I was 14 when I told my first boyfriend I loved him. It was moments after losing my virginity and he was already getting pretty bored of me. I wasn't exciting, I wasn't confrontational, nor was I glamourous. I was a quiet bookworm afraid of my own shadow. I had been abused as a kid, and taught that codependent behaviors were normal.
I didn't realize that codependency wasn't a problem or a real thing up until I was 29.
I went to therapy, I journaled, I read books. I even joined a support group to which I quit a month later because I didn't believe codependency was a disease, just a shitty learned behavior. And even though most of my codependent behaviors I have unlearned, there is one I hadn't wanted to reveal to my therapist because it felt too embarrassing.
I told guys I loved them when I didn't. Growing up in an abusive household, I gravitated towards boys and men who mistreated me. I did it without giving it a second thought. I would bend over backwards, smile when I wanted to cry, laughed when they would put me down, and stayed in those relationships far longer than I should have because I felt fortunate to be seen even if it wasn't in a healthy way. I'd tell these guys I loved them because I had never gotten any love from home and I wanted to make my own family. I told them this because I thought if I did so, they would want to stay with me forever.
I take responsibility for my own pain. I take responsibility for the fact that in the back of my mind, I knew I did not love them. And I take responsibility for the can of worms I had opened once I told them this and the abuse I allowed to happen because those three words meant I was malleable.
They'd get money, clothes, food, a babysitter, and, one time, an unpaid personal care assistant for their elderly mother. "You said you loved me, right?" I heard that question all too often when I would reluctantly agree to do something for them that often came to my detriment.
It has been 18 years of me doing this.
A pattern that was just made clear after scratching my head from my pursuit of the latest jerk. "Why did he not answer my phone calls, texts, and emails?" "Why would he tell me he was interested in me and act the opposite of it?"
I realized then that I dated the same type of men; got hurt nearly the same way; and even though I felt myself be more confident than I have ever been and more self-aware due to three years of therapy, I still found myself saying "I love you" when things felt uncertain between me and whatever jerk I was with at the time. This is the familiar. Date a guy, like the guy, the guy's true awful colors show, I tell him I love him, and am with him far longer than I should be.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
I knew their lines for their neglect or disinterest like the back of my hand. I knew when they moved onto someone else. I'd blame their mistreatment of me on the belief that I wasn't pretty enough and felt they were dragging the relationship on to see what else they could get out of me. Even though it has been years since a man has gotten a gift, a babysitter, a personal care assistant, whatever the hell else they wanted, know that ended with me in tears, with me feeling worthless, and me giving up on love to find myself with the same type of jerk in different men years later.
I know this now to be an unhealthy ass pattern that I feel it's time for me to unlearn.
I started thinking about what I know is familiar and what I know isn't. I never heard a man tell me they loved me and meant it. I never had a boyfriend who doted over me or gushed about me to his family and friends. I never had a man treat me as if I was a true treat to his eyes, I never had a man who encouraged me to pursue my goals for myself and not for him. I never had a man who didn't shame me for being more intelligent than him. I never had a man who didn't shame me for accomplishing more. I've never had a man who just accepted me the way that I was.
Maybe I overlooked the men who liked me in the healthy way because I was so focused on having the unhealthy. Maybe Mr. Right was there in front of me and I had missed my chance and maybe I had not.
I know that I have never felt more empty and alone than when I with these guys. I know I never cried more than I did when I was with these guys. And even though I had learned long ago that it was better to be alone than to be unhappy, I still found myself retreating to the familiar.
And now that I am aware, I am ready to embrace the unfamiliar with open arms, slight hesitation, and lots of therapy.
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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.
The Libra woman and Aries man are the divine feminine and divine masculine, coming together as one. The love compatibility between these two is one for the books. These two are opposite signs, however, their differences tend to complement each other well. This is a dynamic relationship where they know how to have a lot of fun together, but also aren’t afraid to deal with the more serious stuff that comes with a relationship.
The Libra woman is looking for her equal in love, someone who is willing to put in the same effort she is, and the Aries man sees Libra as someone he is willing to do that with.
The Love Compatibility Of A Libra Woman And An Aries Man
What attracts a Libra woman and an Aries man to each other?
There is a magnet of attraction pulling these two together, and things tend to move pretty fast in this relationship. The Libra woman is always open to love and her charming nature rarely has any challenges here. The Aries man fights for his independence and doesn’t sacrifice that unless he is completely enamored with someone.
Once the Aries man catches the eye of the Libra woman, he is typically the one to make the first move and this instantly wins the approval of Libra.
These two feel like they have known each other forever when they meet, and this spark between them doesn’t die down easily.
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What is the relationship like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The relationship between the Libra woman and the Aries man is one of balance and excitement. The Aries man tends to take on the more dominant role in this relationship and the Libra woman tends to be the more receptive one. Aries is ruled by masculine Mars, and Libra is ruled by feminine Venus. They understand they are coming from two completely different worlds, yet they also instinctively feel this underlying connection to each other and like they could be something each other needs in their lives.
The Libra woman can rely on the Aries man, and the Aries man never has to ask for the love that Libra already knows he needs.
This is a couple that is often reading each other’s minds and wanting to do a lot of the same things. However, not everything is rainbow in this relationship as well, and there are some major differences they have to overcome to make things work. One argument can lead to an explosion between these two, and addressing things when they come up rather than sweeping them under the rug, will be needed to make this relationship long-term.
What is the sex like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The sex between a Libra woman and an Aries man is adventurous. These are two cardinal signs with plenty of energy and stamina to keep things exciting in the bedroom. There tends to be a good give and take in this relationship, and their yin and yang energy benefits them when it comes to their sex life.
There is electricity felt between the two of them in this area of their life, and their power of attraction to each other is strong. These are two people who will want to do a lot of things together, including exploring sexually together.
The Aries man will have to be careful with being overly aggressive, however, as the soft Libra woman may not like this energy- it will completely depend on the two individuals at hand. The Libra woman wants to ease into things, the Aries man wants to get going right away. Learning about each other's bodies, and energy, and reading each other’s cues will help with this.
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What makes a relationship between a Libra woman and an Aries man work?
These two genuinely like each other, and that basis is a key factor for success in any relationship. The Aries man is straight to the point, direct, and inspired. The Libra woman admires these characteristics in others, as she is often herself finding her balance in this type of energy as well. Neither sign is overly emotional in a way that turns them off, and they both require a lot of the same things in a committed relationship. They want honesty, fun, good communication, passion, and to be moving towards a common goal together.
The Libra woman and Aries man don’t have a problem being real with each other and this is something they really value within the relationship. They are both very charming, and there is plenty of flirtation and attraction to keep this relationship going. Aries being the protector they are, Libra finds a sense of safety and ease in this energy, and like they have found their match. Overall, this is a well-balanced relationship and one where they don’t have a problem when it comes to compatibility or chemistry in the relationship.
What may cause a Libra woman and an Aries man to break up?
Libra is the lover, Aries is the fighter, and this energy may be tiring for the both of them after time. The Libra woman can be passive to a fault, and the Aries man who is not evolved, may take advantage of that. She will need to be careful with putting Aries’ needs above her own, creating resentment later down the road. The Aries man loves a challenge, and the Libra woman would be up for that game for a little bit, but if she is not being met in the middle, she will begin to look for other places. These two can have a difficult time keeping the peace in the relationship, and there could be a lot of arguments and disagreements here if they both aren’t willing to put their egos or self-pleasing attitudes to the side.
The Libra woman and Aries man are both more sensitive than they appear or come off as. They are also not necessarily the type to dive deep into their emotions and express them to others, even in their relationships. However, this energy can keep the relationship to a surface level than what is needed to progress and grow the relationship, and a sense of openness is required for this couple to work. Libra needs romance, she wants to be wowed. Aries needs to remember this and to always consider her love language.
Overall, this is a successful pairing. They will have their fair share of challenges in the relationship, but nothing they can’t overcome if they are willing to. The trouble will come in when it comes to the longevity of the relationship, keeping Aries excited and Libra in love. However, all in all, there is more power, attraction, and love to keep this relationship together rather than apart. No relationship is perfect, but this one is a little more blessed than most.
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