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My first relationship at 21.

Relationships take a lot of work. Being in love is amazing, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else, but it’s not easy either. Fully opening up to someone, sharing all of yourself, learning all about them – it’s a scary, yet incredibly beautiful experience.

This is all (I guess you could say) new to me. I’ve never been in a serious relationship, let alone any romantic relationship before my current boyfriend - we'll be celebrating our two year anniversary next month! (<3!!)

I always found it strange when certain people would make comments like "aww you'll find someone one day" when I was single. I CHOSE not to be in a relationship before this one. I never felt like I had to rush or jump into anything.

Why force a relationship with someone I’m not 110% into it when I could be focusing on myself? Relationships take time, effort, and a lot of commitment, and I've never been interested in committing to someone I'm not completely sure about.

But once I’m in, I’m ALL in. I give everything - my heart, my soul, my mind, my body, my time.

So why now?!

Growing up, I never felt rushed to be in a relationship. It was never a priority. In high school, when many of my classmates were talking about their boyfriends/girlfriends and going out on dates, I was having sleepovers with my girl friends and waking up at 5am to drive to the beach for a photoshoot with my best friend. Oh and seeing all the Twilight movies at midnight, of course.

I loved those years. I never felt bad about going to prom with my girl friends. That sounded more fun to me than going with some guy I didn’t even like just to have a date.

I've had my moments of thinking “maybe I should’ve just been in a relationship to gain experience and learn” – but then I remember that’s not what I wanted or what I was focused on at the time, and that’s okay. There are people who will be in multiple relationships in short periods of time and that’s THEIR choice. There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone's different and has their own reasons - and at the end of the day, it's frankly no one else's business.

Flash forward to being 18. After high school, I was definitely entering the dating world and being more attracted to guys. I went on dates and gained that experience, but I just never felt interested or intrigued enough to start a relationship with a specific person - nothing against any of those guys.

Sometimes, there’s no way to explain it other than you just "don’t feel it" or your personalities don’t match - that’s completely normal. I’m sure some felt the same way about me. That's life and I respect people knowing what they want.

I’m not saying there’s a magical feeling after the first date that you need to feel. That’s not it at all. But at least for me, it just feels right enough to continue. That’s enough for me.

"Let’s go on a second date, see how this goes. I’m interested enough to continue this."

Some would say I have “unrealistic expectations,” but I don’t see it that way at all. I just think that’s a ridiculous way for people to shut down another’s sense of worth. I just see it as I know what I want and what I don't want. Yes, I’m picky. I know no one’s perfect. I get that. I don’t want perfection. I just want something that feels honest. Real. Genuine. I just listen to my gut.

If my gut had said no to guys for the next 5 years, then so be it. I’m being in tune with myself and with what I want. I would be much happier being single, working on myself and loving myself, than forcing something that doesn’t feel right. I would never want to be in a relationship just to be "in a relationship." If I’m going to be taking time and energy to love and invest in someone else, I need to be all in.

I am not interested in judging others for how they live their life - AT ALL. You’ve been in relationship after relationship? Cool. You don’t want to ever commit and just want to date? Cool. You never want to date and just focus on yourself? Cool. You want to hang out with a new person every night? Cool. It’s YOUR life. Live it. I just hope you’re happy, safe, and know your worth. In that case, do whatever you want and don't let the opinions of others affect your personal life.

Love/relationships/dating are all such personal topics, so it’s really upsetting to me that many trends I've noticed put specific expectations on having to be in a relationship or what to do if you’re “alone and single.” It’s ridiculous. Being single is so fun. Dating is so fun. Being in love is so fun. On the other hand, they all take work and effort. It just depends on which one suits your fancy more and I would like to think the right timing has something to do with it, as well.

It’s your life, babe. Live and love how you please.

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