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Minor set backs (we’re all good though)

A while ago I decided to write a post about relationship break up levels, how one person will start at level 10 and the other will be clawing themselves up from the lowest of lows and it’s all a process?

Well. Recently I’ve been thinking about how much easier life would be if that process was linear. But it turns out it isn’t.

You want to know why you cried over them today but yesterday you were excited to find someone new? Because falling out of love isn’t linear and as much as we’re taught how to love, we’re never taught how to stop.

We’re raised around the idea of once you fall in love it sticks, there’s no need to learn how to unlove someone. You never get taught to prepare yourself for someone walking out of your life when they were the ones who chose to be in it in the first place.

Why aren’t we taught how to walk away when we feel unappreciated, or how to stop loving someone who tells us they don’t want us? It isn’t an easy process. Your heart will always hold onto hope.

That’s why sometimes you don’t talk to them for weeks and then fall into a drunk slip up. But it’s ok, it happens. Own your s**t and move on.

You keep going back because your heart hasn’t yet caught up with your head and in most cases your head is the sensible bit, it’s the part of you that knows you’re better off without them. So when your heart does catch up you’ll be fine, but it’s a slow mother f***er. So please bear with it.

There’s a song I keep thinking of recently because there’s a line in it that goes like this “if you’re going to break my heart, do it right, don’t leave me holding on like the last time” I listen to it and I’m like, yeah you know what, if someone tells you they don’t want you, but they only partly mean it so basically, they’re saying it to push you away while they try to figure it out, how is that fair? You’re in or you’re out dumb ass. Because it isn’t helping the whole linear break up situation if you’re not sure that they’re sure, you know?

But it’s true and it’s another reason why our hearts hold onto people, because if someone hasn’t broken it properly then it just sits itself in limbo. Which is super annoying.

I don’t even know what classes as proper heartbreak either, is it being cheated on by the one person who was your whole world? Is it seeming them move on with someone you considered a friend? Or is it when you’re sat in front of the man you love and having to listen to him tell you that he doesn’t feel anything for you? All these possible heartbreak situations are pretty f***ed but is one more legit than the other? Like on a scale of having your heart broken, does one of these ending versions make the most sense when we think of what proper heartbreak is?

Because personally, I think all versions of a break up will hurt just the same. It doesn’t matter what scale of trauma they fall on, to you, it’s horrific.

So next time you pick your phone up and you’re about to message them, try to think what the outcome will be. Are you doing it just because you’re drunk, or because you want them back in some way, maybe it’s just because you like knowing you have access to them still? Whatever you want the outcome to be, just have it clear in your mind.

But whatever the way. Healing will never be linear, you’re allowed to be sad some days and happy the next. You’re allowed to cry because you miss them one minute and pick yourself up and go out on a date the next.

THERE ARE NO RULES. STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP!

P.S the song I mentioned can be found here for whoever wants to listen to it. Enjoy!

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It’s all about learning what you don’t want

Ah man, it sucks that relationship didn’t work out! I know you thought they were the one, but what did you learn from it? Yeah

What a tough question to answer when you’re grieving for someone who isn’t even dead.

What did you learn?

When a relationship breaks down and this doesn’t even just have to be a romantic one, you HAVE to walk away saying to yourself “well ok, next time I know from a process of elimination, here are the things I know I don’t want in my next person” rather than taking the approach of “here’s my super long list of tick boxes I want them to fill”.

Instead I think it’s better to add to a list of things we know we don’t want next time rather than sticking to a list of absolute must haves for our “perfect” partner (who won’t exist by the way because perfect is simply unattainable).

What have you realised you don’t want your forever person to be like, or what traits have you realised you don’t think match your own for whatever reason.

Here’s the benefits of finding your perfect match from a process of elimination rather than going off of a “must haves” list.

1. We might think we know exactly how we want our forever person to be in our minds, but when we experience it in real life it feels strangely different to our expectations.

2. Finding out what kind of person you want to be with from a process of elimination rather helps build you into who you are at the same time.

3. Until you’ve experienced what you don’t want, how will you REALLY know exactly what you do what with total certainty?

4. Creating a list of expectations for our perfect match to fill actually reflects more of what we’re missing from our own life than anything else, you want someone outgoing, confident and not scared of anything? Okay cool, but are you actually bringing that to the relationship yourself? Because if you’re not, how do you expect to attract someone like this?

5. As brutal as it sounds, getting your hands dirty will make you fully appreciate the final stop. So if I’m putting this in terms of dating, until you’ve dated some s**t heads, you’ll never fully appreciate the person you’re supposed to be with. See what I mean?

6. Dating is character building. Honestly it really is. You can’t expect someone who’s the embodiment of some list of “must haves” to show up without you putting in any effort. You have to get out there and experience some crappy relationships to realise what you ACTUALLY want because our wants from a relationship change as we get older.

So honestly. In learning what you don’t want. You’ll inadvertently learn what you do and that’s a far better way around of doing things because it sill help form you into the person that you are at the same time.

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Therapy session 1 – it’s a process

Sending yourself to therapy, does that make you crazy? Maybe it makes you attention seeking? Like you’re looking for a problem that maybe doesn’t even exist. You’re looking for something or someone to blame all your out of character actions on perhaps?

But your brain is an organ, and just like your liver or your heart it can get sick when it isn’t treated with care, right?

We know all about the things we should and shouldn’t eat, we know how much water to drink, we even know how many steps we should be doing a day and how many times a week we should be hitting the gym. So why do so many of us seem to falter when it comes to looking after out minds, like we don’t know how to care for that part of us or like asking for help from people to give it the care it needs we feel weak and damaged.

Would you call someone who’s constantly suffering from heart attacks that they’re crazy for trying to go to a professional for help? Doubtful. so maybe more of us should shut the f***k up when it comes to giving an opinion on someone and their need to give their minds some more care and attention.

You know what the sad fact is, the people who take themselves to therapy are in most part there to deal with the people in their lives who should be in therapy. Ironic really.

But anyway, how can I be a such a big advocate for something and be out here telling people around me that they’d benefit from going without actually trying it myself. Seemed hypocritical.

All I can say on a verdict on session one is this – we all have issues. Therapy actually takes a lot of mental strength. Most of us go into defence mode when someone points an issue in us, so get ready to battle some demons that you’ve hidden down VERY deep. Get ready to have memories triggered that you didn’t even know existed. And for me, quite possibly the worst part …. get ready to cry in front of a stranger who’s managed to trigger an emotional response in you just by talking about what’s currently happening in your life.

Something no one knows really is this, you’re going to actually feel worse before you feel better. As memories and experiences get dragged up out of the gutter of your subconscious.

If you’re going to therapy to look for other people to blame for your issues, then you’re probably not going for the reasons you should be, and if you come away with a victim mindset, then you’re not ready to do the growth you should be either.

Therapy isn’t there to give you an out for being a shitty person. It’s there to help you understand all the things that go on in your head when you don’t understand them yourself. It’s there to give you valuable tools so you can stop falling into recurring toxic patterns and making the same mistakes.

But above anything. I think the most important thing to understand is this: therapy is not for the weak, it’s for people who want to understand themselves and are ready to stop making the same mistakes they always do.

It takes a lot of mental strength to voluntarily go through a process like this. And I’m still very much a big advocate for it, but only for those who I think have the mental competency to hack the journey it takes you on.

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Confirmation Bias and a serious case of regression

Did you know our brains are there to protect us from things that we register as dangerous? Like it will literally send chemicals around our body when it senses danger.

And you know what we register and scary and dangerous? – the unknown. And what gives us the biggest sense of “the unknown”? Well … a break up.

When a relationship ends we enter into the biggest unknown phase that we’ve been in for a while, so we tend to go into flight or fight mode.

We start going over things in our minds like, what will I do without them, how will I fill my time, what will my future look like. Etc. Etc. But all of these questions open us up to the big scary “unknown

To our brains …. regression is the biggest form of self protection because it’s taking us back into a sense of known behaviour and our brains associate that with being safe. Our brains will literally play neurological tricks on us to make us feel like the sun shines out of someone’s back side and they can do no wrong, just because dating someone new seems too scary.

So wether you’ve just been dumped or you’ve just dumped someone, keeping a good check on your brains need to regress to your former person because they represent safety is something I would definitely recommend.

Before going back to someone you need to ask yourself these questions because another neurological issue we can be facing is falling into a state of confirmation bias.

What is confirmation bias I hear you asking?Well … you know that saying about rose tinted glasses? It’s kind of like that. It’s when our brain goes looking for memories to back up our own views and in the case of a break up, our beliefs are that the person we aren’t with anymore was the best person in the whole entire world because our desired outcome is to believe that we won’t ever find anyone that compares to them.

When we feel ourselves missing someone our brains will literally search for reasons as to why this is true, so suddenly all we can think about are the positives in an ex just so our brains can back itself up for missing them.

So when the need to regress tricks your neurological systems into a state of confirmation bias, remember that everyone has a flaw. Seriously … everyone does and I can guarantee that for every one thing you miss about someone, there will be two things that make you better off without them.

So here are the questions I like to ask myself to make sure I’m not being tricked by my own love confused brain post break up.

1. What did they bring to me that I can’t bring to myself?

2. What was a deal breaker I was happy to overlook while I was with them but not now?

3. Did they do as much for me as I done for them?

4. What traits that they have are actually irreplaceable?

Dig deep when you think about answering these, because I can guarantee that when you really think about it, you’ll see that your brain has probably tricked you into a right f***ed up confirmation bias situation!

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Why verbalising “I love you” seems so damn hard (to me)

The last few weeks have felt very self reflective for me, I tend to direct myself towards the route of self discovery and personal growth when faced with situations that I find emotionally challenging, so it got me thinking …. Why does telling someone I love them feel so unimportant to me, until people around me start asking if I’ve told the person I’m dating that I love them yet, it really doesn’t enter my head.

I really had to delve into my childhood to find an answer to this one, but really it came to me after an off topic conversation with a friend about the importance of understanding a partners love language and what we naturally gravitate towards to express our love for another person.

It suddenly dawned on me that ‘I love you’s’ weren’t something that were thrown around left right and centre as I was growing up, and I’m not saying that’s because there was no love in my family, in fact it was quite the opposite, but we knew we loved each other in different ways rather that constantly telling each other that we love them.

As I was growing up, I was shown continuously that the way someone expresses they care about you or love you is through doing things for you, from cooking you a meal, helping you with homework (one of my parents expressions of love), buying you new things or taking you on days out etc. 

Even when I look at the relationship my parents had (all be it not an ever lasting love affair) but my mum would show she cared about my dad by looking after me and my brother and not asking for help and always making sure she had home cooked meals prepared for him, it was even shown when she supported him throughout a career change. And my dads way of showing love was through financial support, he would ensure we kept a (large) roof over our heads and he would always take us on a lavish family holiday once a year. 

But this proves my point – all of these expressions of love are action based, not word based. And this was what I grew up around.

So now here’s my question I’ve had to ask myself, is this why I have such an issue with verbally expressing how I feel about someone? Quite possibly.

To me, as soon as I start going above and beyond for someone through doing things like booking weekends away, cooking for them, making the bed and making them a coffee when they want one, I’m showing how much I care or that I’m falling in love with them (because trust me, unless I really like you, I will probably always hesitate to do things for you) and it replaces the need for that all be it intimidating (to me) three word eight letter sentence.

I also tend to forget that not everyone will understand this expression of love and will need to hear exactly how I feel about them because doing things isn’t an obvious enough sign if your love language isn’t acts of service. But here’s the funny thing, I don’t want to receive love through acts of service. In fact, I want someone to tell me how they feel about me, I like having viral reassurance which is why words of affirmation is my joint top love language – so although I cant express love this way, I do want to receive it this way, which has some kind of twisted irony to it really!

But here’s the thing, the type of love you grow up around will either do one of two things to you as an adult. You either admire the love you’ve been around as a child and want to replicate that in adulthood, or … you want the total opposite because you crave what you didn’t have.

So although I can’t bring myself to tell someone how much I care about them or how much I love them, I do want them to tell me – talk about hypocritical. But it does make sense because I want the opposite of what I’ve grown up around.

My childhood also wasn’t filled with constant expressions of PDA either between my parents or towards me and my brother from my parents. We weren’t raised by overly ‘huggy‘ parents and yet for me now as an adult, physical touch is the joint top love language I want my partner to express towards me to show that they care.

So here’s the question I’ll pose to you – how did your parents express love to you and your siblings and each other?
And how do you think this has impacted what love actually is to you?

When you actually sit down to think to answer the question of ‘what is love to you’ its initially going to be hard to answer, but a lot of us will form our answer based on what we’ve seen and experienced, either through what we’ve grown up around or from the rom coms we’ve seen at the cinema. But it’s important to be able to answer the question taking out external factors that may have shaped our opinion.

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KISMET; Our story by definition

Kismet; destiny; fate. Commonly used to refer to something that one believes was “meant to be”—or the reason why such a thing happened.

In a world where leaving each other has become more and more frequent, I can’t help but sit and wonder, what are the break up rules for something that doesn’t feel like it’s actually over? How do you handle going from having someone who’s your everything to suddenly nothing, not because anything has gone wrong or someone has done something unforgivable, but actually because one persons mind has gone into such a negative place that they’ve pushed you so far out of the picture they can’t even have space for you anymore.

When should you listen to what your gut is telling you and just give up on all hope of there being a potential with someone? But what’s even more confusing is when your gut is telling you not to give up. It’s saying don’t give up on a person because although they aren’t there right now somehow you know they will be in the future.

Should we be prepared to go through a long slow painful process of letting our hearts heal, or should we just throw caution to the wind and jump straight back into the dating game even though we know the person we’re supposed to be with is just missing right now.

Maybe healing is hidden deep within long conversations with friends who help you to understand where things went wrong. Or maybe it’s in the many glasses of wine consumed in front of your new Netflix binge with your housemate. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s hidden in the new self discovery path you’ve decided to take to better understand yourself and how you can make yourself feel more confident and successful.

So here’s to us, and our ‘kismet’.

I’ll always believe this …. because there was too much ‘coincidence’ surrounding me and you for it not to have been fate (or my new favourite word kismet) that we would cross each other’s paths one day.

However, I’m not sure it was actually for the reason that I thought it would be.

When we talk about fate we imagine some kind of collision of worlds, where two people who are meant to be together finally find each other and above everything else in the world they’ll figure things out, fight for each other and push through anything that life throws at them (once they’re together) because they are just MEANT TO BE.

But that isn’t what happened, in fact the twist of fate that bought us together shon a light on the aspects we needed to work on without ourselves so brightly, that the need for personal growth and reflection was almost uncomfortable and it drove us apart.

But maybe that’s what fate had in mind? Maybe all the ‘coincidental’ twists that made our lives so similar in such weird ways were bringing us together to force us to see how we needed to grow. Or at least, that’s how I like to think of it.

Do I think that’s the end of the journey that fate had planned for us? Absolutely not.

Do I think that changes need to be made before we actually work? Absolutely yes.

Do I think you’ll do the personal work you need to do in order for us to work? Again … absolutely not.

Which is sad. Because I do genuinely believe there’s a reason why me and you keep getting drawn back together. I think it’s on a subconscious level that neither of us really know what to do with.

So until the next time of being drawn back together. I’ll enjoy thinking about how our story is still unfolding.

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Here’s how to know if you’re self sabotaging your relationships (and how to stop)

Healthy relationships take a lot of work, and often that can mean taking a good hard look at your own dating behaviours. There are many ways we can screw up our romantic relationships without even realising it. But it’s important to think about how we could be actively sabotaging our relationships.

So how do you know if you’re self sabotaging? If you self-sabotage, you’ll probably tend to put up barriers to intimacy, This might look like being hypercritical, unassertive, picking fights, being overly distrusting or jealous, needing constant reassurance, and so on.

The roots of self-sabotage are often from early negative childhood experiences. Often it results from parents (or other caretakers) who have been either unresponsive, abusive, or inconsistent in their responsiveness and caretaking toward the child. It triggers deep-seated feelings of being unworthy or not good enough. It fosters a negative view of oneself and negative expectations or mistrust toward others.

Are you self-sabotaging your relationships?

You can speak to any expert and they’ll explain this behaviour is really common, and many of us can be guilty of self-sabotaging our relationships without even realising it. So here’s how to know if you’re doing just that.

5 Signs of self sabotage

1. You avoid pain

This is when you allow yourself to get to a certain point in a relationship before pulling back. Maybe you’ve seen too many sad films or really took to heart the saying ‘love hurts’… whatever the reason, avoiding pain is the outcome. This can manifest in a number of ways, from creating ‘bottom line’ issues out of nothing, to convincing yourself that this person isn’t ‘the one’ (if you believe in that in the first place) so you should move on.

2. You live in a fantasy land

So many people manage to avoid falling for someone because they adhere to a strict code. This is a list of ‘must haves,’ usually created in a much younger, more immature psychological state that leads that person to sabotage any and all future relationships – based on the skewed notion that the person they’re with isn’t worthy of their affection. Fantasy land behaviour often occurs within the first six months of a relationship and offers a sense of control and power that might have to be relinquished if you allow yourself to be vulnerable with another person.

3. You listen to your inner critic (waaaay too much)

We all have one, you know that little voice that goes on at you, telling you to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Yup, that’s the one. Well it’s our inner critic that, more often than not, is responsible for self-sabotaging our relationships. Convincing ourselves that we’re ‘not worthy‘ or that ‘it’ll all end in tears anyway so what’s the point?’ is the main reason a lot of relationships can fail. We don’t allow ourselves the chance at happiness because deep down we don’t feel we deserve it.

4. You care too much about what other people think

For some people, the opinions of others far outweigh that of their partners. This can be hugely damaging to a relationship. Sometimes hearing the opinion of other people will impact decisions you make about your relationship more so than anything your partner does/says because you’re trying to find reasons to convince yourself of why it won’t work.

5. You forget that you’re not the same

Expecting your partner to think, feel and act in the same way as you do is another form of self sabotage. Rigid thinking is an unhealthy way to live and can cause great stress and upset to your relationship. Accepting and appreciating that your partner’s experiences, understandings and ultimately the way in which they identify the world are different is the only way you can truly co-exist happily with one another.

3 ways to turn off self-destruct mode

1. Practice introspection

Notice what you’re thinking when a relationship starts to get tough or when you’re trying to take the next step. How do those thoughts connect with experiences you’ve had in the past? Are you recognising the need to pull away as something that’s happened before.

This is a great time to investigate your attachment style and whether there are things you could process so you don’t carry them into future relationships.

Think about your self-esteem level and whether there’s room for improvement. Practice self-compassion as you face fears about being vulnerable with a partner, if you convince yourself you’re not worthy of being loved then this will inadvertently make you push people away who care about you due to the fear of rejection. Especially when you’ve got a lot of feelings for someone.

2. Talk through it with your partner

Whatever you’re feeling, talk it through. While there might be a crazy mix of emotions going on in your head while you’re fighting the need to pull away, it’s a good idea to talk to the person who cares about you.

At the very least, as you examine your history and habits, communicate with your partner about self-sabotaging behaviors and how you’re working to change them. Tell them how you’ve felt like this before and how they can help you overcome it.

3. Add checkpoints to your relationship road map

Once you’re aware of your sabotaging habits, have regular check-ins with yourself and your partner to look for signs of stress in the relationship.

Are you constantly thinking the relationship will end or blow up? or are you always planning an exit strategy? When things are going well, do you do something to create distance? You may notice that you vacillate between idealising your partner and then devaluing them. Commitment and vulnerability are particularly triggering. While you want to be closer to them and build on your bond together. You’re also so scared of doing that, that you end up pushing them away instead of pulling them closer in the moment you actually need them.

Observe the feelings coming up in these moments. It’s often fear and confusion. Slow down and get curious with yourself as to the thoughts, feelings, and typical behaviors connected to those thoughts and feelings and what’s made you suddenly freak out. The more you discuss how you feel with your partner the easier the journey will be because they can help to soothe your worries.

Above all else, just remember that self sabotage happens to a lot of us. And recognising that you’re doing it is the first step in making it better. Communicate to your partner as much as you can and remind yourself that although it’s hard to break a habit. It isn’t impossible.

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Sounds like you’ve got a lot of baggage

Imagine that. Imagine someone who used to claim to love you telling you that no one after them will love you because you now sound like you’ve got ‘baggage

Maybe that should come on the warning label when you date someone with a narcissist personality. Not only will the tear you down when you guys are together, but they will continue to do so once they aren’t even in your life.

Funny thing is, that so called ‘baggage’ they’re claiming makes you unlovable is only from all their unneeded extras they’ve left you with. You know when you get to the airport and realise you need to get rid of a few things you don’t actually want because your suitcase is too heavy, yeah well that’s the crap they left you with.

You were just fine, in fact your suitcase was way under the weight limit, but the stuff they left you with weighed 10x the amount of anything you actually owned yourself.

But it’s ok, because a heavier suitcase just means you need to develop a more keen sense of awareness for what muscles are working to carry this heavier weight.

If we’re speaking metaphorically, the muscle they’ll have left you needing to work on is actually your brain. But god damn will that muscle be toned af for the next person who wants to try and join you at this made up airport (kind of like a terming to jet off to a perfect healthy relationship).

Here’s the part when you can thank your narcissistic piece of s**t ex for leaving you with the weight of your relationship and where it went wrong because all they’ve done is provide you with the ability to sense someone with negative intentions a mile off.

Typically speaking, this kind of ex will normally be the second person you fall in love with. And this is based off of the findings of anthropologist Helen Fisher and according to her we only fall in love three times in our life but our second love, well that’s the hardest one.

It’s the one that teaches us lessons about who we are and how we often want or need to be loved.

Our second love will typically become a cycle, often one we keep repeating because we think that somehow the ending will be different than before. Yet, each time we try, it somehow ends worse than before and we focus so much on making it work that we will tend to lose sight of if we actually should be trying to make it work at all.

More often than not, our second love is unhealthy, unbalanced or narcissistic. Most likely there will be high levels of drama. This is exactly what keeps us addicted to this storyline, because it’s the emotional roller coaster of extreme highs and lows and like a junkie trying to get a fix, we stick through the lows with the expectation of the high.

So it’s no surprise really that this love has just us with some ‘baggage’.

However …. what it has done is shown us exactly what we don’t want from a love that we will have forever. It’s also taught us lessons that we would never have learnt if it wasn’t for going through this experience.

So thank your second love, for leaving you with their baggage (and then kindly reminding you of it years later just to make sure you don’t move on from them) because without them, you wouldn’t know what a healthy long lasting relationship is and how to cherish the man/woman that makes you feel safe and respected.

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What if fate said….

What if fate was screaming at you both that you shouldn’t be together by never letting you live life running on the same timeline?

Would you listen?

Or would you put your fingers in your ears and sing to yourself to dull out the sound of life maybe having a pre planned route for you?

I’m talking like the adjustment bureau kind of vibes. Like there are some people who come into your life either to steer you into your real purpose or away from it.

Would you listen to fate if it was trying to tell you the person who’s constantly been your maybe is actually a no. That actually ‘timing’ was never the issue between you both but actually you just shouldn’t be together.

I can almost hear what people will be saying ‘but I know I should be with him/her just not right now, we’re on different pages’ but that’s the thing about literature, the pages are never the same, but somehow they still move in chronological order.

If you two aren’t even making chronological sense then maybe it’s time to accept that somewhere life never intended for you guys to be together, you stumbled across each other by a totally romantic accident and that’s ok, because they’re part of your journey but they aren’t your destination.

And what about the other end of the scale?

Those of us who life and fate has continuously attempted to propel together but by some crazy miracle or inconvenience you’ve kept missing each other.

For years the two of you had life plans that should have naturally twisted together but something has kept drawing you away from each other, maybe those people just weren’t quite ready to be shown what their ‘forever’ looks like quite yet.

Maybe the two of you have been so busy forming yourselves into the person you want to be by gaining a tonne of life experience with the wrong people. You were busy getting your hearts broken to get remoulded and put into shape ready for the person fate has in mind for you.

Or maybe the two of you will never meet?

Either way, maybe fate and life has a pre planned idea of who we should be with, or maybe it doesn’t. And maybe we don’t actually have any control over how our life will end up.

Edward Lorenz suggests that ‘Small actions will eventually lead to vastly different outcomes’ so weather we’re pulling away from our forever person or pushing towards them, if you’re meant to me together eventually you will be, once you’ve done all the ‘life stuff’ you need to do first.

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What’s with the three word rush?

Three words. Eight letters. Say it and I’m yours.

Sounds simple. But timing is everything apparently. Some of us will say it too early and sadly some of us will say it too late.

So why is there SO much pressure to tell someone that you love them? I’m sure most of us have heard it before ‘you guys have been together for months, why haven’t you said it yet?’ – maybe it isn’t right for anyone around you to judge the timing of your relationship.

I’ve known people who will tell their boyfriend/girlfriend that they love them within the first month of dating and I’ve also known people for be dating for almost a year before they’ve uttered ‘I love you’. There’s no right or wrong with this, every relationship is different and we all move at our own pace.

Maybe those people who say it early aren’t scared of being hurt, maybe they’re more open and not afraid of letting their heart lead the way instead of their head.

But I can say with total certainty that I am not one of those people, I’ve always allowed my head to drive my decision making. It keeps me out of trouble, when my heart is careless, my head is there putting it back into check and reintroducing logic to the minefield of relationships.

Most of us will feel it way before we say it. There will be moments you’re with your person and you look at them and think, ‘I love this stupid face in front of me’ but does loving all their weird quirks and little things that make them who they are mean that you’re actually IN LOVE?

I’m going to play devil’s advocate and say no. I believe it’s possible to love things about someone before being in love with them. I think it’s the step before realising that your head has lost the battle of control and your heart is now running the rule book and controlling how you are in your relationship.

When I hear it, I want it to mean something, I want the person in front of me to mean it. I want them to be sure, I don’t want an ‘I love you’ thrown at me just because in that moment it feels like love.

I want him to have felt it for weeks, like a slow build up, I don’t want him to tell me straight away, I want him to make sure that what he feels is love. I don’t want him to have fallen for me because I’m perfect, I want him to have fallen in love with me because my weirdness and imperfections make him smile, I want him to fall in love with me because I make him and his life better. I want him to feel that with me he can be exactly who he is.

Because that’s what love is right? Looking at someone on their best days, their worst days and everything in between and saying …. this is it. This is what I want and there’s nothing anyone else could throw in my direction that wouldn’t make me want to end my day with you.

To me telling someone that I love them won’t happen within weeks. It’s going to take me a while to realise my heart is all in. But it means that when I do say it I need the person in front of me to know just how much I mean it.

While thinking about the next person who’s going to tell me they love me will always give me butterflies because I’m a hopeless romantic … I’m also in no rush for it to happen because I wouldn’t ever want someone to say it without being sure.

So just know, when I say those three words, those eight letters …. that I’m without a shadow of a doubt ALL YOURS. There isn’t a part of me that would even consider leaving.