Date Smarter, Not Harder

Dating is something I would definitely say I was super-good at. I’m not the best mathematician, I am terrible at remembering everything I learned in history class, and I don’t know anything about camping or surviving in the wilderness, but I’m really good with people and feelings.

Just because you’re great at feeling things and reading others, though, doesn’t mean dating will be easy. There are a million different things that go into this process, some of which is circumstantial and just plain luck. A big part of dating is being able to control your emotions and think logically. When you can sync your heart to your brain and make them work together, you become so incredibly efficient in weeding out the people who aren’t right for you while keeping around someone who might be a good fit to be your forever and always.

Getting into a healthy relationship is so much easier if you have the right tools and cut out the bad habits that are holding you back from meeting people. So if you feel like you’ve had a hard time dating and letting go of crush after crush, I am going to give you a little dose of tough love and list a few behaviors to give up for 2018.

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  1. Realize that most people are not the exception to the rule. Sure, sometimes a bad boy can make for a great husband, the guy who plays hard to get can be a good catch, or the one who ghosted you on Bumble only to message you five weeks later on OK Cupid actually did just make a little mistake, but for the most part you can take things at face value and trust your gut. Stop trying to force things or make a crummy situation less painful by telling yourself stories that justify bad behavior. There are too many fish in the sea to pardon the ones who aren’t swimming in the same direction as you!
  2. Cut out the commitmentphobes. If you’ve been “talking to someone” for months with no signs of settling down, stop waiting for them to change their mind about the status of your relationship. A guy will know if he likes you pretty soon after y’all have started dating and if he doesn’t see what a great catch you are it’s his loss. Don’t try to show him what he’s missing out on or try to create scenarios where he’ll begin to fall for you. Your time is absolutely valuable, so move on to find someone who will recognize your worth without even trying.
  3. Stop chasing after indecisive guys. If you’ve been seeing someone for a little bit and he is still conflicted about how he feels about you versus another prospect, make up his mind for him and let the other girl have him. You do not want to be with someone who can’t see your worth, and it’s not your job to make him miss you once you’re gone. Block him everywhere and get excited about eventually meeting a guy who only has eyes for you and can’t wait to try to steal your heart.
  4. Don’t settle for behaviors that don’t show you respect. Yuck! People who aren’t respectful of other humans make me feel sick. If he pressures you physically, exhibits any signs of emotional or physical abuse, or throws cruel words at you, get rid of him. I hate hearing people say that gentleman don’t still exist because they absolutely do. Look for role models in your family or friend circles and remind yourself of them when you’re feeling a little defeated in the dating world. Even though these are all platonic examples, they will be great partners for another girl one day, which means there are people out there for you, too.
  5. Steer clear of people who don’t have the same values as you. If you want to date someone who is the same religion as you, wants the same kind of family, and prioritizes the same important things in life, don’t date the guy who is a polar opposite. This is wasting time on both ends of the relationship and will only end in heartbreak. Unless he changes his views — which is unlikely (see #1) — your heart will either be crushed by a breakup or a deep sadness in the relationship. It’s worth holding out for someone who will be your partner in the important parts of life.

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If you give up these five little destructive thought processes I promise your dating life will become much more bearable and efficient. Getting rid of duds seems tough in theory, but when you know what you’re looking for it becomes quite a bit easier. I always like having logical and practical actions to follow in the dating world because it can be really easy to let your heart take over and run away with your brain. By having a certain standard set for yourself, you eliminate some of the unnecessary heartache that comes along with dating the wrong guy. This may not be the most romantic blog post in the world, but it is so, so important and is definitely some of the best advice I’ve given on here. Let me know what your biggest dating frustrations or victories are, and I’d love to write more about that in my next post!

How To Be There During A Deployment

Dear Soldier,

Take care of your partner back home.

Send them notes and letters; not just emails. We are so fortunate to live in a connected world, but there’s something extra special about a handwritten note that will not only make your SO’s day, but it will keep them going throughout the deployment. Those beautifully written cards will be referenced when they’re scared, missing you, and feel alone. Think about the reasons you love your partner in crime, and carve it into a piece of paper for them to treasure forever.

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Remember that this experience doesn’t just differ from couple to couple, but it also is very different for your partner than it is for you. There are different ways it’s harder on each of you. Be gentle and patient; they are likely trying their best to hold it together every single day you’re away.

Skype, Snapchat, and send pictures often. These, like the letters, are things your significant other will be waiting for. They’re the moments you can use to connect to one another and feel close. Nothing compares to having you home, but a picture is the closest thing to being there with one another since they get to see a little moment of your day.

I hope you’re getting lots and lots of care packages from home. You deserve them, especially since you are likely not in the nicest of living situations. Try to send a few packages back home to your loved ones, too. They certainly understand that you are overseas for a mission, but it also feels so great to feel cared about and knowing that your loved one is taking time away from their busy schedule to think about you.

Deployments are one of the most difficult things this life has to offer, but if you’re with the right person the heartache you feel during them is completely worth the joy of an entire lifetime. Stay safe, connect at any chance you get, and thank you for the sacrifices you are making. I know they’re not easy in so many different ways, and I am so proud to know so many people fighting for justice and equality.

Love,
An Army Girlfriend

Officer’s Ball

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably already seen photos and little stories from this past weekend, but I am going to write a little about the ball, as promised.

Robert and I made our way to Richmond on Friday after my physical therapy appointment. I love traveling with him because we always have something to talk about and don’t just sit and listen to music the entire time.

We were hungry, so we stopped off at a little diner along the way.

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As many of you know, I am now gluten-free (And don’t eat nighthshade veggies, a few random fruits, or very much dairy) so it’s always a little annoying trying to find something good to eat. I was a little concerned about diner food, as it’s sometimes not the freshest produce, but I can almost always find something to eat anywhere.

Guys. I need to go back and get the name of the diner, because this was some of the best restaurant food I could have asked for! They had homemade hummus and the freshest fruit I’ve had at a restaurant. So good!

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After that we hit the road again, and enjoyed each other’s company until we finally arrived at our hotel. Robert carried all of the bags with the exception of my purse and pillow (I do not travel light now that I have POTS to care for!), and we rested a bit before getting ready to go out to dinner and to the rest of the Army events that evening.

I chose the restaurant we went to — Texas Roadhouse — and we had a nice time catching up with some of Robert’s friends before going back to the hotel and mingling in some of their hospitality suites. I am still incredibly new to all things military so it’s kind of overwhelming trying to follow some of the conversations. My go-to move is smiling and nodding when someone says something I don’t understand. I’ll ask one or two questions, but I don’t want to essentially be quizzing officers on what their career entails, so I try to remember my questions to ask Robert later in the evening.

The next morning I woke up and ordered room service while I listened to a book on tape and got ready for the day. This was not only a ball, but it was also some sort of Officer’s Conference, so I attended the “military spouse” meeting that morning. After that I enjoyed more room service, and talked to my best friend while I waited for Robert to get back.

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There’s something really relaxing about pampering yourself in a nice, soft hotel bed. Every time I sleep over somewhere I feel inspired to redo my room in the simplest way with just a giant, fluffy white comforter and maybe even a butler to bring me breakfast in bed. My dream Sunday mornings involve hot chocolate, pancakes, warm blankets, snuggling, and a good rom com.

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I slowly munched on my food as I got ready for the evening gala. I had a blast trying on my dresses again and trying to figure out which one to wear, along with what lipstick color I wanted to pick for the occasion. I know, I know — I could have done all of this at home. It was hard picking which dress made me feel better that day.

Up until the evening before I thought I would be wearing this formfitting white dress. I liked that it was elegant, a little sparkly, and perfect for springtime. The back had a gorgeous cutout, and although it wasn’t the princessy look I initially wanted to go for, I felt really good in it. At the last minute, though, I decided I liked my second option just a little bit better.

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So I went with a blue dress instead!

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We had a really nice evening filled with conversation, food, and meeting new people. It wasn’t really what I had expected — the major complaint was that there was absolutely no dancing — but I still had a nice time and loved having the opportunity to dress up. Not to mention I got to see Robert in a dress uniform, which was kind of a fun occasion! I also didn’t feel way too sick until the end of the evening, which is always a major plus.

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I told Robert that since there wasn’t any dancing that he would have to take me to another ball in the near future. After all, that was what I was looking forward to the most! I’ve never been to such a fun, fancy event with a boyfriend before, so we’ll just have to go to another that will have a DJ who will play Usher, Taylor Swift, and Selena Gomez so we can dance the night away.

What It’s Like Being The Luckiest Girl In The World

Did you know that it’s possible to feel like the luckiest girl in the world because you genuinely believe you have the best significant other? I sure didn’t.

In the past I’ve looked at relationships like Jim and Pam’s, Chip and Joanna’s, or Thomas and Laura Rhett and completely thought they were #RelationshipGoals. I would watch their little acts of kindness with one another and think that they weren’t really genuine because I thought I knew what real love looked like. Real love, to me, was someone just choosing not to leave. Real love was giving up a lot of my own hopes, dreams, and values to make another person happy. Love the way I always had imagined it didn’t exist. Even the stories of real people like Chip and Joanna Gaines seemed fake to me because I hadn’t ever felt the way they did about each other about a guy before.

I never knew what it was like to have someone who fit so seamlessly that you didn’t have to force things to work. You don’t agree on everything, but you don’t always have to because you can figure out compromises you are both actually happy with. I never knew what it was like to have someone who loved you to your core — faults and all — someone you didn’t have to question whether or not he would accept the weird things that make you, you.

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I never had someone in my life who I just couldn’t help but smile about when a love song came on the radio because I couldn’t think of anything else but him — until I met Robert. I hear songs that I would want sung about myself and think the words fit so perfectly for the way I feel about him. Brett Eldredge sings “Mean To Me,” and I know my feelings about him are more beautiful than the words I hear played, but I can’t seem to put pen to paper as eloquently as my heart feels about him. I think of him when Blake sings “God Gave Me You,” and I prayed for him when I heard Kristian Bush’s “Sending You A Sunset” when he was thousands of miles away. I never could have imagined I would have someone I felt I could pin to Hunter Hayes’ sweet words. I always thought the way men felt about women couldn’t be flipped. I didn’t realize I could love someone with even more than my entire heart, and I never thought I would be with someone I felt so strongly about.

When I think about Robert my heart often feels like it’s about to burst. Sharing my feelings with a few thousand people on this blog doesn’t feel like enough; no matter how many people read my writing it will never feel like enough. When he’s gone I want to talk about him, and when he’s sleeping I want to curl up next to him and feel his heart beat.

I didn’t know that love could feel like this, and for the first time in my life I really feel like lightening can’t strike twice in the same place. For the first time, though, I also don’t feel like it will have to. For the first time in my life I’m not afraid to talk openly about love because I am not afraid of it ending.

Today’s lesson: Be with someone who is absolutely irreplaceable. Love is one thing that people should never settle for in life. Being a writer, yet being unable to explain my feelings about someone on paper is one of the craziest, most incredible things in the world, and I wouldn’t trade Robert for anything.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s my favorite day of the year! This Valentine’s Day has gotten off to a bit of a rough start. I had a hard time sleeping last night, and this morning when Macy came over to wake me up it took a lot longer than normal for me to wake up and get out of bed. When you have POTS you really have to take your time getting up and out of bed, especially when you haven’t had a lot of sodium, as your vision blacks out and there’s always a chance of fainting.

Anyway, I had my normal breakfast and then hurried off to physical therapy, which was quite a bit more difficult than normal. I feel so exhausted and my shoulders and arms hurt more than usual again.

Enough complaining, though! The best parts of today so far have been getting treated to a molten lava hot chocolate, getting home and having the best lunch (an enormous salad), homemade chocolate strawberries, and watching my favorite Valentine’s Day episode of The Office  (Season 2 where Phyllis gets a million things from Bob Vance, lmao!) before going over to watch my neighbors’ kids. I also got some really sweet Valentine’s Day cards in the mail and was lucky enough for my ipsy box to come today… Hooray!

The thing I really love most about Valentine’s Day is seeing how happy all of my friends and family are. I love love, and although every couple has their ups and downs it’s great to see people spending time with those who really do mean the world to them. Even when I’m single it brings me great joy to see others happy. This year I do have a romantic Valentine, though, as well as a few dates with my girl friends this week. I am not one to make a huge deal about my own birthday by having a “birthday week” or “birthday month,” however I totally milk Valentine’s Day for all it’s worth and am planning on celebrating several times this week.

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One of the happiest days.

Today wasn’t the best day ever since I had a lot going on (For once I’m not going to write every single thing on my blog — but y’all aren’t missing anything interesting, I promise!), but I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the rest of this week.

Love you all so much, and HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Robert’s Homecoming

I am finally getting around to writing about Robert’s homecoming!

I’ve always known that whenever I get engaged I am going to wait a few days before announcing it to everyone so that I can just sit and enjoy the moment with my close loved ones. I love social media, but I think there’s something special about keeping some moments private. This is kind of how I felt about Robert’s first week back. I waited to announce that he was home because I really wanted to be able to thoroughly enjoy the moment without the million texts that I knew would come — which I also loved when the time was right!

Robert came home on a rainy Saturday evening, and I had jitters the entire day I was waiting to pick him up. I woke up in a little bit of a daze, but decided I just had to do everything I needed to get ready. The day before I had picked up a giant bouquet of balloons, made a welcome home sign, and talked to my best friend about when we would need to go to the airport. The week prior I had received a beautiful bouquet of red and white roses from The Bouqs Co so that I would be ready for his return as soon as he informed me he’d be home. You see, the Army is all about the element of surprise, so I didn’t know exactly when Robert would be back until the day before his flight.

Going to the airport was a kind of strange experience. I had waited for this moment for months. Since the day Robert left to be exact. Every day he was gone I thought about how incredible the moment would be when he got back. I thought about his return for 10 long months… Now that it was finally here it didn’t feel real!

Waiting in the airport was a strange form of torture. On one hand it was incredible the moment Robert set foot on US soil. As soon as he texted me I felt a heavy weight leave my shoulders, as I knew he was finally safe. On the other hand, though, Robert’s plane being fifteen minutes later than I had expected felt like such a tease. It was funny because I knew I was being ridiculous feeling antsy. After all, what is ten minutes in comparison to ten months of waiting?

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I did the math. It’s .00023% of the deployment. That is essentially nothing.

Seeing Robert for the first time is indescribable. Partly because yes, I was excited, but the other part of me felt really confused. He’s not supposed to be here, said a part of my brain. This isn’t real, said another. Robert isn’t going to be staying was the loudest part of my brain. Instead of being able to be ecstatic about having someone I loved so much back in my arms I felt kind of shaken by it. Yes, my brain knew Robert had told me he’d be around for a very long time now, but my heart didn’t believe it. I was so used to him being gone that it couldn’t register that he was actually here to stay. Our entire relationship has known this deployment. Even when I started dating Robert six months before he went overseas I knew he was going to be eventually leaving.

Since we’ve had just over two weeks together now I am starting to feel like things are normal. It definitely took a bit of time, and I’m still trying to adjust to the realization that I can see Robert whenever I want to, but my heart is finally starting to catch up with everything that’s going on.

Robert is here to stay. We can finally go out and continue to date each other in a really normal setting. He’ll still be in the Army, but the only time he’ll really be away from me is one weekend a month and 2 weeks in the summer. I am so beyond excited to start a new chapter together. I will definitely keep you posted on our new adventures together as a normal twentysomething couple. Goodbye deployment, and good riddance 6,500 miles!

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Where The Heart Is

You know how they say it takes a little while to adjust being back in your home country after you’ve been away for a significant amount of time? That is what it’s like when your heart comes home from a deployment.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so so so so so so SO (times infinity!) excited to have Robert finally home, but it’s weird as heck! My heart still doesn’t feel completely settled.

Robert has been back for just over 2 weeks now and I haven’t gone a day without seeing him yet. THIS IS FREAKING CRAZY!!!! I haven’t been able to relax, enjoy a relationship, and feel at peace in knowing that my guy will be here for an indefinite amount of time in who knows how long. It’s been years since I have had a relationship like this, and even then I didn’t feel the same way that I do about Robert.

It honestly hasn’t set in yet that I don’t need to cram a million activities into a week because we have as much time as needed to go out together now. I’m not used to the “pop in,” and it hasn’t really registered that we can do dinner in the middle of the week just like I do with my girl friends. I think it will just take a little bit of time for me to realize that this is, in fact, real life, and after 10 long months of waiting my love life is finally going to be normal again.

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This was from a random midweek coffee date!

Today will be our first time not doing some sort of activity together since Robert has been back because we are both feeling a little under the weather. In the past I’ve always been good at juggling friends, my love life, and other priorities, but I’ve also gotten so used to being in long distance relationships that it feels like I need to hurry and do everything while Robert is still around to spend time with. My heart just has to catch up with my mind a little bit more to realize that this is a fresh start to a really cool relationship.

A Wicked Good Welcome

Hey, friends!

I haven’t been great at updating this lately, but I will be offering an explanation for all of that soon enough. It’s partly been because I have been pretty sick on and off lately — with POTS and with some other goofy things going on! The other half, though, you will find out very soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a new newspaper interview I did that was shared in another newspaper, Wicked Local Foxborough. Did I share the first article yet? I will in a few days just so I have all my bases covered!

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Anyway, I’ll have a million and one things to write about soon, but in the meantime I just want to take another minute to thank everyone who has been so kind and helped in any and every way you could. I know this was such a longshot, but I am all about trying to give the very best to my loved ones. Robert certainly is a special person, and I really can’t wait to welcome him home. No matter what, I will be the luckiest girl in the entire world very soon. I can’t wait.

Left Behind

When I tell people that my boyfriend is deployed, they are often very kind about it and tell me to thank him for his service, then go on to ask about our relationship a little. Honestly, our communication has been surprisingly good under these strange circumstances and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime to do a long distance, long term deployment with. This doesn’t mean the deployment was ever easy, though.

One thing people often don’t really understand  is how much waiting you really have to do, and how much your heart can hurt from missing your person. Worrying about how they are doing never really comes to a complete stop until they’re home — and depending on the circumstances if they are still enlisted and able to be deployed there’s always a little nervous flutter in the back of your heart.

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As I’ve mentioned before, this was not part of my plan. I never in a million years thought I would date someone in the military, much less fall in love with someone who was leaving on a deployment. Before I met Robert I vowed my next relationship would be simple and that the furthest I wanted to be from a boyfriend was a short drive away. Maybe I would date someone in the city, but no more long distance for me. God must have laughed when He saw what I had planned in my own mind. He probably smiled, too, when he saw Robert send me that first OK Cupid message, and is certainly too kind to rub it in my face that I was wrong about the direction my life was going in — again.

I’m honestly really surprised I didn’t cry very much the past 10 months, as that was always what I thought long distance was supposed to look like. Now I know what a healthy and unhealthy love looks like, and realize that even when things get really hard with someone you don’t need to feel upset all the time. I definitely had my share of lonely nights and a small amount of tears shed here and there, but I would be concerned if my heart didn’t miss someone I care about very much.

One primary mode of communication is Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and FaceTime when Robert has a good enough connection and a little bit of privacy. This is a screenshot he took one day. I’d definitely consider my “ugly cry” along the lines of Kim Kardashian’s, but even my little sniffles like this could probably hold a candle to Kim’s signature look.

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Puffy faced and close to tearing up from a very real #deploymentsucks moment. Luckily Robert always did a great job making me laugh on the days that seemed harder than usual!

The reason I want to share this photo with you is not to show off how puffy or red my face gets when I’m upset (Though I do think I might outshine Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer in that regard), and I certainly don’t want you to picture this the next time I talk about a tearful goodbye. The reason I think this is important to share is I am almost DONE with this incredibly tough stage of a relationship, but a lot of other people aren’t. I think the women who are left behind often get overlooked, as we are still safe and sound at home. Our hearts don’t feel really safe until the moment our soldier is home, though.

I encourage you to check in on friends who might be going through this. Not only the soldiers, but also the ones they leave behind. It is HARD being the one at home with the same schedule, but having a gaping whole in our normal social life (and I’d be willing to bet I have more support than many other women do). Hugs, coffee dates, cards, and then more hugs are more appreciated than you could ever know. Even if you have never been in this position before, I think most of us can relate to missing a loved one. Deployments just add a sense of danger to the mix, as well as long stretches of silence, and a generous dose of uncertainty.

I am fine, (That picture was from about halfway through the deployment — when it felt like forever since I saw Robert, and still forever until I would see him again and I was just having a rough night overall) but remember this message every time you meet someone who’s significant other is deployed, and give them some extra love. Soldiers give up so many comforts of a nice home, normal meals, and safety to fight for our country. We should all be so proud of them. The mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, girlfriends and boyfriends of soldiers are all sacrificing so much as well. I can think of so many other people who I’m sure also had an incredibly difficult time with Robert’s deployment, and he’s just one person on his team. When you take the entirety of the military and add their friends and family to the mix, there are thousands of people sacrificing for each and every deployed team out there. Remember to be kind to them, and know that just because someone has a wonderful person to love, it isn’t easy when they go on this long and tiring journey.

Today’s lesson: It never, ever hurts to be kind to everyone you meet. Life can be so hard sometimes, but often even a little smile can brighten someone else’s day. I know there were so many moments I missed Robert and couldn’t do anything about it, but the kindness of a stranger made my heart feel a little more at ease. As my favorite Bible verse (1 Peter 4:8) says, “Above all, love each other deeply…”