Happily Healthy

IMG_0079Tomorrow, February 1st, my boyfriend Vincent and I will celebrate our two year anniversary. I’m definitely not going to say that our relationship is perfect, it never will be, and we’re okay with that. But it is such a mutually beneficial and healthy relationship, filled with so much respect and love. Which is honestly all we both have ever wanted.

We fight. We disagree. We bicker like an old married couple. We get annoyed with each other. We need our alone time away from each other. But we also love each other endlessly and continually grow together and as our own person.

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs about my past relationship then you will know that I know exactly what an unhealthy relationship is like due to my ex. But thankfully that relationship taught me a lot and really shaped me into a better me, which allowed me to love and respect what I have with Vincent so much more.

With Vincent and mine two-year relationship just around the corner (literally less than 24 hours away). I wanted to discuss some things that make a relationship a “healthy” one according to my experience being in an extremely unhealthy relationship vs. my current healthy relationship.

Let’s get into it!

  1. You not only grow together as a couple, but you also grow as your own person
    You both push each other to be better. No one is perfect, but you can always be better than you are right now. You’re also not afraid to let your significant other know where and when they can be better and also open to constructive criticism; it’s coming from the heart!
  2. Neither of you compromise your values or “non-negotiable” 
    If you and your partner really love each other than neither of you will ask the other to compromise their values just because you don’t believe in them or like them.
  3. You are not afraid to speak up
    Your partner’s wishes and feelings have value, and so do yours. You both always let each other know that the others feelings, ideas, etc. are constantly on your mind and have a place in your personal decision making. You both also let the other know when their words or actions are out of line as well. Mutual respect is essential to maintaining healthy relationships.
  4. You have boundaries
    Just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean you isolate yourself from your loved ones and friends. Healthy relationships require space and alone time. You both make it a priority to spend time without each other with either friends or family or if you’re like me a solo trip to Target.
  5. You support each other
    -Reassurance and encouragement are both amazing benefits of having a significant other. Knowing that the person you love supports you in all that you do is a wonderful feeling and when you’re in a healthy relationship these feeling/actions are like second nature.
  6. You fight
    Okay, listen to me for a second. Disagreements are a natural and healthy part of a relationship, whether it be romantic or platonic. It is okay to have disagreements and learn to compromise on certain things. What’s not okay is having screaming matching at each other. So when I say “fight” I mean healthy disagreements that have a positive outcome such as a comprise or better understanding of the issue as a result.

So please remember that relationships require a lot of work from both parties. Both Vincent and I feel that a relationship is not 50/50. It’s 100/100. Each person needs to put in 100%. This doesn’t mean that each person is putting in 100% at all times. Sometimes you’re having a hard day so your partner puts in more work to make you feel better and comfort you. And that’s awesome. That’s what love is all about.

Also, no relationship is perfect. Just because your relationship isn’t perfect in your or others eyes doesn’t mean it’s not a healthy relationship. (If you want to read about an unhealthy, destructive relationship scroll down and read my past blog posts about my ex.)

All relationships are unique and lovely in their own way. But the most beautiful and raw relationships are those with two people, despite their hardships, who together give each other endless happiness. Those people are happily healthy in their relationship.

P.S. Happy two year anniversary Vincent. I love you bubs.

How Social Media Distorts our Perception of Real Relationships

It’s been a few weeks since I released my “Addicted to you” blog post. And in those weeks I have been going back and forth on what my next post should entail.

Should it be about a specific event that happened? Or about the tactics my ex used to manipulate me? Or even another overall view of my toxic relationship? Or should it be more about me or about him?

These are the questions that have been floating around in my head constantly and I’ve honestly written pages and pages on each topic. But I was still torn on what I should post.

I’ve been constantly writing and then immediately deleting everything because what I’m trying to express is extremely hard to articulate in a coherent manner, since well, my relationship wasn’t really easy to understand.

But since I’ve been thinking about this a lot I realized that more negative memories from my past are starting to resurface. It’s honestly insane how our true memories can be so distorted by either the sheer power of us wanting to believe something different happened or by the manipulation of another changing our memories.

After the realization that most of my memories of my first love are not as they seem, the more I realized how much power he had over me.

The one thing that you think that someone can’t take away from you are your memories. But that is in fact a lie. They can be taken away and they can be manipulated.

I’m not just a victim of  my memories being manipulated but I also actively participated in deceiving all of my friends and family as to what was actually occurring in my relationship.

For the most part, I did this somewhat unconsciously since most people don’t like to actively air out their dirty laundry and I was no different. I chose to only show the world the “good” that was happening in my relationship, even if most of it was fabricated.

Social media is such a huge part of peoples lives in this day and age. People use social media for all sorts of things. Like staying connected with friends and family, sharing their experiences and even promoting themselves.

I’m not going to lie, I was once obsessed with how I looked on social media. And to be completely honest I still somewhat am.

That being said, I only let the world see what I wanted them to see.

Most of my posts on social media were all about the fun things I was doing or how amazing my ex-boyfriend was. But honestly most of them were fabricated.

Social media distorts the way we see real relationships because of people like me who claim to have the perfect relationship even though it’s the furthest thing from the truth.

Due to “social media relationships” young adults are expecting to be whisked off their feet at every turn in a relationship and that’s not the way it is in reality.

People fight. They have disagreements. They go through some tough shit together. But do you ever see that displayed on social media? No.

My past relationship was a whirlwind. That’s the best word to describe it because there were some really good times but there was also some deep, dark times that no one should ever go through.

And I lied a lot on social media. I claimed that our relationship was all sunshine and roses all the time! And it wasn’t.

We fought probably 90% of the time an the other 10% was us trying to make up for our dysfunctional relationship by ignoring our arguments without working them out or finding a resolution and playing “house”.

So everything all my friends and family saw on social media was pretty much a lie.

I loved my ex. More than he probably ever loved me. But the wonderful things I constantly said about him all over social media also came with him throwing tantrums, talking to other girls constantly, belittling me and countless other unthinkable things. But I never told anyone those things. Not only was I embarrassed but I also felt like I somewhat deserved the torture because I had such low self-esteem and he used that against me.

I went through all of my social media accounts and pulled some photos that I posted about my ex. And for the first time I’m going to be brutally honest about what was actually going on during the time I posted each of these photos.

(But like I said above, my memory regarding most of these events is a little distorted so I might not recall everything that was going on.)


1

My ex and I had been officially dating for about a month and we were already falling in love. I decided to take him to my cousins wedding as my date so he could meet my family. Everything was going good until it wasn’t.

He was obviously nervous to meet most of my family so both of us had one or two drinks during the reception. (We both were only 18 at the time but since we were at a family members house my mom allowed us to have a drink.)

But I quickly noticed that he soon was very intoxicated. He was slurring his words and was visibly drunk.

I had only seen him drink one or two drinks. But then I found out that he had been sneaking drinks when my family wasn’t looking. This should have been the first warning sign, but what can I say. I was infatuated with him so I left it slide with little to no resistance.

 

This was our one year anniversary. We both had Disney passes and went about two times per week.

He took me to Ariels Grotto in California Adventure because he knew Ariel was my favorite Disney princess. He bought me a really heartfelt gift that anniversary—it was a 20th century antique typewriter key encased in a silver pendant.

This was probably one of the only truly happy memories I have of us.

3

This text was sent to me about a year and a half into our relationship. To be honest I’m not exactly sure what occurred before this message was sent.

But I was used to receiving messages like this typically about a day after we would have a huge blow out. He’d also try to save his ass and get back on my good side again by making me feel like the only girl in the world and like he truly did love me. This was his m.o.

The saddest part of it all? I fell for it every time.

4

This photo was taken at his dads house. The only time we ever went over there was to get shit faced. And this time was no different.

We were sober when the photo was taken but that evening we were both pretty intoxicated.

My favorite thing about this photo is that I refer to him as my best friend. He was my best friend because I had abandoned all of my other friends just to be with him. I was addicted to being around him and with him at all times and most of my friends had had enough of it. And I don’t blame them one bit for that.

Thankfully, I have repaired my relationship with them all now.

5

We were visiting my grandma who lives up north. To be completely honest this was a nice trip for both of us. I remember us getting along really well the whole time and it actually felt like a real and true relationship for once.

6

This photo honestly terrifies me now. The reason being, he would make similar faces when he was having delusions. (He used to hear and see things that weren’t there a lot of the time.)

He acted as if he was possessed and would growl and say vial things. So this photo just brings up some of the most emotionally draining and terrifying events that had ever happened to me.

7

I attended my colleges play because I was writing a piece on it for the newspaper. I bought two tickets, one for me and one for my ex. He decided last minute that he wasn’t going to go with me, so I ended up attending it alone.

The reason this photo makes me so sad now is because when he told me he wasn’t going to go with me it crushed me. I had always shown interest in his passions like music so when he told me he wasn’t going that meant that he wasn’t interested in my passion for writing. And this picture was me trying to show the public that I was happy, when I really wasn’t.

9

We were at Disneyland again in this photo. He was pretty deeply into his alcoholism and drug abuse at this point but I was obviously naive and ignorant about it.

And as you can see by the comments, people believed our false happiness.

12

This photo was taken right before we broke up for good.

I had driven down to San Clemente where he was in rehab. We had the whole day planned full of exploring, shopping, eating and catching up.

I’m not sure if it was this day or another day I went down there to visit with him but I found out he was talking to other girls.

We were laying down next to each other after just making what I assumed to be love, when he went to the bathroom and his phone buzzed. I looked over at it and noticed he had a text from one of our old coworkers. I opened it and discovered that he was asking her for photos and telling her how beautiful she was. He was sending these text pretty much at the same time he was telling me how after rehab he was going to get a job, save his money and propose to me. He was even telling my mother this as he was flirting with this girl.

I was so extremely devastated because I was still sticking by his side even though he had put me through hell and back and was attending rehab. Most girlfriends would have dropped their boyfriends way before it ever came to this, but not me.

Another thing, the caption on the photo pictured above has since been edited but before it had something to do with how much I loved him and how wonderful that day had been for me to finally see him clean and sober for the first time in what felt like forever.

Needless to say, not everything you see on social media is real.

Addicted to you

I initial set out to write a blog post detailing the hell I went through while I was dating an addict for four years but things…evolved.

I soon realized I didn’t need to go into detail about him stealing over $1,000 of my money to go buy drugs over the course of our relationship or the fact that he would constantly flirt with other girls or even that he built an upside down crucifix out of steel and cotton balls soaked in acetone and lit it on fire in front of my house for no reason at all. I didn’t think it would be fair to him, but oops I already said it.

While writing the major milestone of my past relationship and continually going off on tangents regarding certain instances I realized I never really dealt with what happened to me.

I dated someone who loved alcohol and heroin more than they ever loved me. How do you think that makes a person feel? Knowing that the person you are madly in love with would trade you in for simply just five more minutes of being high.

It makes you feel pretty damn worthless and small.

My initial “vision” was to write about my experiences in hopes that not only would it be therapeutic for me to pour my heart out but also maybe I could potentially help someone going through a similar situation.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure if me detailing what it was like watching my ex-boyfriend overdose while driving me home would be helpful to others but it sure did bring back up some emotions that I buried deep, deep down.

I never dealt with what was done to me by him. And honestly he really fucked me up.

When I first met him I was a strong and independent woman who knew what she wanted out of life but the second we started dating I was immediately obsessed with him.

I think the words “obsessed” and “infatuated” work perfectly for my situation because my world revolved around him at all times no matter what. My feelings didn’t really matter to me at some points as long as he was happy.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know I was in fact in love with him. But the best way to describe our relationship is by saying:  he was addicted to drugs and I was addicted to him.

For four years he put me through some tough shit, but did anyone really know about it? No. I still posted loving photos of us all over social media exclaiming my love for him even if ten minute before we were in a screaming match over him ignoring me for days. You’d think I would see a pattern and just quite him, but I couldn’t.
I needed him. (Well so I thought.)

Feeling like you need another person with every ounce of your being is a very hollowing and lonely feeling. It’s also extremely pathetic and deep down I knew that. But I didn’t care.

I remember people constantly tell me “how strong” I was for sticking by him through his drug and alcohol addiction and not only supporting him emotionally but also attending his alcohol anonymous meetings with him so he didn’t feel so alone. But honestly that’s not strength.

It’s weakness.

I was too weak to stand up for myself and leave him.

I felt like I couldn’t live without him and I accepted the fact that dealing with his addiction and bi-polar outburst were just going to be something I was going to have to deal with. And I was honestly okay with that.

I was settling for someone who didn’t value me whatsoever.

You’re probably thinking there must have been a turning point where I finally stood up and told him that I was worth more than this and that I deserved better.

But you’d be wrong.

I was a coward and I let him destroy me one last time by breaking up with me while we were in a counseling meeting with the head of the rehab center he was attending. (Yep you’re right! I even stood by him as he attended rehab and drove to see him and take him out once a week.)

And even while breaking up with me he didn’t admit any of the horrible things he put me through or did to me. He placed all the blame on me once again.

I was devastated to say the least.

At this point you’d think I’d just be a bitter and emotionless shell of a person and honestly I am. But it’s starting to fade.

Him making me feel worthless on countless occasions was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.

The memories that I have of that relationship will be with me forever but the pain and hurt that was inflicted on me constantly for four years will go away eventually.

It may not be gone yet, even after over a year of us being separated but it will go away.

And knowing that keeps me going.

Surviving a toxic relationship is draining but it’s possible. It’s possible to even come out on top even though it’s not easy.

I’m a perfect example of that.

Valentine’s Day for new couples

I recently, and by recently I mean like a few days ago, started dating a guy. We’ve been talking for a few months now but I wasn’t ready for a committed relationship until recently. So naturally, we’ve already discussed Valentine’s Day. I personally wanted to do something super mellow and small since it’s a new thing and because I’m just not that into Valentines Day. But on the other hand, he wanted to go all out since I would be his first real Valentine. (Super cute, I know!) Thankfully I talked him down and we compromised to a nice little picnic in the park and gifting each other something small.

But sometimes talking about Valentine’s Days with your new significant other can be awkward. You don’t want to see too eager to get all lovey-dovey and you also don’t want to seem like an asshole for not wanting to do anything.

Let me make it simple for you guys.

Ease into. Bring up the topic with something casual like, “Hey I know we just recently got together but I was wondering if you wanted to do something for Valentine’s Day. Nothing crazy, just something casual and easy-going.” This will open up the conversation and help you both compromise on what to do.

But just be sure to state what you’re comfortable with. If you’re not ready to go all out and go to a five-star restaurant and exchange expensive gifts, then tell them. It’s also good to set a price limit on gifts during the beginning of the relationship. It’s better to just be honest than feel the pressure of something you’re either not ready for or just not comfortable with.

Below I’ve listed a few simple things that you can do on Valentines Day that pretty much take all the stress and pressure out of trying to plan something romantic but not too romantic for new couples.

Where to go:
1. Go to the aquarium
Taking your significant other to the aquarium is very romantic, yet not over the top. The best part about going to the aquarium is watching your them in amazement and awe of the beautiful sea creatures. (I’m an observer)
2. Picnic in the park
Go to Trader Joes and pick up some artisan cheese, multi-grain crackers, fruit and wine and head to a cute, quiet nearby park. (Bonus points: bring some bread and feed the ducks. But steer clear of the geese. Those fuckers are mean and will chase you down.)
3. Grab brunch/lunch
Bottomless mimosas.
4. Movie marathon
Grab some popcorn, snacks and candy and jump into bed with a Netflix marathon. You can pretend to watch all 8 seasons of Dexters as you suck each others faces off in-between stuffing your face with fatty food.
5. Cook together
Decide on something to cook, then to to the grocery store to grab all the ingredients and then playfully make dinner together.

What to give:
1. Their favorite alcoholic beverage
Grab their favorite bottle of whiskey or go-to wine and share a few glasses together. (Or even the whole bottle, no judgement)
2. Homemade goods
It’s a proven fact that no one will turn down freshly baked brownies or chocolate covered strawberries.
3. Get them a gift card
Keep it simple and under $50.
4. Give them your favorite book or movie
This gift is like giving them a little piece of you.

Digital Dating

I recently went through a breakup with a guy that I had been seriously dating for around four years. It sucked but I survived.

But after I got through the ugly crying, constant bloodshot eyes and countless bottles of wines stage I started thinking about getting back out there. And the first thought that crossed my mind was, “Oh fuck” followed by “I don’t even remember how to date, let alone flirt with a guy.”

My ex was my first boyfriend and I was with him since I was 18 so I didn’t even remember how to approach a hot guy since I was used to just having him. I honestly didn’t even know where to start. So like any heartbroken and horny girl…I decided to download Tinder.

My experience with Tinder was pretty typical. I matched with quiet a lot of people, received countless unwanted dick pics and met up with some pretty chill guys. I wasn’t looking for anything serious but I also wasn’t looking for just a fuck buddy. (Which apparently are the only two types of guys that are on Tinder)

More recently I decided to download Bumble and Hinge since my friend suggested them to me and she loves living viciously through me. To be honest, I downloaded these two apps for research purposes only and I only kept them for about two weeks.

After exploring each app I found out there was a lot of similarities between the three “dating” apps. And I say “dating” apps in quotations because honestly most people use these apps to fuck or hookup. It’s the truth and we all know it. So to all the ladies saying, “I’m not like other girls” and the fellas saying, “NO HOOKUPS!” in their bio just stop and be honest about what you want. Everyone on these apps want to get it in. Yes, I understand there may be a few exceptions but for the most part this is the case.

I first checked out Bumble and I actually really liked it. It took me a little while to get the hang of it but once I did I went on a-swiping. I think I swiped right more on Bumble than I ever did on Tinder and I was on Tinder for months before I joined Bumble and I only had it for a week or two. So what I mean by that is there are SO many hot guys on Bumble, like so many that I honestly kept thinking, “Bumble must hire these hot guys to make profiles to get more girls on their apps.” There was a suspicious number of hot guys.

Hinge was a different story. I didn’t really like it at all. It only let you swipe through a small number of people before it would tell you to come back later to swipe more, which I thought was weird. The only thigk I liked about Hinge is the fact that it asks you “are you into ________” and you can click yes or no and it would show you more people that had similar interests.

So for the most part I enjoyed my experience with online or app “dating” but I personally had the most success on Tinder. I met a few guys that I literally only met up with to hook up with (because girls have needs to!) but I also met some cool guys that I’ve stayed friends with (strictly platonic). So I urge people to download literally every single “dating” site there is and find out which one fits your needs and run with it!

Here’s a list of the pros and cons of the sites that I researched!

Tinder:
Pros:
-Easy to use
-There are a large number of people on the app

Cons:
-There are a lot of automated messages from “fake” profiles (guys tend to get most of these)
-Shows you people that are 5 million miles away even though you set your preferences to a specific radius
-Photos can only be added to your profile if they are already on your Facebook

Bumble:
Pros:
-You an shake your phone to retrieve a match that you accidentally swiped left on
-Women have to send the first message
-Hotter guys
-Allows you to upload photos from your camera roll, Instagram, etc.

Cons:
-First message has to be sent within 24 hours of matching or you lose the match forever

Hinge:
Pros:
-More for relationships
-Nice layout of profiles
-Asks you for your interests and shows you individuals that have either the same or similar interests

Cons:
-Only gives you a small number of people to swipe through at a time
-First message has to be sent within 24 hours of matching or you lose the match forever (the Hinge team just changed this the other day, so now you have 14 days to connect with your matches)

Similarities between all the sites:
-Right and left swiping. Right means “like” or “yes” and left means “dislike” or “no”.
-They connected to your Facebook to gather your basic information and photos.
-You can choose the age range you’re looking for as well as the distance of your potential matches.

The Do’s & Don’ts of flirting via text

Everyone has been in the situation when you are texting someone you are interested in but you do not want to make a fool of yourself. Here are some do’s and don’ts of text flirting.

The Do’s:
1. Ladies, did you know you it’s okay for you to send the first text? I know, this is groundbreaking
There is an unspoken rule that guys always have to text the girl first but that is so old-school. Ladies need to step out of their comfort zone and send the guy they are interested in a test first. He will appreciate it and you will feel more empowered because you are taking charge of your dating life.

2. Be direct and let them know your intentions
Let the person know if you are interested in them or you just want to be friends. Do not play games or beat around the bush.

3. Send thank you texts after dates/meet ups
Either the same night of your date or the following day it’s good etiquette to send a thank you text to the other person.

4. Reply in a timely manner
No one likes waiting for hours for a reply, unless you are truly that busy. Do not wait hours to reply because you feel like you seem too “needy” if you reply quickly.

5. Ask open-ended questions
Do not ask “yes” or “no” questions. The conversations will end up being boring and blunt.

6. Set up dates
Use texting to set up dates with the person you are interested in.

7. Play 20 questions but do not immediately get sexual
“Whats your favorite color?” “Purple. What’s yours?” “Green. So are you a virgin?”
Also be sure to not ask them everything. You want to leave some questions for your dates. Otherwise it will end up being pretty boring with tons of awkward silence.


The Don’ts:
1. Do not send dick pics or nudes
No one wants to receive a dick pic. I mean no one.

2. Do not ask for nudes
Asking for nudes is just plain rude. It makes it seem like that is all you want from that person and you are not truly interested in getting to know them and potentially dating them.

3. Do not text multiple people flirting with all of them
Do not multi-text, meaning do not text multiple girls at one time flirting with all of them. It is not classy.

4. Do not drunk text
It is not cute receiving a text at 3 am claiming that “you are the hottest girl everrrrrrrrrr!” or “I wish you were here because I would *insert sexual action*.”

5. Do not randomly call
This one is a big one with me since I hate talking on the phone, especially to people I am not yet fully comfortable with. If you want to talk on the phone be sure to ask the other person if they want to as well. Otherwise, there might be some awkward silences.

6. Do not abbreviate everything
Do not sent texts like “Hey. I had a gr8 time t’nite. U r so hawt.” It looks tacky and makes you seem like you are incapable of a real conversation or proper english for that matter. Side note: don’t add extra letters to things. Using “heyyyyyy” is so middle school.

7. Do not double text
Everyone has their own lives with school, work, and spending time with their friends and family. So do not double text someone if they do not respond as quickly as you would like. It is okay to send a text the next day asking what happened, how they are doing, or simply just tell them you miss them.

Women who watch porn

I was pretty young when I first started masturbating. I think I was in middle school when I discovered my clitoris and the wonderful world of orgasms. For a long time I masturbated purely from my imaginations alone but then it evolved into my looking up sexually explicit photos and videos. Most of the time I viewed porn with only women in it.

This got me thinking, why do girls tend to enjoy watching lesbian or solo female porn when they identify solely as being heterosexual?

So does watching lesbian porn mean that I secretly want to be with a woman?

Not necessarily. Sex therapist, Megan Fleming said, “Porn is a safe way to realize what turns you on, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you want to do it in really life.”

Porn is a healthy way to explore your fantasies and discover what turns you on. Plus, lesbian porn tends to show clitoral and vaginal stimulation and since women tend to climax that way so it is a lot more appealing to women because they can identify with what they are watching. Lesbian porn seems to be more raw, honest, and sensual.

According to Women’s Health Magazine, women are 132 percent more likely to search for lesbian porn than men are. Most speculate that that is the case because lesbian porn is less likely to show degrading situations and tends to be more emotional and sensual.

So if you are a woman who enjoys lesbian porn, fear not, it does not mean you want to be a lesbian. But who cares if it did. There is nothing wrong with being with the same. Hell, women are super sexy. I don’t blame you.