My Heart Is Deployed

My friends who know Robert know he’s not crazy active on social media; he definitely doesn’t have a blog I can go to and read about all of his thoughts and feelings when I miss him (And in a lot of ways I’m glad there aren’t two of us who pour our hearts out to the world — that might just be a little much in one relationship, ha!).

I was missing him a little more than usual last night and did what any millennial would — I went to his Facebook page to feel like I had some sort of connection with him while he was away at work. We don’t get to talk a ton except during my mornings or afternoons, so nighttime is a particularly difficult time for me.

I smiled at the pictures I’ve come to know so well, and teared up at the one of us the day before we had to say goodbye. Then I saw something really strange on his page. He had written a Facebook status on Thanksgiving expressing gratitude towards his friends, family, and coworkers, but included this little line in the middle of it:

“I can’t believe the holiday season is here… It was over 8 months ago that I left Virginia, but the time has gone by quickly.”

What. The. Heck?!?!

IN WHAT WORLD HAS TIME GONE BY QUICKLY?!

I flash back to February when we said “goodbye” to our weekend visits. I barely even remember what it’s like to see someone outside my family that regularly.

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My best friend Audrey, once again, took this photo soon after Robert left for his deployment. It was so great to find this sign randomly at one of our photoshoots.

Then I think back to March and saying goodbye in Richmond. Okay, I’ll give him that, the emotions are still raw from watching him leave at 4:30 in the morning. I still can’t go back to that day without feeling really torn up about it. I am certain deep down to my core that the day we said goodbye in Richmond is exactly what leaving for a deployment is supposed to feel like. I remember walking him out to the bus, holding his hand and feeling tears dance right behind my eyes, but holding them in as best as I possibly could until I was able to run back into the lobby and break down. I remember feeling the way Kim Kardashian must when she does her signature “ugly cry” in front of everyone in the hotel lobby. When the man at the front desk asked if I was okay and came over to try to help me feel better, he put his hand on my shoulder and had a look of pity in his eyes I didn’t recognize because I hadn’t ever earned it before. This was the first time I showed that much of myself to a stranger. I remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realized in that moment that was now one of the people I had always felt bad for in the past. I was someone who had to watch a loved one leave to serve for my country, and I had someone to worry about for the next ten months.

I think back to Baltimore in April and the two precious days we had together after we thought we wouldn’t see each other again until January or February. I remember that day so well too, but it feels so long ago.

As does the first week of him being gone and the many little moments I’ve collected along the way where I’ve tried my hardest to muster up just enough strength to keep pressing forward, even when I feel like my heart might not be able to handle another day of everything a deployment has to offer. Missing him often feels kind of the same day-to-day, but I can think back to several particularly difficult moments. Pulling my car to the side of the road to cry, attending weddings and events as the only couple-less one of our group, and spending  many chilly fall evenings in my PJs by myself wishing I had a snuggle buddy to name just a few.

Time is such a funny thing, and though it’s seemed very different to each of us, we both have experienced the exact same amount of time apart. We’ve also been blessed to spend the same amount with each other; it just somehow never feels like enough to me.

I’m hoping we’ll get lots of time together when he’s back. Time is easily the most valuable thing I own, and I love spending it on the people I care about most in life. I may hate deployments, but I absolutely love my soldier.

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This is a picture of Robert meeting Governor Terry McAuliffe at his departure ceremony.

Empty

Something I hear far too often is that people create online dating accounts not to form any sort of relationship with someone, but to create validation for themselves. This is a disturbing thought, as it puts your self-worth in the hands of others, rather than finding it in yourself or in God.

I am going to tell the stories of two different friends to show that seeking validation from the opposite sex is never a solution to finding your own value or self-worth.


Jenn* signs online and checks her messages.

157.

The number hovers over her little envelope like a little prize. Her heart leaps at the thought of a Prince hiding in her inbox — then drops when she doesn’t find him after searching in countless messages. Why don’t the good guys ever message her?


Mindy* signs onto the same app from her phone and holds her breath as the page loads.

zero.

There isn’t even a notification for this number; just a giant blue envelope with a glaringly invisible orange digit in the top corner. Disappointment creeps silently through her body, and she sighs as she swipes through the app in hopes to find a new match who will message her.


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Jenn lets out a soft groan as she reads through her messages. Nothing is new or interesting; just the same old pickup lines and mundane conversations she is so used to. Where is the excitement in dating? Nobody captures her attention, much less can keep it. She doesn’t look forward to signing on anymore; she just wants the dozens of first dates and “getting to know you” conversations to be over. She wants a boyfriend; someone she can count on and actually have a meaningful connection with. There is an empty ache in the pit of her stomach.


Tears well up in Mindy’s eyes. Why don’t men desire her the same way they do her friends? Where are the floods of messages she was promised for being a female? Why does the gaping hole in her heart feel as empty as her inbox?

She quickly feels unwanted and undesired. This turns into a slippery slope and leaves Mindy to picture living life alone. She forgets about the friends and family who surround her and absolutely love her, and her self-worth rapidly depletes.


Jenn and Mindy both close their eyes in their respective apartments. They are experiencing the same overwhelming feeling — loneliness.

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Today’s lesson: The real truth of the matter is that happiness and contentment don’t depend on the number of people at your disposal. Honestly, even having a great boyfriend doesn’t make loneliness completely disappear. You can’t rely on others to bring you contentment in life because they may not always be there to give you the love and security you are longing for. Instead work on feeling secure with yourself and finding greater purposes with your life than being connected to someone else — that’s just a really great bonus when you do find the right person!


*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

The Past Isn’t Greener

This is a letter I want to “send” to the couple of exes who still aren’t over us, but I want anyone who can’t get over an ex to let this resonate with you too. Everyone deserves a fair chance to find love, and thinking about your past isn’t going to help you move towards the beautiful future you want.


Dear Ex ,

You’ve always wanted what you can’t have. Happiness was always just one short leap away — until you took the plunge and missed.

The grass is always greener on the other side. You tried so hard to get me to date you, and when you finally had my heart being with me wasn’t what you had pictured. I’m not perfect, and that’s okay, but perfection is what you often strive for.

Now that we’re not together anymore you feel like you made a mistake breaking up with me. I wanted to write you this letter to let you know that you didn’t. Even though I wanted nothing more than to keep you at the time, deep down I think I always knew you weren’t really mine. To all the guys who have ever dumped me and regretted it — I would have eventually gotten the courage to leave. We weren’t right for each other. You are smarter than you think.

I really hope this letter gives you closure and helps you move on. Just because we weren’t a good fit doesn’t mean you don’t deserve someone who will love you the same way — or even better than I did. There are so many amazing, kind, thoughtful, and genuine girls in the world that you will surely find others who will steal your heart. When you find “the one” girl you hope to keep, treat her well. Don’t expect perfection and laugh at her flaws instead of criticizing them. Embrace your differences and take them as an opportunity to learn from each other and grow. Don’t compare her to me. Comparing people really is comparing apples to oranges. You have a tendency to idealize our relationship and only look at the beautiful parts we left behind — don’t forget that we were deeply flawed. Don’t forget that I am a human being, which means the perfection you remember is very skewed.

Finally, don’t be afraid to give away your heart again. Just because I broke it doesn’t mean every girl will. I’m not powerful enough to shatter your heart permanently; it will surely heal, and one day you’re going to meet someone who fits with you so perfectly that your heart will finally feel like it’s home. I was just a small story in your journey to find love.

Even though you aren’t in my life anymore I still care about you, want the best for you, and even pray for you when you cross my mind. I still don’t want to be friends — we both have enough of those already — but I want you to know that you can, and will, be happy with someone else. I know it hurts sometimes to see me with someone new. This is actually amazing, though, because I was always the one in our relationship who felt too much. If my heart can heal from something I thought would destroy me, yours surely will too.

Wishing you nothing but the best,
Your Ex Girlfriend

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Today’s lesson: `Don’t be afraid to fall in love again. Some girls may break your heart, but one day someone amazing is going to just stick. Keep trying until you find her. She is your forever — not me — so don’t waste your time wondering about us anymore. We have some great memories together, but imagine having someone to make memories with who will be by your side for always. That’s who your heart will beat fast for.

Winning The Breakup

You know when you first break up with someone the feeling that you want to “win” the breakup? You tell your new ex that they’re going to regret their decision a lot longer than you will and you hope you’re right, even though you don’t really believe a heart can hurt as much as yours does at that very minute.

I am not proud to admit that’s how I felt when one of my exes and I broke up. He and I saw our breakup for what it was — the right thing to do for both of us. That didn’t make it easy or fun, though. I think when you deal with something as difficult as losing a loved one you don’t like going through it alone. Knowing someone feels the exact same way as you do and misses the exact same memories deep down in the pit of his stomach the way you do brings a little bit of comfort, even if it is superficial and fleeting.

The more I have dealt with losing people and the more my heart has healed and become secure, the more I realize how ridiculous this sentiment is.

I’ve seen exes again who clearly are still not over our relationship and it breaks my heart. Just because these people aren’t in my life anymore doesn’t mean they’re not still living, breathing human beings with feelings of their own. Lately I’ve found myself praying for a few of these gentleman and you know what is absolutely crazy? One of the last prayers I said I started to pour out my heart to God and asked Him to find a great girl who is a better fit for the man who hurt me the most. None of this is because I am a decent human being; this has been 100% Jesus Christ working to change my heart. I never would have been able to get to this place on my own, and frankly I can’t believe how absolutely genuine my desire is.

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I wrote a letter to all of my exes that I’ll be sharing later this week. I really do hope they are all doing well, and I hope each and every one of them can find a way to move on from our relationship if they haven’t already. My hopes in writing the letter is not only to give them a sense of closure, (If any of them still read my blog, that is!) but I also hope anyone else who is having a hard time getting over a relationship can read it and connect to the words I wrote and find a way to move on.

You. Are. Strong.

I was just watching the final episode of Ben And Lauren: Happily Ever After? (Can we all please just act like I’m supposed to watch things like this since I write primarily about dating?) and it inspired me to write a new post.

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Photo Credit: Jose Perez/Splash News

Don’t settle for someone who isn’t certain of you. It broke my heart when I heard Lauren say that she felt like she wasn’t sure what she’d do without Ben, that she couldn’t imagine a life without him, but that she still wondered whether or not he thought she was good enough for him. This comment hit me hard because I’ve been there before, and it sucks. The overwhelming feeling that you have wondering if you really could go on without your partner while simultaneously realizing they may not want you in their life is one of the sharpest pains your heart can possibly feel.

You know what I learned in my life, though? I can survive without him. I can survive without the next him, and the next. Of course I want a man who I don’t want to live without, but the reality is that I am a strong and resilient human being — even when I am hurting — and I can absolutely walk away from a relationship if I am not being treated well. If someone is treating me poorly or stepping out of our relationship, I have a wonderful support system of people who will get me through the breakup and help me back onto my feet until I do find the guy I’m supposed to be with.

It took years for me to learn so many of these life lessons, but now that I’ve realized all of this there is no way in hell I am going to stay with a man who is unsure of his feelings about me once he really knows my heart. The beginning of a relationship is the time where you get to know someone and after you get comfortable with them you see whether or not you really are compatible in everyday life. No, I wouldn’t want every single guy I date to be sure he wants to marry me right off the bat, but once we decide we do want to spend forever together, statements like, “I love you, but I’m just not sure if we are right for one another…” are a really, really big deal.

Someone I once thought was going to be my forever finally told me he loved me, but wasn’t sure whether we were really supposed to be together, and instead of leaving I stayed… And stayed… And stayed…

By this point in our relationship we knew each other like the back of our own hands and honestly, in hindsight, he was very right. We weren’t right for each other. I still respect this person and want nothing but the best for him, and I do hope he finds a girl he never has to wonder about. That’s the kind of love I am going to wait for, and I know I’ll have it one day. No matter how hard things get it won’t be a question over whether or not we want to be in each other’s lives, rather it will be a matter of how to get over the hurdles life throws at us together.

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Today’s lesson: Once we take anxiety about being alone out of the equation I believe we can often think so much more clearly. Instead of settling for someone because you just want to find “your other half,” wait for the person who will be your partner in crime and a costar in your story. Until then, learning how to be strong while you’re single will help you wait for the love you really deserve.

Selfishness Versus Selflessness

Oh. My. Gosh.

It is going to be so hard to put into words just how different it is dating someone who is selfish versus someone who is selfless. Selfish people can still have good hearts; they’re just not the kind of person I want in a significant other.

One ex I have in particular is someone I think was pretty selfish. I don’t think he means any harm by being that way, I think it’s just the way he was used to behaving and possibly his nature. In fact, one could argue that being selfish is just simply human nature. I think it takes a lot of practice and self-control to be a selfless human being.

Here are just a few ways dating someone who is selfish differs from dating someone who is selfless:

Being with someone who was selfish gave me constant anxiety. I never felt at ease in the relationship, as I always knew something major could change and I would have absolutely no say in the matter. Sure we would discuss big decisions, but when it came down to it I never really had a say.

Being with someone who is selfless makes me feel secure. We talk about big things in life and I believe him when he says he wants to know what I would like to do. I don’t have the same suffocating fear that I am not in control of my future at all, and this actually makes me more willing to compromise, as I know he will do the same with me.

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To a selfish person “no” means “I’d rather not, but ultimately you get to choose.”  Why? Because their desires are more important than your boundaries.

To a selfless person “no” means “no.” And they won’t push the boundaries because they respect you and would never want to make you feel bad.

When a selfish person hurts you they do not learn from their mistake. They may have it in the back of their mind that you don’t like something that they are doing, but that ultimately won’t make them think twice about a repeat offense. Selfish significant others are more interested in making themselves satisfied than pleasing you.

When a selfless person hurts you, they sincerely apologize and don’t just try to fix their mistake, but also take note of it to avoid being a repeat offender. This doesn’t mean they’ll be perfect from there on out, but it does mean they might rethink future decisions and be more cognizant of how their actions might affect you.

Dating someone selfish is exhausting. You know you can’t ever really win with them. When you’re with someone who is selfish it’s their way or the highway, and you can have the same fight over and over again but never actually come to a resolution — that is, until you finally give in to their wishes.

Dating someone selfless is seamless. We don’t have a perfect relationship, but disagreements are a whole lot easier knowing that we listen to actually hear what one another is saying, and can come to a conclusion at the end of the day. We’re both “winners,” as we care about each other and are happy to make the other person happy.

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This barely scratches the surface of dating someone who is selfish versus someone who is selfless. I didn’t take the selfless examples to the extreme, but a selfless person will truly put your heart above his own — not because he wants something from you — but because he loves you even more than he loves himself. This does not mean he is perfect, will never make mistakes, or will never make a selfish decision. It does mean, though, that you can have a healthy relationship with compromise and so much less stress than dating someone who is always looking out for himself.

Today’s lesson: At the end of the day you should be with someone who wants to make you happy and will compromise. No, you shouldn’t be with a pushover who does whatever you say — in that instance you are quite possibly the selfish one! You should, however, pay very close attention to the way your significant other reacts to your feelings. If he tells you that you “can’t possibly choose a place to live based on where friends and family are” and they are something he knows is important to you, run for the hills! There are plenty of people in the world who will understand your heart’s desires and will make a joint effort to work towards your dreams together.

December 3rd

Hi SITS family! One thing I think is so much fun about this blog is that most of my friends read it, but most of my followers are complete strangers — or friends of friends, which is also super fun!

Anyway, since most of you don’t personally know me, you aren’t Facebook friends with me to know that today is my birthday. I love celebrating birthdays, but not necessarily my own because I hate being the center of attention. It’s awkward and I would 9 times out of 10 rather hear someone else talk than blab on about my life. Unless, of course, it’s writing on here I suppose!

I’m notoriously bad at planning things for myself, but in my adult years I’ve realized that that’s the only way you’re often really going to have any sort of plans, and it’s no fun just sitting at home or not having anything special going on.

This year instead of planning a party, I just planned a few little meals with smaller groups of friends, which should be a lot of fun. Last night I went out to dinner with my family to celebrate my mom’s and my birthday (Hers is the 2nd!), and today I woke up and Skyped with Robert while I opened his present — which was a Petzi! I’m pretty stoked to use it, as I often wish I could text Macy when I’m away from her. Do any of you ever feel like there should be a way to text your dog? This is probably as close as you can get to that!

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Macy’s eyes always say, “Don’t leave, Mom!” when I put my coat on to go out.

This afternoon was super fun too, as my best friend Audrey came over and brought a million gifts (including the BEST new Urban Decay lipstick palette, which I will have to do an entire blog post on), then we went to Starbucks to chat and drink peppermint hot chocolates. I already feel so spoiled today and I still have a little dinner to go to tonight, and then a brunch with some of my great girl friends tomorrow!

Last year’s birthday was kind of tough for a lot of reasons, but this one has already been amazing, even if it were to end now. This taught me a very good lesson that if you want to do something fun, just plan it! You don’t need someone else to ask your friends to get together or whatever; I felt kind of rude at first asking people to celebrate my birthday with me, but after the fact I’ve realized that in the exact same way I love celebrating my friends,they’re happy to come together to celebrate me, too!

I’ll definitely write another blurb after this evening and then brunch tomorrow, too, but as for now I’m gonna go rest up a little bit. POTS kind of has my head spinning!