My biggest relationship lessons, dating in a social media age and one small thing we can all learn from Lara Jean.
By now you’ve all watched the swoon worthy new Netflix film “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” right? If not, I suggest you do because it’s all the internet can talk about! Go on, watch and come back to me, I’ll wait for you.
Now I’ve got you all in your feelings and crushing hard on Peter Kavinksy, this blog post doesn’t really have anything to do with the movie. Ha! But settle in, grab a snack because we’re going to talk about All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. *Cue aggressive theme music.*
At 16, Lara Jean tells us she’s had five intense crushes or loves in her life so far. That’s a lot! I’m 25 and I’ve only had three and I’ll introduce you to those three boys soon. But I actually wanted to tackle the case of Social Media vs Relationships in this post, because in my relationships, it’s played a major role. The jury is delivering their verdict: we’re all guilty! Likes, swipes, comments, DMs – the age of instant gratification. A generation famous for “Oops it broke, time to throw it away” instead of “Oops it broke, let’s fix it.” I hear so many people say “How is anyone supposed to have a healthy, long lasting relationship in 2018!” And they’re kind of right. Your ‘greener grass’ is just a private message or a swipe right away. It’s all very easy to keep hidden too, with finger print security and passwords protecting everything. Not to mention the fear we all have of coming across as ‘psycho’ which is completely unfair. I do love social media. It’s helped me get jobs, share stories, promote my blog and it’s helped me meet some important people in my life. But it’s also been a nasty cause of distrust, insecurity and temptation too.
I bring you the tale of social media vs ‘All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.” (Names changed for obvious reasons. *Wink*)
Blake. I’m not going to spend too much time on Blake because to be honest, he isn’t worth it. But the lesson I learned from him was a big one! Social media was how we met. We met on a social networking site when I was 16 years old and he was 20. Sounds scary for such a young girl but I wasn’t murdered with an axe, so it all turned out ok. I moved all the way across the country for him just before I turned 18 and Blake was the first boy I ever loved. He was really shy, really quiet and my Dad once said “He follows you around like a lost puppy.” Which, at 16 I thought was cute. At 20, I realised it’s because he had the social capabilities of a cardboard box. So you can imagine my surprise when I found out in the end he hadn’t exactly been faithful. How could he have met someone new all by himself? All it took was one click of a message button to say ‘Hello’ and he had started a whole new relationship. They’re now engaged and I’m happy for them, but I still find it quite funny and ironic that’s how my relationship with Blake began and ended. For the last 12 months, we hardly spoke to each other. We lived together but we didn’t bond, we took two cars everywhere, he was talking to this girl and yet he couldn’t end it with me. Even if he hadn’t been cheating, I stayed a whole year too long and it’s one of my biggest regrets. I was 20 years old, sleeping in a different room than my boyfriend for months, wondering how I could piece back together a relationship I didn’t even want to be in. Not how you should be spending your early 20s. Additionally, he would call me “crazy” for finding out about his online relationship! Hold up! If you are suspicious of what your partner is up to, you have my full permission to investigate in your own way and start asking questions. I knew something was wrong, I confirmed my suspicions and the relationship broke down. It’s not “crazy”, it’s trusting your intuition and anyone who makes you feel less for wanting answers and honesty, show them the door. Or in my case, pack as much as you can into your car and leave. If his fiancé is reading this, 7 years ago his Facebook password was Metallica23! In all seriousness though, this was my first big lesson – value you. Respect yourself enough to be able to walk away from someone who is either being unfaithful or not giving you 100%. I was too worried about how much time I had spent, how far I’d moved and how much I’d sacrificed for this relationship, that I didn’t know how to get out. Now I’m glad I know – just because you’ve been in it for a long time, doesn’t mean you should stay in it. Recognise the ones worth fighting for. The “Oops we broke it, now do I fix it or throw it away” thing? This was a definite throw away.
*insert the string of flings after Blake that don’t count and aren’t worth mentioning.*
Logan. Bless. The aftermath of my relationship with Logan had the biggest effect on me morphing into who I am as a grown adult in relationships today. So he deserves some more attention. I was 23 and the best way I can describe it is with a Taylor Swift lyric from ‘Red.’ “Loving him was like driving a new Maserati down a dead end street.” It lasted 5 minutes (six months) and he was the second boy I ever loved. I know it’s fun to read about someone dragging her exes but, truthfully, I can’t speak highly enough of Logan. Logan was sweet, affectionate, romantic, confident and he had shoulders that I’m convinced have been carved by angels. He would even check the scores and learn the rules of ice hockey because he knew I was so passionate about my favourite team. Logan and I met on Tinder *eye roll* so, once again, social media was how we met. PLOT TWIST – Logan is from the same city as Blake. Sara in long distance – the sequel. Up until the day Logan very unexpectedly walked out on me, we were on fire! It was a whirlwind. Time went so fast and it all came to a screeching halt. That day we woke up in a beautiful hotel room – I remember it so vividly. He kissed me Good Morning, we spent way too long fussing over where to eat and suddenly, “We need to talk.” I knew it immediately. Hours later and a long list of bullshit reasons as to why he couldn’t do it anymore, he left. So confidently too. He was done. I never saw him again. (That’s unfair. I’m sure there was some degree of truth to the reasons he gave me at the time, but they were all issues that we could have very easily fixed or worked on if he loved me as much as he said he did.) I spent six long months after that, agonising over that day, replaying it over and over in my head wondering what the hell triggered him that morning and why it all went down in flames the way it did. Now I’ve never told him this and I probably should, but after a long time blaming him, I now know our relationship falling apart was not his fault, it was actually mine. He was in a relationship with the absolute worst version of me that I’ve ever been and he still fell in love with me. He deserves points for that. I have a theory – I may or may or may not be wrong, we’ll never know – but I think I became just too hard to be with and he didn’t know how to break my heart. I was insecure, I had no self-confidence, I was physically and emotionally out of shape, I constantly needed reassurance and I was sooo jealous! Jealous? Yes. I constantly gave him grief about his female best friend for no good reason. My best friend, Jake, is a straight male and if a man I was dating gave me as much shit about being friends with Jake, as I gave Logan about his best friend, I’d be so frustrated! That’s my best friend! Their friendship dynamic was just like mine and Jake’s – flirty and weird, but ultimately just two really good mates who have always been there for each other. I constantly picked fights with him, about her, about something he said, about anything! He was so calm too. He never yelled at me, he never got emotional or animated. He’d just take it as I carried on like a peanut, until I calmed down, talked my way back into his heart and he’d forgive me. As if he wouldn’t leave? He was a good man who I really loved and by testing his loyalty constantly, I pushed him away. I was a jealous and insecure 23 year old in a long distance relationship, so of course social media was not the place I should have spent all my time, but I did and it was the trust sucking leech that was instrumental in our collapse. I remember being so needy after we broke up. I was still constantly texting him, checking his social pages and at one point, even begged him not to unfriend me *cringe*. I was an absolute mess. Mind you, we are all guilty of keeping tabs on our ex’s social pages. Everybody does it. I know Logan still frequents my Twitter page. But if he saw me now, for real – the confident, fit, happy, relaxed, 25 year old me – he wouldn’t even know me. It’s amazing how much changes in a couple of years. This was my second biggest lesson. Learn how to recognise when you are not your best self. It’s not anyone’s job to make you feel whole. It is unfair to expect the person you’re with to constantly have to lift you up and carry the relationship. You have to do the work – on yourself. Even if they love you, they won’t for long. You must always strive to be the best version of you. And if you don’t care enough to do it for yourself, do it for the person you love. I didn’t do that for Logan and although he wasn’t exactly perfect, he deserved better. If you are happy and confident with yourself, then tiny little things like what you might see on social media that you know deep down are harmless and mean nothing, won’t affect you or your relationship.
Aaron. The most recent boy I’ve ever loved and selfishly, the relationship I am most proud of. I was the best version of myself in it, I was a great girlfriend and we ended it on great terms *hooray*. Aaron and I met face to face in a bar after I gave a show stopping, tequila induced rendition of “When We Were Young” by The Killers on a Saturday night. So how does social media play into this one? It didn’t and this is what we’re aiming for! *APPLAUSE* It’s not a coincidence I had two serious relationships that turned out to be absolute dumpster fires, with social media causing the majority of our issues, to then suddenly end up in one that was perfectly healthy. I had learned so much. I had worked really hard in that next year to become the best version of myself. So, not only did that allow me to go out with the confidence to meet men without hiding behind a phone screen, when I met Aaron we instantly were attracted to the real thing. The true, authentic, (drunk), version of ourselves and we were the A team. I really did love him – madly. He was sophisticated and professional and just a bit more grown up than I was used to. I felt like I was in a proper adult relationship. We both had our shit together (for the most part) and we were heading in the same direction. I also felt like he chose me, everyday. I felt that I was his first priority and we were more important than any disagreement we might have had. He was just good at being a boyfriend. Plus, he could wear the hell out of a suit and he cooked the best Ossobuco of all time. So what was the problem? Nothing, really. His job offered him a big promotion to go to L.A., he asked me to go with him and I said No. I had different plans and he knew that. He left, he’s killing it, we’re both doing just fine and that’s why Aaron deserves the most amount of attention. He was the least problematic! We had experienced a drama free, healthy relationship and I didn’t spend six months stalking his Instagram after it ended. I was totally at peace. In this day and age, two young people, with social media, really could have made it. Not to be selfish again here, but I’m not only proud of us, I’m proud of me for sticking to my guns. Twenty-three year old me would have packed her bags, lost sight of my own plans and moved for him like I had done before. L.A. is not what I wanted for my future. So, yes, while you’re screaming at me that Aaron could have been the one, I know I’m still searching for the man who will meet me in the right place at the right time. He definitely isn’t in L.A., but Aaron did teach me how to do a relationship right – that was his purpose in my life and my third biggest lesson. Full disclosure. Respect. Complete honesty. “How is anyone supposed to have a healthy, long lasting relationship in 2018?” That’s how.
I know, I know, mine and Lara Jeans boys we’ve loved before differ greatly, but I want to wrap up this post quickly with the one small thing I now share with Lara Jean. That is the ability to confidently explain what I want, what I don’t want and setting my expectations early in the relationship. She makes it very clear that being with her has certain responsibilities. She is an “all of me or none of me” kind of girl and I love that. She’s not going to settle for half-arsed (even if their relationship is fake.) I truly feel this is crucial to the success of our relationships in the age of social media. While we didn’t meet online, having that conversation early on was important to me, Aaron completely understood and its something I encourage you to try next time too. I think it’s especially important if Social Media is how you meet. Once you’ve experienced online flirting and how your partner ‘picks up’ online, you are now hyper aware of their Social Media behaviour. If you are not careful, you can wind up being totally paranoid 24/7, or realising you’re dating a serial social cheat. Be completely honest with each other, always. Be totally and unapologetically yourself. Know when you’re not at your best and work together to become your best selves. Know when to walk away and know when to stay and fight. (I haven’t had anyone I’ve felt the need to really fight for yet, [Logan might disagree], but if I do I’ll be sure to let you know all about it.) Lastly, my fourth biggest lesson from Peter Kavinsky – you have to post about each other on Instagram! Ha! (I am most definitely kidding. I never posted Aaron on social media and I think that had something to do with our success.)
*sigh* maybe John Mayer will just finally realise we belong together.
I hope this has given you some clarity. Whether you’ve realised something about yourself, your relationship with social media or a relationship you’ve had that maybe you didn’t see before. Facebook relationship status’, couple photos on Instagram, who we’re tagging in videos and memes, are we or aren’t we? It can all be a heavy strain on our relationships. Learning how to navigate it and your partners boundaries in regards to Social Media is a really tough thing to do. Everyone has different rules. Situations that made me feel really uncomfortable, other people don’t think twice about and vice versa. I do really believe it’s one of the biggest reasons people don’t stick together as well as we used to. Hang in there.