Being a 38-year-old woman who has never been married, it probably comes as no surprise that I have had my fair share of dating nightmares and relationship fails. After every experience, I learned a little about myself. I learned what I can do better, what I need, what I want, what I like, and most definitely what I don't like. Unfortunately that didn't stop me from encountering cheaters, liars, and time wasters. Nor did it stop me from experiencing ghosting, inconsistency, and words with no actions. It all honestly left a bad taste in my mouth and not very much hope in the male species. I was very close to just giving up and living my life as my nephew's rich auntie that travels the world solo.
That is until I met Brandon.
Now, before you start thinking that this is going to be a How Stella Got Her Groove Back story, let me disappoint you right now and say that is not the case here. Sorry, ladies. 25-year-old Brandon is just my friend. We have developed more of a big sister/little brother relationship. However, I learn just as much from him as I hope he learns from me. I met Brandon on Instagram after a mutual friend posted me on their page and he reached out with questions on how to start a blog. From there, we started to talk about everything from fitness, fashion, career, life, and of course relationships. It was when Brandon started talking to me about his girlfriend that I was truly intrigued. Compared to me, he is so young but he has such a mature view on love and relationships.
Brandon probably has no idea the impact some of those conversations had on me and what I took from them. Most are things I've heard a million times before but this time I guess I was ready to receive them. I think the things he said resonated with me so much because they were gentle reminders that weren't forced on me like they had been in the past. There was no arrogance or self-righteousness. He was simply sharing his truth and inadvertently helping a friend too.
Being friends with Brandon has taught me:
1. Don't give up.
If love is something that you really want to experience, don't give up. It doesn't mean you have to go searching for it but you do have to be open to receive it. Brandon shared that he too dealt with being unlucky in love and had his fair share of let-downs in the romance department but that all changed when he met his girlfriend. It was the gentle reminder I needed that I am not alone in this and that those that have found "the one" only did so because they didn't give up.
2. Men have to be "chose" too.
Brandon told me once that he was trying to be the best boyfriend he could be because he wants to be seen as husband material by his girlfriend. It made me think about how much pressure we as women put on ourselves to be "chose" by the opposite sex. We forget that we have a choice too ladies. We have to choose them to be our lovers, friends, boyfriends and husbands. Don't ever forget that. Take the pressure off yourselves about being "chose" and remember they need to prove to you that they are deserving of you choosing them.
3. Be open.
I shared in an Instagram story once that I was carrying a pack of bottled water from my car to my building one day. In the parking lot, a guy asked me if I needed any help. I told him "no" and then proceeded to have every single bottle of water fall out of the pack. And yes, the guy was still standing right there. Brandon replied to my Insta-story and laughed profusely but after he gathered himself he told me that the guy could have been the one and asked why I didn't let him help. Besides being used to being super independent, I also realized that I was also closed off to the opposite sex. While it's highly likely no love connection would have been made between me and that guy, Brandon helped me realize that it doesn't hurt to be a little more open-minded when encountering the opposite sex.
4. Romance is not dead.
I remember one time Brandon shared with me that he had to pick up his girlfriend at the airport. Knowing that I practically live at the airport, he reached out to ask me some questions. I was touched by the level of thought he put into something that most think is a mundane task. He wanted it to be perfect, he wanted to be on time, and yep he got her flowers. He told me once that because of all of the amazing qualities she possessed, it wasn't hard at all to do nice things for her. He also told me once that he recognizes the importance of continuing to date his girlfriend and knows he has to continue to be all of the things that made her fall in love with him.
5. Everybody doesn't cheat.
One day, Brandon shared a meme with me that made a joke about cheating. My response was, "Facts." He was truly shocked by my matter-of-fact and negative response. I shared with him how many married men and men that are in relationships find their way into my inbox on a weekly basis trying to shoot their shot. His shock was genuine and also refreshing. I needed that reminder that while cheating is something that I'm sure will go on until the end of time, there are still people out there that don't.
In a world that glorifies the misogyny and disrespect of women, it was beautiful to hear such a young guy speak with such love about a woman. Brandon and his girlfriend are blessed to have found each other and hearing about them through his eyes was the gentle reminder I needed that it's possible for me too. Just like everyone else in the world I have kissed a few frogs (or two) but it will happen…when the time is right because I have no plans of giving up.
Thank you, Brandon.
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