It’s rare to stumble across your forever person in college and smoothly transition from hooking up to dating to getting married under a floral altar.
Real love is messy. Real love is painful. Real love is exhausting.
That doesn’t mean you should stay with someone that causes you to cry your eyes out, that causes you to doubt your beauty and wonder why they’re even with you. And it doesn’t mean that you should give out second chances to liars or cheaters or narcissists.
But you should give out those second chances when they’re deserved. The boy you’re friends with benefits with now might be your future husband, even though he originally used you for sex. The girl that you dated in high school might be the girl you’re destined to end up with, even though she needed a five-year break to sort out her feelings.
Remain open-minded and open-hearted. Realize that relationships aren’t black and white. Love isn’t going to be apparent from the start and stay strong all the way through. There will be bumps. There will be bruises. There will be doubts.
Human being aren’t perfect, so how could any relationship be?
The disturbing truth is, even the love of your life is going to hurt you. If they don’t hurt you in major ways like cheating, they’ll hurt you in minor ways like texting their ex. Like insulting your cooking. Like making a rude comment about your parents.
Your forever person will hurt you — accidentally and infrequently. And whenever it happens, they’ll make an effort to make it up to you. At the end of the day, the love you feel will overshadow the lingering pain.
You just have to learn to distinguish messy love from toxic love.
There are different levels of hurt. There are things you should forgive and things you should resent. Things that should spark a serious discussion and things that should spark a breakup.
Don’t lower your standards. Don’t expect your forever person to treat you like crap. Don’t allow them to walk all over you or to walk back into your life if they haven’t changed.
But if they do something small to upset you one time, that doesn’t mean you need to retract your love. If they make a miniature mistake that they genuinly regret, that doesn’t mean they’re an overall crappy person.
They’re going to fuck up. You’re going to fuck up. That’s the way relationships work.
You can’t expect every date night to go the way you imagined in your virgin mind. There will be weekends when they’re grumpy and weeknights when you’re stressed. There will be days when you want to be left alone. When you don’t want to be touched.
But that doesn’t mean you love each other any less. That doesn’t mean you respect each other any less. When the love is real, the affection is there, even when the days are dark. Even when your moods are sour.
Remember: Real love isn’t toxic, but it is messy. Chaotic. Imperfectly perfect and flawlessly flawed.