photo of rainbow colored painting on canvas

What’s Your Favorite Color?

Yesterday, March 28th, marked the beginning of Holi, a festival of colors & spring that signifies the victory of good over evil. I’ve always been a huge fan of color, coloring, & coloring books. When I was in kindergarten, I would often bring a stack of coloring books from home & crayons to school with me. During recess, I would lay out the coloring books on a table with crayons in the center for everyone to share. Without proactively inviting anyone to join me, kids from my class would come to take a seat & color with me all recess instead of playing. For my 22nd birthday, my friend gifted me a Hello Kitty coloring book with twist-up crayons that I loved! And when adult coloring books & colored pencils became popular as a young adult, I was ecstatic! My brother even gifted me an adult Harry Potter coloring book for Christmas last year. Even though I don’t color nearly as often as I did as a child, coloring has always been very therapeutic to me, so with that in mind, I recently decided to look into Color Therapy.


Color Therapy, also known as Chromotherapy, is the concept that mental & physical health can be improved & treated using color. Color & colored light can create subtle changes in a person’s mood & behavior. I’ve always considered the influence of color when designing my past websites as well as branding. I made my 1st website when I was 11. I can still see the simple HTML coding in my mind. It had “Neecie’s Mystic Universe” in bold multi-colored letters, a black background, & lime green arial font. lol

A few years ago, I attended an Exploratorium After Dark in San Francisco. There was an exhibit where you place your head in an orb that would cycle through the color spectrum. I remember awkwardly sitting with my head in the bubble imagining I must look like a crazy, nerdy astronaut to everyone passing by. But then the colored lights started & I forgot about everyone else judging me, & instead immersed myself in the experience & how I felt with each new color. It was an incredibly memorable experience. Too often, people choose to turn to alcohol, drugs, or even prescribed mood-enhancing medicine to lift their spirits. But since adding a pop of color to your life is much easier & quite-frankly healthier, I’m going to give you some DIY Color Therapy tips today!

The Seven Chakras

Color Therapy can be linked to your chakras. If you’re not familiar with the seven chakras, feel free to read my previous blog about them here. Depending on the energy you need to balance or unblock in terms of your energy, that’s the color you should be using or tuning into:

  • PURPLE for when you’re feeling misunderstood & disconnected from the Universe.
  • INDIGO for when you’re struggling to trust your intuition or feel unable to see the bigger picture.
  • BLUE for when you’re having trouble communicating & expressing yourself.
  • GREEN for when you’re having trouble giving or receiving love.
  • YELLOW for when you need a boost of confidence.
  • ORANGE for when you struggle with being social or following your passions.
  • RED for when you’re unsure of who you are, feeling unstable or stagnant.

Here are some ways to implement color & consider how color affects your every day life:

Disconnect from screens a few hours before bed or invest in blue light filtering glasses.

Over-exposure to blue light, which is emitted from smartphones, tablets, laptops, TVs, etc., can affect your circadian rhythm, making it more difficult to sleep at night.

Spend more time outdoors in the sunlight.

Natural sunlight & greenery is magical in my opinion. Even though I have sensitive skin & tend to sunburn easily, with a little more SPF added to my daily routine, I’ve been able to spend more & more time in the sun. Sunlight naturally recharges me, making me feel more confident, & green landscapes, trees, & colorful flowers fill me with love & joy.

Decorate your home & personal spaces using color.

Colors that you’re drawn to when decorating are a big clue into what you may feel that you’re lacking in your life. In the past, I was only drawn to black & purple. I know now that I wasn’t in touch with my spirituality, nor did I understand or embrace my place in the universe back then. I didn’t realize how out of alignment I had become. Despite being raised as Catholic, for a long time, I was rejecting my higher self & higher purpose in life. When I was decorating my new bedroom in Oakland, I used almost every color in a rainbow, so I’m very glad to say that I’m much more in alignment & fully embrace my spirituality now.

Key Takeaways

Growing up, I always felt very “unique”, but I also took being misunderstood in stride. With the lessons that I learned last year, I suddenly needed & wanted to incorporate more color into my life. I now surround myself with every color under the sun & proactively choose anything other than black, grey, or white on purpose.

What’s your favorite color? Mine has always been purple. But over the past year, through decorating my actual apartment, my house on Sims 4, & my house on Animal Crossing, I’ve also fallen in love with yellow & green. lol These colors signify my need for more self-confidence, self-love, & keeping my heart more open in general. As you continue to learn & grow as a person, keep in mind the colors that your eyes gravitate towards. It could be a huge clue & indicator of what you need more of in your life. Consider how you can slowly incorporate certain colors into your life to help you improve that area of your life, instead of relying on bad habits, drugs, or alcohol.

XO Denise


mysterious shadow behind dark backdrop

Release & Let Go

Unconditional love involves being able to release & let go. The Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy was on TV this past weekend. I shamelessly admit that I made myself cozy on my couch with a mug of peppermint tea, a comfy blanket, & my cutie pug, Pogi & enjoyed every minute. I succumbed to the hype & read all three books back in the day. My sister & I did the Fifty Shades of Grey tag on my YouTube channel. I even watched the movies with my friends for Galentine’s Day three years in a row.

The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy gets a lot of criticism that I won’t go into right now, but you’re more than welcome to judge for yourself. There are some spoilers ahead, so if you want to stop before proceeding, now is a good time to do so. With that said & with Christian Grey in mind, let’s discuss that needing to control your partner is not love.

My Controlling Ex

In my most unfulfilling relationship, my partner was controlling & obsessed with me. It may seem like a dream come true to have a partner who wants to protect you at all costs & wait on you hand & foot, but I absolutely hated it. Before we were official, he stalked my social media channels for any indication of ways to win my heart. He also asked my friends how to win me over. I posted a picture of purple boxing gloves on my Facebook one day, saying if someone could find where to buy them for me, I’d love them forever. About two weeks later, I received pink boxing gloves, a letter professing his feelings & hopes that even though they were the wrong color, I’d still like them.

If you think this was a romantic gesture, please consider it from my point of view. I was looking for a link or a specific sporting goods store (Big 5, Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc.) that carries boxing gloves, so that I could buy exactly what I wanted for myself. Instead, someone, whom I do not know well, haven’t seen in person in months, & was not officially dating, went out of his way to ask my best friend for my home address behind my back. He bought & sent me a present that I did not ask for. It wasn’t even what I wanted, both overstepping my boundaries & intruding on my privacy. While this is a red flag in my mind, my friends claimed he was a good guy & had good intentions.

Manipulation & Obsession

Once we were in a relationship, his need to control my every move & his obsession with me only got worse. When riding in a car with him, he would stare at me constantly, asking me if I was ok. He ran stoplights & stop signs. My passenger side door was hit in a car accident. He was more concerned about the look on my face & why I wasn’t talking, instead of driving us safely to our destination. If you’re curious, I’m introverted, & I will not deny that I have a resting bitch face. But when I’m quiet, it’s not a huge cause for concern. It’s quite the opposite actually because to me silence can be golden.

At a movie theatre, he would ask if I was ok in the middle of the movie. I would have to whisper in the dark theatre to reassure him that I was fine. If we were at home & the movie was interesting, I’d express more emotion & discuss what I enjoyed about it in-depth. But no one should have to creepily smile in the darkness of a movie theatre & reassure their boyfriend that they’re having “such a good time”.

When it came to food, he bragged about how much weight he lost going Paleo full-time. At that time, I was at a very healthy BMI. I went to the gym for an hour each day for 5 days a week, & I danced with a Hip-Hop Dance Company. I also ate salads from Trader Joe’s for lunch, & I ate home-cooked meals for dinner almost every single day.

But to him, I wasn’t doing enough. He needed & wanted me to go Paleo full-time too, so I tried it for about a month. While I did lose weight, it took a huge toll on my mind & a physical toll on my body. There were times I’d get light-headed & almost faint when taking a shower after a workout. I still remember how scared I was as my vision went fuzzy. Sitting in the shower out of fear of slipping & hurting myself. I felt so weak & overwhelmingly sad all the time.

I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again… I LOVE FOOD! Being deprived of carbs, dairy, & dessert for that entire month was torture. To me, being skinny will never bring me the same happiness that a bacon cheeseburger with garlic truffle fries, a molten chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream, or a plate of loaded carne asada nachos can.

Whenever I tried to express my unhappiness to him, he shot me down. He tried to make me feel guilty about wanting to go back to my usual 80% healthy & 20% unhealthy diet. My boyfriend made me feel ashamed of my love of food. He told me that I’d never achieve my fitness goals with the way that I wanted to eat. He guilt-tripped me into doing what he wanted. Even though he claimed to “love” me, it didn’t matter that eating Paleo was making me depressed & physically sick.

Key Takeaways

Needless to say, I’m so happy to be out of that relationship. These are only a few of many other uncomfortable situations that he forced me into during our 10 months together. Again, controlling your partner is not love. Love is wanting to keep your significant other happy & healthy. Forcing someone to do something that they do not want to do is not conducive to a healthy relationship. Do not put up with someone who oversteps your boundaries, disrespects you, or treats you like their property.

While other women fawn over Christian Grey, after rewatching the movies, I simply cannot. *SPOILER ALERT* Never fall in love with a partner who wants to control what you eat & drink, stalks you, looks up your bank account information or gives you unnecessarily extravagant presents to “buy” your love. While I am open to a dominant man in the bedroom, a healthy relationship allows both individuals to live their lives independently. Believe in your partner’s ability to make the right choices for themself. When you make love, it’s consensual, & you fully trust your partner with your body. When you’re apart, your partner can enjoy themselves, be happy, & be safe, without needing to hover over their every move.

My past relationships teach me a lot about who I am & where my mind was at certain times in my life. At 23 years old, I was too young & naive to know any better. I suffered because I was scared of being alone. Please learn from my mistakes, & don’t let the allure of a man like “Christian Grey” cloud your judgment. Anastasia Steele was also young, naive, & taken advantage of in my opinion. While she stood up for herself & did a lot of good for Christian in the end, fiction, whether in books or movies, is not real life. Please choose to love yourself & love your partner without the need to control or obsess over them.

True unconditional love allows you to love someone for who they are & the choices they make for themselves without smothering or suffocating them. Holding on to someone too tightly just makes them want to run away as fast as they can. All you can do is ensure that they know that no matter what each of you does separately. You’ll always be in their corner to support them. Because even if you don’t need them every second of every day, being apart doesn’t mean that they’ll forget to love you. When someone truly has your heart, you know that they’re not going anywhere.

XO Denise

close up of tree against sky

Love is Laughter

Successful relationships & a shared sense of humor go hand in hand. I absolutely love to laugh & my day doesn’t feel complete without it. Because of this, I can’t imagine being stuck in a relationship that I have to fake smiles & laughter. I won’t pretend that my partner is hilarious when they’re really not. From past personal experience, I’ll never settle for a dull, stoic life, even if my partner was very wealthy & promised to provide me with a fancy, stable lifestyle for the rest if my life. While I covered the Five Love Languages in a past blog, I believe that laughter is the sixth & most important love language.

The Importance of Laughter

Whether you’re in a relationship or not, happiness & laughter are important to maintain throughout your lifetime for your mental health. I have many past, memorable laughing moments where I was crying, about to pee my pants, falling off chairs, & barely able to breathe. My family & closest friends will tell you that I have four distinct laughs. Being introverted, only the special, select few are able to make me laugh enough times to hear all of them. As my esteemed blog readers, you may never hear them, but I’ll share them with you now.

My Four Laughs

  1. The Pity Laugh
    • This is the laugh that I use to be polite because it’s embarrassing to have a joke fall flat. It’s quick & subtle, & simply recognizes when someone tries their best to be funny. While its intention is to be kind & humor someone, I really do hate to use this laugh. It doesn’t feel genuine when I laugh this way. I can’t help but wonder if the recipient can tell that I don’t actually think they’re funny.
  2. The Quick Giggle
    • This laugh is when the situation or location I’m in prevents me from laughing to my full extent. If I’m at a library, museum, or fancy restaurant, I only laugh as much as is socially acceptable. This one also usually causes me to contract & hold in my abs, like a quick ab workout. lol
  3. The Long & Loud Laugh
    • This laugh is when I’m in the privacy of my home or at a friend, family, or significant other’s home. When something is really funny to me, I can’t hold in my laughter, so it usually comes out with gusto. I love being able to laugh freely with others that I love & trust. My laugh can be intense, so I never want to feel embarrassed by my laughter.
  4. The Can’t Stop, Can’t Breathe, Crying, & about to Pee My Pants Laugh
    • This laugh is when something is so funny that I can no longer control my bodily functions. I lose myself in all of my senses. My laughter is practically orgasmic. I can clearly recall every single time I’ve laughed like this. The last time was while playing Bananagrams with my family in South Lake Tahoe. The time before that was camping in Mendocino, joking about wood, while bundled in a blanket around a campfire eating s’mores.

As a love language, laughter can come in many forms. You don’t even need to be directly near your partner to give it to them. When a couple shares the same sense of humor, they continuously create humor & joy together. Laughter can be expressed through jokes, reminiscing on funny past experiences, playful banter or teasing, funny memes, funny videos, etc.

Key Takeaways

In a healthy & strong relationship, couples can constantly banter back & forth. They tease each other without getting upset because they share the same sense of humor. Their inside jokes are endless. They share plenty of funny past experiences because every moment together is a new opportunity to have fun. They’ll want to sporadically send each other funny memes & videos that remind them of each other. Even in separation, they Snapchat each other, send silly, animated Memojis through iMessage, or joke about their day-to-day with each other on FaceTime.

When you’re with the right person, every moment should be filled with laughter. And even in separation, the mere thought of them should still put a smile on your face. What good is having a beautiful house, a fancy car, or being rich if you feel lonely & unhappy? Money can’t buy you love. Find a romantic partner, who makes you truly happy, to create fun-filled memories & laugh with for the rest of your lifetime. Unless you’ve chosen to learn nothing from fairytales, how else do you expect to live “Happily Ever After”?

XO Denise

you got this lighted signage

The Importance of Communication

Being empathic & intuitive runs in my family. My innate gifts definitely help me with my Oracle & Tarot readings. But being a “psychic” healer doesn’t mean that I automatically know everything that is happening, did happen, or will happen in the future. If I tried to channel the energy of every person on the planet, I’d be exhausted & overwhelmed all the time. I keep my energy protected. I don’t attempt to channel the energy of another person until I’m about to pull cards for a reading. Once in a person’s energy, I trust my intuition to create a narrative. I chronologically sort the messages I receive to help me give the best advice, depending on the person’s unique situation. But at the end of the day, only the person that I’m reading knows their truth & story. That’s why I always promote the importance of clear communication.

Communicate Your Needs Clearly

During a reading, I may pick up that someone is keeping secrets or doesn’t feel confident enough to express their feelings when it comes to their connection. I’m not a licensed therapist. But it’s general knowledge that keeping secrets & not expressing how you feel is detrimental to all relationships. A lot of women want their partners to read their minds without having to communicate their expectations. But that’s not realistic. Even my own father who is very intuitive needs my mom to tell him when she needs or wants something to feel appreciated & loved. After 37 years of marriage, it’s my parents’ ability to communicate their needs that make their relationship so long-lasting & successful.

Clearly communicating your expectations to your partner will ensure a happy & healthy relationship dynamic. If you need your partner to attend every social event that you’re invited to with you, say so. If you want them to make a huge deal about planning something special for your anniversary & birthday, tell them. The average person is not a mind reader. Expecting someone to cater to your every desire & wish, without telling them what you need, will only cause disappointment.

Release Your Expectations

My parents have always set a great example. My mom attends social events without my dad. While both of my parents are introverted, my mom is more of a social butterfly. My dad needs more alone time to rest & recharge on the weekends. Mom often goes to family gatherings with me & my sister or one of my aunts. My mom never drags my dad to a party because it’s “expected” as her husband.

Don’t get me wrong – my dad will still gladly attend weddings & milestone events with my mom with advance notice. My mom just knows her husband, so she sets her expectations accordingly. For example, my mom doesn’t expect my dad to surprise her flowers, take her out to fancy dinners, or plan weekend getaways. My mom has only received flowers from my dad three times, & each time was when one of my siblings or I was born. My mom prefers to have a fancy dinner as a family, & she prefers to plan vacations all together as a family as well.

Expectations without clear communication will always cause disappointment. But at the same time, expecting your partner to drop everything in their life to cater to your every need, is extremely unfair & one-sided. It is not your boyfriend or your husband’s “job” to read your mind. If you don’t clearly tell your partner what you need, it’s not a requirement for them to attend every social event, buy you flowers, or surprise you with gifts. If you’re upset that your partner can’t read your mind, that’s not their problem. It’s up to you to communicate your needs & wants. Then, it’s up to them to step up to fulfill it. And if it’s not something they’re able or willing to do for you, tell you.

What do you want?

The average woman doesn’t give out “gold stars” to their boyfriend or husband for doing what they’re “supposed” to do. Most women expect their partner to attend every party & buy them presents for every occasion. When pointing out that a partner feels under appreciated, most women are shocked. They often think that their partner could be doing much more to make them happy. But I always do my best to truthfully point out that no one likes to feel under-appreciated. I advise that what they may consider as “expected” behaviors, their partner may consider to be above & beyond anything that they’ve done for any of their exes.

In a relationship, I personally love good morning & goodnight texts, sporadic kisses, & bouquets of flowers, just because. I also consider a man cooking me breakfast, lunch, or dinner as the sweetest gesture. It’s also a dream of mine to be surprised with a trip to a new destination that I’ve never been to but have always dreamed of going to or simply being told to “pack a bag” & be whisked away for an unexpected weekend adventure. Since I haven’t had a man step up to give me these things yet, I choose to regularly give them to myself. My morning wake-up alarm says “Good Morning”. My pug, Pogi, gives me sporadic kisses throughout the day. I have a monthly fresh flower subscription from Bouqs. And I plan trips for myself within the US & internationally as often as I can.

Key Takeaways

It’s important for you to identify what you need & want in a relationship. Then clearly communicate those expectations with your partner. And when they do good, always show them your appreciation. Do your best to not let your expectations cloud your judgement. Especially if you haven’t communicated what you need to your partner at all, speak up. Until you do, you are the only one responsible for ensuring those needs are met.

Not even a “psychic” will automatically know how to cater to the needs of another individual. We’re all unique in our own ways, so what one person may want & expect in a relationship may be different from another. Take responsibility for yourself, express your needs, & communicate as much as possible to prevent any unnecessary conflict in your relationship. And when your partner can’t give you what you need, evaluate what’s a deal breaker & what you’re capable of giving to yourself, before starting a fight or threatening to break up with or divorce them. Take my parents as good example. If you know your partner & you know yourself, you shouldn’t have to worry about being happy & staying happy in your relationship.

XO Denise

Learning to Love Myself

Growing up, my dad taught me that the key to finding the right person was in the way that I carry myself. He taught me to always use my brain, exude confidence, be honest, & be authentic. Because if you’re constantly wearing a mask & pretending to be someone you’re not, you’ll just end up attracting the wrong people, who don’t even know the real you. Through accepting who you are, being yourself, caring for yourself, & loving yourself every day, you’ll attract & keep yourself surrounded by the right people, who will truly love you & continue to love you just as much as you do. This is about Iearning to love myself.

My Darkest Secret

My darkest secret is my body dysmorphia. I have an unhealthy obsession with food & not wanting to get fat. Over time, the way I perceive my body became a clear mental health disorder. To put it simply, no matter how “healthy” I am according to my BMI, when I look at myself in the mirror, my body & what I consider to be my “flaws” always look exactly the same to me. While I may seem confident with my curves, the truth is that I hate my round face, arms, butt, stomach, & thighs.

When getting ready to go out into the world, I change my outfit several times, because of how my body looks to me when I’m wearing certain outfits. There’s nothing worse in my mind than picturing how perfect an outfit would be in my head for a certain occasion then having to change 10+ times because I hate the way my body looks in my 1st option & every single option that I choose afterward. Growing up I thought I was just messy… but in reality, my hate & frustration with the way I look causes me to scatter my clothes all over my room every day. That’s also why I became obsessed with shopping for the same styles of clothing in different colors & patterns, because they make me look “skinny” or highlight the parts of my body that I like better & are more comfortable showing off.

Learning to Accept My Flaws

While I know that I’m generally attractive, I still obsessively put myself under a microscope when it comes to how I look in the mirror & in photos. When I post a selfie, I take at least 10 different shots in various angles & lighting with different smiles. When posting something with my body, I suck in my stomach, arch my back, elongate my spine, & emphasize my jawline from the crown of my head for the optimum shot.

Last year, I finally learned to start loving myself more. With COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, I had little reason to do my hair & makeup every day. I no longer had to pick out the “perfect” outfit for work, date nights, or parties. There was no need to get my eye lashes or nails done. I couldn’t get my eyebrows threaded. I couldn’t get a facial or a massage. Forced to be my natural self every day, I love the way I look with my wild, curly hair, glasses, & a fresh, freckled-faced now.

The Positive Effects of 2019 & COVID-19

For the first time in a long time, I feel beautiful without having to try so hard. I could be me, & I didn’t have to wear a mask for the world anymore. Even though I’m ironically forced to wear a mask over my nose & mouth for the health & safety of the rest of the world, I finally feel more confident & happy in my own skin. Because the people who I love & matter to me the most still appreciate & love me too. With people telling me how much they love my curls & freckles daily, I can still be seen as beautiful & perfect without all the extra effort.

2019 taught me that I didn’t have to wear makeup, do my hair, dress up, & take selfies regularly to be loved. I work out regularly & eat better because I know that my body deserves to love & care. It’s nearly impossible to go out to eat every day, so I renewed my love of cooking at home. I couldn’t fly & collect more stamps on my passport, so I learned to appreciate road trips & explored up & down the West Coast instead. And with little to no social interaction outside my immediate social pods, I proactively choose to be more friendly & kind to every person I interact with each day.

Retreating into the Darkness

I’ll admit that I did struggle once the Bay Area started to reopen again. While people in other California counties were rushing to book their eyelash, nail, & waxing appointments again, I was honestly more excited to finally be able to re-book all of my cancelled travel plans for the year. Scrolling through social media ultimately triggered my insecurities & my obsession with staring at everything wrong with my body in the mirror & in my photos.

This was a very dark place, but it’s important to reevaluate what I need to be happy & feel comfortable in my body. I was already working out for at least 30 minutes every single day, drinking lots of water, & eating lots of fresh fruit & veggies. In the end, I decided that I needed to limit my time scrolling through social media, because social media algorithms force unrealistic standards of beauty in my face that trigger my body dysmorphia. I want to continue to embrace my natural beauty & love my body for all of things it allows me to do. I don’t need eyelash extensions, a full face of makeup, & perfectly manicured nails to feel beautiful anymore. Despite society’s unrealistic standards of beauty when it comes to the ideal body type, I know in my heart that my body is strong & perfect.

Lesson Learned

All that matters to me going forward is that I continue to love myself, take care of my body, & be authentically me. Despite what I still see in the mirror, I choose to love myself more than the hate I feel for my reflection. Others tell me that I have an innate ability to inspire others to love themselves just by being myself, so that’s what I’m going to continue to do. I hope that sharing how I learned to love myself has helped you as well. Because I want everyone to learn that no one in the world is more deserving of your love & affection than yourself.

XO Denise

white ceramic mug on table

Perfect Attendance

I’m a proud nerd, & I still love school. I cry if forced to miss a day because I was sick. It was foreign to me how kids could fake being sick or dread going to school every day. I was proud of having perfect attendance, doing my homework, & completing my projects on time. Reflecting on my love of school recently made me see truancy in a new light.

If someone prefers to be absent, they obviously have their reasons. Maybe they have a bully, or maybe their parents shame them when they get bad grades. Maybe they actually want to like school, but they don’t have the resources to succeed. The choice to attend or not attend school is a simple decision for either side of the coin. Because you know when you love something or if you don’t. And that’s why I hate the proverb “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

Absence Does Not Make the Heart Grow Fonder

I know what I like & dislike, which is why I knew at a young age that I love school. Similar to my love of school, after a first date, I know whether or not I get good vibes. After three months, I can see myself entering into a real relationship & falling in love. Absence & distance do not make the heart grow fonder. Absence & distance is more of a test. Because remaining faithful & loyal to your partner when you’re directly next to them or not is love.

I’ve had three long-distance relationships so far, & all three of them were terrible. That’s why I succumbed to the notion that long-distance relationships will never work out. If you’re currently in a long-distance relationship, hopefully reflecting on my past mistakes will help you navigate your current circumstances.

My 1st Long-Distance Relationship

My 1st long-distance relationship was with my boyfriend from college, who lived in Southern California. The majority of the year we’d be together, living on-campus. But little did I know that over the Holidays & Summer, he secretly wanted to break up with me. And if you’re wondering, he NEVER expressed this issue in the two years that we were together.

In the end, he broke up with me a week before I started my Junior year. He decided that he wanted to start dating his co-worker. Already hanging out with her all Summer, he wanted to be a “good” guy & end things before cheating on me. He even phrased it ridiculously too. “Let’s just be best friends, who no longer date.” It wasn’t until almost a month after we broke up that I learned about the other woman. The last time we spoke, I asked him why he started dating me with no intentions of marrying me. He finally admitted that it was because I was the prettiest girl on campus, & he wanted a girlfriend.

What I Learned

Take Your Time

Our relationship had no foundation. We only knew each other for about one week before we became “official” boyfriend & girlfriend. Unlike me, he wasn’t dating with the expectation of getting married one day. He chose me so that he could have the prettiest girl on campus as his first girlfriend. Even though we did discuss getting married during the 2nd year of our relationship, it was probably only because I was still a virgin, & I was adamant about not wanting to sleep with him, because I always believed that I’d wait until I was married to lose my virginity.

I also didn’t even want the possibility of accidentally getting pregnant while I was still in college. Over time, it became apparent that he didn’t want to change his life around to include me in it. He didn’t see himself moving to the Bay Area, & I honestly didn’t want him to be the father of my children. Even after breaking up with me to start dating the other girl, he called me a few days later saying, “If things don’t work out, I hope that we can get back together.” At that time, I still didn’t know that he was already dating someone new, but I listened to my intuition & told him “NO” outright.

Let Go

If someone doesn’t want to be with me, they can go. I’m not willing to let someone break up with me, just to come back, because the grass actually wasn’t greener on the other side. He lied to me throughout our relationship. He continued to lead me on with his lies even after he broke up with me, because he didn’t know his new girlfriend very well either. If things didn’t work out, he wanted to keep me as his safety net.

When we got back to school, I considered staying friends with him, because we lived in the same dorm building & worked together on campus. But instead, the Universe clearly placed his new girlfriend in front of my face, so that I knew the truth. In the end, I walked away & cut him off for my own peace of mind. He never genuinely apologized to me or made any effort to be vulnerable & prove that I could learn to trust him, & I’m fine with that. I gave myself closure. I forgave them both for sneaking around behind my back, & I walked away, because he was not my person.

My 2nd Long-Distance Relationship

My 2nd long-distance relationship was with my boyfriend that I dated on & off, during my Senior year of college. We were on opposing Dance Teams, so it was a classic Romeo & Juliet story. My Dance team’s president hated that I was spending so much time with him & his friends. I didn’t allow them to control me. It became my obsession to win Romeo’s heart just to spite my Dance team’s efforts to stop me. While my intentions, in the beginning, weren’t the best, I still fell in love with him.

I was a month away from graduating when he asked me on a real date & officially called me his girlfriend. I still had one more class to take over the Summer, then I moved back home to the Bay Area. Over the Summer & during the Holidays, we did great. It was only once I was back in the Bay Area & he was back in school that the trouble started.

Even though I would come to visit him often, I could tell that our relationship dynamic was changing. In the moments that we’d previously feel close & connected, I could tell that he was starting to detach from me. After a terrible Valentine’s Day weekend together, I dreamt about a giant carton of milk chasing me. After evaluating my dream, it became clear to me that he was “milking” me. He broke up with me a week later. Then, I found out that he was already pursuing a girl that I suspected he was interested in within days.

What I Learned

Enter into a relationship when you’re truly ready. Don’t waste your time with months of on & off again turmoil. If someone is being wishy-washy when committing to you, it’s a sign that they’re not ready or possibly still healing. You want to enter a new relationship when both of your hearts are healed & ready to love again. No matter how much he wanted to deny it, he was still in love with his ex-girlfriend.

Communicate when you feel your relationship’s dynamic shift. There’s likely a reason that one or both of you are refusing to address. If you want your relationship to last, you need to have honest communication. Even though his ex didn’t want to repeat their past & get back together, the entire time that we were together his eyes were still wandering non-stop with the goal of finding someone who he considered to be an “upgrade” from his ex. Finding my replacement was more important to him than nurturing our relationship & appreciating me.

Don’t Ignore the Red Flags

He had absolutely zero regard to how his selfishness would hurt me in the end. He liked one of his friends who had just broken up with her boyfriend, & he also started to nostalgically consider “what if” he decided to date the girl on his dance team that he was interested in before choosing to date me. I was NEVER a factor in his decision-making. He was too wrapped up in his ego & finding a new “hot” girl to make everyone, including his ex-girlfriend jealous. Even though he kept telling me that he “loved” me, from his actions alone, I knew he was lying.

If your boyfriend is emotionally cheating on you with other people & already looking for your replacement, he is not invested in you or your relationship. He also definitely does not love you no matter what words are coming out of his mouth. You are worthy of a partner who is committed & loyal to only you.

Don’t Settle

Do not settle for mistreatment just because you don’t want to be alone. Have the courage to love yourself more than anyone else & choose to be alone over someone who is clearly being unfaithful to you & treating you like an option. I ultimately forgave him for hurting me, took some time to heal my heart, & moved on. While we did remain friends for a few years, we don’t talk anymore. I can honestly say that I have closure. I learned everything that I needed to from him, & I have no intentions of going back ever again.

My 3rd Long-Distance Relationship

My 3rd long-distance relationship was only for 10 months with a sniper in the United States Marine Corps. I first met him at a party when I was still with my 2nd long-distance boyfriend. We didn’t talk much at all that night. I made it abundantly clear to him that I was in a happy relationship & only have eyes for my boyfriend. After my previous boyfriend & I broke up, I took four months to heal my heart. I then found out through the grapevine that he had a huge crush on me.

Since we barely interacted at the party, he didn’t have enough confidence to try & talk to me again. So on a whim, I decided to message him late one night on Facebook. In Japan at the time, I asked what time it was over there. Chatting for months before meeting again in person, I assumed a long-distance relationship would work out this time. But I was WRONG!

When home long enough for us to go on dates, trips, or staycations, our online chemistry was all we had. It hadn’t occurred to me that it’s easy to be witty online, especially with time to craft the perfect reply. While I figured we’d at least have some chemistry, the excitement of finally spending time together in person turned bleak. The tiny spark we had fizzled out quickly. The more I got to know him, the more I knew that I needed to break up with him.

What I Learned

It’s easy for anyone to be charming & witty online, but nothing compares to in-person chemistry. Talking to someone for a few days, weeks, or even months online actually means NOTHING. You still need to spend quality time with someone in-person to know who they are, how they act, & how they carry themselves on a daily basis. If you feel like punching yourself in the face or need to be drunk or high to tolerate them, because you NEVER have anything to talk about, take it as a huge red flag & end it. There was no way that I could settle with our relationship. It got to a point that even thinking about having to be intimate with him repulsed me, & it felt like ants were crawling all over my body when he tried to touch me.

When I love someone, I enjoy & want all forms of intimacy. I want deep conversations with a man who challenges me to be better & do better throughout my lifetime, throughout our marriage, & as we grow old together. I know I’m in love when I can’t keep my hands off of them, & I feel irresistible to them too.

I was overly ecstatic whenever he’d get deployed to the other side of the world. His sense of humor was confusing, & I hated not being able to genuinely laugh anymore. He was smothering & obsessed with me. I was so much happier when he was gone, & I was alone. It was suffocating when he’d ask to spend more quality time together. In the end, since I wasn’t interested in being intimate with him anymore, I wasn’t surprised when he went elsewhere to get it. In fact, I was actually relieved that I finally had a reason to end it, because I didn’t want to dump him while he was still deployed. I forgave him for the choices he made that lead to our break up, & I forgave myself for not being honest with him or myself to end it before it turned into a huge mess.

My Advice

To anyone already in or currently considering getting into a long-distance relationship with someone, here’s my final advice:

1. Know who they truly are in-person, so you know that you can actually go the distance together.

You can’t deny whether or not chemistry exists in a relationship. After you’ve spent enough time together, the spark between you either fizzles out, or it ignites into an uncontrollable, passionate dynamic relationship. Trust your intuition – it’s clear when you like someone or you don’t. Don’t bother wasting your time staying with someone that you don’t even like. People can choose to change their toxic behaviors & bad habits, but who someone is at their core, including their personality, hobbies, etc. will not change no matter how much you want them to.

2. Discuss how & when the distance between you will no longer affect your relationship.

You cannot be separated from someone you love forever. If you’re actually happier when you’re not together, that’s a huge clue that the relationship is already dead in the water. Two people who truly love each other will decide how to change their lives around so that they can be together & stay together for good. One or both of you must decide how to compromise, move in together, & create a life that works for both of you.

3. Choose to always love, be faithful, be loyal, & be committed to your partner whether there is distance between you or not.

Your partner’s absence should not be an excuse to do whatever you want. If your relationship is truly meant to go the distance, an ex or another person sliding into your DMs or flirting with you at a social event will not affect your connection. As I said before, distance is a test. If you value your relationship, you wouldn’t let any outside factors affect it.

Key Takeaways

In a lasting relationship, your partner will ask you to text them when you get home. When you forget, they call you to make sure that you’re home & safe. When traveling, you ensure that they know where you are & that you’re safe. You want to FaceTime or Snapchat them when it’s been too many days apart.

If you love your partner, reject new & old love interests out of respect. Be willing to warn friends to go easy on their compliments because you don’t want anything to be accidentally misconstrued. If you love & value your relationship, you won’t want anything to mess it up. Especially not by a friend from college who likes to call you “Boo” under every selfie to hype you up.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you need to create distance between you & your partner to make them love you. Two truly committed individuals will reject anyone & anything that tries to interfere with their connection. They don’t need excuses, loopholes, or exceptions. Long-distance or not, someone who loves you will always be there to love you the way you deserve. When the right person comes along, you “show up” for them, bringing a new meaning to perfect attendance.

XO Denise