It sounds like a weird thing to say, I'm proud of myself for being in a relationship for a year. But I've never been a relationship person. There's been a lot of people over the years that I'm sure would've jumped at the opportunity. There probably still are. But I'm picky. Always have been. And yet, I don't always choose wisely. I've had my heart broken. And I know I've broken a few too.
I grew up learning from a relationship that wasn't good. I wouldn't want to put my kids through what I went through. My parents didn't really get along. They tolerated each other for most of my life. They stopped doing the things most couples do early in my memory, hold hands, kiss, hug, go on dates, etc. I grew up knowing that the only reason my parents were still together was because of us kids. That's a hard thing to know. And it's effected each of us differently.
I have grown up being terrified of having a relationship like my parents. Which is why for most of my life I have preferred to be in non-labeled relationships. If I can't define them, then they aren't a relationship and it can't hurt me as bad when it's over. Of course, that never worked. But it didn't stop me from trying. At some point every labeled or non-labeled relationship came to an end. Sometimes I cried, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I ended it, sometimes I didn't. I learned through each one, didn't always change.
I did eventually gain some self awareness and try to pick better relationships. Still didn't really work. I have an impossible need to fix people. It's my nurturing, mothering nature. I've tried to control it, but it's hard. I learned this the hard way in one of my defined relationships. I let him walk all over me and I tried to be his everything. In the end I was broken hearted and had gotten a DUI. But I have no ill feelings. It was a lesson I needed to learn the hard way. I was headed down a path that could only end badly. And I learned that we had a very co-dependent relationship and it wasn't healthy. So life went on. And after a few, very difficult years, I ended up in another defined relationship. This one was pretty life changing. I still tried to give everything in this relationship, but this time I realized what I was doing. I realized he didn't know my favorite things because I didn't let him learn them. He didn't know who I really was because I never showed him. He was a great guy and I hurt him. But it wasn't right. I let myself lose sight of who I was because I was in a relationship with him. And that wasn't right.
After that relationship I really tried to be myself. To be happy. And it worked. And I finally agreed to give Nate a chance and I was pleasantly surprised. I tried to approach this relationship differently than I had all the others. I took my time, tried to get to know him first, not spend every moment possible together. It was nice. We went on dates (something I've never been overly comfortable with), talked on the phone (which is a dying art), took time in between our dates, and we actually had a conversation and decided it was official. On Friday it will be exactly one year ago that we had that conversation.
Our year has been a difficult one. No relationship is easy, but ours has definitely had its rough points. And as we approach our one year mark we are not out of the woods. We still have to work on our communication and understanding the others point of view. But despite our imperfect relationship. I'm proud of me, proud of us. I love him more than I've loved any one. I have really tried to give my all to our relationship, and yet remain myself. I've struggled some with this. I feel resented sometimes when I try to be myself. I feel like at times he wishes I wasn't who I am. I'm a pretty strong woman. I was raised to have my own opinion and my own voice. And it took me a long time to realize that those things were ok. Despite my desire to have kids and be able to be home with them I still want to earn my own money. I want to be valued and heard and listened to. And I know I deserve that. I think that's why I'm most proud of myself. This is the most I've been myself in any relationship and it's lasted the longest. I'm proud of myself and I want to celebrate that. I want to celebrate us.