What I’ve Learned From Dating in My 20s

If you know me or follow any type of my social media, you may know that I’m pretty quick to make fun of my dating life. Making jokes about the situations I’ve gotten myself into constantly and consistently, time and time again.

I ignore what’s literally in front of me, and let my mind create situations or false futures instead of seeing the signs of future heartbreaks.

At least I can laugh about it (now) right??

So here we are. I’m going to share what I’ve learnt through past relationships, heartbreaks, hookups and everything in between as I’ve dated through my 20s.

1) I’m going to start with the most important thing I’ve learnt over the years. It is that if you can’t love yourself, no else will be able to either. I read this quote the other day and it really stayed to me:

“I think the problem is that we depend on our lovers to love us the way we should love ourselves”

Av.

Our society constantly relies on other people to tell us we are doing a good job or to tell us we’re beautiful and smart when really all we should be telling ourselves these things every day. If I can’t love myself with all my imperfections and loose ends, how should I expect another person too? I can’t. Simple as that.

2) The next thing I’ve learnt is you can’t try and change for someone and someone should never have to change for you. Trying to change yourself for someone else, will only result in you being unhappy in the relationship because you’re constantly trying to be something or someone you’re not. Expecting someone to change for you is unrealistic and cruel because then you technically don’t even like the person they are, you like the person they could be.

3) Age difference doesn’t matter, but maturity level does. With my parents being 10 years apart, age has never really affected whether or not I like a person, but I’ve now learnt that age does and will play a factor no matter how hard you try and deny it. It’s either going to be something you can work through or be a constant burden.

4) You can’t love someone into loving you.

5) You can love someone with your entire heart, but if they still love their ex., there’s no hope, no matter what you do or how hard you try.

6) IF THEY WANT TO TALK TO YOU, THEY WILL. If they want to make time for you, they will. If they want to make it work, they will.

7) Trust the key to a successful relationship. If you can’t build your relationship with a base of trust, you won’t be able to build it very far off the ground.

8) Don’t be unfaithful (this is the tip my teenage youth gave me when I asked). Cheating benefits no one. If your mind is wondering, you shouldn’t be with the person you’re with. That’s not fair to the significant other or even to yourself. If you lacking something in your relationship, whether that is on an emotional level or physical level, express this to the person you’re in a relationship with, don’t go seeking it from other resources.

9) Honesty is key. If you can’t be honest about what you want, what you like, what you’re expecting, then you’re just setting yourself up for failure.

10) If your significant other isn’t your best friend, you’re doing it wrong. If you don’t laugh at the same things, or goof around with each other, the relationship will get boring real quick.

11) It’s not who you want to spend Saturday night with, it’s about who you want to spend all day Sunday with doing absolutely nothing but enjoying every second of it.

12) If you want commitment and a future, don’t waste your time with someone who doesn’t share the same interests as you.

13) You’re not always going to get the closure you may need and want, and that’s just something you have to learn to accept.

14) Don’t waste your time trying to make someone feel bad about how they treated you, because most of the time they honestly just don’t care and you’ll end up wasting more of your time. The best thing you can do is walk away and not look back.

15) Desire and value do not go hand in hand. Just because a person desires you, does not mean they will value you. If they don’t value you, they don’t deserve you. You will only be an option if you allow yourself to be.

I am no dating expert, but I’ve learnt a few things along the way. I will forever remain the hopeless romantic I label myself as, even though I often get caught up in convenience and being comfortable. I think it’s the person that pushes you outside your boundaries, the person that you feel most like yourself with and the person that’s not only there for the good times but also the bad, that will make the best partner. I can’t wait to find this person.

-Ash

(10 Shitty Dating Truths You Must Accept If You Want To Find Love)

Advertisements

Dating a Person With an Alcoholic Parent

People joke with me all the time about being single.

“Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” “Why are you always single?” “Why don’t you ever give anyone a chance?”

I never really thought about it much actually. I easily blame my extremely busy schedule as a contributing factor and the fact I “just haven’t met anyone that’s worth giving up my free time too”. It’s not like I don’t ‘date’. I do. But I usually find myself caught in situations that aren’t benefiting me, with people that I find to be quite pessimistic or someone who doesn’t have the same intentions as I do.

When dating, I am the kind of person who knows right away if I’m going to get along with you. To other people (even my friends), this sounds crazy. But if I know we aren’t going to click, I’m not going to spend time trying to make it work.

Okay, after a little background on my single AF self, we can get to the point of this blog post. In my line of work, I am constantly reminding myself that the negative and sometimes harsh actions of my youth/clients are due to the trauma and situations they grew up in. I never thought to do that with myself. I’ve never stepped back and wondered why I do certain things and why I gravitate towards certain people.

I started doing some research on what having an alcoholic parent can do to the child and what effects it may have. I was surprised at how many interesting and relatable articles I found, especially when it comes to dating. I never really thought that this part of my life could affect my dating life. That might be naive of me to think because there are other more noticeable things in my life that having addiction in my life affects, like the constant need for control and acceptance.

Here are some of the main points I picked up from the research I did:

  1. Control. A child of an addict has seen how addiction can take all control away from a person. This child will then constantly want to control all aspects of their life. In dating this becomes difficult. When you date a person, you have to give up some control and trust to another person. This can not only be difficult, but also frustrating. Something as simple as cancelled plans may be triggering or seen as a much bigger deal because an addicts child has gone through a lot of cancelled plans. When we give up control, this means a lot.
  2. Burdens. A child of an addict is used to carrying around others burdens with them. It is something that we may have done for so long, we don’t even realize we are doing it anymore. You might not see this right away, but eventually, it will come out. You will see us get dragged down and worn out from doing so, but you will also see the strength it takes for us to get back up.
  3. Patience. It takes a lot of patience and time to love someone who has felt the pain of addiction. It takes time for us to open up and trust you. It takes patience to understand why our brains may work the way they do. It also takes understanding and consideration to get why we may react differently in some situations than ‘normal’ people do.
  4. Fun Over Attachment. Children of addicts often seek out fun relationships compared to deep and meaning full relationships. We fearful of getting attached to someone. Something that is fun and service level is easy to let go of and run away from whereas a more deep relationship makes so vulnerable and susceptible to being hurt.
  5. People That Need Saving. People who have dealt with addiction sometimes gravitate to people we think ‘need to be saved’. We take it upon ourselves to change and save this person. If they eventually do, we will prove to ourselves we are worth love and worth getting the validation for doing so.
  6. Emotions. Drastic and quick changes in emotions are something children of addicts are used to and have most likely picked this trait up. We are aware of this and blame ourselves for it. We think they are broken and defective. We are used to feeling loved one second and hated the next. Inconsistent emotions and feelings are something we are used to, please be patient with us.
  7. Grief. Children of addicts are grieving. Grieving lost memories, forgotten birthdays, ruined holidays, memorable moments they were skipped, etc. The thing is, we are good at hiding this grief. It doesn’t come out often, but it will. When it does be supportive.
  8. Can’t Say Goodbye. Breakups and goodbyes are not easy for children of addicts. If we’ve opened up to you and shown you a side of us we don’t often show people, we won’t ever want to let you go. We have been programmed to continuously try and make a relationship work, even through abusive situations. If you feel the relationship is toxic, it may be up to you to walk away, because quite often the child of an addict won’t be able to.
  9. Affirmation. Children of addicts are always looking to be told we’re going something right. While growing up, this aspect might have been skipped. So now that we’re older, we will do things to get the affirmation we desperately needed when we were younger.

    Articles I used:
    Children of Alcoholics Have Intimacy Issues
    Dating The Child Of An Alcoholic
    5 Things You Need To Know About Loving The Adult Child Of An Alcoholic Parent

    -Ash

Mindful

I don’t even know where to start writing. It’s been so long! I thought about writing an update on my life, and then I realized I don’t really have a lot to update you on. I could talk about my recent trip or my recent work, but I haven’t quite found a good enough purpose to write about either of those. I could talk about fitness or mental health, both topics I love writing about, but again, I have not a lot of motivation to do so.

So I have decided to write about something cool that happened the other day. Two of my best friends and I went out for brunch to a local restaurant. We sat, chatted, laughed and ate. We talked about outrageous things that probably shouldn’t be talked about in public and every once in a while our server would catch a glimpse about our absurd topics and giggle along with us. She was the cutest server, that was so personable and honest. She was one of those people that just by talking to her, you could tell how kind she was.

After brunch, we all went along with our ways. I ended up having to go straight to work because we chatted our way into the afternoon. I didn’t check my phone until later that night and saw that I had a direct message. It was from the server we had in the restaurant earlier that day. She reached out telling me she recognized me from school and wanted to thank me for speaking about self-harm.

I love getting messages like that because I often don’t think my writing reaches anyone. I also sometimes find it hard to be so vulnerable in such a small-knit city. It feels like I’m standing naked in front of everyone, allowing my flaws and imperfections to be seen.

She also made a comment in her direct message, that I really needed to hear. Usually, around this time of year, I would be heading into calendar shoot weekend for the professional cheerleading team I was previously on for five years. This means at this time last year I had dieted and exercised my way to the “ideal” body that society would approve of. I would have a fresh tan and freshly highlighted hair.  Not always being able to maintain this body and ‘perfect’ look is a hard reality to swallow sometimes and has definitely been an adjustment for me. Finding a balance has been hard and is something I am definitely continuing to work on.

At brunch, the server had offered to take a photo of the three of us at our table, I laughed and told her: “No thanks, I look ugly right now with no makeup on”. I never really thought much about this comment, I just laughed it off. In the girl’s message, she said this comment hurt her heart. She not only thanked me for speaking out and giving people someone to relate to but she made the great point of saying that: “we often want others to feel this way (beautiful) but forget to remind ourselves”.

I needed to hear this comment. I speak so often about loving ourselves and being positive, I need to step back and be mindful that I am also living this way. I have come a long way from the hate I used to have for the way I looked and the body I was given, but this comment made to realize that I need to continue to work on loving myself and speaking to myself positively like I speak to the people around me.

Sending someone a message is such a simple act but can be immensely impactful.

Remember to take the advice you give others and speak to yourself with as much love as you do to those around you!

-A

The Lessons of Love

I think this post is going to be a lot more for myself, than for you guys (I’m sorry!!). But stay with me for a second. I want to go through all my old types of relationships, and explain what I learned from each of them.

“But Ashley, isn’t that a little cruel and harsh to your exes?”

Well for 1) I won’t use their real names and 2) I have nothing against the people of my past. I’ve come to learn that everyone enters your life for some kind of reason. I think all of them come with some kind of message or lesson.

Let’s begin!

My first love. Everyone has a first ‘love’. That first person that makes your heart flutter, your knees weak and your brain cloudy. I think this one for myself, was full of an important lesson. I wasn’t ready for love. I didn’t love myself enough, to be in love with another. I also couldn’t love someone else, into loving myself. If that makes sense. No matter how much love I could give another, if I couldn’t give that same amount of love to myself it wasn’t going to work. Simple as that. This first love for me could really have been two people from my past. They both taught me this extremely important lesson.

The love that got away. I truly don’t wish this kind of feeling on anyone. I think I could have fallen deeply in love with this person from my past, but my mind was to sick at the time, I didn’t treat them or any other people involved fairly. From this love, I learned that an unhealthy mental state makes you selfish, harsh and cold-hearted. It not only breaks your own heart, but it breaks the hearts of those around. I learned that loving someone with mental health problems is sometimes unbearable and isn’t always fair, especially when the person isn’t ready to get better.

The wrong place, wrong time love. I fell hard and fast into this love, engulfed by the perfect life we had set up for ourselves abroad. This love was in paradise, away from society, away from pressures and away from reality. This love taught me that I didn’t know myself well enough yet. I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted my life to go in and I wasn’t ready for that amount of love and commitment from another person. I learned that I hadn’t given myself enough time to learn who I was before I could possibly learn who I was with another person.

The love that tries to change you. This is still a tough love for me to talk about and reflect on. This person tore me down continuously and I don’t think they will ever really understand the damage they did (the fact that I am still in a negative mindset about this person, proves that I still have healing to do). This is the type of love that you never feel good enough for. You never feel pretty enough, or pure enough, or smart enough, or successful enough. This is the type of love that tries to mould you into the person they want you to be instead of loving you for the person you are and the potential you have within your own vision. This love caught me a lot. It taught me that I am enough. It taught me that if a person really wanted to change me that much, they didn’t deserve me. And it taught me that no person should ever feel that they are not good enough for someone.

The empty love. This is the type of love I’ve found myself in time and time again. It’s the love that you continually give more than you receive. You put this person first, make time for them in your busy schedule and often get lost in. It’s the type of love that you float blindlessly through, hoping that they will one day give back to you what you’ve given to them. These people left me feeling more empty. They play mind games. They trick you into thinking there is a future and they tip top around the word “commitment”. These people may not think they are doing anything wrong because “we’re just hanging out and having fun”. This type of love is tricky. You can’t convince them to want you as much as you want them. But you also can’t wait around forever. This type of love taught me, that sometimes the only company you need is yourself. Filling voids with people will not do any good in the long run.

I have a hard time letting go of things. I struggle holding grudges against people who have long gone forgotten about me. Holding onto lost love, hurt feelings and other negative things does nothing but hurt yourself. Reflecting on the types of love I’ve endured and felt has helped me realize the type of love I want. It has helped me move on and understand why things happened the way they did, and why certain people entered my life and then left. As hard as heart break is, I think one day it is something I will be grateful for. Thankful that I can share my lessons with you all and appreciative of the love I hope to one day find.

“There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit.’ It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.”

Ellen Goodman

-A


FOMO

The Fear of Missing Out, is one of our generations biggest upsets. It is the overcoming feeling that you are missing out on a being somewhere other than where you are or missing out on having something other than what you already have. It is the feeling that you are missing out on something in your life that would make it better.

Think about it.

We are constantly looking at pictures and videos of friends, family and other acquaintances doing things, subconsciously one-upping each other. The photos and videos we post online for all to see, are always from the times we are having the best time of our lives. Vacations and celebrations, filled with laughter and joy.

In no way, I am saying that we shouldn’t do this because I do it also. If you scroll through my Instagram feed, you will see pictures filled with a larger than life smile, bright colours and photos from all my proudest moments.

The point I am trying to make is we need to take a step back and stop comparing ourselves to others. We need to stop lusting over other people’s lives and make our own lives one to remember. We need to find a job that we love and enjoy going to. We need to put down our phones and enjoy the moment before it’s over. We need to put value in our friendships, instead of screen time. We need to realize our worth is not based on the number of likes we get or followers we have.

I want to challenge each of you to do something.

Every morning for a week, write down three things you hope that will happen that day. At the end of the day, I want you to write down three things you are grateful for, and one thing you wish you would have done that could have improved this day.

In doing this simple activity, you are doing three things. You are putting intentions into your day of what you want to happen and by doing this, you are setting yourself up to be successful because the thought is now in your head. The next thing you are doing is concentrating on the things you have to be grateful for or positive things that happened within your day, instead of the negatives.  I find we often (myself included) concentrate on the negative parts of our days, instead of the positive. Let’s change this mind set. Lastly, we are leaving room for improvement. No one is perfect and no day is ever perfect. By writing one thing we want to improve on, we are leaving room for growth and leaving space and acceptance for imperfections.

I think that this feeling of FOMO is one of biggest driving forces behind the anxiety I often get. I get stuck in the mindset that I need to constantly be doing something, posting something and talking to someone, to be successful day to day. If I can change my mindset and focus on what I am doing that very second, instead of concentrating on what I SHOULD be doing, or what I need to do next, I think I will take a huge weight off my shoulders.

I think social media is both a blessing and a curse on our society. We have access to more than ever before. But sometimes this transparency can do more damage than good.

-A

Happy 2 Years!

I can’t believe I started this blog two years ago. I mean I am 27 now and I started this blog when I was 25, so the math does add up, but it seriously is crazy how last time goes by.

So much has happened since then. Since I was that confused 25-year-old that aimlessly started writing nonsense to no one in particular. I mean realistically I’m probably not any less confused or any less lost.

This will be my 130th post. 130 posts filled with words of heartbreak, gained and lost love, of hope both lost and refound, of friendship and of sorrow. Posts that may have reached no one, but may have also helped at least one person.

I hope if you are reading this, this blog brings you a similar peace that it brings me. I hope it makes you realize you are not alone in your thoughts. You are never alone in this world, even on the loneliest of nights.

I hope it makes you realize that you are beautiful past your exterior. That you deserve the best this life can give you, and that you should never stop fighting until you get that.

I hope you realize you are not defined by your past mistakes. That those mistakes only made you stronger and smarter. That they taught you a lesson.

I hope you realize that your age does not define you. You are never too young or too old to do something. If you are not happy with something in your life, whether that be your occupation or relationship, you have the strength within you to change that.

Cheers to the future and all the adventures that it may bring. 🙂

-A

I miss you.

I think sometimes, as humans, we just need to be told we’re missed by another person.

The “I miss you” words, don’t necessarily have to be said with intent, but they just need to be heard.

These words could come from an ex, a faraway friend, a long lost family member or anything in between, but these words are proof that you did make a difference in another person’s life. That your presence left an impression, one that they miss from time to time, or maybe a lot.

An “I miss you” could give you the comfort that another person thinks about you, maybe as much as you think of them.

It shows that you crossed their mind, that something in their day to day life, reminded them of you.

It proves that despite how things were left off with this person, they still have a positive memory of you, enough to miss you, to miss your presence, your smile, your laugh or simply your being.

Always remember that, even on your lonely days. Someone misses you. Someone out there is thinking about you. And someone enjoys you just the way you are.