A few months ago, my life was very different than it is now. I was working in a job that I hated, I was stressed all the time, and I was very, very single.
To be honest, I had happily decided long ago that relationships were not for me. My last relationship had failed miserably and I was happy single. It was easy to be single. I didn’t have to worry about anyone else and my time was all mine to do as I pleased.
Then I met my boyfriend. I wasn’t looking for anything when I went out with him the first time, I just thought it was time to put myself out there and meet new people. After a couple dates, he had changed my mind on relationships.
I LOVED spending time with him. I loved how much he made me laugh and how much fun we had together. I loved that after years of sitting at home most nights and just “hanging out” with people, we went places. Sure, we spent some days and nights just watching TV, but for once I looked forward to the days we went out and the excitement of the new places we went.
Growing up, I had always been shy. It was hard for me to make new friends and when I entered my teens and 20’s, I dreaded dating. I hated the awkwardness of first dates and always managed to suppress who I really was. Being shy, it makes it hard to go outside of your comfort zone and try new things. There is a lot of fear and anxiety surrounding new places and new people. What am I supposed to do? How do I act? What if I embarrass myself?
My first date with my boyfriend, I drove to a part of Pittsburgh I had never been to before. I was nervous I would get lost, I was panicked over finding somewhere to park, but I managed to make it work and it was great. I loved it there. And I know myself well enough to know I would have never gone on my own.
Since that date, I have tried countless restaurants I would have never bothered with before. Despite my protests, we went bowling. We went snow tubing. We went to a tea house. I’ve watched movies and shows I swore I never would. We’ve talked about places we want to go and things we would love to do one day. My horizons have expanded so much since meeting him.
At first, it was hard to put myself in some of the situations I did. I was awkward. I was comfortable. But now I look forward to them.
Being with someone who pushes you to explore outside of your current limitations is wonderful. My confidence in myself has grown so much. I’m more comfortable talking and approaching people and I’m more willing to try new things on my own.
Having someone support your decision to try new things and dragging you along with them when you’re too scared to do it alone, is a huge self esteem builder. I’m more confident in my own skills and abilities and even my own body. I feel happier, lighter, stronger. I laugh more too.
So if you’re out there, floating around endlessly in a sea of potential partners, look for someone who is willing to go outside of their comfort zone and will happily take you along with them.
It’s great to have someone who is kind and has a great sense of humor, but I think it’s even greater to have someone who wants to explore with you and try new things with you. You build amazing memories this way and it forces you to put a lot of trust in your partner. It may be hard at first, it may be scary and uncomfortable, but I promise it will be worth it.