Right before I ended my last relationship, I cheated on my boyfriend. It didn’t feel like cheating, though. Emotionally, I had checked out of that relationship a long time ago. And although I know cheating is technically wrong, I can honestly say I don’t regret it.
My boyfriend and I had our fair share of ups and downs, to say the least. We were both struggling with insecurities we projected onto one another, which is definitely not healthy and led to some pretty heated repetitive arguments. But when I tried to break things off with him before leaving for college, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’ve never been good with change, and I just wasn’t ready to end a relationship I had spent so much time in.
Related: I Fell in Love While Traveling Abroad . . . and It Broke My Heart
I do feel bad about not being honest, but I’m glad this happened. It was an experience that taught me important lessons about being in a relationship and being on my own.
When he talked about visiting me at school, I felt a pit in my stomach and dreaded making those plans. I knew why. I should have broken it off then and there, but I chickened out . . . again. Not only was I still emotionally attached but I didn’t want to hurt him either.
When I started school, I very quickly met this great guy. He was kind, smart, funny, attractive, and we just had this natural connection. Being with him was easy. There were no ridiculous screaming matches or petty jealousy. We just enjoyed getting to know each other – something I hadn’t experienced in a long time.
You already know how this story ends. I didn’t tell this new boy I was still in a relationship, and I cheated with him. I’ll admit, calling my boyfriend the next day was a bit awkward. I didn’t tell him I cheated on him – I just told him the distance wasn’t working for me. He didn’t say much; I think he knew it was coming, and we’ve only spoken once since then.
Related: How I Found Out My Partner Was Sleeping With Someone Else
At the end of the day, although I do feel bad about not being honest, I’m glad this happened. It was an experience that taught me important lessons about being in a relationship and being on my own.
It made me realize I had been putting up with a toxic relationship for too long. I was putting a boy’s happiness before my own and depending on a relationship to console insecurities I should have been learning to overcome myself.
Cheating on my boyfriend helped me find my independence. Relationships are messy, and it’s OK when they don’t work out. After this, I was truly excited to be single for a while. I learned that you don’t need to cling to past loves just because you don’t know anything else. It’s OK to venture out on your own, and you should always prioritize your own happiness and well-being.
I’m not a completely different person than I was in that relationship, but I’m more comfortable with the parts of me that my partner made me feel bad about. And I’ve realized that I don’t need to get into another relationship until I meet someone who accepts and loves those parts of me, too.
No matter who you are, creating a dating profile is an exercise in vulnerability. You must identify yourself, along with what you’re seeking, and rest on the hope that there are people out there who like the same things you do. When dating apps require information such as your gender, the gender you’re seeking, and what your dealbreakers are, they’re collecting valuable data to help you narrow down your choices, but there’s much more to it than male or female, gay or straight. When you are queer, gender nonconforming, or questioning your sexual identity, an insensitive dating app question can leave you feeling rejected long before a date even takes place.
Enter Feeld (think playing the “field” with your “feelings”), a dating app built on the notion that there’s nothing less predictable or less binary than human desire. What started as a safe space to find a threesome has become a safe space for anyone – no matter how you identify – to find whatever it is they’re looking for. So how does it work, exactly?
Whether you identify as a he, she, they, X, or soul or are still working on your terminology, Feeld is here to help all human beings find what their hearts want by offering more than 20 gender identities, 20 sexualities, and shared profiles for polyamorous couples. The company also expresses a commitment to adding new gender identities swiftly and welcomes write-ins for more.
As the gender-fluidity conversation grows louder, many of the most popular dating apps have taken a page from the Feeld book. Both Tinder and Hinge now give users the option to create their own gender, Bumble allows people to self-identify using a list of more than 70 genders, and OkCupid offers over 22 gender options, along with 13 sexual orientations. So with seemingly robust options across the popular dating sites, why are people flocking to Feeld?
“It’s about creating a safe space,” Cathy Keen, community and events manager at Feeld, told POPSUGAR. The company’s mission is to “normalize conversations around sexuality,” and part of doing so means allowing people to be as forthcoming or as arbitrary as they’d like. Feeld believes that nothing is less predictable or less binary than human desire, and, according to Cathy, “It’s just as safe for someone who is interested in learning new information as it is for someone who’s established in exactly who they are and what they want.”
Whether you’re a couple looking for a third, a single looking for a couple, or someone who is curious about exploring their sexuality, you can dip a toe in and simply have conversations with other open-minded people in a safe space. A profile can be as brief as, “I’m interested in learning more,” and conversations happen from there.
Feeld also has robust community monitoring efforts, and the safety guidelines go beyond a standard agreement. The company offers gentle but clear reminders on the website like, “As much as we believe in honesty and openness, nudity and explicit content will be removed from your profile when found – society is simply not ready yet!” The guidelines also make it clear that no one owes anyone anything with a healthy breakdown on consent, including, “Being on Feeld doesn’t mean someone will fulfill your wishes, sleep with you, or give you what you want. Everyone can always say no. This applies across the board, from desires to information – if someone doesn’t want to share, it’s their right not to.”
These efforts resonate with the active user base, which is growing daily with close to five million downloads, according to Cathy. Further, it’s become the preferred dating app for Rain Dove, a gender nonconforming model and human rights activist who encourages people to use any and all pronouns interchangeably to describe them. “I grew up in an era where there wasn’t a language for my identity, and like many ’90s kids, I took to the internet to find answers,” Rain told POPSUGAR. “I’d go on sites like Plenty of Fish and ask people if I might be gay.”
Even now, as an international model with an impressive following and an even more impressive mission, Rain still has healthy hesitations about dating but feels most comfortable on Feeld. “It’s ideal because it’s not just about sex (though there’s nothing wrong with those apps either),” they continued. “But it offers what I was looking for years ago on Plenty of Fish, which is the opportunity to find other people who have these vulnerable and marginalized identities, and become part of a community.” When it comes to success on the app, Rain hasn’t been single long, having parted ways with celebrity and activist Rose McGowan earlier this year. But the opportunity is there to connect with all types of people like never before, and Rain expressed more comfort and ease chatting with people in such an environment.
Feeld isn’t in the business of discriminating against anyone, even those who might be looking for something a little more traditional. I joined to see if there was anyone for me, simply stating that I “enjoy dating and am ever-curious about people,” and right away, three matches who were just my type popped up. One match immediately messaged me to politely ask about my interests. The other two messaged me within 24 hours and also wanted to hear about my thoughts and feelings. To a tried-and-true Tinderella who was getting pretty tired of “Hey cutie,” this felt groundbreaking.
So whether you’re a cisgendered hetero like me, gender nonconforming like Rain, someone else altogether, or maybe you’re not sure yet, there’s a place on today’s internet where you can feel free to form connections however you see fit.
One of my all-time favorite quotes is by the late Anthony Bourdain, who once said, “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you.”
It’s a beautiful message and one that has always resonated with me, but it’s hitting a little too close to home as of late. You see, I love to travel. But my most recent trip did indeed break my heart.
I suppose Greece is an easy place to fall in love. Its scenic cascading mountains and vast ocean views make for a magical backdrop when meeting new people. There’s a little something different in the air, and so, when a stranger at the local airport asks you a question, you smile warmly and, ultimately, strike up a conversation.
I racked my brain about what went wrong and nearly drove myself crazy doing so. How could something that was so perfect fall apart so quickly?
That’s how it happened for me anyways, when a man named James, two years my senior, asked me a question at the airport. As a solo traveler, I spoke candidly with him, and we soon became fast friends. As life would have it, he was actually on his way out of town that day, so I assumed I’d never see him again.
It’s a digital age, though, and our chance encounter led to the exchange of social media profiles, which led to the exchange of phone numbers, and soon, we were talking incessantly. Eventually, I felt like I was in a relationship with someone I had only talked to for 10 minutes in real life but had known forever.
There was a turning point between James and me when we decided we needed to meet again. English wasn’t his first language, but he said it best when he wrote, “our first meeting left something interesting.”
And so, James returned to Santorini. I couldn’t even get a guy to leave his neighborhood back home in New York City, so to me, this was a big deal.
The next several days were filled with beaches and bliss and the kind of late-night conversations you have with someone you’ve known your whole life. Within 48 hours, James had met some of my friends, memorized my birthday, invited me to meet his mom, and planned out the next time we would see each other.
When my flight back home finally crept up, you can imagine how hard saying goodbye was. James is based out of Belgium, a whopping seven-hour flight from New York City. However, he promised me we would see each other again soon, and I rest assured that he meant it.
I was pleased when James checked in with me as soon as I got off the plane. My anxiety that our time together had been beautiful but fleeting dissipated. “Maybe we could have something real!” I thought.
And then, nothing.
Days passed before I heard from James again. And when I did hear from him, his answers were short, often one-word replies. I racked my brain about what went wrong and nearly drove myself crazy doing so. How could something that was so perfect fall apart so quickly?
To say that James ghosted me would be a lie. He would text me from time to time, and he always answered if I reached out. But gone were the sweet messages, the “I can’t wait to see you soon” texts, and the feeling that we would defy all odds and build some sort of a future. There was an undeniable shift in energy within our communication, and it was honestly gut-wrenching.
The thing is, nothing I could have done would have changed things with James and me. As time passed, I realized that the radio silence on his end said much more about him than it did about me. Eventually, I even learned to feel gratitude for the time we did spend together, because at the end of the day, I’d rather have a beautiful life experience than nothing at all.
I believe there’s a lesson to be learned behind every life experience, the good and the bad. Time provides perspective, and with James, I learned an especially important lesson. I learned that you can’t change the actions of others, but you can change the way you handle them, and I’m proud to have handled this one with grace. The first few weeks being back home were hard and often filled with thoughts of my overseas love, but as time passed, other thoughts, new experiences, and new people filled their place.
This may have been the first time a trip left me feeling like this, but it probably won’t be the last. I’m already planning my next adventure, and I’m ready for whatever may come my way . . . even if it breaks my heart.
When thinking of a person who is terrified of commitment, a suit-wearing, James Bond-type probably comes to mind, right? You know, the Barney Stinsons and Mr. Bigs of the world. What we often don’t picture is a girl like me who has read almost every Nicholas Sparks book she could get her hands on and can recite all the lines from any Nora Ephron movie ever made. Yet here we are, and I can finally admit the truth to myself: I am a woman who is terrified of commitment.
This may seem like the ultimate contradiction. How could someone like me be terrified of spending the rest of my life with someone if I’m such a sucker for romance? For a long time, I couldn’t figure it out. In the past handful of years, I’ve had a few lovely men in my life (and some not so lovely) who would ask me to take the next step in our relationship. To do the whole boyfriend-girlfriend song and dance. To fully commit to one another. Dodging these questions of “Will you be my girlfriend?” became a bit of an art form for me. It wasn’t because I didn’t love these men or because I thought I was better than them. It was because I believed the only reason they wanted me was due to the fact that they couldn’t have me.
They say the biggest fear a person can have is fear of the unknown. Perhaps this is exactly why I’m so afraid of making something official.
They weren’t in love with me, I’d tell myself. They were in love with the gate I had put up between us, the one that separated the two of us from being able to experience true intimacy. These guys weren’t in love with me as a person, they were in love with the challenge of trying to open up that gate so they could complete their conquest. Yet what was supposed to happen when I would finally give in and open up the gate for them? What was supposed to happen during the “happily ever after” period? I was too scared to find out, so I never let anybody in. I locked that gate and threw away the key. As much as some of the boys would shake the iron bars trying to get in, I still couldn’t find the courage within myself to just give love a chance, to allow myself to be vulnerable and put my trust into that other person. It made me feel like a coward.
Of course, as with a lot of people who are terrified of committing, there is usually a story of heartbreak behind the scenes. A handful of individuals who are scared to experience real intimacy with another person only feel this way because they’ve been hurt before by love, and they never want to experience that aching pain again. Is it cliché? Of course. But it’s just one of the painful symptoms of past breakups. It makes me wonder if all that love and happiness experienced during the relationship was worth the heartache and pain after it all came crashing down.
In romance novels and films, we’re almost always exposed to the process of two people falling in love. The formula is always the same: they meet, fall in love, one tries to win the other’s affection with big romantic gestures, it works, they make their relationship official with a kiss, and then the credits roll on screen. We rarely get exposed to what happens after the credits. Do the characters stay together forever until they’re old and gray? Do they have a one-night stand and then move on with their lives? Do they date for a couple of months until they realize they aren’t right for each other? What the heck is supposed to happen afterwards when the thrill of the chase is over?
They say the biggest fear a person can have is fear of the unknown. Perhaps this is exactly why I’m so afraid of making something official. Or maybe my fear of commitment is due to the fact that I secretly want it more than anything – I crave to experience true love – and that is exactly why I’m so terrified of it. Because what happens when you actually get what you’ve always wanted? What then?
Perhaps the simple answer is, “you allow yourself to be happy.”
One day I will muster up the courage to unlock my gate. Not just so that it’s left slightly ajar, but so it’s left wide open. I’m confident that the day will come, and slowly I’m learning to love myself enough so I can allow my heart to be kept safe in another person’s hands. It will happen, but until then, I will concentrate on the “happily ever after” story between me, myself, and I. Because the love that you have for yourself is a beautiful romance worth prioritizing.
Four year ago I was so in love that it made my stomach hurt. He was my first boyfriend, so naturally, I was head over heels. Who cared if he lived eight hours away or if his mom didn’t like me? He wrote me songs, sent me poetry, and gave me the most thoughtful gifts. Sheryl Crow said it best: “the first cut is the deepest,” and I was dazzlingly, butterflies-in-stomach, heart-won’t-stop-pounding in love.
But it didn’t last. In a display of typical high school boyfriend behavior, he broke up with me over text message three days after prom. I’d decided not to go to college near him, and he said long distance wasn’t sustainable for that long. It’s a good reason to break up with someone, and in retrospect I’m glad he did it, but as far as I was concerned back then, the best days of my life were over. I’d never love anyone that much again – it simply wouldn’t be possible. He was a coward for abandoning me, he was jealous of my achievement, and I hated him, yet I would’ve done anything to change his mind.
I was out of commission for months. My behavior was erratic and I’d lash out with no warning at the people who provided me with the most support. I spent my freshman year of college oscillating between the intense happiness of new beginnings and the horrible loneliness of a heartbreak that just wouldn’t stop hurting. I started berating myself constantly: why wasn’t I getting better? Wouldn’t a normal person be over it by now?
I’d braced myself for agony, but I was wrong. Seeing him again was earth shattering precisely because it was not earth shattering at all.
But by my senior year, I was finally and completely over him. Somewhere within my four years at college, moving on just happened on its own accord. I didn’t wonder anymore what I’d done wrong or why I wasn’t good enough. I’d suffered much more difficult heartbreaks since then, which is the only sure-fire way to get over an ex, and if I ever did think of him, it was only to incidentally recall the good parts of our relationship, like that poem he’d copied into an old notebook or the name of the hiking trail where we’d had our first kiss. This, of course, was the perfect time for him to email me out of the blue and remind me of his existence. “Haven’t heard from you in a while” was his reasoning. “Just checking in.” I decided to one-up him – I had an upcoming job interview in his city, so I invited him for coffee. He offered to pick me up from the airport.
When he stepped out of his car to give me a hug, I was shocked. He looked exactly the same as he had four years before, right down to the haircut. I even recognized his t-shirt. I’d braced myself for agony on the plane ride over, remembering the constant pain I’d felt for nearly a year after we’d broken up, and I expected my heart to break all over again. But I was wrong. Seeing him again was earth shattering precisely because it was not earth shattering at all.
Shortly after our somewhat awkward initial greeting, we got along like we’d never had a falling out in the first place. We’d dated for a reason, after all, and our conversation never faltered. We had a lot to catch up on, and we still had a lot in common. I spent my time with him trying to figure out whether he’d become the person I’d thought he would. In some ways he had – he was smart, successful, and sweet. But the things I’d loved about him in high school were things that made me covertly roll my eyes during the day we spent together. He hadn’t outgrown his poetic bent, and behaviors that were endearing for a high schooler were melodramatic for a grown man. I imagined him writing me the type of sappy text he used to send and I cringed. (Then, of course, I remembered the sappy texts I’d sent him, and I cringed even harder.)
What I’m saying here is classic: time heals all wounds. But I really mean it. I loved him so much, yet in the years following our breakup, I eventually reached a place where my stomach stopped dropping every time I heard his name. I’d gone several years without succumbing to a crying spell over him, and I hadn’t even noticed.
If you’re going through something similar right now, no matter how much it hurts, it’s possible – in fact, it’s downright likely – that you’ll be able to love again after an intense breakup. It might not even take that much effort; moving on may just sort of happen if you allow yourself enough time and patience. I’m convinced that the heartbreaks we accumulate will help us love new people just as deeply, but with some much-needed perspective about ourselves and the types of relationships we’d like to create. And hopefully you’ll even be able to look back on your relationship and see it for what it really was: everything you needed back then, and completely wrong for the person you’ve become in the meantime.
I was born in the late ’90s, and I expected to fall in love in the mid to late 2010s. In my early teens, I feasted on romantic comedies starring flowy-haired women and manly men with sweet hearts. In middle school, my friend and I would read and discuss the Twilight Saga like Edward Cullen’s immortal vampire life depended on it. So, I was not necessarily surprised to hear my therapist say that romantic comedies were skewing my expectations of reality far more than the average 21-year-old woman, especially since I have never been in a committed relationship, and the 2010s are almost long gone.
I’m defensive by nature, so I quickly retorted, “The only thing skewing my expectations of reality are men, period.” My therapist was not impressed and gave me homework to look up realistic accounts of relationships and love. Apparently, the homework did not work, because I am now 22 and still on my way to eternal spinsterhood. Since then, I did, however, accept that I’m most likely the problem. Perfectly nice men have approached me, but because I was searching for those Nicholas Sparks to fly at first sight, nothing ever came about.
I accept that I’m most likely the problem. Perfectly nice men have approached me, but because I was searching for those Nicholas Sparks to fly at first sight, nothing ever came about.
My friends, on the other hand, maneuver and navigate Tinder like they’re getting paid. It’s extremely impressive, and they’re the type to dodge relationships on purpose. They scold me for being too uptight and for having standards that are too high. They’re not wrong, but that doesn’t mean that I’m completely crazy either. According to a 2017 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, the majority of never-married adults interested in marriage were holding out until they found the right person.
Maybe 20-something women are not necessarily settling, but they would rather be bored in a relationship or casually dating instead of bored and single. I dabble in hookup culture as well, but in the unhealthy “we just met and we’re both drunk in the club and I’m going to block you in the morning” type. So, what’s wrong with me? Many, many things. I want to have my cake and eat it, too. I want to stay indoors and not put myself out there but still have a love life that rivals Rachel McAdams’s in almost any movie she’s ever been in.
I just graduated college and moved back home with my parents (womp womp), so the dating pool is even smaller than before. But despite all this, I refuse to give up. Like a wise Nicki Minaj once said, “Sagittarius so you know I’m an optimist.” Yes, I’m a Cancer with no Sagittarius in my chart, but I have not lost hope that I will have a fruitful dating life in my 20s. I also don’t think my high standards will waver because I don’t think they’re that high, and I genuinely can’t be attracted to someone otherwise. My dating profiles have been hidden by all the apps because I haven’t logged on in so long, but every now and then, I resurrect my spirit to swipe through some photos to find a match.
My intake of romantic comedies has also lessened. I read a few books here and there, but I realize the best romance stories I’ve heard in a while are the ones my friends tell at Sunday brunch next to a pitcher of mimosas. Maybe I’ll change my tune in a few years and realize how naive I’m being now, or maybe I’ll join a nunnery and write about what that’s like. I have no idea what’ll happen in my romantic life, but I do know that I am trying to to broaden my horizon. Until then, I’ll continue to annoy my friends and parents and remember that plenty of pretty girls stay single.
There I was in a perfectly happy relationship with a great guy. He was exactly the kind of guy everyone assumed I’d end up with, but there was just one little problem – I was struggling to see our future together because my heart was stuck in the past. I had moved on from my ex, but I still wasn’t over him.
It’s confusing to be in a healthy relationship with a wonderful person yet still feel drawn to your former person. There were little moments that really slapped me in the face, like driving down the road and catching my eyes dart to a certain car to see if it’s his (and feeling disappointed when it wasn’t). And there were bigger moments that weighed heavy on my heart, like dreaming about him while sleeping next to my boyfriend and waking up feeling guilty for the dream but grateful for the time together.
I felt stuck – unable to move in any direction. Feelings for my ex were holding me back from going deeper in my relationship, and my happy relationship was keeping me from going back to my ex. I spent months in a constant emotional debate – go, stay, go, stay. The only thing I was sure of was that my stalled emotional state wasn’t fair to anyone, myself included. I had to make a choice.
I went back to my ex [because of] the tiny voice inside me – inexplicable to everyone else – that said it wasn’t over.
We often talk about love like it happens in a silo. We fall out of love with one person then in love with someone else. But it’s more complicated than that. There’s a quantum physics study that proved once two particles have interacted and affected the spin of each other (AKA entanglement), they can never be untangled. They are forever connected on some level, and no matter how far apart they’re separated, the spin of one will always affect the spin of the other.
Perhaps the same concept can be applied to relationships. When we love someone, they affect our spin and maybe always will. And the entanglement that comes with a loving relationship is never truly broken.
I love this concept because it explains why we still think about an ex, wonder how they’re doing, and smile when we hear certain songs or pass certain places that remind us of them. It allows us to still care about each other and affect each other without it being a risk to our current relationship. In a way, it’s a beautiful acknowledgement to the love that once existed. But how do we tell the difference between a little spin from the past and a current pull at our heart? How do we know when we should continue to move on or when we’re meant to circle back?
I believe it comes down to silencing all the noise and getting quiet with ourselves. Putting aside the opinions of family, friends, and society to fully listen to our inner feelings. It can be easy to focus on checking all the boxes we think a happy relationship should check; the ones included in the brief bios we give at parties – age, job, family, dwelling. My boyfriend checked a lot of important boxes – good job, appropriate age, owned a home, close with his family, fun friends, sweet to me, took me on fun dates, made me laugh, etc.
But those aren’t the only boxes. There’s another deeper set that lives in our hearts. I’d forgotten about those boxes. They had been lying dusty and tattered in the basement of my heart, hidden under negativity, disappointment, and relationships gone wrong. I had lost trust in them, convinced the boxes in my head knew better. But the moment I heard from my ex – he appeared in my texts with messages I’d hoped for years prior – my heart began to raise its hand.
All logic pointed to staying put. My head begged me to see where my current relationship would go; to not give my ex another chance. It reminded me how happy I was and how wonderful my boyfriend was. And it was right. I was happy. He was wonderful. Our head always debates with facts and hard evidence while our heart prefers to deal in hunches and gut feelings. Our head will compile a concrete list of everything that is right, and our heart will simply whisper that it’s not.
Ultimately, I went back to my ex for that reason; for the tiny voice inside me – inexplicable to everyone else – that said it wasn’t over. I went back despite my fear of getting hurt, my reluctance to be “the bad guy,” and my tendency to want to please others. I went back to find the forgotten boxes.
It wasn’t easy, and to most people, wasn’t logical. But I now understand that we can only follow our heart when we allow it to speak. It’s not a loud or obvious voice. Rather, it’s a voice often found in life’s smallest moments. It’s in the comfort I now feel sitting next to my ex-turned-boyfriend again, the ease in which we spend time together, the childlike play we bring out in each other, and the growth we find in every disagreement. Those are the boxes my heart wanted checked.
Maybe it’s true that we’ll forever be connected to our past loves. Maybe they’ll always affect our spin. But when we find ourselves in a head vs. heart battle, I know one thing for sure – our head will only stop spinning when we learn to hear our heart.
I’ve been dating a criminal for over a year now. He’s currently in prison for a robbery charge, yet the man I’ve grown to love is the polar opposite of the heinous crime he’s charged with. He’s talented, well educated, treats me well, and writes me the sweetest letters and poetry. Only a few of the people I’m closest to even know that I’m dating him because I don’t want people judging him for one mistake in his life. We’ve all done things we’re not proud of or things that we’re not supposed to do – his mistake just comes with a harsher repercussion. I won’t judge him for that.
Dating a guy with a criminal record doesn’t make me want to stay or run. I feel free – free to decide what I will and won’t allow in my life.
We met on a dating site while, unbeknownst to me, he was already in prison. At first he said he was in the military which is why we couldn’t talk as often as I’d like. He’d call and try to video chat at strange hours of the night, and I could never understand why his room and overall life seemed so restricted. He’d always angle the phone by the window, and I never talked to him when he was outside of his room. After a while I started to get suspicious, thinking he was married and was hiding in the bathroom to talk to me while his partner was asleep, so I called him out on it. He denied being married but was still hesitant to explain until I gave him an ultimatum. I told him if he didn’t confess to what was really going on, I was ending all communication and leaving. He finally agreed to come clean.
My feelings about him didn’t change when he told me he was in prison on a robbery charge. My dad has been in and out of prison for similar and worse circumstances my entire life, and I’d already developed feelings for this man after already having talked to him for almost two months. And I admit I was curious about his prison lifestyle for multiple reasons, including being able to better understand my dad.
Dating a guy with a criminal record doesn’t make me want to stay or run. I feel free – free to decide what I will and won’t allow in my life. Things are going good with us right now. I know he’s a good person and I’m happy that I’m with him. I refuse to give up on him because of one mistake or care what society may say about our slightly unconventional relationship. It works for us, and that’s all that matters.
The most important thing he’s taught me is the art of self-reflection. Because of him, I’m constantly thinking about the future and how my decisions today will affect me tomorrow – something I know he’s now learned too.
In short, if you’re dating someone in prison, corporate America, or a cashier at McDonald’s and they make you happy, go with what works for you. Don’t let anyone try and tell you that the love that makes you the happiest isn’t right. Only you can know that, so follow your heart. I know I am.
I just graduated college three months ago, which, in addition to many other things, changed my dating life drastically. Granted, I’ve been on a couple first dates since then, but nothing felt natural, or even if it did, it never stuck. While some of my friends encouraged me to give people one more chance and “get a free dinner,” I’m not the type to date someone just to date them. I’m a huge believer in instincts, and if the idea of seeing someone again doesn’t excite me, it’s not meant to be. So when Keen, a site that offers psychic and tarot card readings, offered me a twin flame reading from a professional psychic, I immediately said yes. I had no expectations and wasn’t anticipating any big revelations, but I was still excited to see what they would say about my dating life. Here’s what happened.
On the day of our appointment, I called the number I was given and an advisor on Keen.com, Nicole (Live the Light) Bowman, answered. She introduced herself to me as a psychic medium who can see, hear, and feel information from the “Spirit,” and started by explaining the concept of twin flames. While I assumed it was just another word for soulmates, she explained that they’re actually your spiritual twin. Essentially, it’s the idea that when the human soul was created, it was split into two. Twin flames are different than soulmates because a person can have many soulmates but only one twin flame. And once you find that person, you’ll have unconditional love for each other, which doesn’t have to be romantic (you might find yours in a best friend, sibling, or even a child).
Nicole also said that the Spirit says you shouldn’t actively look for your twin flame because not everybody has one and not every twin flame is alive on the planet at the same time. If a twin flame connection is a part of someone’s path, it’ll happen, and if it’s not, it won’t. Simple as that. All you can do is live the best life you can and be authentic to yourself.
After explaining the concept of twin flames, Nicole then walked me through the process of the reading and what to expect. It began with general messages and information from the Spirit that I need to know at this time in my life, and then she opened the floor to me for questions. I didn’t give her any other information besides my name, so she was completely in the dark about my life . . . or that’s what I thought.
Nicole called on the “energy of the divine” and the “pink light of unconditional love,” and the Spirit told her that, when it comes to both my career and personal dating life, I need to learn how to let things go after I’ve done all I can. The Spirit wants me to carry this message over the next six to eight months, because it’s a theme that’s very present in my life. “We work incredibly hard and put in a lot of energy into things, but at a certain point there’s nothing left to do,” Nicole explained. And honestly, she was right. I’ve been pushing myself a lot lately and stressing out about things I can’t control or fix, and I need to learn how to walk away. And when it comes to dating specifically, if I’m unsure about someone or they aren’t putting in the effort I want them to, instead of thinking, “Maybe he’s just busy and hasn’t been checking his phone lately,” I need to let them go.
“After you let go, things will unfold,” Nicole said. “You want to fix people and over-clarify just so you’re understood, but despite saying things a thousand different ways, some people are just not going to hear you. You’ve put it on the table, and now you have to let others figure out when they’re ready.”
Nicole then revealed that she saw an “energy of dating, but not in a serious way,” meaning that I should be dating in a noncommittal way that’s empowering instead of thinking of settling down right now. She said that I’m the type of person that, when I commit to something, I give my all, so right now, because of everything I have going on, it’s best to date casually. I mean, I’m 22, and marriage is very far from my brain right now, so the Spirit definitely nailed that one on the head. She finished the reading by saying, “Spirit says that you’re going to be more than okay.”
When I asked why there was no mention of meeting my twin flame (this was a twin flame reading after all), Nicole said that the Spirit was focusing its energy on different things – i.e. my career and dating life. And since you never know what exactly the Spirit will focus on during a psychic reading, this didn’t surprise me much.
I hung up the phone pretty satisfied with my reading. Even though the Spirit didn’t particularly say anything about my twin flame, I was glad that Nicole didn’t feel anything disturbing about my future. I’ve been kind of stressed about my dating life and questioning all my decisions, so it was nice for her to assure me that it was okay to focus on myself and having fun rather than focusing on the future and chasing after the idea of having a serious relationship. I believe that there’s a divine timing at work, and if I’m lucky enough, I hope to find both my twin flame and soulmate in the future. Maybe that’s what this casual dating period is for – to find my twin flame before I find my soulmate. Either way, I know I’m good.
A whimsical setting, dreamy details, and colorful balloons make this Up-inspired elopement photo shoot just as charming as one could imagine. Complete with a couple as heartwarming as Carl and Ellie, there was nothing missing from this magical day. To re-create some of the most memorable elements of the movie, a vintage hot air balloon basket was decorated with colorful flowers and, of course, a plethora of balloons.
“Up, up, and away! We had so much fun re-creating the Up movie’s wedding day as we could only imagine if they had eloped,” photographer Suzanne Grage wrote in an email. “The elopement took us back to the 1940s, beginning with the beautiful Venue 1902, a school-turned-wedding-venue as the main background. So many fun vintage colors throughout, from the bridal bouquet to the giant balloons to the vintage green-and-black 1941 Chevy to a sweet tower of macarons, and even to the romantic picnic. I think the highlight of the day was the authentic vintage hot air balloon basket that played to the house in the movie.”
Gaze upon this colorful and whimsical take on one of the most beloved Pixar movies and get inspired to take your wedding theme to new heights.