5 Love Lessons I've Learned From Being In A Situationship
It is rare that I meet men who have nothing going for themselves, lack substance, and the like because I wholeheartedly believe that we attract who we are at any given time of our lives. They typically have their lives together – some entrepreneurs, all educated – eclectic, exciting, enriching. In the beginning, everything goes so well.
No commitment. We're chillin'.
I have wonderful words to describe them all, but with a few, the end of our situationship still felt like a loss.
Somehow, even though we were never an outwardly exclusive partnership, I have ended up feeling silly and/or hurt at no longer having some of these men in my life anymore. I view relationships as relationships, even if there wasn't any real commitment involved in the nonexclusive ones I've had. I weigh these experiences the same as I have the three exclusive relationships I have been in. And I don't feel crazy about it anymore.
Here are 5 love lessons I have learned from being in a situationship:
1. Be Clear On Your Intentions
For some, sex is the most vulnerable and intimate act shared with someone else. For me, this is not totally the case because my history with sex tells a very different story. Truth be told, I've been in situations where sex happened upon arrival, where we waited, or where we didn't have sex at all. In the wise words of one of my male cousins, “It doesn't matter if you gave it up on day 1 or day 100, if that's all he (or she) wanted, that's all it's going to be."
I also understand the value behind the why and respect those who do choose to wait. Good for you. It is not a universal truth and it certainly isn't one size fits all. We see many of the happily ever after stories about why it is appropriate to wait, but it is possible to live that same story even if you don't wait. Do what is true to yourself, what works for the both of you, and where you are or aren't trying to go. Be clear on your intentions.
2. Love Yourself
And by loving yourself, I don't mean placing your worth and value at the mercy of the person you are involved with. What I do mean is that after every separation from that which was never exclusively “mine," I still have me.
I'd spend substantial amounts of quality time with myself and my Higher Power, forgiving myself, and extracting from each experience what was healthy or unhealthy for my growth and sifting through feelings of rejection, shame, guilt, regret, or not being good enough. I emerged from isolation restored, reminding myself of the sweetness and value of each experience, and that I am good enough. There's power in that. I'm thankful for the love I have found in and for myself. Love what you have before you go giving it away.
3. Needs > Wants
Quite possibly the most valuable lesson I have learned in every situationship, consciously or not, is to be open. I also learned to allow people to be who they are. In doing so, I have come to understand what sets my soul on fire and what pisses me off.
I have grown to understand that what I need, both independently and in the context of a relationship, is often the exact opposite of what I thought I wanted. I have ceased trying to change someone into who I want them to be or allowing someone to do the same to me. I have grown to choose substance over surface. I have realized that my needs and wants will be synonymous with whoever I am to spend the rest of my life with.
4. Get Your Power Back
I think often times we can subject ourselves to upset and heartbreak by proceeding without caution, not asking the necessary questions, “going with the flow," or allowing circumstances, people and opportunities that are not necessarily FOR US to speak on our behalf and dictate where things are or aren't going. Too often, I was the “chill" woman, you know, the “we'll see what happens" kind of person, never calling out, challenging or pushing back on the dissonance between the words and actions presented to me because I did not want to push any buttons.
Having difficult, uncomfortable, and awkward conversations with yourself and others is necessary and may leave a sting (that sting is fleeting), but not being able to have a say-so in decisions regarding your heart and life will hurt much deeper. We DO have a say. There is power in confirming the clear direction and safe landing that our lives are steered in. You can walk away. You can let go. No one can ever take that power away from you anymore, and vow that no one ever will.
5. Be Ready For the Man You Will Spend Your Life With
We've heard many times the quote about investing so much love and time into the wrong relationships that we should look forward to the day where we can invest the same and more into the right ones, when that time comes. In hindsight, there is not one man that I've involved myself with that was right or wrong necessarily. I believe that human life is much more valuable than just a right or wrong, good or bad person, and that we should treat everyone with privilege.
Everyone and everything is a valuable experience and not a waste of time.
I have decided that the men of my past were a significant moment in time that was necessary for my growth as an individual and as a partner. Without these experiences, I wouldn't have anything to look forward to. And I look forward to finding love in the future without the expectation that things will go bad or that I'll be hurt again and without the regret of having wasted my time.
Instead, with each encounter, I view them as fleeting glimpses of my eternity. When we meet (and maybe we already have), I already know I'm going to be ready. Whatever “ready" looks like. I'm thankful for the lessons I've learned.
Have you ever been in a situationship? What has been your biggest takeaway from them? Share with us below!
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- 15 Signs Your Relationship Is Actually A 'Situationship' ›
- Advice Column: How To Let Go Of A Situationship | HuffPost ›
- Millennial Love: It's Not a Relationship, It's a Situationship ›
- 11 Signs You're in a Situationship ›
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports