With Valentine’s Day coming up in a few days, we received a ton of questions from you all about romantic love. Just as reminder, love comes in all forms and looks different for everyone. If you don’t have a special someone in your life yet, make sure to cherish the other relationships that are important to you and show them love and appreciation!
Q: How do I focus more on myself and less on my romantic life and finding the “perfect person”?
A: It’s easy to get swept away by the idea of love and romance, so much so that many of us forget to prioritize ourselves. If your goal is to focus more on yourself, then you must find ways to remind yourself that you are the main character in your story!
What about yourself do you want to focus on? I recommend making a list of a couple things which you want to do more regularly to focus on you. Determine the aspects of your life where you want to show yourself more care and practice self-love in a way that makes you feel fulfilled. Maybe this looks like eating your favorite meals, adding physical movement into your routine, or scheduling time for yourself to read, watch your favorite movie or unwind at the end of the day.
To me, focusing on yourself means having the opportunity to do what makes you happy. Make yourself feel special by taking yourself on dates, trying new things that you’ve always wanted to, creating a specific playlist for your walk to class, wearing an outfit that makes you feel confident, or treating yourself to something that will sweeten your day.
Putting your happiness first can also look like setting boundaries about things that you no longer want to tolerate in your life and advocating for your wants and needs. Just remember that focusing on what’s best for you takes time, so be kind to yourself if it takes longer than expected to change your point of view.
All this is to say: you are your perfect person.
Focusing on yourself will make your romantic life even better when you’re ready to jump back into dating, because you will realize that your person will add to your life, rather than filling the spaces where we need to love ourselves. Be the best version of you and, chances are, you’ll find your person without even looking as they will be drawn to the love and compassion which you already show yourself.
Q: How do I know it’s the right time to say “I love you” to my partner? I feel strongly that this is the next step in our relationship. I’m nervous to be the one to say it and want my partner to say it first. Maybe I should just say it first? If so, what would be some good ways to go about saying this to my partner?
A: Saying “I love you” is a big step in any relationship and the right time to say it is going be dependent on you and if you are ready to share more of yourself with your partner. Sometimes this is when you really think about how much this person means to you. Sometimes love hits you out of nowhere and you just know. I think that if you have really thought about it (and it seems like you have), then you should put yourself out there and tell them how you feel!
Being vulnerable is scary. Telling someone that you love them for the first time can be even scarier because you do not know what they might say in response. Before you tell them how you feel, you can always have a conversation with them about the status of your relationship to get a better idea of how/what they are feeling about you and where the relationship is going.
I’m not sure that there is a bad way to tell someone that you love them! If anything, make sure that you and your partner are in a physical space where you feel comfortable sharing this and that they have the space/time to process, just in case they do not know how they feel or what to say. I would also recommend you say ‘I love you’ when you really feel it. You can absolutely make saying ‘I love you’ special by taking them on a date or a pretty spot to make it memorable, but it is just as meaningful to tell someone you love them in the moment when spending quality time together and you are ready to tell them.
What’s meant to be will be, so if you feel comfortable and confident in taking this next step with your partner, you can’t go wrong.
Q:How much time together is too much time together? My partner and I are both introverts. Though we’re in different colleges, we would call each other for the majority of our free time. Personally, I still feel like I have an independent life with no compromise to my social life here, but most of my friends say that spending so much time together will never work in the long run.
A: Too much time together is when the relationship begins interfering with other parts of your life. If you are unable to manage your schoolwork, miss out on hobbies, extracurriculars, or other relationships (including the relationship you have with yourself), then you might be spending too much time with a partner.
Introverts don’t go out every single day, but they still have hobbies, a few friends, or just want some time to be alone. When a relationship starts affecting those things because of the time or energy you’re putting into it, then it can become unhealthy or even abusive. Relationships are supposed to add to your life, not take away from it.
There are two important parts to your question. The first is that you feel like you can have an independent life without any of your other relationships being affected. The other is that you have people who care for you voicing their concerns.
If someone was in a potentially unhealthy situation where they were spending too much time with their partner, an outside perspective can be eye-opening.
If your relationship is safe, healthy, and balanced, this moment could be an opportunity to bring this concern up with your partner to see what they think. Even if things feel like they’re going wel,l it can be helpful to check in periodically to make sure everyone’s boundaries are being respected
Please continue to send in questions for Dear Tyler and Jay using the link below and go to HopkinsGroups to learn more about some workshops that Health Promotion & Well-Being will be having related to love and healthy relationships.
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Note: DT&J is intended to educate and spark discussion. The advice offered is intended for informational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. If you need help getting started, you can email email@example.com.