Tag Archives: relationships

Puppy Love

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There comes a time in every relationship where you must have a serious discussion, weighing the pros and cons of the commitment you’re about to make and eventually reaching a decision as a couple. No, I’m not talking about marriage or babies or moving in together, what I’m referring to is an entirely different monster: buying a puppy together.

John and I have had the idea of getting a dog in our heads for quite some time. Even before I moved we had discussed the option, but at that point we hadn’t given it much serious thought. Labor Day weekend rolled around and we suddenly found ourselves sitting in a restaurant discussing the pros and cons of having a four legged friend over fried mac and cheese bites and ravioli. The conversation revolved mostly around the amount of poop we would be exposed to (a very important topic for discussion), in addition to sacrifices we would need to make in terms of traveling north to visit our families. We jotted down our notes on a piece of paper and decided that yes, at this point we wanted a dog, but that we needed to take a week to think about it in more detail.

Our plan was a great plan: address our pros and cons and how we’ll deal with each, then go on our cruise in October and decide if it was still something we were interested in after returning. After our cruise, we would start seriously looking for dogs and start the adoption process. Things were playing out great until we found ourselves Google searching puppies everyday (seriously, who writes those sad stories on the bio pages?) and picking favorites.

While sitting in the living room Saturday discussing dogs with John’s parents, John piped in and said something along the lines of “hey, isn’t there an adoption event at Petsmart today?” He barely had time to call Petsmart and confirm before we were all piling in the car to go “look.” In other words, we threw all of our rational thinking out the window and finally succumbed to all of those puppy faces we’d seen on the internet. After returning home (miraculously, without a dog) we immediately got back to surfing the internet for adoptable dogs nearby. It was only a few hours before we had submitted an adoption application for a 5 ½ month old Shepherd mix named Basil. We heard back within an hour and were urged to come to the rescue group’s adoption event this upcoming Saturday to meet Basil as well as a few other dogs we saw online.

Anticipating the upcoming weekend and the possibility that we may soon have a new and furry member of the household, I got to thinking about the whole thing. While we are both beyond excited to adopt a dog and give it a loving home together, what excites me most is the journey John and I are about to begin in our relationship. While I know that adopting a dog could very well change our relationship even more than moving in together did, and that sleepless nights and added strain on our relationship are possible and likely, I can’t wait to “grow” our family and allow our relationship to grow even more.

What do you think about buying a pet with your significant other? Have you done this in the past and experienced success/failure? What is your advice to John and I?

Is there enough room for “I” in a “We”?


Not too long ago, I posted about living with my boyfriend. Ever since my big move in March, things have been going wonderfully and John and I have adjusted to life together seamlessly. The day after we returned from our trip to St. Augustine, however, something interesting happened. I needed to hit the mall in pursuit of a new dress for an upcoming birthday party, and when John gave his anything but enthusiastic response when asked if he’d like to tag along, I announced that I’d go by myself. Alone. Alone as in, first time we’ve ever chosen to part ways besides going to work since we’ve moved in together alone.

When I realized this I said something along the lines of “wow, weird…this is the first time I’ll be going somewhere without you coming too.” John shrugged his shoulders and pointed out that we go to work alone every single day and it was no big deal. I went on my merry way and shopped for a few hours then returned home excited to see what John had been up to as well as share my totally interesting story about how it took me 20 minutes to find a parking space and I almost got rained on. Even better, I’d purchased a dress without John as a witness so I got to model it and twirl around until his attention turned back to our enormous television (he is getting better at this “multi-tasking” thing).

So, what did I learn from this whole experience? In all honestly, I remembered how easy it can be to become a “we” in a relationship and forget about you. Relationships and falling in love are exciting things, and it’s only natural for us to want to devote 100% of our time to a significant other and put ourselves on the back burner a little bit. I know I’m guilty as charged and I’d be surprised to encounter anyone who hasn’t ever put themselves second to a relationship. When you’re in love, it’s so easy to put yourself on hold and focus on your partner, but what makes a relationship really amazing is when you can focus on the relationship you have with yourself, too.

I’m lucky enough to be in a relationship with someone who appreciates my independent side and encourages me to do my own thing, and it actually makes our relationship all the more healthier when we take time to ourselves. You see, we need that time to ourselves, or else we don’t allow any room for growth (which we do a whole lot of in our twenties). It’s okay to part ways every once in a while because relationships (especially ones involving living together) require that breathing room every now and again. I’ve learned being in a relationship doesn’t have to mean losing your sense of self, and while there’s plenty of room for we, there’s enough room for I, too.

What are your thoughts? Do you think it’s important to maintain a sense of self and have some independence in a relationship? How do you spend your “you” time?

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The twenty-something dating dilemma

While in college, I found myself faced with a slew of new relationship problems. Where to meet men? What happened to getting asked out? Who should text who first? How do you celebrate an anniversary if you don’t actually know when you started dating? I had a lot of unanswered questions and learned a lot about myself and what I wanted in a relationship as a result of trying to answer them all for myself.

At a younger age, I dated who I was interested in and even had serious long-term relationships with people who were on a completely different track in life than I was. This difference was always in the back of my mind, but even through college I still found myself settling for a little less than I deserved when it came to relationships. Ok, a lot less sometimes. I dated guys with different religious beliefs, different views on marriage, and some guys who were flat out wrong for me.

Reflecting on all my dating experiences as a single twenty-something versus my present home in a committed and adult relationship with the man I love, I got to thinking about the real problem we face when entering the dating scene as twenty-somethings. It’s no longer about dating someone just because you like him/her, instead we have to start dating with purpose. One could argue that we always date with purpose (i.e. to be happy and share life with someone we love) but what I’m talking about here is something bigger. This “dating with purpose” roughly translates to dating in search of an eventual life partner.

Suddenly we “grow up” and we’re faced with the challenge of searching for someone who’s not only great and makes us happy, but also for someone whom we could presumably spend the rest of our lives with. Even worse, we can’t meet a guy during class or walking around campus, we have to go out into the real world and put ourselves out there in order to meet someone. It’s an incredibly hard and frightening transition to make, especially since we’re faced with so many other challenges at this time in our lives (becoming financially independent, finding a job, etc.)

My advice? Understand what you want and need in a relationship. More importantly, have the courage to walk away from people who don’t share any of those same needs and wants with you. If you’re dating a guy who never wants to get married while you’ve already planned your entire dream wedding on Pinterest (and want him to be the groom), you’re probably going to have problems. It’s important to get all the heavy stuff out of the way early in the relationship, like religious views and background, marriage, children and finances. If a relationship just doesn’t feel right, then get over it and walk away. Realize that people are going to walk away from you, too. And all of this is okay, because every time you walk away you make room for the right one.

What challenges did you face when you entered the “real” dating world? Do you think it’s important to discuss major views upfront when entering a new relationship?

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Are you a priority or an option?

I find it so fascinating how life sends us little reminders from time to time. You know, like when you’re having a bad day and then the sky opens up and the sun shines down on you and you have that “aha” moment? I had one of those yesterday, and it came in the form of this quote:

“Never make someone a priority when they only make you an option.”

I’ve always been the nurturing, motherly type in relationships–not just romantic ones, but friendships also. I love doing things for other people to make them feel good, because seeing other people happy makes me happy. I always put others first, but I learned the hard way that making someone a priority didn’t always mean they would reciprocate.

Now, seeing this quote, I realize how much I have grown. I wouldn’t change a thing about the past and any pain I’ve felt, because without it I certainly wouldn’t be where I am now. And where I am now is a great place, ladies and gents. I am surrounded by SO many people who make me a priority, not an option, each and every day. I wanted to use this post to thank all of those incredible people in my life who always make me number one.

Mom-
You are my rock, and I am the woman I am today because I had such an amazing role model growing up. You are the strongest, kindest, and most beautiful person I know, and you’re also an amazing best friend. Thank you for always being there for me, through the good and the bad!

Dad-
I am so thankful that we’ve been able to build our relationship so strong throughout the past couple of years. I love spending time with you and I am so happy that you’ve finally found happiness again with such a great wife. You inspire me everyday and I admire your courage. Thanks for always putting me first.

Amy-
You are the best sister I could have ever asked for. You are an amazing best friend and there’s nothing better than sharing things with a sister. You’ve become such a fantastic young woman and I can’t WAIT to see you continue to grow. Thanks for being so supportive of me, twin.

John-
Words can’t express what you and our relationship mean to me. You’ve taught me so much about life and love, and you always put others before yourself. You have completely changed my life and made me GLOW with happiness. Thank you for making me the luckiest girl in the world everyday.

Candace and Kara-
Even 1,000 miles away you two are the best friends in the world. We may not get to talk everyday, but I know in my heart there is nothing that could ever tear us three apart. You two know me inside and out and there are things I’ve shared with you that I’d never share with most people. Thanks for being the most wonderful girlfriends a girl could have, I miss and love you both so much!

I urge you to surround yourself with people who make you a priority in life, instead of an option. Rid yourself of people who don’t make you feel good about yourself and instead seek out the ones who bring out the best in you.

Who are you thankful for?

I live with my boyfriend, and so can you.

When you’re in a wonderful, healthy, happy relationship with someone you love, moving in together is a discussion that’s bound to come up sooner or later. But how do you do it? And when is it right? Are there even set rules or guidelines for doing such a thing?

The media has no problem advising us to avoid cohabiting, claiming that couples who do are bound for a lifetime of let down and even divorce should they ultimately decide to get married (see this NYT article on cohabiting here). With all of these claims flying around the internet, it’s hard not to be discouraged when you’re thinking of taking that step in your relationship.

So let’s take a moment and review this whole cohabiting thing. Can it be a terrible decision to move in with someone before marriage, even if you feel like the relationship is bound for marriage and a lifetime of happiness? Absolutely. Could cohabiting possibly cause a seemingly perfect relationship to fail? Of course it could. Any of these things are possible, but in my opinion most of the failures come as a result of not being adequately prepared to live together.

When I originally started writing this post, I wanted to focus on multiple steps you can take, steps that I have taken myself in my own relationship, in order to happily live with your partner. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there is only ONE key to successfully living together. While the little things matter, like deciding how to combine your furniture, what DIY Pinterest projects you’ll do to redecorate, or who will do what chores in the house, everything boils down to communication. Poor communication can 100% lead to relationship failure, and it can do the exact same thing to your live-in boyfriend situation. If you want your move to be a success, then talk about it. Talk about it again. And then, talk about it some more.

When John and I started dating, we knew that one day there would come a time in our relationship where we either took the next step and continued, or ended the relationship. We were 1,000 miles apart, and it was difficult to feel present in each other’s lives when we weren’t physically together. Naturally, the topic of moving in together came up. However, it wasn’t a one and done conversation. It was many, many conversations weighing the pros and cons and what it meant for our relationship. As a result, we’re happy, we love living together, and most importantly-we’re on the same page because we took the time to communicate clearly with each other about moving in together.

So this is where I feel the media has it all wrong: yes, cohabiting can have a downside, and it may absolutely lead to unhappy marriages down the road, but this could easily be avoided by clearly communicating with your partner about the move and what it means to each of you before taking the plunge.

What are your thoughts on living with a significant other before marriage? Is it a good idea? Do you currently live with a boyfriend/girlfriend? Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this!

Photo sources here and here.