When I was in high school, I had a checklist of how my life was going to go. I wanted to be married by the age of 21, pregnant by 22, dedicate 20 years to the Air Force then work for the FBI.
I had it all planned out. It seemed so simple.
Every boyfriend I had, I saw as a potential husband. After all, I had a strict time limit. It didn’t really matter how poorly he treated me, or if we truly were right for each other…I would find a way to convince myself that he was the one, or he would change.
My longest boyfriend, of 3 years constantly cheated on me. He and I had absolutely nothing in common besides the fact that we were in the same career field. He was so gorgeous, popular, fit and super clean cut. I dedicated my life to impressing him and constantly searching for his approval. Never did I consider my own needs and desires.
It was through my ex-husband that I saw the light to get out of that toxic relationship. He was a gorgeous, fit, quiet, southern gentleman that drove a beautiful lifted Jeep. I was in heaven. He was a manly man, that wasn’t scared to get dirty. He loved hunting, fishing and just relaxing at home. A couple months after we started dating I got pregnant. 3 months later we were married…I know, fast! Click here if you want to read the full story.
3 years of marriage went by and I was miserable. We had our good moments, but they were very rare. I finally dug up the strength inside of me to stand up for what I wanted and start my journey to find true happiness in life with a compatible partner.
So, here I am at age 26. I am divorced, I have a perfect 3 year old boy…and I plan on getting out of the Air Force next year.
I would never want a do-over. I’m very grateful for everything that’s happened in my life because it made me who I am now. But I want to share some things I learned along the way in regard to choosing a life partner. So, listen up people!
If there is something missing from the person that you’re with, or you wish they would treat you better…DON’T SETTLE. Don’t be scared to find something else. Just because you are comfortable doesn’t automatically make you happy. If you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you must be able to accept them exactly the way they are now. If you hope they will get more mature, grow out of it, get new friends, dress differently, act differently, or magically understand your needs one day…you are FOOLING yourself.
They MAY change, but there is no guarantee. You should want to be with someone because you love everything about them exactly the way they are right now. Not hope they will be a certain way in the future. If they grow out of old bad habits, then that’s a plus. But you absolutely cannot expect it. It’s not fair to them or you.
Trust your gut
If you suspect something fishy is going on, 99.9% of the time there is. And if there isn’t, you shouldn’t be with someone that would make you doubt them. That’s not healthy at all. It will never get better either. Maybe short term, but those trust issues will ALWAYS arise again. It’s only a matter of time. Once the trust is broken, it’s gone forever. And getting married will NOT make that go away.
You may hear of some stories of couples who overcame it, but you are not getting the full story, I promise you that.
You don’t have to get married if you don’t want to
If you have been with your significant other for a long time and your friends and family are pressuring you to take the next step, or you just expect that the next step should come because a certain period of time has passed…you need to reevaluate your relationship and your happiness.
Why haven’t you moved in together/got married/had kids yet? What’s holding you back? If you could do anything in this world and you had unlimited amount of money, what would it be? Can you imagine your current loved one there by your side every step of the way…cheering you on?
If you can’t imagine them there, or are too embarrassed to even mention it to them…I promise you will not be happy long term in that relationship. You will constantly compromise your own happiness for theirs and you will pretend to be someone you’re not. That act can only hold up for so long before you crack.
You must have mutual respect
If you two can’t have a civilized discussion over a disagreement without name calling or verbal/physical abuse, you will not last. You are not meant to be. No matter how great the sex is, how great you look as a couple to the public…if you two can’t communicate your needs in a healthy way, everything is going to fall apart eventually.
Married couples and every relationship needs to be built off of healthy communication. You do that by mutually respecting each other. You don’t have to agree with the other person to respect them. Respect means treat them the way you want to be treated. If you think your opinion matters, theirs should too. Their happiness should be just as important as yours. You must be able to resolve your problems and find a common ground.
So there’s 4 things to consider before you take a leap to the next level in your relationship. Every relationship is different. If you’re happy with your partner, even though you may break a couple of those topics I just talked about…that’s okay. If you want to move to the next step and move in or get married, that’s okay too.
At the end of the day, you have to make sure that you’re happy. Don’t lie to yourself. It’s YOUR life. YOU have to live with the decisions you make…so make the best choice for you, trust yourself.