I recently sat down to break bread with a dear friend who is happy in love. We chatted about her plans to move in with her boyfriend and she asked me nonchalantly if I had any advice.
Many of you know this and many of you don't. I've lived with a boyfriend before. (And I live alone now, so... you do the math.)
I told her that my biggest piece of advice was to take time for herself. I never did this. I was with a man who didn't believe in girls (or boys, for that that matter) nights out. I didn't have much of a social life outside of my relationship, my sorority, and my few closest girlfriends. When I went out to dinner with my best friend, he came along. When I had the girls over to watch America's Next Top Model, he was nearby. I didn't quite realize it at the time, but I never really got the me time I so craved, which was ultimately one of the factors that led to our demise.
As Carrie Bradshaw once said, the universe may not play fair but at least it's got a hell of a sense of humor. I've got a whole lotta me time now.
I used to think that because I lived with someone and it didn't end the way I thought it would (engagement/marriage) that I screwed up. That I regressed by doing the domestic thing in the South first, and single gal in the city second. But I look back at who I was then, I try to crawl inside of that space in my mind, and I realize it's gone. I can no longer reconcile with the girl I once was. The experience nearly killed me at times, but overall it made me so much stronger. There is no doubt about it - I have progressed.
I've never liked doing things in order anyway.