Jealousy is Stupid; You’re Beautiful

Do the inverse-Pretty Girl Rock: Don’t hate someone else just because she’s beautiful.

I’ve struggled with strong jealousy issues since my teens. Considering how much personal change I feel I’ve undergone since then, it’s hurtful (and embarrassing) to realize that these issues are still present in my thoughts up to now.

Apparently none of my friends have this same issue, but I’ll share it here, even though this is really embarrassing for me to admit. I talk big game about having my emotional shit together, giving people advice on how to deal with their issues, but the truth is that I’m not perfect either.

I used to think that when a guy chose me to be his girlfriend, that meant that someone finally thought I was special enough to want to be with me, and only me. As long as he still wanted only me, I was special. Then, when my boyfriends hit on other girls or told me they thought other girls were attractive, it hurt me badly. I wouldn’t always say it (although I often made a huge stink about it in my teens), but it made me feel horrible. I felt like I didn’t matter anymore because I wasn’t the only person my boyfriend saw as beautiful and desirable. My best guy friend told me that I only have this issue because I only date guys who are jerks (not sure if I can confirm or deny this), but that’s not the whole truth.

My insecurities got, and continue to get the best of me. The sad part is, even after I break up with the jerks who hit on other girls while we’re in a relationship, I still hate on those girls. I look at them very carefully, trying to figure out what about them makes them so much more special than I am.

Is it because she has longer hair? Is it because she smiles more? Is it because she’s more Asian than I am? It’s probably because she has bigger boobs. Or maybe it’s because she actually dresses like a stereotypical girl. I start to think about what I’m lacking based on what I see in my self-prescribed rivals. Whatever makes them beautiful is what makes me plain and not enough to keep my man to myself.

I caught myself doing this yesterday when I met a few girls who fell into this weird category I made. And I felt really shitty because these girls are so friendly, so nice to me, and so beautiful. My logical self knows that this competition I set in my head is so pointless! I firmly believe that resentment and hate are useless emotions. It’s like that saying, “holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

What good does it do you to hate someone who hasn’t done you any wrong? The reason I have this pointless resentment is because I have deeply rooted insecurities about myself and I project this onto the beauty I see in other people.

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Jealousy is a waste of time. It’s stupid. It’s stupid. It’s stupid.

I’ve found that it helps to make a list of the things you love about yourself (looks, personality, etc.) and refer to it when you get jealous about other people.

I have a ways to go with getting over jealousy and being more content with my physical appearance, and I hope you’ll all go on this journey with me to achieving greater levels of self-love.

We can do this together by agreeing not to hate other people just because they have something you wish you had, whether it be materialistic, beauty, or aspects of their lives.

We can stop hating the “hoes” that our boyfriends like (also, that’s an indicator that your boyfriend is an asshole, not that a girl is trying to steal him just by being herself).

We can do this by realizing that although there are things about ourselves that aren’t perfect, there are also many things that make us uniquely beautiful. Love yourself because you’re beautiful, and appreciate the beauty in others.

And if you need a reminder, read this and love your body because YOGO.

–Chloe

14 Tips for All 14 Year Old Girls

My dear younger sister Maia is turning 14 this week and we’re all making a big deal about it. I keep making jokes about her growing womanly body, much to her chagrin. I can’t believe how old she’s getting, and I keep thinking about what it was like to be her age. Fourteen was an emotional age for me (as were many of the subsequent and earlier years) and I wish I’d had someone to tell me these things about life, love, and growing up.

So for Maia, and for any other teenagers out there who might read this, here are a few things I’ve learned:

  1. Boys suck. Especially ones who are your age. I don’t know if they get any smarter or nicer, but here’s hoping they do. Instead of spending all your time thinking about boys (not accusing you of anything, but I definitely used to do this), forget about them. You’ll have plenty of time to fall in love and get your heart broken several times over, so save that for later, when you and your future partner will be much more mature and better equipped to handle all the mess that comes with committed relationships.
  2. Your identity as someone’s girlfriend isn’t an accurate measure of your worth.  I used to think that I wasn’t pretty, wasn’t desirable, wasn’t good enough for anyone because nobody asked me to date them in middle school. Do you realize how incredibly stupid that is? As if I were any less of an awesome person just because no 14 year old boys asked me to be their girlfriend! I hope you do realize how stupid that was, and never think of yourself in those terms. Just because you’re not in a relationship doesn’t mean you’re not attractive or desirable. It might mean that boys are too intimidated by your coolness to even approach you. Or it might mean that nobody knows you well enough to see what a catch you are. Either way, it doesn’t matter. The only opinion about you that matters is your own.
  3. Don’t change who you are for anyone. There will be many times when you will want to pretend to like what everyone else likes, just to fit in. But let me paint a picture for you: you are no longer in high school, you don’t have to see the “cool kids” anymore, and you are free to do whatever you please without anyone caring. This is real life, beyond the drama-filled teenage years you’re going through. Although it might seem important to act, talk, or dress a certain way just to make other people like you, don’t sell out. Be yourself, and the people who matter will appreciate your genuineness, and the ones who don’t appreciate you are the ones you don’t want to keep around anyway.
  4. Don’t let anyone make you feel less than the amazing person you are. There are always going to be those girls with their designer handbags, their makeup done to perfection, their shiny hair, their I-couldn’t-care-less attitude, blah blah blah. I always felt like a loser around those kinds of girls in high school, and I still catch myself feeling bad around them today. Then I remember, it’s stupid! So what if they dress better than I do? That doesn’t make me any less of a great person, and the same goes for you. (See #14 on this list)
  5. Be nice to your sisters and brothers. I remember being so angst-y (for no real reason) in my early teens. I always wanted to be either alone in my room or blocking out the rest of the world around me with my earphones (because listening to Green Day was way more important than anything else). Thankfully I’m at a less angry point in my life, and I’m much closer to my siblings now than I was when we actually lived together all year. I wish I’d made more of an effort to get to know them as people when we were younger, and hopefully you can learn from my mistake of being a hermit for a few years.
  6. Be good to your parents. (refer to the previous angst-y teenager description) I shut my parents out a lot because I thought they were lame, because even though my parents are actually really cool, TV and general society told me that parents are sooo lame. But that isn’t true! I was too self-involved to think about it before, but I realized later that my parents were always so supportive of me and even paid for me to go to Japan for student exchange, even when they were making a lot less money than they do now and had other kids to care for. I truly love them for that and everything else they’ve done for me. Someday you’re going to regret it if you disrespect your parents, so be good to them and appreciate all that they do for you.
  7. Stick to your passions, even if all your friends think it’s lame. I used to love reading when I was a kid. Up to this day, people I only knew in elementary school remember me as the kid who loved Harry Potter more than anyone. Then when I got to middle school, my world turned upside-down. Apparently sports were cool and reading sucked! I failed at all sports, but the real failure was when I stopped reading for fun like I used to. Eventually I got back into it, but it took awhile for me to realize that you shouldn’t stop doing something just because everyone else thinks it’s uncool. You know what’s really uncool? Quitting on something you love. Whatever your interests may be, forget what everyone else thinks, and keep doing what makes you happy. You’ll never be happy if you spend all your time trying to make everyone else happy.
  8. Friends who make you feel bad aren’t really your friends. In my freshman year of high school, I ended up hanging out with the bad girls group — the girls who smoked pot/cigarettes, had sex, cut themselves, etc. I’m not sure why I even stayed friends with them because we didn’t have anything in common besides an interest in music (which everyone has). They made me feel bad about stupid things, like being too skinny or dying my hair (although in hindsight, the dye job was really gross and they were right about that). I didn’t realize until later that these girls weren’t really my friends, and sought out a new group of girls who I’m still close to today. Even if it’s inconvenient, try and find friends who share your interests and values, even if it means going out of your way to do it. You’ll be much happier in the long run once you ditch the people who are toxic in your life.
  9. The most embarrassing times in your life aren’t all that bad. Believe it or not, I actually appreciate the embarrassing things that happened to me. They’re the funniest stories I have to tell people! At the time, I didn’t enjoy it when I got dumped over Facebook or Myspace or text message, or the time I dated someone with the same first and last name as my grandpa, but it’s hilarious now. So don’t worry about the times when you feel so embarrassed you want to dig your way to China — those are going to be your most treasured anecdotes someday.
  10. Your body is beautiful. Sure, you’re going through that awkward transition between little girl and sexualized woman. As awkward as you might feel, love your body anyway. I remember feeling horrible inside when we had to change our clothes in the locker room for P.E. — I felt like the most flat-chested girl there. It took me a long time to come to terms with being happy in my own skin, maybe because I didn’t have people telling me to embrace the body I had. Instead, I had people teasing me about my tiny boobs. But you know what? You’re beautiful. F*ck everyone who says otherwise. Look at yourself with love and you’ll grow to love yourself.
  11. It’s never the end of the world when you think it is. I felt like I was dying inside when I got dumped at 15. I even cried to my Geometry teacher after class because I had to explain to her why I was too distraught to do my homework the night before. I wish I could go back to my younger self and tell her that it gets better (and there are much worse times to come), and that he’s not even worth crying over anyway. So when something bad inevitably happens to you, just know that it gets better (although there are also much worse times to come), and that pain is temporary.
  12. Keep a journal. I went back and read through a bunch of my old diaries from high school recently, and the entries were priceless. It took me back to those years and I remembered exactly how I felt. Those journal entries reminded me of what kind of person I was back then and made me appreciate how much I’ve grown into the person I am now, and I want everyone else to have that same gift too.
  13. Don’t waste all your time on Facebook even if everyone else does. When I look back on my early teens/tweens, one of the parts I remember most clearly is being on Myspace 24/7 (yes, I’m old, and Myspace was to me what Facebook is to you). That’s pretty unfortunate, because I grew up on a sunny island with beautiful beaches, and I can count on my fingers the number of times I actually went to the beach in high school. I wasted so much of my time stalking crushes on Myspace or deciding which gross selfie to use as my default picture that I didn’t get to enjoy life as much as I could’ve. So put down your phone/laptop for a sec, and make the most of your teens, because YOLO~
  14. You may not always think so, but you’re awesome. I truly wish I could’ve known this when I was a teen. There were so many times when I felt like a total loser, but looking back, I wasn’t all that bad. Maia, you are one of the most genuinely kind and thoughtful people I know. You have a good head on your shoulders and you take care of all of us, even if you’re not the oldest. Always always always remember that you’re awesome and that I love you.

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–Chloe

Be the Source of Your Own Happiness

Enter my life a year ago (or even a few months ago): 

I carefully compose a text, inserting “lol” or “haha” in the appropriate places. I send it.

I flip my phone over so that I won’t think about whether or not he responds right away.

I pick the phone back up in about 15 seconds. Yup, it’s on ‘vibrate’. No, I haven’t received any new texts yet.

I throw the phone under my bed. It can’t demand my attention while it’s under my bed, right?

Wrong. I reach my arm under the bed, feeling around for the phone, after a failed attempt at trying to distract myself  by reading.

It’s been a few minutes. Why hasn’t he responded? What the hell does he have going on in his life right now that’s more important than talking to me?

Obviously he doesn’t want to talk to you because you’re an idiot!

No you’re not! Stop it. Get a grip. Jesus.

Okay. Okay. Well I have homework, might as well start on —phone vibrates, buzzes twice– SHIT.

He responded.

All is right in the world. He doesn’t hate me. I’m not stupid. I LOVE MY LIFE.

I text him back, making sure I sound nonchalant, charming, and funny.

I flip my phone over again.

End scene.

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Does this sound familiar to you? If it doesn’t, then good news: you’re much less crazy than I used to be! But if it does sound painfully familiar, then you have a problem. In other good news: it’s a fixable problem.

It’s completely normal to freak out over someone not texting you back when you expect them to. I know lots of people who antagonize over late replies and wonder why someone isn’t responding. It may be normal, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

It’s dangerous to let your happiness depend on external factors. If someone doesn’t like you back, or if someone cuts you off in traffic, or if your boyfriend gets mad at you about something even if you didn’t do anything, you need to learn that it isn’t about you. 

One of the most important life lessons (which I’m still trying to learn myself) is that most of the time, it really isn’t about you. While you’re busy focusing on your own internal narrative, everyone else is doing the same thing too. For all you know, you’re probably hurting someone else or even unwittingly making their day better, without even trying. You’re too busy focusing on what’s going on with you to notice, but so is everyone else.

Although it’s hard to remember not to take things so personally, you need to remember that everyone is going through their own hardships and doesn’t mean to negatively affect you. So if your crush doesn’t respond to your messages, it’s probably not that he doesn’t like you, it’s because he has his own things going on in his life. And you should have things going on in your own life independent of him, too.

If one of the sources of your unhappiness is feeling neglected, you should re-evaluate how much attention you really need from a person. You shouldn’t expect someone to give you their attention 24/7 — that’s humanly impossible (not to mention stalker-y).

Whenever you feel sad because your special someone isn’t texting you back, text someone else instead. Unless you’re a hermit, you have other people in your life who’d love to hear from you (your BFF, your mom, your cousin, a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time, or even me!). This gives you the opportunity to talk to other people in your life, and you should never make one person be your everything. That’s unhealthy too. Appreciate what you do have.

I always mention this in my posts, but you should remember that you’re awesome. Whoever this person is that’s making you so miserable should be so lucky to have your attention. If they’re not making the effort, then why should you? You have a lot going for yourself. Sometimes you just need to remember the good aspects of your life when the bad parts are really weighing on you. (When I need to remember the good parts about myself, I make a list — that usually helps.) You might not believe it at first, but you are enough and you can make yourself happy. Other people will come and go in your life, but you’re going to be stuck with yourself forever, so you might as well learn to make yourself happy.

–Chloe

The Secret to Being Attractive

Maybe it’s because I went to an all-girls school during the part of my life when my body transitioned from kid-ish to womanly. Maybe it’s because I was mostly friends with girls until I went to college. Or maybe I’m just not willing to believe that it’s okay for men to be pigs, but it’s not okay for girls to dress *mildly* attractive and not expect to get hounded by unwanted suitors.

Over the last 12 months, I’ve been hit on by guys more than I have in my entire life. It’s new. It’s kind of interesting. But I don’t like it. I probably sound like a bitch (you might tell me I’m not even that hot, get off my high horse) and I’m complaining about people finding me attractive (boo-hoo). It’s not the “finding me attractive” part that bothers me, though. It’s how a lot of guys go about hitting on girls that bothers me. I’m very choosy with who I actually date, and if you come across as a LOS-ing douche, you won’t get very far.

For example, I went to a party a few weeks ago and I had a few guys hanging onto me for a lot of the night, and the whole time they made me feel pressured. I already could tell what they wanted from me, and it wasn’t something I wanted to give them. I got texts for the rest of the night, while I was lying in bed in the room I share with my little sisters, and a guy asked me to go out to meet him. I told him I was tired and my phone was about to die, then he proceeded to beg me, then told me I was “lame” for not wanting to go out (in the cold, walking alone in San Francisco) at night to meet him.

It’s disgusting. You put on a push-up bra and people automatically assume you’re DTF. I found myself wondering on multiple occasions about whether I gave off some kind of vibe that suggests I want sex from everyone. It’s sad because they made me feel like I was doing something wrong.

Meanwhile, the whole time I was being pursued by horny losers, I slowly became more interested in someone else. He was genuinely nice to me and talked to me about things I liked. Movies, travel, types of adventures we’d like to go on eventually. He connected with me on an intellectual level and made me feel like there was more to me than having a pretty face. I can’t recall him telling me I was physically attractive, ever. That took the pressure off of me and let me feel comfortable enough to be myself. Guys like him give me hope.

What set him and the losers apart was his approach. I don’t know about all girls, but I hate being treated like a piece of meat. If I ranked the qualities I liked best about myself, intelligence, sense of humor, the ability to quote dozens of quality TV shows on command, and my identity as a grammar police would all come before beauty. I understand that other people might be flattered and into it when someone hits on them in a sexually aggressive way, but most girls I know are more attracted to a guy who wants more than a hot piece of ass.

If you want to try this highly effective approach too, here are a few pointers.

Find out what she likes and really listen to her talk about it. Don’t interrupt. Don’t nod like you’re interested while your mind is elsewhere. Be a decent human being and listen to this person talk about their passions. If you really can’t handle listening, then maybe find another person you have more in common with and will be more interested in.

Tell her about what you’re passionate about and be honest. Don’t embellish the truth and don’t pretend you’re interested in what she’s interested in — if there’s anything we’ve learned from comedies/rom-coms, this leads to misunderstandings and/or hijinks. She’ll either appreciate your enthusiasm and openness, or she’ll think you’re boring (in which case, the two of you aren’t very compatible and she isn’t a keeper).

Be genuine. This is the most important of all. Most people can tell if you’re acting (unless you’re actually an actor or are Barney Stinson), and nobody likes a person who’s dishonest. When you’re genuine, a person can tell. This is definitely the quality I find most attractive in anyone.

So the secret here isn’t really much of a secret. Be yourself, be genuine, and be interested in getting to know a person below surface level. It might seem counterintuitive but it’s much more attractive when you show interest in a person’s personality rather than their looks. This should also go without saying, but if you treat others with respect, more often than not, they’ll appreciate it and appreciate you.

–Chloe

How to Get Your Partner to Spend More Time with You Without Seeming Needy

Asking your partner to give you more attention or spend more time with you is tricky because it’s easy to come off as needy, if you approach the subject incorrectly. It’s a problem many people face, and is definitely a one I’ve faced many times in past relationships. To figure out the root of your problem, you might want to try thinking introspectively first before talking to your partner about it.

So before you go and tell off your partner for being a horrible negligent asshole, you should re-evaluate how much attention you really need. If you wish your partner would at least see you once or twice a week, that’s a reasonable request. But if you expect your partner to be with you 24/7, and you get upset when he doesn’t meet that expectation, that’s another story.

I used to freak out if my boyfriend didn’t respond to a text for over an hour or if I saw him talking to other people on Facebook when I was still waiting for him to talk to me (yes, I know I used to be a psycho). But instead of blaming him for not making enough time for me, I should’ve made more time for myself. I should’ve been content with the time we spent together but make myself happy when we were apart.

Nobody should make their partner the only thing that makes them happy (much less when you’ve only been dating for a few months). If you think it through and realize that you do spend a reasonable amount of time with your partner, find other things to occupy your time that make you happy, or spend time with other friends. Your partner isn’t the only person in the world who you can have a good time with.

If you notice that your partner doesn’t make time to see you regularly (at least a few times a week, if not once minimum) or doesn’t even bother to contact you through texts or calls every day or so, then you have a reason to ask for more time together. If you two agreed to be in a relationship, that usually entails spending time with each other.

When approaching this subject with your partner, keep a few things in mind: First, don’t accuse him of ignoring you or not wanting to spend time with you. He’ll probably get hurt, angry, or defensive, and will be less receptive to giving you more attention. Second, let him know how you feel. You are his partner, you adore him, and you just want more time with him. If you explain it in a way that makes him feel good about himself and help him to understand where you’re coming from, the outcome is more likely to be positive. Don’t tell him you need to be with him all the time, because you’ll come off as clingy. Just let him know you’d love to see him more often.

Also, you could try setting up fun dates to go on with him. If he has fun, enjoys the time spent with you, and sees how much effort you put into it, he might just want to do the same for you.

–Chloe

What to Do When Your Partner Isn’t Perfect

This is something everyone should find relatable — nobody is perfect. 

Most people have a mental checklist of qualities they look for in a partner. For example, my ideal guy would be 6 ft or taller, have amazing dark eyebrows (basically I just want someone who looks vaguely like Brandon Routh and will serenade me like Darren Criss), watches all of my favorite TV shows, reads a lot, doesn’t play video games, loves to cuddle, etc.

But if you look back on the people I’ve actually dated, none of them meet any of those standards. You may argue that I don’t have game or that I don’t choose good partners, but that isn’t true (at least on one of those counts). I choose people who are nice to me, treat me with respect, enjoy my company, and laugh at my lame jokes.

The point is, these standards of perfection for a partner don’t matter. If I don’t expect my boyfriend to meet all of those superficial standards, why should I expect anything else of him, other than to treat me with love and respect?

It’s so easy to find things about your partner that annoy you or that you think are deal breakers. But really, you’re dating a human. Imperfection is in our nature. And if you did somehow find a person who’s “perfect,” then he’d be boring because he lacks that passion and spice you get with a real person who has quirks.

Don’t expect anyone to be exactly who you think they are, because then you’ll never be happy. Instead, be aware of those expectations. They’re a result of years of brainwashing by Disney movies (I apologize for bashing Disney movies because it seems like everyone loves to blame them for all our emotional/psychological problems nowadays) in which the princess and prince fall in love and live happily ever after, rom-coms in which characters end up with their modern-day happily-ever-after,  and our society’s too-idealistic take on love in general.

Recognize that your partner is flawed, but love him anyway (unless those flaws are serious, like he doesn’t respect you, doesn’t make any effort in the relationship, or makes you feel bad about yourself intentionally. In which case, dump his ass). And remember that you’re flawed too, but you should expect people to love you in return as well.

I feel a little sad that I don’t look at life through the same rose-colored glasses that I used to, but I’m starting to accept that people aren’t exactly what you want them to be, and that’s okay. Be grateful just knowing that you actually have someone to love, who loves you back. Without being greedy, there isn’t much more you need to ask for.

-Chloe

How to Tell Your Partner That You’re Not Ready for Sex

The topic may sound silly — I mean, who wants to turn down their hot girlfriend who wants to have sex? But this can be a real problem for people who aren’t ready to take that step in their relationship, or who haven’t had sex before. I have a bunch of friends (and I’m sure there are many people who suffer from this problem outside of my social circle) who struggle with the awkwardness that comes with not being ready to have sex when your partner is.  There are many possible reasons why a person wouldn’t be ready for sex. Sex can be a really big deal, especially the first time. Maybe you’re a virgin and you’re waiting for the right person or the right moment for that experience. Maybe you’re waiting for marriage, for a relationship to last a few months, or at least for a few dates. Whatever your reason is for not being ready, it’s valid because it’s in your value system. You can’t help how you view sex based on your upbringing, so make peace with the fact that this is just who you are. You may not be able to control your feelings, but you can choose the way you handle this situation.

The most important part of this process is to be honest with yourself. Don’t force yourself to do anything you don’t want to do, especially when it comes to sex. There isn’t any point in having sex if you feel too uncomfortable emotionally, physically, or mentally to do it (the point is to enjoy yourself). The point of sex is also obviously for your partner to enjoy herself, and she won’t be able to do that if you’re not comfortable too. So save the two of you some trouble and talk it through.

With that being said, it’s also equally important to be honest with your partner. Even if you think it’ll be super awkward to talk about it with your partner (and I’m sure it will be at least a little awkward), do it anyway. It’s worth it to go through a bit of discomfort for a few minutes, in order to let your partner know how you really feel. Explain to her specifically why you have qualms about sex, so she can understand that it’s not that you don’t find her desirable or that you don’t want to achieve that kind of intimacy in your relationship (unless those are the reasons, in which case you might want to rethink the whole relationship). Whatever your reason may be, your partner should respect you for it. If she doesn’t respect you even after you have an honest discussion about it with her, she’s not worth your time — you deserve a partner who will honor your feelings and personal boundaries.

-Chloe

How to Get Out of a Toxic Relationship

She checks his phone when he’s not looking. Or she makes him give her his phone so she can check it in front of him.

He proposes to her after they’ve dated for a month and gets upset when she wants to take it more slowly.

They have each other’s Facebook passwords. Or worse, they share a joint Facebook account.

She sees his overt jealousy as love and protection instead of mistrust and disrespect.

He suggests changes she could make in her physical appearance to make her more attractive to him, like cutting her hair or dropping a few dress sizes.

She stops telling her close friends about the problems in their relationship because he says it’s the two of them against the world.

They talk to their exes when they want to make each other feel bad.

They keep score of different times their partner has messed up in the relationship, to throw it back in their face during a fight.

They change their Facebook pictures from couple pictures to ones of them alone when they’re mad at each other.

Does any of this sound familiar? These are all examples of what it’s like to be in a toxic relationship.

I’m not proud to admit this, but I’ve been in a toxic relationship myself (and I’m going to spill my guts a lot in this post, so be gentle with me). Unfortunately, all of the above are things I’ve experienced in the past. It hurts to see people I care about going through toxic relationships, and if you think you might be in one too, think critically about your relationship. Re-evaluate what it means to you and try out these steps.

Talk to someone.

It’s easier to stay in a relationship when you’re isolated to talking to your partner more than anyone else. It’s unhealthy to have this type of codependency with your partner, and if you feel like things aren’t going so well with your relationship, it helps to get an outside, objective opinion. Talk to a close friend or family member who has your best interests in mind. It’s easy to get swept up in what your partner says to you, but when a person outside of your relationship validates your feelings or worries about the relationship, it can help you see things more clearly.

Branch out.

If you don’t have one already, create a network of friends and family who will help you get through this breakup with love and support. One of the things I fear most when it comes to breakups is being alone. But if you have at least a handful of people who you know will have your back when you go through with the breakup, it makes it a whole lot easier. Near the end of my destructive relationship, I realized how I hadn’t been in contact with a lot of my friends from high school and some of my relatives I used to be closer to. I looked past the awkwardness and vented to them without filtering any of the bad stuff about my relationship that I usually hid from people. It was a little embarrassing at first, but they each assured me of what I wouldn’t admit to myself. I had chosen a partner that was treating me poorly. With their support, I gained the confidence I needed to face him and end our relationship for good.

Make your intentions clear to your partner.

If you don’t tell him straight up that you do not want him in your life anymore, he might get the wrong idea. I made the mistake of answering a persistent ex’s calls even though I really wanted to move on with my life. I was so used to talking to him (and I even missed him) so I gave in. After awhile, I tried ignoring him, but it didn’t work. The best way to let someone know you don’t want them in your life anymore is the simplest way: tell them upfront. In a decisive yet respectful way, tell him that you want to stop talking to each other so that you can go on with your lives separately. If he tries to win you back or sweet-talk you, be even more direct and tell him that you don’t want him romantically any more and ask him to respect your decision. That won’t always work, and if it doesn’t, you’ll need to go cold turkey and block him.

Block him from your life as much as possible.

Make it a point not to contact him. At all. Delete his number from your phone (and use Mr. Number, a useful blocking app, to block his calls and texts), unfollow/unfriend him on every social networking platform you both use. If you initiate conversation or even respond to him when he talks to you first, he won’t take you seriously. He could try to wear you down, but you have to stay strong and stay away. Check out this other awesome lovescrewed post for ways to keep your ex out of your life.

Mourn the relationship, but embrace the change.

A definitive chapter of your life is over, so you should allow yourself to feel sad and cry it out if you need to. Take as much time as you need to let all your emotions out.

Now that you’ve gotten out of the destructive relationship, the worst is behind you. However, that doesn’t mean that it’ll be easy taking on what comes next. You’re alone. The thought of being alone can be really scary, but it can also be a good thing. Change isn’t always bad — it’s just different. You need to allow yourself to get used to this change in your life and recognize all the good that comes along with it. You’re out of a bad relationship. You have the freedom to explore and figure out who you are as an individual. The possibilities are endless.

Explore what life has to offer you.

It may seem like I’m bashing my ex and making our relationship out to be horrible, but that’s not how it was. We just weren’t right for each other in the end and we both had a lot of growing up to do (and I’m admitting here that I was very much at fault too). This relationship helped me to grow personally more than almost any other experience in my life, and that’s what I take away from it. Don’t look back in anger (cue Oasis song) at your relationship, no matter how toxic it was, how much you wish you’d done things differently, or how poorly your ex may have treated you. Look at it as a learning experience. Even though you may have thought this person was your world, that isn’t true. There’s a world around you full of people you can share your life with and who can help you be happier than you would be if you stayed in the toxic relationship. Appreciate this not as an ending, but as a new beginning.

-Chloe

Ways to Make Long Distance Work

As a veteran of long distance relationships (I’ll refer to it here as “LDR”), I’ll tell you straight up what everyone thinks about LDRs: they don’t work. I’ve done 2 years of long distance (from 2 different relationships), spent months researching statistics about the outcomes of LDRs and tips to make it work, and went through months at a time when I’d cry myself to sleep every night because of the stress of long distance (not to mention trying not to burst into tears throughout the day).

I tell everyone I care about who considers getting into an LDR not to do it, because I know firsthand how painful it can be. You feel like half of yourself is missing every minute you’re away from your partner. Whenever you see cute couples, you wish PDA were outlawed. You spend most of your time wishing you were somewhere else or talking to your partner instead of enjoying the company of those around you. (I know it seems like I’m just trying to talk you out of LDRs, but I’m getting to the point) But, I also know how beautiful long distance love can be. If you’re lucky enough, you find a person who you’re crazy about enough to promise them that you’ll be faithful from miles away, that you’ll spend your Friday nights on Skype with them instead of scouring nightclubs for a piece of ass, that you’ll spend your hard-earned money to travel to visit them even if only for a few days, etcetera, etcetera.

So if you’re brave (and crazy) enough to commit to a LDR, here are a few lessons I’ve learned on trying to make it work. Side note: these tips work well for non-long distance relationships too.

  1. Define the terms of your LDR very clearly. Make sure you each understand what the other person expects from this relationship and agree on what you both think is fair to ask of each other. Some of the key topics to discuss before agreeing to the LDR are whether or not you’re allowed to date or get physical with other people, how often you’ll visit each other, how often/when you’ll set aside time to communicate, and so on.

  2. Set a timeline. One of the biggest reasons why LDRs don’t work is because a couple has to be away from each other for too long, so it feels like the pain of being apart will last indefinitely. If you set at least rough dates for when you’ll be able to visit each other, you can count down the days together, and it’ll make the time apart much more bearable.

  3. Take turns and make compromises. Alternate when visiting each other, so you each make an equal effort on spending money or traveling to the other person. Take turns if you need to sacrifice other important engagements to make time for each other, or with staying up late to talk to each other. That way, you don’t feel like one of you is doing all the work with keeping the relationship together, and you appreciate the equal effort your partner makes.

  4. COMMUNICATE. I can’t stress this enough. Without communication, there is no relationship. You don’t have the luxury of seeing each other face to face, so you have to put in the effort and make sure you let each other know what’s going on in your lives. Figure out what works best for you two, then call, Skype, text, email, Facebook message, or send courier pigeons to each other regularly. A lack of communication can cause either party to worry, which can lead to more trouble in the relationship.

  5. Keep a journal or log of what goes on in your daily life. It’s easy to forget what happens throughout the day and when you talk to your long distance partner, you want to have interesting things to tell them. Writing down things you think of that they’ll want to hear about can help you avoid awkward conversations where neither of you has much to talk about, so you can keep the spark between you two. I keep a little notebook in my backpack at school for stuff like this and it helps.

  6. Don’t isolate yourself to the relationship. While you may want to spend every waking moment talking on the phone with your significant other, it’s important to stay close to the friends and family around you. Just because this one person isn’t in your presence doesn’t mean you can’t have meaningful relationships and fun times with other people who care about you too. It’s unhealthy to be codependent in a relationship, so make the most of your situation and cherish the people you do have around you instead of always pining for someone who can’t be there.

  7. Do thoughtful things for your partner to remind them that you care. You can’t see each other face to face on a daily basis, kiss, hug, (or any other physical activities), so it’s easy to lose the romance in a LDR. But you can still do little romantic things to show your affection. You could send flowers or chocolates, themed care packages, etc. Even though it’s super easy to communicate through Facebook, letter writing is a more romantic, thoughtful way to show your love you care. Get creative — write your partner a story about how you fell in love, make handmade cards for your anniversaries, fold up little origami hearts to give them for each day you were apart, make a video montage of your barf-worthy-cute couple pictures. These romantic gestures will show your partner you’re thinking of them, miles and miles away.

  8. Have long distance dates. You may not be able to go out to the movies and hold hands, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still watch movies together and spend quality time. Set a date and time that works for both of you when you can have a Skype date. You can each prepare a meal (simultaneously or before the Skype call) then each eat in front of your laptops, so you can enjoy good food and each other’s company. Or, you could Skype while you each stay in and watch the same DVD at home. Distance can’t stop you from having a good time when you’re both willing to work a little extra to be romantic.

  9. Either stay 100% committed or end it. The worst thing you can do in a LDR is break your promises. Whether you agreed to stay monogamous, call each other once every other day, or text daily, you made a commitment to this person, so you have to honor it. If you lose sight of why you’re in the relationship, think it over and break up with them if that’s what’s right for you. Just don’t string them along while you ignore them or mess around with other people, because that can mess up a person emotionally for the long term (plus it’s wrong).

I probably sound like a cynic here, but that’s not true. I love love. Although I’ve been scorned by love on multiple occasions, deep down, I still believe that there’s someone out there for everyone. And if you think you’ve found that someone, but you’re thinking of ending it because one of you has to move away, don’t give up hope. I put myself through hell going through LDRs, but some of the best, most romantic moments of my life happened because I took a chance and tried. So if you’re going to try long distance too, I wish you the best of luck—and check back on the blog in the future for more posts on LDRs!

-Chloe