Intentionally Intentional

“Wait, is this a date?”

As a girl, I have wondered this a few times in my life when a guy asks me to “hang out” somewhere. Depending on the situation, I usually err on the safe side and assume it isn’t if I’m unsure.

Dating can be awkward enough as it is, so why make things like simple communication difficult? I have been asked countless times by guys how to ask a girl on a proper date, and so many of my girl friends have called me confused with whether a male is interested in her or not. There is a very simple answer to all of our communication problems. Be clear in stating your intentions with someone!

You don’t have to be all weird about it, but by simply saying, “I would love to take you out to dinner,” you are making it very clear that you want to take the person you are asking on a date. First, if you already know them, I think dinner is a great option for date #1, as it’s a little nicer than just coffee or drinks. You can always change the wording around to do something else for a first date, however I would definitely make the activity one that is very clearly a date. Going on a run with someone is nice, but hardly leaves room for any sort of romance. Second, by using the words “take you out,” you are making it incredibly clear that this isn’t just an outing between friends.

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On the flip side, if someone asks you to “hang out,” I’d say it isn’t a serious date, so take things slow! I’ve had relationships grow from friendship, which can be a great foundation for something wonderful. Don’t put your life on hold for someone who isn’t ready to date you or isn’t interested, though. Keep doing your own thing whether that is dating around or accepting an invitation from someone else you are possibly interested in. The best lesson we all learned from He’s Just Not That Into You is that if someone wants to be with you they will eventually try. If they don’t ever get the guts to ask you out they care about their pride more than they care about being with you! You want someone who will fight for you, right?

Today’s lesson: It’s better to be overly clear and upfront with your intentions than to be ambiguous when you ask someone out. Getting turned down sucks, but it’s so much better to find out sooner rather than later that someone isn’t interested in dating you… That way you can move on to another person who will totally want to go on a date!

Featuring The Face Behind SITS

I thought it would be fun for my favorite guest to do a little interview with me. I had a few friends help me come up with questions to ask him, and the gentleman I am oh so fond of answered some questions about what it’s like dating me. Enjoy!

Single In The Suburbs:
Tell us, what is it really like dating Krista?

Robert:
Dating Krista has been an awesome experience. Krista is somebody that is so positive about everything. She genuinely cares about others around her much more than she does herself, and she proves that in everything she writes about on this blog. I knew she is an amazing person from the beginning, but this was solidified the night before my flight from Virginia to Texas to begin my deployment when she gave me a book of letters she collected and laminated from my friends and family. She had reached out to them because she wanted to give me something nice from everybody before I left, and I was amazed with how many of my friends and family participated. Amazing.

SITS:
In a sentence, what is the best thing about dating her?

Robert:
This will be tough to do in just one sentence, but let’s try… The best thing about dating Krista is that she truly is a good person; that she is beautiful, inside and out; that she is an amazingly talented writer and I’ve enjoyed reading all her work, plus she sends me a lot of letters and cards (to include a letter for each week of my deployment); that she is extremely intelligent; that she loves playing Mario games, and is ok with me beating her; that she has sent me a million care packages while I’ve been deployed; that she trusts me, and it’s very easy for me to trust her; that she is open about everything; that we enjoy everything we do together. OK, I think that’s one good sentence.

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This is a photo Robert took of me in our first few months together. I always think it’s cute when guys take pictures of their girlfriends, but I’ve never had someone sneak attack take photos of me like Robert does!

SITS:
In a sentence, what is the worst thing about dating her? (Be honest!)

Robert:
Krista enjoys making cookies — and I enjoy eating them.


SITS:

Have you noticed any interesting or annoying habits she has?

Robert:
I haven’t noticed any annoying habits, but there are a couple interesting/funny ones. My favorite is probably when we’re playing super smash brothers (yes, we’re nerds). She does two things while playing this that crack me up. If she sees something funny happen in the game, she will start laughing hysterically, which in turn makes me, and anybody else playing with us laugh as well. Also when she sees an item that she wants she’ll say out loud, “HEY! I want that!” I think it’s really cute… But I still usually don’t allow her to get it.


SITS:
How do you feel about Single In The Suburbs?

Robert:
This is a tough one. I met Krista about a year ago and I knew what I was getting into with her dating blog. I understood where she was in her life, and that she needs this blog because it really is a part of her, who she is, and what she does. It obviously isn’t easy to read about when she goes on a date that isn’t me; however, almost everything I’ve read on her blog that was about a specific date was me… So I’m OK with that. My attempts at getting her to change her blog from “Single in The Suburbs” to “dating a really, really, ridiculously awesome guy who also went to George Mason and is especially cool because he’s a Patriots fan who is converting me to a Patriots fan as well” has thus far been unsuccessful. Maybe when I get back and can think of an even better blog title than that, we can make it happen.

SITS:
On a related note, how do you feel being written about so often? You are clearly “Boston” and “Army.”

Robert:
I am very glad to know that I am “Boston” and “Army”. I had some suspicions but I’m happy it is confirmed! In all seriousness, I enjoy reading all her posts. I love the posts about me because she finds ways to make me sound positive most of the time… but I particularly the ones that aren’t about me because I know about myself. I like to learn about new things about her.


SITS:
Tell us one of her deepest, darkest secrets. (Editor’s note: I will kill you if you say too much)

Robert:
This one will get me into trouble… Krista has told me a lot of secrets! I guess the one I’ll mention here is the fact that she NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE.*

SITS:
What is the most embarrassed you’ve been on a date with Krista?

Robert:
I’ll name two… Number 1, when we were walking around Arlington on a date looking at Christmas lights, she got down on one knee and pretended to propose to me. That was pretty embarrassing because there were a lot of people around. Number 2, she threw me a surprise birthday at a hibachi place… In November… 4 months before my birthday. She had stopped by the place earlier to drop off birthday balloons and cupcakes so that they could present me with these gifts in front of the entire restaurant when I brought her back later.


SITS:

How did you feel going into the first date? What about after it?

Robert:
OK, this question requires some background knowledge for your readers… Our first date almost never happened. In fact, our original first date got canceled. In late September last year, I found out that I was going to be placed on active duty orders out in Staunton, Virginia in preparation for the deployment I am currently on in the Middle East. The day I found out about that was the day of our first date. When I learned that Krista was planning on with meeting up with her friends after our date, I thought that was her way of telling me that she didn’t want to be out with me very long that night, and since I would very soon be moving to Staunton, I decided maybe we should just cancel it.

The Army isn’t the best at handling money. So, I was in Staunton the last week of September, but because the government’s fiscal year ends on September 30th, there weren’t enough funds to keep me out there until they were able to pass a budget. So I moved back to Arlington for a couple weeks while they sorted that out, and reconnected with Krista.

For whatever reason, Krista decided to see me after that previous cancellation, and with the knowledge that I would be living in Staunton and deploying to the Middle East in March. To get to the actual question now –- I was very excited going into the first date with her. We talked a lot leading up to the date, so I was pretty comfortable with the whole thing. The date went very well,even through some awkward secrets and stories that we shared. When I left, I felt pretty happy about the way it went, but as most people do, I probably over-thought about some of the things I said or did. It turns out the date went pretty well and we had a great connection, so we saw each other again soon after. I was also able to be back in Northern Virginia Friday – Monday nights and was able to take a lot of leave as well. The only reason I made that commute several times a week was because of her.

SITS:
What is your favorite memory together?

Robert:
I have so many great memories with Krista that it doesn’t seem right to only pick one. However, I will say that if I HAVE to pick one, it would be the last time I saw her. My unit of 26 Soldiers flew out of Fort Hood and Dallas in April. Because of weather, flights were getting delayed across the country and they had to put us all on different planes. A group of us ended up in Baltimore, and were stuck there for 2 days until we could pick up a flight overseas. Krista came to visit me in Baltimore. Krista, do that thing where you put a link in to your previous story about this experience so everyone can read about our 2 day date in Baltimore…

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This was the most grateful I’ve ever been to have a tearful goodbye.

 

SITS:
Tell us the most interesting “Krista story” you have heard since meeting her.

Robert:
The most interesting story to me is the story about how her life changed after she was diagnosed with POTS. Krista doesn’t realize it sometimes, but she’s one of the strongest people I know. She always says things like “I wish you knew me before I got POTS”, but I can’t imagine a stronger, more beautiful girl than the girl I know right now.

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This is a fun photo my best friend Audrey took of me!


SITS:
Would you change anything about Krista? If so, what?

Robert:
Ha. I’m not falling for this trap!


*Some things are secrets for a reason. This is something only my best friend and Robert know, and we’re going to keep it that way.


If you are in need of a photographer in the DMV area please shoot me a message and I’ll connect you to my beautiful friend Audrey!

Boston

I sat in the passenger of his Ford F-150 as he passed behind the truck to the driver’s side. He never let me open my own door, and I loved that. Yet again it was just another bonus to dating him. I was beginning to find every little thing he did was just a bonus to how wonderful I thought this human was.

He slid effortlessly into the driver’s seat and leaned over to kiss me. I beamed. I felt like the most special girl in the world and we hadn’t even gone on our date yet. He took my hand and held it close to my body as we pulled onto the highway. I smiled as I gazed at his pretty brown eyes. I don’t think anything about men is supposed to be considered pretty, but there isn’t a strong enough word for a male that I can use — I have never been so mesmerized by a guy before. This isn’t a feeling I hear many girls describe about their boyfriends, and I noted the warmth fill my heart.

I blushed as he looked over and caught me staring. He smiled, and I melted a little more.

We parked the car and he didn’t let go of my hand until he hopped out of the car and ran around to my side to open my door again. How long had I been a Princess? It felt like a lifetime, but we’ve only known each other seven months.

I took his hand, made the leap of faith from the tall truck, and realized I had fallen in love as fast as the trip my feet took from the carpeted mats in his Ford to the gravel pavement beneath my sneakers. He closed the door with one hand and took mine in the other. He made a joke, I laughed, and fell just a little deeper.

This was a relationship unlike any that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. The smallest trips to the grocery store became another page of our story. They weren’t errands — they were just spending time together.

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Some things in life you don’t think have an end in sight. It’s frightening when that thing is a romance. One of many dictionary definitions for the word is,

“A strong, sometimes short-lived attachment, fascination, or enthusiasm for something.”

I close my eyes and pray that it won’t be short-lived; the thought of that brings a sharp pain to my heart. A heart can be broken more than once, and there aren’t any promises things will work out. We’ve only been in each other’s lives for a short while, but one day a short romance is going to blossom into a lifelong love. I don’t have any way of knowing whether or not I’ll be caught or end up shattered on the ground, but right now I am closing my eyes, inhaling deeply, and taking the plunge.

A Day In The Life Of Pain

6:15 PM
Shit, I mumble as my leg gives out from the shooting pain striking through my body like a lightening bolt.

I rarely curse unless it’s when I write about something that upsets me or when I’m in terrible pain. “Rarely” changed to “several times a week” when my chronic widespread pain came about.

6:20
I make my way over to the couch, carrying my premade dinner in one hand and a salt shaker in the other. My pain dictates where I sit every night. Sometimes my neck is killing me and I need to perch at the dinner table where I probably belong. Other days my shoulders hurt or I am dizzy from a skewy autonomic nervous system disorder and need to recline further on a couch. Not long ago I had a lucky streak and thought things were taking a turn for the better. Those days I got to choose where I wanted to sit and whether or not I wanted to get out of the house.

6:24
It’s hard to eat when you’re nauseous, but severe pain rarely comes without a guest. The headaches are the one I dread the most, but neither symptom is a fun one to deal with. I think about my physical therapy and how it’s three days away. I don’t feel like I can make it that long without having needles stuck in my arms and wiggled around in the giant, painful triggerpoint knots until it hurts so much I want to scream, but the aftermath of dry needling is worth the pain I go through of getting it done. My arms stay painfully sore for 24 hours after, but my chronic pain levels do drop significantly for several days when I do get needled.

6:27
I should document the pain I am having in my “symptom journal,” but quickly stifle the thought. It’s ironic after all; it hurts my arms to write down the problems I have all day, and frankly I am in pain almost all day, every day, so what’s the use?

6:45
I can’t take it anymore, and decide I need some sort of relief. It’s either doing my postural series, or taking a hot bath. Going to sleep early isn’t an option, as it just means lying in bed several hours before my body lets me drift to sleep. I’ll opt for the bath. Again.

7:00
I used to love taking baths to unwind after a long day at school or work. My eyes graze over my past sanctuary, and I think back to how nice it was when the calm, warm water felt relaxing over my skin. Tears well up in my eyes as I write this, as I don’t remember the last time I have felt “relaxed.” The last time I sat on a fluffy bed I thought about how nice it was that I could actually fall asleep somewhere other than the bed at home I have taken years to improve as my symptoms got worse. I don’t remember the last time I genuinely felt comfortable somewhere.
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7:03
I slip into the hot water and quickly decide I need more cold if I don’t want to pass out. POTS can be very finicky, and I don’t want to have a new problem — possibly drowning — on my hands. I have enough medical issues to deal with right now, thank you very much!
The water cools down quickly and I lean back onto the towel-pillow I made at the edge of the bath. Gossip Girl is playing softly in the background, but I quickly find that I can’t get comfortable enough to watch the screen in the tub. I turn off the iPad and on The Kane Show Podcast I had been listening to for the past several years.
I close my eyes and lean back. Pain shoots from the base of my neck to my head, and I twist and turn until I find a spot that doesn’t hurt as much. At least this will be good for my arms, I think to myself as I float them back and forth in the warm water.

7:16
Everyone tells me water is therapeutic, and I finally start to agree. My muscles are slowly calming down and I feel like I can actually think.

7:50
My 47 minutes in heaven are over. I have to get out of the bath now, unless I want to look and feel like a prune the rest of the evening. Plus the position is terrible for my aching neck, and I don’t want to trade one pain for another. I have learned a lot about ergonomics in the past two years, and wish I had known about them before my first several bouts of chronic pain.
Now I am very careful to prevent any kind of pain I possibly can. I feel pretty high maintenance when I go out with friends, but they at least understand and can forgive me for it; pain, on the other hand, can not.

8:03
I’m in my PJs and ready for bed, but can’t go to sleep yet. It gets tiring flipping back and forth, as I never have a comfortable position, and I don’t have enough energy to do this for more than two hours. My body doesn’t usually let me fall asleep until after midnight, so I go downstairs to wait.

8:05
I open the Facebook app on my phone to take a look at the world I was once a part of. I’ve always realized life on this website isn’t really realistic, but I believe my guess that the majority of my twentysomething friends don’t face chronic medical issues every day. Some of them do, though, and many of those people look like they are normal. I know that better than most.

8:06
My arms hurt. I snap my elbow and realize I need to go back to my world. I close the app and turn to the television.

8:08
I realize nothing has helped as much as I had hoped. I heat up my herbal neck pillow and rest it on my neck.
Different nights call for different activities, but on really bad evenings I can’t really think and will tune in to an audiobook, catch up on whatever reality TV show I’m into, or visit with friends. Almost everything hurts — I can’t read or write, as both of those involve some sort of use of my arms — but I always try to stay optimistic and realize that one day I will have a day where I feel good again… Just not today.

I searched the document and the word “pain” was listed 21 times in the 2 hour time period I documented. Instead of editing it to make it more readable, I left the number because I felt it touches the surface on how hard it is to deal with so much pain, day in, and day out.

22.

Singleness Is Not The Same As Loneliness

I went through the first breakup of my entire life just over a year ago.

In all honesty I was absolutely terrified about re-entering the world without my significant other by my side. Many of my single friends seemed to hate being “alone” and I watched girl after girl get dumped, and either get back together with her ex or find a new guy within the matter of weeks.

Being single must really suck, I thought to myself. After all, some people I knew went to great lengths to be in some sort of a relationship, even when it wasn’t the right one. Others complained about how hard it was to find a great guy, and wondered aloud whether they would always be single.

I never had a problem being by myself before — I was actually super-single until I was nineteen. I was a late bloomer and honestly didn’t care about my relationship status (Or lack thereof); my first boyfriend just kind of fell into my lap, and then stuck around for another 5 years.

The scariest thing about a breakup, to me, was that I didn’t have any female role models in my life who I felt managed their breakups well. I’m sure I have plenty of friends who did, they just didn’t talk about how terrible a breakup felt while they were going through it, and I didn’t really realize at the time how hard it is to leave someone you are so comfortable with.

If I could get one message across to the girls (And guys!) who read this blog, it’s that being single does not mean you are lonely.

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After months of fighting the inevitable, I finally took the leap of faith alone. The uncertainty of the situation was terrifying, but I knew I had an army of friends and family who would help me through my first breakup. Just because I didn’t have one particular person to look up to about being single didn’t mean happy single people didn’t exist. This was when I decided to be my own role model and choose the way I wanted to look at being single.

Part of our breakup wasn’t a choice; my boyfriend and I were going to break up, whether I liked it or not. The loss of someone who had been such a rock in my life was devastating, but I was strong enough to get back up on my feet and keep going through life. My friends were amazing and 100% there for me, whether it was during work hours or at 3 in the morning. I really do think breakups are one of life’s biggest pains that almost everyone can be empathetic toward. There is something about that terrifying time in your life that most people can relate to, so they gather around to help in any possible way they can.

Once I was out of the relationship I felt free. I realized being single meant I could find the right person for me one day and that in the meantime I could have fun with my girl friends and my family. I was no longer wasting time my time with someone who wouldn’t be there for me in the long run, and was able to build on other relationships — one of those being my relationship with myself.

I have so much more to write about singleness and breakups, but this is a good start. I just want to be very clear in saying that being single is not a terrible, lonely thing — it is a great learning experience and an amazing time to grow if you allow it to be. Just because you have a friend or two who don’t like being single, does not mean your fate is sealed. Be your own role model, and your own best friend. After all, you know what you need better than anyone else!

Today’s lesson: Instead of running into a new relationship you can develop your own interests, meet new people, and strengthen friendships with people who will be around for the long haul. No matter what happens in life, you will always have yourself, so you might as well become the best version of you to live with!

#Blessed

This weekend was one where I really felt like the luckiest girl in the world, and all of the people who made me feel this way probably don’t even know that they had such an impact on me.

Not only were friends amazing, but I had several encounters with strangers that made my heart feel happy. I don’t even think I could write a post thankful enough for everyone (my arms won’t hold up too long today, so I have to make this as brief as possible!), but I’m going to do my best.

First, everyone seemed so in tune with all of the pain I’ve been experiencing lately. I never in a million years thought people rushing to doors ahead of me to hold them open could mean so much, but this weekend proved me wrong. Everyone is also always so kind about making sure I have a comfortable seat to sit in, as POTS makes me kind of a grandma and will make the chronic pain a lot worse if I don’t have an ergonomically correct chair to sit in.

I went to a game night with a small group of friends on Saturday and had such a busy day before that I didn’t know what was going on for dinner. We got there and were informed that everything was gluten-free so instead of picking out the ingredients I could eat anything that was there. Not only did they remember my gluten-free diet, but they didn’t put tomatoes in any of the Mexican dishes because they remembered I couldn’t have those either. Sometimes I even forget that I can’t eat tomatoes anymore, so it really meant so much that they remembered after I had briefly mentioned it once. They even made gluten-free brownies for the group and everyone had to choke down the food that I now love and look forward to (Seriously, gluten-free brownies are my favorite food!).

I had planned to take an Uber home from a lunch my dad had dropped me off at, but one of my best friends and her fiancee picked me up and took me to get a milkshake on the way home instead. When I told them they shouldn’t make the trip back to my house and that I was set with an Uber ride, they were adamant that friends don’t let friends take Uber. This situation is the exact same I have with one of my good friends who goes out of his way to take me to game nights. Uber really is missing out on a lot of business with me — my friends and family are all just too great!

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My weekend ended with going to dinner, dessert, and a makeup shopping spree with my best friend, and when I got home I found a note from her in my purse that made me cry. She reminded me of the story of Job in the Bible, and how God allowed Satan to tempt him, which ended up making Job stronger and more refined than he was before his trials. Things have taken a turn for the worse lately, but I know without a doubt that God is here with me and loves me. He has a better plan for me than I could have ever come up with myself, and I am slowly learning to trust Him.


I genuinely think I am the most blessed person in the world. I have more love in my life than anyone I know, and I thank God every day for placing so many amazing people in my path. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know what I did to deserve getting sick and having so much pain in my life, but when I really look at everything I realize I also don’t know how in the world I ended up with so much love. I really am blessed.

Letters To My Seventeen-Year-Old Self: Be Confident With Your Crush!

As I mentioned before, I am doing a segment for teens now by writing letters to my seventeen-year-old self. This week I wanted to focus on one of my favorite subjects — dating! This definitely would not have been a favorite of mine in high school, though, as it was actually very nonexistent.


Dear Krista,

I know all about the crush you have on that guy on the swim team. Yes, you were spot-on that he is a kind and good person, but he isn’t too good for you. Always remember that we all have our own strengths. You don’t believe that you are better than anyone, but no one is better than you either. We can’t compare apples to oranges and everyone has their own beautifully unique gifts and talents to offer the world. Stop being shy and pretending to text your friends when you would rather talk to talk to him instead. You’ll both be gone from this town one day and moving on with your lives. He’ll find someone great, but so will you.

Maybe you just aren’t meant to have a high school sweetheart, but just making a new friend shouldn’t be such a frightening thought. You will date plenty of guys when you’re ready (Trust me; you’d laugh if you knew one day you’d have a dating blog and are actually exceptionally good at navigating through the dating world). Stop trying to push yourself to grow up. Keep enjoying the free time you get to have fun with your friends and be silly; life comes at you fast, and one day you’ll have fond memories of being young and carefree.

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You’ll have your heart broken by your first love one day, and you’ll break plenty of hearts too. Just because you are a late bloomer doesn’t mean you’ll never find love. You’ll find it a few times and in different ways. Some people will love you for superficial things, others will love you for your personality, and you’ll get lucky and meet a few people who love you for your soul. Each love is great and special in its own way, but you only need one to stick. Who you choose to love last is the most important, and one day he’ll be the only one of the string of boys who really matters. Love deeply, love fearlessly, and most of all, learn to love yourself. No matter what happens with the guys you date you are the one person who will be there for the rest of your life.

Love,
25-year-old Krista

Words Have Power, Sweetheart

It’s crazy how much tone plays a role in communication.

I used to date someone who made me cringe every time he called me “sweetheart.” This made me kind of sad, as I thought the nickname was one of the cutest someone could own, but this particular person always called me that when I did something wrong. If I took a wrong turn because I misunderstood the GPS, he would yell, “Sweetheart!” in his flustered voice. He would then scold me about how it was going to take even longer to reach our destination now, and that I should pay closer attention to my girl Siri.

Most of the time this word would slip from his lips when he was scolding me for something minor. I don’t know what this person had against the word, but it was apparently something to use only in circumstances of utter frustration or mild rage.

Then I met someone new. He is kind and gentle and patient.

He calls me sweetheart all the time, but instead of barking it sharply at me, he sings the word happily, as it should be said. I am slowly getting used to the joy of getting lost and making an adventure of it, rather than my mistake turning into a fight, and I am still easily spooked when I have one of my lovely “blonde moments” that might inconvenience either of us. I’ve learned that my old love was not the norm, and that I wasn’t crazy for thinking he was overreacting. I definitely won’t let someone treat me poorly again when I make a mistake (I am only human after all), and I finally realize that someone I date doesn’t have to be cruel when I mess something up.

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Please learn from my mistakes. A large part of this blog was created in order to tell my funny stories to friends, but I also am so passionate about sharing some of the behaviors that I accepted in an emotionally abusive relationship so that others can recognize behaviors that are absolutely unhealthy if they ever are in a situation similar to my own. On the surface you don’t necessarily notice all the screwed up things that are going on, but when you dig deeper into what a healthy relationship should look like, an emotionally abusive relationship can become easier to recognize. If you have any doubts at all that your partner isn’t treating you right, (s)he very well may not be. Check out my older post about how I finally recognized that I wasn’t in a healthy relationship, and please seek help if you feel that you are not being treated fairly. There are so many amazing people in this world; don’t settle for someone who doesn’t treat you the way you would like your best friend to be treated in a relationship.


Here is one resource if you feel like you have any questions about whether your relationship is healthy. As I said before, if you think something isn’t right, trust your gut. Talk to someone you love and trust, or seek help if necessary. Or feel free to send me a message; I am definitely not an expert, but I will help you find one who can help you.

Feature Friday: One Fierce Female

I have known Emily for years now, and seen her go through several life transitions with grace and poise. Whether it’s a breakup, a new job, or falling in love, Emily is always classy while choosing to never settle for less than she deserves. Frankly, I think she’s the “real girls’ Beyoncé.”

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One thing I’ve always loved about Emily is how great she is at balancing life. She’s one person I’ve never seen ditch her friends when she got a new bae, and she’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known, but she never lets work get in the way of a healthy social life. She sings at church every Sunday, attends alum events for her sorority, celebrates her girl friends, spends quality time with her boyfriend, and manages to see her family on a regular basis. Basically, I am pretty sure Emily is some sort of superhero, and I haven’t seen any sort of Kryptonite yet.

Single in The Suburbs:
Emily! Would you please introduce yourself to my readers?

Emily:
My name is Emily, and as you stated, Krista and I met and became friends during our to time at GMU! I earned my Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance there. I am currently the Lead Administrator at Robert Half’s DC office. I’m also a voice teacher and resident singer at a local church.

SITS:
You are fiercely independent. Do you think you were born that way or is it something you developed?

Emily:
Thank you, that means so much! I really think it was something I developed. Many people don’t know this about me, but I was born with an auditory-language processing disorder. It took me a long time to even learn to talk. I began taking some special education classes as a toddler, and teachers weren’t sure if I could succeed in our school system.

However, in the transition from elementary school to middle school, I truly began to understand the value of hard work. I studied all of the time and sought out help when I needed it. Soon enough, I was out of special classes and taking AP and Honors classes. I went to the top of my class in middle school, and that continued throughout high school and college. Those years were pivotal for me in helping me understand the value of perseverance. If you want to achieve a goal, you have to put in the work.

SITS:
You go girl! I didn’t know that about you, but it makes me love your story even more.

Here’s something I think a lot of people struggle with when they get into a new relationship. Why do you think it’s important to maintain close friendships even when you have a great guy?

Emily:
You have to have balance! Jarrod and I have to make time for our friends together and separately. I’d like to think we’re pretty good about that. We encourage each other to spend time with our friends, and invite them out so our friends can meet each other. It’s important to devote time to your friends, just as it is with your partner. If you claim to have some kind of relationship with people, you need to take the time to be there for those people.
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SITS:
You seem to have a great work/life balance, as well as being able to juggle your time between the important people in your life. How do you do that? Do you sometimes have trouble choosing how to prioritize?
Emily:

Honestly, I have to work at this every day. Some days, I feel like I have this balancing act down. Other days I feel like I am completely out of whack. I work extremely hard at everything I do and sometimes I can give too much energy to one thing instead of keeping a balance.

I do think I’m improving every day, though! I make sure I take my full lunch break now, leave work on time instead of staying late, work out, and fit in time with the people I love — even if it means putting a reminder on my work calendar. The other day, I came upon this quote:
“If it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes upset by it.”
That stuck with me. It’s so easy to let the little annoyances of daily life get to you, but they just don’t matter. At the end of the day it’s not so much about making a living as it is about making a life.

SITS:
Those are great tips, Emily.
What kind of advice do you have for single girls who are currently looking for a relationship?

Emily:
DON’T SETTLE. Seriously. There’s nothing wrong with being single. Even if all your friends are married. So what? If you’re waiting for a partner to be happy, you’ll never be happy. Make sure you have a good relationship with yourself first. It might be a cliché, but it’s true. 

SITS:
What do you think some perks of being single are? What about being in a relationship?

Emily:
Disclaimer: I don’t want to go back to being single. I’m very happy with Jarrod, but…

When you’re single, you only have to be concerned with your schedule, which is convenient. You can go on dates if you want, or if you don’t want to, then don’t! I went through periods where I dated, and then times where I didn’t. It really helped me focus on accepting and loving myself for who I am. I feel like that really prepared me for being in a relationship.
Relationship pros include: having a best friend who’s always there, someone to share your life with, having someone there that helps you grow as a person. The important part of these pros is that you have the right person there as your partner, and that can mean different things for different people. Everyone has their own idea of what a relationship should look like, and that’s great as long as it works for them! Jarrod and I challenge each other to be the best versions of ourselves in every way, and we teach each other how to love better.
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SITS:
You recently got a pretty sweet promotion at work because you took initiative and asked for it — congratulations! How did you feel before you asked? What kind of advice would you give for other twentysomethings in the work force?

Emily:
Thank you so much! I hadn’t really done anything like that before, but I felt confident going into it, which I think really helped. Preparation is absolutely key. I did all of my research on my position, compensation, and the marketplace, and then I presented my business case.

SITS:
What is the biggest dream you are working towards right now?

Emily:
My biggest dream now is moving on to grad school. I am looking at programs in Speech/Voice Pathology, so that I can use my knowledge and study of the voice to help those who have speech and communication issues.  However, I have a couple different programs in mind, so I’m continuing to gain experience in the workforce and research different schools until I am sure which specialization I want to pursue. I continue to teach voice and sing on the weekends to keep up with my vocal studies.


If you would like to be featured on Single in The Suburbs, send me a message and we’ll see if we can come up with a fun story to share!

What Should You Do If He Puts Work First?

I’ve had several people talk to me about relationships that weren’t meeting their needs, so I finally decided to answer one of my reader questions on here for everyone to see, as I think this is a really important topic that has been brought up a lot lately.

What should you do if your significant other consistently puts work (or something else) above you?

Honestly, this totally depends on your priorities as well.

This isn’t something that will ever fly with me again because people and relationships are the highest thing on my priority list. I once dated someone who had a pretty demanding work/school life, and our communication had to keep getting cut down significantly as he dove deeper and deeper into his professional goals. Work needs to be a priority in order to survive, but I completely disagreed with his argument that relationships can’t be prioritized above a job. This doesn’t mean that more time has to be invested into a S.O. than in work, but it does mean you are making decisions together and giving quality free time to your partner.

Just because this is the way I feel about the subject, doesn’t mean everyone wants to put their romantic relationship as a very top priority, though. Here’s how this kind of relationship can work. If work is your highest priority right now that’s totally fine! You just have to make sure your significant other is on the same page. Maybe he puts his career first as well so you can both pull late nights without upsetting one another. Or maybe he has other relationships that he can put lots of time into and doesn’t mind sacrificing time with his bae for her work. As long as you know where you stand and are upfront with your priorities, a relationship centered around something other than each other can likely work. I don’t have very much advice beyond this, as I can’t really relate to wanting a career more than meaningful relationships, but I definitely think there are plenty of people in the world who do want this kind of setup.

The advice I can give is that if you are like me and want someone who puts you above other aspects of life that you should pay very close attention to their actions, rather than what they have to say. If your significant other is genuine about his intentions of prioritizing your relationship in his life you will be able to tell.

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Today’s lesson: Actions speak louder than words.

Bonus lesson: there are billions of people in the world. If you’re dating someone who doesn’t meet your basic needs or has different priorities than you do, end the relationship sooner rather than later. You can and will find someone who is a much better match for you!