Breaking up is always hard to do.
The dissolution of my last relationship was no doubt one of the most difficult things I've had to do in a minute. But it had to be done.
Love cannot thrive in a space where respect doesn't live.
And no matter how many times the man I loved claimed to love me, the clear and resounding truth was that he had no idea how to truly value me.
I was meek, I was weak, and the harder I held onto him, the more I lost the woman I had worked so hard to become. At the end of the day, it was either him or me, and I finally learned how to be strong enough to make and maintain my decision to stay away from a man that's purpose in my life had been fulfilled.
Nevertheless, the clarity and the peace that I felt soon after allowed me to make no apologies for it. Not a single regret. My sense of self-worth was back in full effect, my self-love was well underway, but my confidence was at an all-time low following the cycle of toxicity and emotional abuse that was my on-again off-again relationship with my ex.
I honestly didn't know what I needed after something like that, aside from alone time, my breakup playlists on repeat, and plenty of journaling and self-reflection. I was putting in the work to return to me, but I still felt somehow out of reach. I had no idea that not having any expectations about what I needed would lead me into the arms of a much younger man.
What's more, I had no idea that he'd come equipped with the exact remedy I needed to reconnect with the self I had lost.
It all started back in July. Our shared birthday weekend was the beginning of a lot of things, namely the spark of our connection. I felt it the moment our eyes met the night before, on the eve of his birthday festivities that a friend, his sister had invited me to. The party before the party. My birthday fell on Sunday and his that Saturday. I had absolutely no birthday plans for my 26th birthday but he had them all for his 20th. How could I say no?
Maybe it was my quarter-life crisis revving up to run wild, but I remembered him as the kid brother of one of my friends that I first met on New Year's Eve two years prior. Back then, he was 18 and I was in the limbo of a relationship so whatever attraction I felt came to an abrupt and speedy halt. But now, a blink away from 20, instead of a red light saying “stop," I only saw “proceed with caution." While we were on the river (celebrating his birthday), I admired his caramel skin and taut body while he walked around shirtless with an air that commanded. And a smile that absolutely dazzled.
At the end of the night, we made our way to a lounge and stole glances at each other across the table. He continued to be very intentional about the way he took me in like I was the glass of water his thirst called for. It was the same one I held in mine. The desire I felt there was too hot to look away. But logic would override my lust that night as we parted ways and he wished me a happy birthday and thanked me for joining him at his. He was too damn young. Little did I know, it was a prelude to our relationship.
I was willing to allow the idea of him to remain a fantasy of what could never be until a couple of days later, I found myself on his couch with his lips at my neck, alternating between kisses and soft bites. I learned what it was that day. I wanted him, but it was more than that. He made me feel desired, like I was the sexiest thing he'd ever laid eyes on. It felt specific and genuine in a way that I didn't know my confidence or my ego needed, but it did.
He kissed me with hunger, and although I wanted to back away from him for the age difference alone, it was something I hadn't experienced in so long. I valued myself and felt valued by other men since my ex for my mind, for my creative, maybe even for my heart – but he added another layer to the wholeness that escaped me. I wanted him because he made me feel wanted.
High as f*ck, hot as f*ck, horny as f*ck – hours later, we made our way upstairs to his bedroom to surrender to the tease we had created for one another.
It was such a turn-on to experience the effect I had on him. I felt so powerful as I took him into my mouth, sucking him into oblivion. He gripped the sheets so hard, arching up into me. He returned the favor, slipping on protection and then entering me. We sighed into each other's mouths, a deep exhale, expletives on our tongues. Sex with him was like letting go. Each thrust was the culmination of gaining something new: relaxation, surrender, rebirth, renewal. It was an awakening and in the wake of being dormant for so long, I was reminded of what it was like to feel alive.
When he orgasmed, it was like music to my ears – the most intoxicating sound. We made out afterwards for what felt like hours before he had enough and decided he wanted more. I giggled to myself. It's quickly become one of my favorite things about him – aside from how womanly he makes me feel – even in moments where he comes too quick, it's made up to me by a second, third, and sometimes fourth round of lovemaking. He's as insatiable as I am.
In the early hours of the morning, he tightens his embrace around me and brings me in closer to him to kiss my back, my neck. He slips his hands between my thighs in effort to initiate wetness where there's warmth. I writhe against him and he breathes against me in anticipation. It isn't as urgent and it doesn't demand. It's a slow dance that builds purposefully into a crescendo of completion. Sometimes we finish together, profuse sweating and heavy breathing. Other times, I finish alone and he taps out involuntarily. We touch ourselves while holding onto our gazes and I come again as I watch him make himself come for me.
The relationship between the two of us has quickly turned into a relationship of convenience with the only strings attached being a couple of guidelines we laid out: open communication and having respect for the other's health. I think he's drawn to me because of the enigma and I'm drawn to him for the thrill. We have a fun, easy-going vibe, have conversations about everything underneath the sun, and overall just have an understanding:
We know what it is, what it isn't, and what it will never be.
One thing's for certain, he has reminded me of who I am during a time where I needed an extra voice and I will always appreciate him for that and for helping me to undo some of the damage I incurred from the man before him. There is an absence of expectation – other than the ones that derive from our mutual pleasure.
We just are.
And whenever I feel a familiar ache between my thighs, I send him a quick text that reads: “Tonight?"
From there, he hits me back with says, “Come thru."
Happily, I oblige.
Have you ever been with a younger guy? What did it do for you? Let me know in the comments down below.
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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.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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