Sweet Loving Advice

It feels good to be loved. To feel like you belong, and to feel comfort when surrounded by someone’s arms. For me, love comes in many shapes and sizes.
I’ve learned a lot about loving, the romantic type, through my boyfriend of 1 year, 2 months, and 11 days, and counting.
To some, the length of our relationship may seem short and unsteady. And not going to lie, being in love has taught me the heaviness of emotionally investment.
But the weight of the relationship doesn’t bring down the quality of our relationship, not even a single ounce.
When I was younger, I never thought about dating someone. For me, dating was just never in the picture. Not because of parental expectations or anything – but because my definition of being an independent woman meant to be single and tough.
But I was wrong.
I’ve learned that I can be everything I am, want to be, and am working to be, and have the support of a loving companion who supports me to keep kicking ass.
I love you Vicente. And thank you for teaching me to be a better homo sapien everyday.

1. Being present in our time together.

If you open up my calendar, everyday is filled with an event or plans already made.
My boyfriend has taught me the importance of taking it slow and steady – I’m more of the body-in-motion, stays-in-motion gal, while he’s the one who likes to lounge and be relaxed. Opposites do attract, it’s true.
While our personalities do collide, he reminds me that I need to take breaks and give myself solid R&R. Along with providing me self-care tips, he’s also a big advocate for being present when we spend time in each other’s company.
We treat our shared moments together very seriously. We make it a point to laugh and crack jokes, to talk about what’s been on our mind lately, and to cherish the physical presence of each other.
Another crucial piece that comes along with this is putting our phone away when we’re together. We value each other – more than we value aimless scrolling – through face-to-face conversations, words of affirmations, and physical touch.
He brings quality time to the table, and I always appreciate the efforts that he makes to stay in the moment with me.

2. Creating a common ground.

When we first started dating, we took the 5 love languages test, a test created by Gary Chapman. This online test was introduced to me through my high-school leadership class, when we were learning about self identity and personal preferences.
I wanted to do this test so that I could learn more about his romantic preferences.
Did he prefer gifts on his birthday, or a sweet letter instead?
Did he prefer to be complimented in-person, or in-text instead?
Did he prefer to be hugged in public, or hold hands instead?
Learning about what we favored, had in common, had differences about, allowed us to establish a common ground.
Our common ground is still continuously being built upon – above the strong foundation that we created in the starting days of this rollercoaster.
Take time to know each other, take the love language test, make inside jokes about alabaster stone, Kalamata olives, and conejos.
Find similarities. Find differences.
Embrace ’em, and add those findings to your common ground.

3. Communicate truthfully.

This one’s a hard one for me, and I’m still tackling it daily. Not because I’m a chronic liar, but because I have a tendency to bottle-up my emotions or thoughts, and not say them in the moment. Vicente is incredibly patient and waits for me to initiate my stream of consciousness, but sometimes his extra nudging prompts is needed too.
Humans are just too darn good at suppressing the truth for an easy pass.

“How are you doing today?” “Good.”
But are you really doing “good”?

It’s easy to end a conversation quickly, and I get that with some people, you don’t want to pour your heart open in front of them.
But with your romantic partner (or anyone you trust, that is), do it.
Be open, be raw, be passionate.
Say what’s on your mind. Anything that disturbed you from work, school, or when you were in line at the grocery store. Thoughts that you have about the current political climate, or the climate change that is occurring right outside your window. Summarize a paragraph about a book you just read, and how it made you feel.
These little details open the door for wider, thoughtful, and deeper conversations
– and isn’t that what you want in a relationship?
Someone you can confide in, who will listen to you, worship your ideas, respectfully argue with you, but still love you all in the end?
So be truthful, vulnerable, and open. Our brains aren’t wired to do that very well, but that’s what makes active romance different from passive feelings.

I’m in no way a professional at love.
I fall down, I cry, I vent, and I learn. I’m constantly learning, day-in and day-out.
But having the comfort of having you by my side makes the world seem like a hell of a lot of a better place. I didn’t know it in the 3rd grade, but sometimes true love is found in the foreign student who moved from a different country, a different hemisphere, a different culture – and they’re sitting in a classroom right next to yours.

The featured image was captured by a dear friend, Hallie.
She captures beautiful moments between people, food, fashion, and Mama Nature.
Give her some love on her blog, or on her Instagram!

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Instagram: @monet.kumazawa
E-mail: monet.kumazawa@gmail.com


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