“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” – Rollo May
All relationships are different. After ending a four-year relationship with the man I was certain I was going to marry, I did not have a lot of hope in future relationships. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to achieve my dreams alone. I did not want to think about being with anyone else, ever again.
Weeks before ending my relationship, I stumbled across an article titled “F**k Yes or No” by Mark Manson (see link below). The article was a bit of an eye opener. It really is an article everyone should read at least once. In summary of the article, it addresses the grey areas of dating. It takes a very mature outlook on relationships. Either they are a “F**k yes” or “No”. There is no in between. You are not “playing games”. I hate to say that I ended my relationship because of the thoughts I had following reading this article, but I did. William was no longer a f**k yes to me. No, these feelings did not emerge over night, but over months. Time changes people and we eventually just grew apart from each other and deep down he did not want to face that fact. He was no longer the person I wanted to do life with. If I did not end things now, or soon, it would only hurt him worst in the end. One day we were laying down watching TV together and things just did not feel right. Finally, I addressed the elephant in the room. When he asked if I wanted to try and fix things, my answer was no. My heart and my mind had moved beyond what we had shared for the past four years. I was no longer happy. I no longer looked at him the way I once use too. Breaking his heart was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but it was one of the best decisions I had ever made. Today, I would never speak a foul word about my ex, ever. He is an amazing man, who deserves the world. I pray that he finds his happiness and I hope he finds success in his career. I pray that his broken heart heals and he finds someone who will love him unconditionally.
A while after ending my relationship I became centered in a new group of friends. It was nice to have friends or to remember the feeling of what it was like to have friends. It was nice to finally enjoy college and not constantly think about what I was going to do next in my life. All I could think about before was when were we going to get engaged? When were we going to get married? Should we move in together, like now!? Everyone is counting on us getting married so this must be what I want! This has to be what I want, right?! Those were the questions I thought about all the time! Looking into the future is always a good thing, but in this case it was not. I was no longer focusing on what Paige wanted in life. Was Paige even happy?
Never in a million years did I think I would enter another relationship while in college. I had no interest in dating, especially so soon. I wanted to enjoy college. I wanted to make more friends, get involved with clubs and organizations around campus. I wanted to be a college student! I did not want to have to worry about another relationship while I was in college, even though many people joke about husband hunting while in college. To top things off I really had not even met a guy who turned my head at Campbell, or so I thought. However, here I am, still in college, in a relationship with one amazing man.
Entering a new relationship should be exciting! Which it was and still is, but I was nervous about it. I guess I was nervous about being bad at dating. Thankfully, Ian and I had been friends for about a year before we started “dating”, so it was not too terrible or awkward. I think being friends first really helped us out. We were both pretty bitter when it came to the subject of relationships in general. The good thing was we already knew quite a bit about each other. We both used going to Chipotle as an excuse to hang out. Then we began to start working out together. Eventually, we were cooking for each other. I was pleased with how things were going. It was the “exciting stage” of “dating”. This is the part where you get to learn what that person likes and does not like. You pick up on their good habits and bad habits. You get to learn their strengths and their weaknesses. You are building the foundation of your relationship, really. It should be an adventure for you both. I quickly learned that Ian was an amazing cook, very well-spoken, smart, slow when it comes to doing laundry, and gives really really good back massages. Oh, and he does not like sweet tea and prefers cats over dogs. Tragic, I know.
The most challenging part of entering into a new relationship is learning how you two communicate with each other. There were multiple times where Ian and I have mistaken each other’s body language for being angry with one another. Sometimes we both like to be quite and have our space, but that does not mean we are mad at each other. After a couple months we both began bickering with each other about things. A lot of it came from body language and the other problem was our complete lack of communication with each other. A bad habit I had was talking to my best friend about the things that were irritating me instead of talking to Ian. Instead of talking to other people about your partner, you need to go straight to your partner and talk to them. No matter what the situation is and no matter how bad you do not want to talk about it. I was afraid to talk to Ian about some things because I was afraid of what he would think about me bringing said topic up. My best friend always offered me sound advice and told me multiple times to talk to Ian about my feelings. Not talking about my feelings was destroying me inside. I was angry and sad and not happy. Finally, one evening I said to myself that this was the relationship that I wanted to be in and I had to do something about the way I was feeling. After an hour and a half long conversation of us fully engaged in communicating with each other openly and honestly, our relationship made a complete 180. Being able to communicate your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions, and your problems to your partner are so important. It allows your partner to see and understand how you think about certain things. This is not just for couples who are starting to date, but for any couple.
If you are able to communicate your problems, your weaknesses, and your flaws to you partner, and both of you are willing to work together to make things better, your relationship will flourish. Ian understands my needs, he understands what upsets me and what I do not like. I understand that Ian sometimes needs his “do-nothing-days” and when he does not really want to talk to me, it is not because he is mad or upset at me. Relationships are not easy. Relationships require hard work, commitment, love, and dedication. Entering into new relationships is an adventure in itself, but we cannot get lazy in them. Ian and I got lazy there for a while, but since we have learned how we need to communicate with each other things have been wonderful. Ian and I have become such a better team. I feel like our conversations with each are more in depth and we listen better to each other. We encourage each other more, we appreciate each other more, we are putting effort in to something we both want. We are continuously learning things about each other and at the same time we are both falling more in love with each other.
Last Sunday, I decided to go try out a new church on my own. I had been praying really hard about a few things in my life and I just felt the desire and need to go to this specific church. I went and I was in awe the entire time. The church was so welcoming, the service was an answer to my prayers, and the people were SO friendly. I came home that afternoon and Ian asked how church was. I talked briefly about it. However, later that night over dinner while messing around on my phone Ian took my phone and asked me to tell him about my experience at my new church! I was delighted to tell him all about it and it meant the world to me that he asked me to talk about it.
It is things like this that help couples communicate with each other. Ian showed an interest in something I had clearly shown an interest in for the past couple of weeks. I had been dying to try out a new church and it just so happened that the first one I tried, was PERFECT!
There will always be obstacles every couples have to go through together but I think the first is learning how to communicate with each other. I could not be happier with Ian. He encourages me, he supports, and most importantly he loves me. Ian is my happiness. He is my person. He is my F**k yes.
As always, thanks for reading.