The year I met him, I made a New Year's resolution: I will only be in loving, healthy relationships.
Until then I had continuously found myself in a pattern of heartbreak and disappointment. I must be inviting these kinds of men into my life, I thought. I can't put up with this anymore.
I was desperate to start fresh. I needed to cleanse myself of all relationships where I felt guilty over wanting things that made me happy, insecure about myself, and like I wasn't enough. I was tired of trying to get boys to like me. I wanted to be in a relationship that didn't exhaust me mentally and emotionally all the time.
So I made a list of 98 things that I wanted in a man (not joking). These things ranged from the deep and personal (must have strong sense of social responsibility) to the questionably superficial (must enjoy food as much as I do). Then I dreamt about what it would be like to be in that loving relationship. It was my first real exercise in manifesting my desires and projecting out to the Universe exactly what I wanted.
And then I met him. And it wasn't long into the relationship that I realized: Wow. THIS is what a healthy relationship feels like! How did I put up with anything else before this?
My Top 5 "AHA!" moments that I was in a Healthy Relationship:
1. I share my dreams and my fears with him. And I don't hold back.
In previous relationships, I found myself compromising or downplaying my dreams for another person. Men were often intimidated that I travelled so much in my work and that I loved doing it. I remember once telling a frustrated boyfriend that "I'm not going to want to be an actress forever!" (HUGE red flag went up, but I ignored it for a few more months longer before we ended things.) The moment I was able to tell my biggest dreams to my partner and not be afraid that he would run away, I knew that I was in a relationship that was different.
When I went through rough times, it felt different too: he listened to me and I felt like he was going through it with me. In other relationships, I felt a disconnect - like my boyfriend was just waiting for me to stop crying and cheer up because it made him uncomfortable. Now being able to share my highs and lows like this with my partner makes me feel less alone and more optimistic for the future.
2. I stop trying to make him like me.
When we try to get people to like us, we censor ourselves. We are conscious of what we say, how we act, and how we dress among other things. It's a freeing feeling when you realize that you don't need to worry about that anymore. That all those genuine things that make you you are seen, not ignored, and even loved.
3. He's weird with me.
He dances in the kitchen with me. He freestyles with me to random songs in the car. We talk in accents. He loves it when I go somewhere like Medieval Times and scream like a crazy person. His weirdness matches my weirdness. It's weird and it's awesome.
We're all a little weird
4. I'm more creative than I've ever been.
I stopped writing songs after my last break up. But when I met him, I picked up the guitar again. A year later, I finally finished my first album that included a song I wrote about him (my first love song!). I was doing some of my best work in my career. I was taking more classes and fine-tuning my Art. I was painting. I was writing ... I'm still writing :)
5. He is my best friend. And my other best friends are still my best friends.
He is without a doubt my best friend: the person I go to for advice and the first person I tell when I have news, good or bad. But the best friends I had before I met him are STILL my best friends. I still get my quality time with my besties and they are still an important part of my life. I didn't have to sacrifice or minimize friendships to have a relationship.
A healthy relationship is not about having the same life as your partner; it is not a love where you consume each other and rely on each other for existence and a healthy well-being. A healthy relationship is one where you SHARE your life together. Individually you are strong, beautiful people and together you shine even brighter.
You do you, boo. And comment below on whether I missed anything on my list. xo
- Post by Elena Juatco, Actor & SExT Creative Facilitator
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