time, I lean on the support of friends and family. Leaning too much in any relationship can lead down an unhealthy path.

What I want partners of anxiety patients to know is that they do not have to feel like they are on call consistently. As I could imagine (and hope for that matter), you have a life outside of your relationship, whether it is work, school, friends and family. Sometimes, if your partner is having a crisis, you just can not be there for them for whatever reason. And that is okay, and if your relationship is a healthy one, your partner understands that. You need to take care of you, which is something that is important. This includes making sure that you are getting your work done, making sure you do things that are fun for you and making sure you do things that make you happy.

However, I would also like to add that whenever you are able to talk to them, you should aspire to let them know that you are there for them to offer support when needed. That alone can mean the world to them.

6. Be patient and let them feel what they need to feel. Anxiety is often the combination of several thousand feelings at once pulsing through your brain. When I have a panic attack, I am hysterically crying, and feel like I just can not breathe from the weight of the anxiety. Panic attacks come from all sorts of triggers (which is important for you to learn about them), and as I mentioned earlier, some of them you might not understand.  Being able to support them and be patient with them is a combination of traits that I think everyone who has a significant other with anxiety needs to have to make the relationship successful.

However, it is important for you to remain patient and let them feel that anxiety. The more you do this, the more comfortable and supported they feel. Speaking more you do not let yourself feel that anxiety, the more destructive it can be.

So while you do not understand why your significant other may be crying in a corner, remember to remain patient with them, hold their hand if you are able to and if you are not able to, just say that you care/love them, and will always be there for them.

I can speak from experience by saying anxiety is tough, and is especially tough to deal with in relationships. With that being said, constant communication and discussion can be your weapons in dealing with its craziness.

Relationships

I Don’t Owe You

As I mentioned in my last post, I am an avid user of several dating apps, such as Tinder and Ok Cupid. And, before I continue, these apps have put me in touch with some amazing people that I would not have met otherwise, something that I will forever be grateful for.

However, it has also put me in touch, as expected, with some pretty creepy ones as well.

Like recently.

A little while ago, I met (using the term loosely, as we never met in person) this guy named Harold (name has been changed to protect his privacy) on Ok Cupid. He seemed semi cute, so I figured I should at least talk to the guy. And, at first, he seemed halfway decent. I try to remain an optimist, and believe that there is good in everyone. Therefore, I give a lot of guys chances.

Soon, we switched to texting. And once we started to text, he would text me continuously, and I just was not feeling like I was attracted to him, which is my choice to make. Therefore, I stopped responding, and blocked his number because I did not want to talk to him.

And I had not heard from him, up until yesterday. I had woken up to a message saying “hey why haven’t you replied to my text?” While this is in fact a valid question to ask, I will give him that, I saw red. I want to hastily reply to him saying “well, I just didn’t want to.”

But, in the interest of being mature and all, I did not reply at all. Instead, I decided to express my feelings in a strongly worded blog post.

One thing that I really hate about the dating world is how some guys expect you to text them just because they texted you, just as some guys expect you to sleep with them just because they are nice to you. Uh, no thank you honey. If I am busy with school or writing a blog post, I am not going to drop what I am doing just to text you back the minute that you texted me. If do not want to continue a conversation with you, I am not going to waste my time buttering your ego to text you back. If I do not feel that I am ready to sleep with you, I am not going to just because you want that.

Yes, I am a bitch. But, I also request that I am treated like someone’s equal when I am dating someone. And guys, just because you are single and want to meet someone, does not mean that you should demand that a girl does whatever you want her to. I do not owe you anything, especially if we have not met or dated that long. I do not owe you a certain thing just because you want it.

I am tired of those expectations of the dating world. I am tired of guys thinking that they are God’s gift to women, and thus, think that they are entitled to anything that they desire. If I do not want to talk to you, date you, or sleep with you, it is my choice. And, you have to respect that. Do not demand things, that is not going to go over well with me. I don’t owe you anything. If I did, that would not be the type of relationship I want to be in, and the more you demand things from me, the less I am going to want to be with you.

Mindfulness, Relationships

Learning to Love

Fear comes from many aspects in life. One of those aspects is from past experiences, whether they may be from trauma, heartbreak or anything that causes anxiety or fear to rule over your body. One of those fears is learning to let someone in after heartbreak.

I have been broken up from my former boyfriend for almost three months now. I can safely say that I am over him, and hold no interest in ever dating him again. However, his ghost still lingers in my head and heart, a reminder every day of what happened between us and how hurt I still am.

We have only dated for a few months, and yes, I should not have this person cross my mind. However, I believe that there should not be a timeline of getting over someone, especially someone who was my first kiss, and my first real relationship. I am in no rush, as I want to feel everything before moving onto the next.

However, I am beginning to go out on dates and talking to new guys. And, for the first time, I am noticing that fear evident as I make dates and even consider entering a relationship with guys that I would otherwise go into with no qualms. I am scared of having to deal with the same problems that our relationship had, whether it may be you wanting too much or not having enough patience to deal with me. I am scared of opening myself up too much, only too get hurt again. That was a fear that I had when I was with my relationship with my former boyfriend, and is something I deal with today.

I think I need to re-learn to love. That love starts from within, which is something that I work on. As I work on becoming a person who loves herself, I am realizing what I will and will not stand for. Learning to love comes from learning to love you, and that is something that I am learning to do better on the daily.

In the efforts to learn to love, you also have to learn to trust. You have to be honest, when the time is right, when you are dating someone and are afraid. You have to trust that person, even though your trust is broken in the past. I also think in order to learn how to love, you need to put to bed the past before moving on.

Every day, I am getting better at learning how to love. I am allowing myself to feel every emotion that I am feeling, writing it down in a journal. I am getting out there by surrounding myself with supportive friends and meeting new people. I am learning to love, love me for my flaws, which will lead me to learning to love someone else when the time is right. I am a work in progress, however, one day, I will eventually be less cracked. Like Michael Bolton says, it takes time, love and tenderness, which is the tools needed for learning how to love. And, with those tools, I will get an A in learning to Love 101, leaving the anxieties of what happened in the past.