February 13

What it’s like being in your first relationship at 33

I’m in my first actual REALationship at the age of 33.

This is not to discredit any of the relationships I’ve had in the past. I’ve met some great men whom have given me some memories I cherish. I’ve both broken hearts and have had mine shattered a few times. Y’all know who you are. Don’t worry, we good.

I value each and every experience that has come into my life with the opposite sex. Except maybe that one guy that stole my roommate’s car.

When my last relationship ended, I decided to spend *some* time on my own. I realized that I didn’t really know who I was. My own happiness was contingent someone else.

One year of living fancy-free turned into two… which turned into four… which turned into nine. A few years shy the lifespan of my late goldfish, Homer.

I decided to put myself out there again – only to have a plethora of horrific dates over the five-or-so-years. In fact, they were so bad, that I had a successful blog dedicated to my shitty dating life. Now that I think of it, I should have monetized it and really made some bucks off these suckers.

Unfortunately, I was born with morals which inconveniently decided to surface. Not just morals, but awareness. I was aware that I was putting all my energy and attention to market myself as ‘that perpetually single broad with the miserable dating life’. Energy goes where attention flows, and I was attracting more of the things I didn’t want.

batteriesAnyway, long story longer… my closest relationship over the last near-decade was with a fresh set of batteries. (Thank you, Costco!)

So, what did I learn over the last nine years?

I learned that I am pretty damn good at being single. In fact, I got too good at being single. The thought of ever sleeping in the same bed with someone for longer than an afternoon nap made me nauseous.

I wanted to be in a relationship AND I wanted to be alone. Simultaneously. For that reason, I got involved in relationships that I knew would go nowhere. They were safe. When they ended, I got all mad and sad and my life was over. I’d be like, “Omg, how could he just use me like that?! Jerk!! I hope karma crushes his hairy ass!!!” Followed by throwing a wine n’ cryin pity party insisting that ‘nobody loves me’ and ‘I’m not good enough for anyone’.

But it wasn’t them. It was me. I thought all the years of being single would make me ready for a relationship. They didn’t. They made me ready for experiencing life on my own – not with someone else. Subconsciously, I expected failure. Part of me still does. However, they helped me discover who I was as an individual (which I highly recommend).

Get to the point already, right?!

Alright. So in walks this guy.

The more I got to know him, the more I realized he was not the game-playing kind. He was on the same page as me with just about everything and I quickly understood that this was something with actual potential. Fuck.

oh shitTherefore, I tried to sabotage it. Several times. Depending on the time of the month and estrogen level, I still do. Yet, the bond couldn’t be severed. The parental stamp of approval has been received. Shit got real.

I’ve had to learn how to give up half (more like three-quarters) of my bed on occasion. I’ve realized that it’s not all that bad.

I’ve realized that being in a relationship takes a certain amount of surrender. I’ve had to surrender to the fact that there is someone actually there who needs me to communicate with more than just the characters in my head. I’ve had to surrender to the fact that I am, indeed, deserving of real love without a selfish agenda – likely the hardest thing I’ve had to learn. I’ve had to learn that it’s not just all about me, anymore.

It’s helped me uncover a lot of things I still need to work on. It’s helped to unveil some negative thinking patterns I have adopted over the years. It has shed light on things I have buried deep in my self-conscious that I have never addressed or healed properly. Those things are another story altogether. I could write an encyclopedia set on that alone.

I’ve discovered that I am not as easy to date as I thought I was. I’m a roller coaster. A hot mess of emotion. (So really, just a normal chick). PMS hits once a month and I have no idea who is going to be present on date night: easy-laid-back-fun-loving-romantic IMG_9707Tanis, or my evil hormonal bitch twin, Janis. Don’t be fooled… Janis is in there —->

I’ve also learned that being in the right kind of relationship isn’t a total sacrifice of freedom. I still do the same things I have always done on my own – except I don’t have to go on a bazillion bad dates and track down missing vehicles to potentially have the option of sharing experiences with someone.

IMG_0482I’ve learned how to be more present in the moment and rediscover those playful moments I haven’t felt since I was a child.

I’m also throwing away a lot less lithium. (Bonus goodness points for positive environmental impact).

Overall, it’s been pretty dynamite – and not just because our names go by ‘T’n’T’ for short. Discovering how to be ‘me’ while being in a realationship has been a blast – both blissful and chaotic.

Looking back, none of it would have been possible without an extensive stint of time being on my own. It wouldn’t be possible without all those ‘shitty dates’ – which served as lessons to help me define what I do/don’t want. Without that time alone, my happiness is contingent on someone else. Rather than having someone that’s my ‘everything’… I have someone that is my ‘extra-bonus-great-thing’. Ironically, I wrote about that extra thing right here – five years ago.

As we celebrate the Cupid Consumers’ Day of Love – don’t forget to overlook the most important relationship of all. The one with yourself.

More importantly, Costco has a great price on batteries.