I used to be the girl who hated love. The sight of any couple engaging in public displays of affection made me instantly uncomfortable. Scrolling through Instagram to find a shameless selfie of two people making out had me rolling my eyes. And hearing about all the amazing qualities of someone else's partner sent me into an internal pout fest.
It was all just a constant reminder of the countless poor love-related decisions I've ever made. The truth was, I never really had a healthy relationship. I was either treated poorly, got cheated on, had my trust broken, or was told I wasn't good enough. It felt like I had dated the same terrible guy over and over again, and the pattern was a vicious one I never thought I'd break.
All those people who once made me cringe with their mushy appreciation posts on social media and their PDA moments weren't wrong at all. They were just happy.
But when I got the news that I was unexpectedly pregnant with my daughter, everything shifted. My view of the world — and men — changed completely. I refused to let her see me being treated poorly, and I would never allow her to grow up in an environment in which that kind of behaviour was normal. I wanted the best life for us, and a big part of that included a healthy, happy, functional relationship — the opposite of what I had with my ex-boyfriend at the time.
I made the responsible decision to start treating myself with respect. The more I respected myself and the more I loved myself, the better I felt. Then, my confidence skyrocketed. I was attracting better people into my life — people who lifted me up, inspired me, and made me significantly happier in a positive way. Just as my daughter turned 2 years old, I felt like I could finally open myself up to love. It was this new mindset and lifestyle that led me to try online dating for the very first time.
That's when I met him. One dating profile and a nervous first date later, I somehow met the man of my freakin' dreams. And then I finally got it. All those people who once made me cringe with their mushy appreciation posts on social media and their PDA moments weren't wrong at all. They were just happy. Being in love with someone is amazing and it's really hard to find, so when you do, why not share it however much (or little) you want to?
I was a single mum with everything to lose, but he has not once let me or my daughter down. That first date was over a year ago now, and things just continue to get stronger. For the first time, I'm in a loving relationship and building a solid foundation with someone. Are we prefect? Of course not! No couple is. But I've found my best friend, and I feel incredibly lucky.
And while it almost seems "cool" to sometimes complain about a significant other and how much you "hate" them, I feel totally OK about showing my relationship to the world. Being in love with someone good has had so many positive effects on my life, and I know that everyone I care about supports me and supports us as a couple. So as long as you're happy and want to share things, don't let anyone ever make you feel bad for it. It's your life and if shouting something from the rooftops is what you want to do, go for it. The world needs a little more happiness, as far as I'm concerned.
Whenever I see a stranger rolling their eyes or hear a comment about how my boyfriend and I shouldn't be kissing in the lift at the mall, I don't care. I actually feel sorry for them that they're annoyed by how much we love each other. Being in love is one of life's biggest blessings, and spreading that love for others to see shouldn't be a bad thing. I finally get that now.