Some are put off by the prospect of online dating. Others flock to it to find their next date. I fell somewhere in between when it came to looking for a partner. Thanks to the wonderful chronic illnesses that I was living with, it made it rather hard to go out and be a normal eighteen year-old. I couldn't really go out with friends at the drop of a hat and scout for boys. Of course, I had other things in mind anyway. Bigger things for my future.
By the time that I was seventeen, I'd already had around seven or so boyfriends, none of which were ever serious. We'd date for a few weeks, and when they wanted something more, I would tell them I wasn't ready. Many just wanted one thing (I'll let you figure that out), and I wasn't going to be that kind of girl. The way I was raised, I was taught that you should be in love with the person you plan on having sex with. So, I took that advice. I was certainly never in love with any of my high school boyfriends. Granted, there was that one time where a guy I was dating (he was a year younger than me), grabbed a ring off of my computer desk and slipped it on my finger, asking me to marry him.
I was young and impressionable. I totally said yes. We broke up two weeks later. He kept the ring he took from my desk. My fifteen year-old self was devastated. My fiancee had left me.
It's hilarious to think about now. But I digress. Most boys had located me online, a lot of which had went to school with me. Somehow I had managed to land the boy every girl wanted, and I hadn't even pursued him. No idea how that really happened. A couple other guys lived a few hours away and would drive up to see me every weekend. Those didn't last long though.
So by the time I was eighteen, I was sick of being dropped either because I was sick, or I “lived too far away,” or because I wouldn't give up what they wanted. I decided that I had to look toward the future. Of course, it also it didn't help that my gynecologist had told me to get pregnant when I was sixteen years old because of my endometriosis diagnosis. Yes, that really happened. But that wasn't the driving force behind me looking to settle down. I decided that I would go to college for a bit, try to get my journalism degree. You can imagine how that turned out. I stayed for two weeks, got too sick, and left. But, I'll never forget that experience, because that is how I met my husband. I was perusing a dating site one night when I came across his profile. I was curious, sent a message, and after two days of talking online, we decided to meet for coffee. Three months later, we were engaged.
Yes, yes it was very fast. I'm willing to admit that now. Back then, I was adamant that we were doing the right thing, we were madly, deeply and truly in love with each other, and that things were going to be just perfect. I was convinced that nothing could ever go wrong with us. We wouldn't be a couple that would fight. Oh, how wrong I was. It began when he told his parents he had proposed to me. Their first words were “No, you didn't.” Big arguments ensued. They wished he had talked to them more about it. I had only met them once before this happened, after all. But anyway, I wished that I knew then what I know now. I'd like to share my top five pieces of advice for newly engaged couples.
Despite what you may believe, fighting is actually healthy for couples to do. It's only when it gets out of control and tempers flare that you need to worry about. Arguing is healthy for couples, especially in the beginning stages of your relationship. If you don't argue at all, therein lies the first problem. It shows that you both care. Apathy is a certain relationship killer.
I'm a pretty hard-headed and stubborn person. Every time I would have an argument with my fiancee, I would get mad and walk away, just asking him to drop it. It took quite a few years for me to learn that just “dropping it” doesn't solve the problem. It just creates an environment of hostility, where frustration can breed and grow at a rapid rate. It is true that we all need to cool off in our own different ways, but be sure to talk about the issue at hand later on. Take what happened and work through it together. Make sure both of you get time to talk and share your feelings about what happened.
I'm certainly not the first person to say this. But it's definitely something that took time, and a hard lesson to learn. I recall the day that I vowed to always work through things with my love before bed or work. One morning, when it was snowing, he was heading out to pick up newspapers (we were carriers at the time.) I was two months pregnant, and my hormones made me crazy. You know how that is ladies. We ended up having a terrible argument, over what, I can't even remember now. But he left in a huff, I stayed home and cried. About an hour and a half later, I got a call from him saying that he'd been in an accident, that the car had hit a patch of ice, careening into a hill and flipping over. My parents rushed me over to the scene. I'll never forget what it looked like. I dropped to my knees and screamed. The car was smashed in, the top looked crumpled, glass was everywhere. The vehicle wasn't salvageable. We rushed to the hospital, where I ran in to see him, and he was okay. Not even a broken bone, just some bruises. I broke down and cried and cried, telling him how sorry I was. Everyone who saw the car agrees, even the experts, that my husband should've died in that accident. No one knows how he walked away. If I had been with him, with the passenger's side being crushed in, I too, could have died, along with our unborn child. That's when I told myself that I would never ever let him leave the house again while we're both so upset. Even the next moment of life isn't guaranteed, so let your significant other know how much you love them. At least vow to talk about it and work through it later on in the day. Just love one another before bed or before leaving the house.
Every person needs a little alone time now and again. It's human nature. It doesn't mean that you're both growing apart or that you don't love each other anymore. It doesn't really mean anything at all, except that we as humans need time to introspect and reflect on ourselves, by ourselves sometimes. For the longest time, I had always thought that Jeremy didn't want to talk to me about something, was avoiding me, or didn't want to spend time with me. So one day, I finally asked him, expecting the worst. He kindly explained to me that he needs time to himself sometimes. He's a writer, too, so I think that has something to do with it, too. But once we were married I began to understand why we both need our own personal space sometimes. As a couple, you spend so much time together, and if you spend all of your time together like we had, you begin to drive each other crazy. Time to yourself will give you both time to recharge and refresh yourselves.
Remember those amazingly romantic movies that make relationships seem like a walk in the park? The one's with the skewed views of love and marriage? As a young girl, I always believed that I would have a relationship just like that. Then, I grew up and learned the truth. Relationship's, no matter what kind, will always, always be a work in progress. You will never attain total perfection in a relationship, and that is okay. You wouldn't want total perfection anyway. Things would get boring pretty damn quick.
You're both going to continue to learn things about each other, every single day. From little quirks, to big personality traits, there is always going to be something new you'll learn about each other. That's what makes life interesting!