Love on a Sunday- Michael and Sofia

Sofia: The first time I met Michael was in 2013, but I don't remember meeting him. I met him again at school in 2014 not knowing that we had previously met, but there was something about him that reminded me of Chris Pratt from Parks and Rec. So I automatically started calling him Chris Pratt. He thought that was kind of curious and 2 weeks into school he said, "You do know my name is Michael, right?" All concerned and worried.  And then he started calling me Aubrey Plaza (who is also a character on parks and rec). It wasn't until we went on a hike in the beginning of our relationship that he said, "You really don't remember meeting me in 2013?" And I said "No, we were at a party and there were so many people!" And he said "I met you after I saw you in that play you were in and I asked you what your name was and you said, "Sofia." So I asked if your name was spelled with an “f” or a “ph.” When he said that it jogged my memory and I actually did remember meeting him and was excited because my name is spelled with an "f" and people rarely get that right in the United States.

Michael: So the very first time we met, we were at an artist summer camp at CSU Monterey Bay. We met very briefly, but I remembered her. Then 2 years later, we ended up at the same acting conservatory. I remembered meeting her but for the first 6 months she had no recollection of meeting me, which was pretty funny. And it’s a year later, a year and half, really, and I think it’s been golden so far.

Sofia: I’m trying to get him to cry.

Michael: She’s trying to get me to cry.

Sofia: He’s been trying to cry but hasn’t cried yet.

Michael: I’m due for a really good cry in life. You know what I mean? Where I’m just like sobbing…

Sofia: Gotta let it out.

Michael: The gates are a little bit open, but not  where it just floods…

Sofia: You were really affectionate with me last night when we were sleeping.

Michael: Was I?

Sofia: Yeah, you kissed me while we were sleeping! And then we cuddled a lot.

 

Sofia: Our biggest struggle is Michael doesn’t like to talk about his feelings, and I do, so we have to figure out the balance. Eventually he does…

Michael: I can’t do it on the spot. I need time to cool down. I have to ponder things.

Sofia: It’s so hard for both of us. Do you know how hard it is to wait and not talk about it and not solve the problem right away? And go a whole day trying to not think about it?

Michael: Mmhmm. But she knows how much I appreciate it.

Sofia: Well I just know it’s not going to work if I pressure him. You can’t pressure someone into explaining how they feel when they’re not ready. *They kiss*

Michael: I’m getting better, but some things are more gripping for me than others, that it’s just very hard. I get very tightly wound. I just need time to unwind and then I can process my thoughts a little better.

Sofia: It’s a little bit of a compromise because he needs to tell me something, even if he just says “I don’t know what I’m feeling.” He needs to communicate something to me, it can’t just be “I don’t know.” THAT to me I can’t handle. That’s unacceptable. 

Michael: And if I’m uncomfortable, my old habit is to say “I’m fine.” That just shuts it down.

Sofia: Sometimes we can talk about it, and sometimes we can’t. And sometimes I get impatient with him. It’s a learning process. Even when I feel so bad in the moment and we’re struggling to find that balance, once we finally talk about it - when he’s willing to talk about it and I’m willing to listen-  it makes me feel so strong in the relationship. It’s like therapy over here. I’m crying. *They both laugh*

Sofia: But I cry easily so…

Sofia: There's never been anything in our relationship we haven't addressed. There was something that happened right before our trip to New Orleans. when Michael said “We’ll talk about it later.” And then we landed in LA and I was like “Let’s talk about it.” It was literally 9 days later and Michael was like “Ahh I KNEW you were going to bring it up but I didn’t know when…” But it took a few minutes, because it had been so far removed.

Michael: There was so much time in between… *They both laugh*

Sofia: It was the most simple thing. I mean there are times I go, “We don’t have to talk about everything. We can just drop it. Right?”

Michael: Not this time! She’s patiently impatient. 

Sofia: Oh I like that! I’m patiently impatient! This cheek is my favorite. I love kissing this one! And then this is his favorite *Michael points to her right cheek*

Michael: Something I enjoy about our relationship is that we point things out to each other that we would never have thought about. Like putting the bacon long-ways so more of it can fit on the pan in the oven. That was brilliant Sofia. 

Sofia: Michael’s very much a team player. I’m a team player but I like to be the director.

Michael: But she’s actually a really good team player too. We switch... I hate the phrase wearing the pants, but we trade off. 

Sofia: I don’t even see it like that as much as I see it as, I’m the student and he’s the teacher. And vice versa.

Michael: Or sometimes we’re both teaching or both students. There’s such a wonderful flux of give-and-take between us that is very fulfilling and refreshing to me.

Sofia: But I don’t want you to think our relationship is perfect because it’s far from perfect.

Michael: We are far from perfect.

Sofia: We’re both very young. I think that means we’re both constantly changing the way we feel and perceive things. I don’t think we’re so secure in our relationship that we’re both…

Michael: Blind. And ignorant of things changing. If that day comes, we’ve always talked about how open we want to be with each other and that we need to be there for ourselves first. 

Michael: We both love to cook. We take turns making meals for each other. She teaches me how to be more clean. She educates me on the benefits of what it’s like to be clean. She’s a master. I’m very thankful.

 

Sofia: I guess it's because I love Michael so much, but every time we get in a big argument, I’m always thinking, Are we going to make it through this? I always go there. There’s never a time I don’t go there. There’s something about Michael… I guess it’s because I care about him so much and I look at us and think there are so many huge differences amongst the similarities. But he doesn’t feel that way. 

Michael: I mean the differences are there, but at the same time it makes us very complementary. Like early in the morning, she’s less of a morning person than I am so she’ll be a little bit more grumpy sometimes. But she’s much more social than I am. She doesn’t really have moments where she doesn’t want to be social, whereas I get that sometimes. 

 

 

 

 

 

Love on a Sunday- Donna and Todd

Todd: "The fact that you think a best friend even compares to a wife is ridiculous. A wife is above all."

Todd: "The fact that you think a best friend even compares to a wife is ridiculous. A wife is above all."

Donna: "It's a funny story actually. We met because Todd interviewed me for a job at the company he was working for. I was working at Bergdorf's in New York City and I went to a sample sale that my girlfriend was having. While I was there, I met someone who told me she had just put in her notice at her job at Alan Flusser. She said, "You should call over there and inquire about this job." So I called. It was a men's designer company and the guy who answered the phone said, "How did you even know about this job?" (She had just put her notice in that morning.) So I interviewed with the owner of the company and he said, "I'm going to have my assistant call you." His assistant was Todd Optican. When I went in to interview with Todd, they were moving offices. It was a freaking mess."

Todd: "People knew me and said to Donna, "Oh so are you going to meet Todd?"

Donna: "And all the girls in the office were like he's really cute and he's straight. blah blah blah."

Todd: "I was the only straight guy that worked there."

Donna: "I wasn't attracted to him at first. I thought he was wearing sort of a funny suit. The second I sat down for the interview, I knew I didn't want the job. The office was too unorganized. I'd leave Bergdorf's for this? So that was it. Then I went on vacation and didn't hear from anyone for a few days. I was in Toronto and called my roommate to check in. She told me this guy left a voicemail on the machine. I told her to listen to the message and then I said, "Well why don't we conference him in?" Because I didn't want to incur more long distance charges. It was expensive in those days. Those days... (Laughs). Well they offered me the job and I said, "You know, I'm on vacation right now, but I think I'm happy at Bergdorf's. I think I'm just going to stay where I am."

Todd: "So I said, "Okay well when you get back to New York, why don't you call me and we'll have dinner?"

Donna: "Then I got off the phone with Todd and my girlfriend said, "Did he just ask you to dinner? That was so weird."

Todd: "Well why not?"

Donna: "So I got back from vacation and I will never forget. It was a Monday night and I called my brother and said, " I HATE my job. I can't do this job anymore." And he said, "Well call up THAT GUY and entertain that other job offer again. Maybe it's something you would like." So I called up Todd. 11 o'clock on a Monday night and he wasn't home. I was thinking, where the hell is he on a Monday night?"

Todd: "Whistling. Out Partying! That was my gig." 

Donna: "Then I called him the next day at work and I said “I’d like to entertain the job more, but I don’t really get a lunch hour. I can’t keep running out.” And he said, “Well alright, why don’t we meet for dinner tonight?” So I said “OKAY.” I was very naive. We went for sushi, and I don’t even think we talked about the job. Did we?"

Todd: "I wasn’t there to talk about the job." (They both laugh.)

Todd: "The secret to love is not raising your voice in the morning."

Todd: "The secret to love is not raising your voice in the morning."

Donna: "We sat for 3 hours in a sushi restaurant. And that was it. Started dating, I moved in 3 weeks later." (They both laugh again.)

Donna: "My rent was up."

Todd: "She was getting kicked out of her apartment and I had a two bedroom apartment. I forget where my roommate was going."

Donna: "And I ended up taking the job. The funny thing is, I knew nothing about men’s clothing. So Todd was not only doing his job, but he was doing my job too."

Todd: "That was easy for me."

Donna: "I spent my days literally making our dinner reservations, and we could go away all the time. We would go to Boston one weekend, we’d go see his brother, we came out here to California to meet his sister, every weekend we would go somewhere. That’s the story."

Donna: "I think when you first get married, you're still in that honeymoon phase. You have to understand that all that fun, freshness, and newness, that all changes. And it becomes more routine."

Donna: "I think when you first get married, you're still in that honeymoon phase. You have to understand that all that fun, freshness, and newness, that all changes. And it becomes more routine."



Donna: "I say to my kids, I never thought about whether he was going to be a good provider, or a good father… I was 21. When I met him I was 21. I knew nothing about any of that. I married for love."

Todd: "We didn’t think too hard."

Donna: "Well wait a minute, what about your side of what you thought after our first date?"

Todd: "You're right. So I came back after the interview and thought, “Wow, she’s really cute. Athletic.”

Donna: "How did you know I was athletic?"

Todd: "Because on your resume it said “tennis team,” or something."

Donna: "I had a resume? I don’t remember that."

Todd: "Anyways, we had a nice chat, she had a beautiful face."

 

 

Dave and Samantha

I had a blast spending the morning with newly engaged sweethearts Dave and Samantha in their adorable studio apartment in North Hollywood. These love birds both work in the medical field and have their morning routine down to an art. Samantha irons their scrubs while Dave makes coffee and packs both of their lunches for the day. They then share a cup of coffee, steal a few kisses, and lint roll each other before heading out the door. They describe their meeting as fate but credit their lasting relationship to both sharing the selfless qualities of people who devote their lives to working in hospitals. They clock in long hours and have busy schedules, but their support and love for one another is truly something special.

Love on a Sunday

Natalie: "We met when my roommate, Skye, was having drinks with these two guys who work at a talent agency. Skye texted me and said,  'come meet us at Honor Bar.' So I went and was wearing a really weird outfit - I was in a buttoned up denim shirt and my hair in a bun. I was kind of rude to them. I was like, "Oh what big ten schools did you two go to? Then I had a full chicken sandwich and a martini, and when the check came I said "I'm not paying, AND I want valet money."

Zach: "I was thinking who is this crazy person? What a ballsy decision! If it were a first date, it would be one thing!"

Natalie: "It was not a date, nor was I invited."

Zach: "She likes to make statements. It was more on the surface of I know these kinds of people and don't like them. It was her way of saying, "I don't care about you guys thinking your life is a certain way."

Natalie: "Yeah, it was more of, I don't care about your existence and don't want to validate you."

Zach: "I didn't think anything of it the next day. Then a few weeks later, my friend Brian who's a mutual friend of ours, texted me at 6:30PM on a Friday and said, "Do you want to come to this dinner party with me tonight? Well the dinner party was at Natalie and Skye's house. I knew Skye but didn't really think about who her roommate was or that it was Natalie. It was kind of just random."

Natalie: "What's disturbing to me is why you didn't have plans at 6:30PM on a Friday?"
(They both Laugh.)

 

Zach: "It's interesting because of how spontaneous that decision was in the first place. Because nine times out of ten, most people would be like, "No, I can't.  I'm hanging with my boy from Encino tonight."

Natalie: "To come alone to a dinner party is bold."

Zach: "It's always THOSE nights when you meet someone, because you're going into it completely open-minded. They cooked this whole elaborate feast and we were all drinking too."

Natalie: "Then we walked to the bar.  I went to tie my shoe, and when I looked up, I realized we were miles behind everyone else."

Zach: "When we were at the bar, we talked a bit, but we weren't like separating ourselves from the crowd."

Natalie: "Then we all came back to my house after the bar and we're laughing and hanging out. I assumed he liked me obviously."

Zach: "I think that's probably right."

Natalie: "I was pretty tipsy..."

Zach: "Oh yeah, this part was a victory for me. So as my buddy Brian and I are leaving, he walks into Natalie's room to say goodbye to her, because Natalie was already in bed. So Brian's like, "Bye Natalie," gives her a hug, and then walks out.  So then I go to kiss her on the cheek, and she kisses me on the lips."

 

Natalie: "And then I woke up at 7AM to a Facebook friend request from him and a message saying, "Thanks for having us all over, we should hang soon."

Zach: "I didn't have your phone number!"

Natalie: "Then he called me on Sunday to ask me on a date. We went on our first date that following Wednesday night. He took me to the Line Hotel, which was cool back then. Zach didn't eat a thing! He was so nervous.

Zach: "Very nervous! Like shaking. And she was just cool as a cucumber."

Natalie: "After that date, it took a while. It wasn't automatic. I wasn't thinking,  'this is it,'  I was just thinking, 'this guy is into me and we'll see where it goes.' "

Zach: "The tables have certainly turned."

Natalie: "I think it changed when he walked into Skye's office holiday party, and he knew everyone. I ended up not seeing him for almost an hour. And I remember him saying, "Skye look!" Because I was holding his hand. And he was like, "Look what she's doing." 

Happy Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day this weekend, and who better to partner up with for this holiday than DOVE® Chocolate? They've invited me to share the beautiful video posted below about how we all experience affection through words of love.  It's amazing to see how love translates across other languages and cultures, yet represents the same human emotion.

 

This holiday doesn't just have to be about romantic love. Go out with your friends or family and spend theday appreciating all of the meaningful relationships in your life.  Maybe you need this day to show yourself some love! It's the one day you get to eat chocolate and not feel bad about it. Draw yourself a bath, light some candles, and relax!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone, from The Way We Met and DOVE® Chocolate!

Check out more Love Words videos on their YouTube page and share your favorite Love Words using #DoveValentinesDay!

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_gXthZJtTPm87AvIQrIpuTiFNnniEDDc

This post is in partnership with DOVE® Chocolate, but all opinions are my own.

Dreams

If you are one of those people who has felt a fire burning inside of you since you were born, or a passion that keeps you awake at night, go after it. Give up everything you have to chase the hell out of that dream. I don't care what society tells you, or what your family and friends expect of you. Put every ounce of your soul into going after it. Fall flat on your face over and over again and take every brutal punch of rejection to the gut, because your heart will be at peace just for trying. You have to fight or else that fire you feel inside of you will never go away. And the more you try to put it out, the more it will expand into a raging fury. So for me, the only acceptable option I see is to chase after the very dream that haunts you. Because even if you fail, you'll feel alive. Do you hear me? YOU'LL FEEL ALIVE.

 

If You're Not Failing, You're Not Trying

I failed on a big venture I've been pursuing for a couple months now. I failed hard. I wished, meditated, and worked my ass off to try and make one of my dreams come true and this past week I was told no. By 30 different people might I add. Initially, I curled up into a fetal position for a day and cried my eyes out feeling like the world was coming to an end. But then I stopped feeling bad for myself and realized how insanely blessed I am. I have a platform in which I am lucky enough to share impactful stories with almost 300,000 people. These stories are of course about great love, but they're so much more than that. With the help of all of my wonderful followers who have been generous enough to send in submissions, I have been able to showcase what modern relationships today look like in all of their variations and forms. Relationships are changing. We're setting new rules. We're working through the obstacles of distance, race, religion, gender norms, sexual preference, and stereotypes to fight for those we love. In the past year, we finally overcame one of the biggest hurdles, which was the legalization of same-sex marriage. Also, in the past few decades, there has been an uprising of career-oriented women who are delaying marriage and having children in order to pursue their dreams. Last but certainly not least, is the ever-evolving role that social media and technology plays in relationships. It's all fascinating and I'm grateful that I get to share such a diverse range of stories on TWWM to inspire and educate people. I'd like to believe that our world is moving towards a place of more acceptance. Love can't be defined by labels and we no longer fit into perfectly checked boxes. Our generation takes pride in their individuality.

Another lesson I learned through my recent rejection is that just because you have a certain talent, doesn't necessarily mean it will translate to success. Be grateful for the opportunities you're given, because you are not entitled to them. There are many others who share the same talent as you do, but may not be given the same chances. Of course it's about hard work, hustling, and perseverance, but don't underestimate the role of luck. Be grateful to those who take a chance on you, and to those who believe in you when no one else will. I am so fortunate to have a handful of extraordinary people in my life who have honestly never given up on me. They pick me off the ground when my mental health is failing me and remind me that I'm capable when I start to doubt myself. They show me unconditional support even when it may be nearly impossible at times. I am so grateful to the people who have stuck by side. I used to be someone who was very stubborn and had too much pride to ask for help. But I'm realizing now that I had it all wrong. Asking for help, sharing ideas with others, and leaning on people when you need support is all part of being human. Work hard, fail hard, and dream big. As Chris Pratt said, "Don't give up. Ever. Apply constant pressure for as long as it takes. It will break before you do. Go get it."

 

 

 

Cards Are Timeless

I'm personally a sucker for old-fashioned love.  Some of my favorite stories I've shared on TWWM are of the older couples who were dating before Skype and text messaging ever existed. They would send each other cards, written letters, and cassette tapes they recorded speaking to each other on. It was so much more romantic. And it's cool that they have tangible items to be reminded of all their memories. As a 27-year old, I've experienced dating both pre and post the whole social media era. When I was in High School, text messaging was just surfacing.  Most people didn't have it though, so it wasn't a normal means of communication yet. We were just discovering the snake game on our Nokias (I remember thinking I was the coolest girl in school when I was given my brothers small red Nokia as a hand-me down). 

My friends and I would run home from school to go on AOL. It was extremely frustrating if the dial-up wasn't working or if one of our parents were using the landline. And if my brother or sister turned off my away message or signed me offline before I was able to see my messages, forget it.  Day ruined. What if my crush instant messaged me?? Now I would never know! 

My favorite thing about High School was how different relationships were without all the social media. If you were going through a breakup, you didn't have to see pictures of your ex with their new girlfriend all over Facebook.  As hard as that is now, I can't even imagine how heartbreaking that would have been at 16 years old. My High School dates would have to come to my door and meet my parents if they wanted to take me out.  I remember when I used to get into a fight with my High School boyfriend, he would leave flowers on my porch with a written card apologizing and professing his love. He would give me cards on special occasions too, not just when he was in the dog house. I still have a shoebox of all of the written cards he gave me somewhere in my childhood bedroom. I miss those days. I always tell people in relationships that giving your loved one a card is the easiest and most inexpensive way to do something special and show them you care. There is nothing better than waking up to a "just because" card on your night stand, or finding a little note on the bathroom mirror before work. It's the little things that count and it never gets old hearing that you're appreciated.

Cards have always been my favorite gift, so I'm stoked to announce my partnership with Hallmark for Valentine's Day. I'll be supporting Hallmark's #CareEnough campaign through out the week by posting stories about how cards have played a role in making big moments special for couples. 

Purchase a Valentine's Day card for your loved one here:  http://bit.ly/1JYzOAk.

Thank you in advance for supporting the sponsors who support The Way We Met.  Stay tuned. 

Small Gestures

Yesterday was a big day for me. I can't reveal why just yet, but it was a big day for the future of TWWM. And a special person in my life who knew how important yesterday was gave me the most thoughtful gift. He took the time to separate all of the marshmallows out of a box of lucky charms and then put them into a mason jar and sealed the lid. Attached to the jar was a note that said, "Good luck today." It was such a sweet and thoughtful gift that didn't require a lot of money or time (although that could vary depending on your rate of marshmallow picking.)

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When presented with this gift, my eyes lit up. It made me so happy! But why? Is it because someone close to me remembered such an important day? Or was it because the gift was so thoughtful? I think it was just the image of this person sitting there separating the marshmallows, knowing it would put a smile on my face.

I began thinking about small gestures and how they can really make a difference in someone's day. 

Later on, I received a phone call from a friend who's been going through a tough time lately. I'm not going to lie, after a busy day, the last thing I wanted to do was answer the phone and deal with how draining this particular conversation tends to be. Admittedly, sometimes I dodge the call. When I do answer, I often hang up afterwards feeling heavy and depressed. It hurts me to know that someone I care about deeply is struggling. Sometimes my way of coping with things is to ignore the problem or to not deal with it at all, but I know that's not right or fair. Nor is it how I would want someone I love to treat me if I was going through a dark time. So today, I answered the call. I spent one hour just listening. I am normally the advice giver, and have a history of trying to "change" or "fix" people, but today, I mostly listened. I did offer some encouraging words here and there, but I realized that simply answering and being there for my friend was enough. It helped her to vent and to know someone cared. 

Life is hard. A lot of people are struggling. The easiest thing we can do on a daily basis is just be NICE to one another. We all need love, acceptance, and support. And if you know that you need it, then you can bet the people around you need it too. We can't just be takers all the time. We have to show up for the people we love even on the days where we don't feel like it, it's inconvenient, or were tired. 

We can offer kind gestures to strangers too- even if it's just a smile, a compliment, or buying someone a cup of coffee.   You can put a smile on someone's face by doing something that is SO simple yet SO meaningful. That is POWER, people!!! This is what our world needs right now and how we can all be the change. A lot of compassion, simple acts of kindness, and a lot of small gestures.

Let's show up for our loved ones and even just for humanity. Be someone's lucky charm :)

Your Soul Mate is Not Always the One You're Meant to be With

What I've learned about soul mates is not backed up by research. My theory on soul mates is something I've concluded as a result of my own personal experience with relationships. When I fell in love for the first time, it was electric. I had always been a pretty happy kid growing up, but I had no idea just how high I could feel until I fell in love. When that same relationship also took me to the depths of hell, it changed me. No one can prepare you for the extremes your heart is capable of feeling. I walked around broken for so long, trying my best to pick up the pieces and put myself back together into the vibrant person I once was. The idea of not being with my soul mate destroyed me for so long, until I realized that is exactly what a soul mate is meant to do.

Eventually with time and healing, came the understanding that life with a soul mate wouldn't be a healthy or sane one, at least not for me. Society has written this story that only your spouse should be your soul mate. People don't want to get married or settle down until they "find their soul mate." But what if your soul mate is really just meant to be a passing ship in the night, or someone you met three years too late? Maybe your soul mate is someone with whom you have a love so deep it would kill you both.

As with most things, I was able to find peace with the idea of soul mates when I changed my way of thinking about them. You see, I think I've been blessed to have met a few soul mates in my lifetime, and they didn't always come in a romantic form. I have had dear friends who have been my soul mates too- people I've had such a strong connection with and made me feel alive. They lit me up. There was an instant familiarity with them. They were able to see me and understand me. I feel that my friendships with soul mates have also been some of my most tumultuous relationships. The friendship often ended with some sort of traumatic falling out. Because even friendships with soul mates are filled with so much passion that they are hard to sustain for a long period of time. Yet, they are still the relationships that I look back on and realize were the most impactful. They are the relationships that when they ended, forced me to change because it was too painful not to.

Now when I think about soul mates, it makes me feel nostalgic. Life is magical in the way that it brings these people into your world only a handful of times. We all have our relationships with friends, co-workers, family members, and neighbors - people we socialize with on a daily basis to keep us sane and fulfill our need for human interaction. They are the ones we communicate with to get things done, to co-exist, to ask for help, and to feel a sense of normalcy. But soul mates are different. They come into your life and set it on fire. They jolt you awake. They make you laugh and cry harder than you ever have before. From your very introduction with a soul mate, you feel connected to them on a whole different level. There is an understanding between you that is simply felt by each other's presence. A connection so deep that it feel's like you've known each other your whole lives, or maybe even in a previous life. They are often the people you can take off your buttoned-up façade in front of, show all of your flaws to, and share your deepest darkest secrets with. You let them in entirely, and the relationship often consumes you on every physical, mental, and emotional level.

And whether or not you get to have a soul mate in your life forever, or only for a short period of time is not the point. It's just knowing that they're out there. That you're connected with them at all times and by something so much bigger than communication. There is something comforting about knowing that your soul mates will always be a part of you, even if it means only from the sidelines. 

I no longer hold anger or hatred in my heart for the people who have breezed through my world and left me to pick up the pieces. These people created the very foundation of which I've built my life upon. I would be dead inside if I had never known them. They were for a period of time my adventure partners and my significant memory makers. They gave me some of my very best moments in time, and I wouldn't trade those because of the heartbreak that followed. They are my soul mates. They were meant to come into my world, break my heart, and run off with a piece of it. But that piece is rightfully theirs and always will be.

 

Happy Sweetest Day

Today is Sweetest Day, and although I personally don't understand the difference between this holiday and Valentine's Day, I'm not going to argue with another reason for flowers and chocolate!

The Way We Met was created so that we can celebrate great love stories everyday. However, I decided to do something extra special this Sweetest Day by partnering up with DOVE.  They are doing an amazing campaign called 'Love Less Ordinary' where people can share their love stories and if chosen, may be cast in a film! If you would like to share your story, please submit it to Dove Chocolate | Dove Love Stories or just tag your story on Instagram with #DoveLoveStories. Below, are two links from when DOVE did this last year. I'm seriously obsessed with these couple's videos, you guys have to take a look!

Vicky’s proposal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv-3_3mFDuA

The Ballet Fairytale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5jwiODTv6I

Also I want to say thank you in advance to all my followers for supporting the sponsors who support The Way We Met.  Without them, it would be difficult to keep bringing these great love stories to you daily.

 

Your Next Love Will Be Different

Before I became a love doctor so-to-speak, I was very much in the heartbreak business. This is probably because I was in a different place in my life then, and was trying to heal myself through healing others. Whatever the case may be, I have had my heart ripped out of my chest in the past and I'm pretty open about that.  Yes, part of me doesn't want my ex to have the satisfaction of knowing how much he truly hurt me, but screw it. I promised myself from day one of The Way We Met that I would always speak my truth.  Plus what he thinks of me is none of my business anyways, and I'm building an empire here, so who the heck cares? Ok, moving on...

In my years of experience coaching people through break-ups, nine times out of ten, people's biggest concern is that they will never love anyone the way they loved their last partner.  Well, that is true, but you WILL find love again. It will just be a completely different kind of love than the last love you experienced because no two relationships are ever the same. You don't replace someone you loved with someone else who you will love in the exact same way, it just doesn't work like that.  Not to mention, you will be entering your next relationship as a changed person yourself, which means the kind of partner you chose will also change. 

Often times the first person we fall in love with in life is not the one we're meant to be with.  I know that fairytales will tell you different, and I also realize the hypocrisy here considering I feature many stories of high school sweet hearts ending up together on my blog. However, these couples are an exception to the rule, and statistics show that less than 25% of people marry their first love. 

The most difficult part about your first love is that it is the hardest one to get over.  The first cut is the deepest as they say.  The pain that you feel during your first heartbreak is so excruciating in part because it's such a foreign experience.  You never knew this kind of pain even existed before.  Furthermore, you never in a million years thought that it could happen to you.  There was a point in time where the two of you were so in love you would have swallowed a vile of poison Shakespeare style before choosing to live without each other. Somewhere along the lines though it changed. There could be a myriad of reasons as to why, but it's not important.  What's important is that currently you feel like you will never move on, but that's not the case, and you will.  You are not the first person to feel this way, and you most certainly won't be the last.  

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote such an accurate description in her book Eat Pray Love that sums up exactly how I feel about first loves and soul mates:

"A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. The purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master."

 I spent years of my life grieving the loss of my first love. I was devastated and it truly turned my whole world upside down. However, had I not gone through that and had I never experienced that turmoil, I wouldn't be the person I am today. That heartbreak is what pushed me towards finding my passion in life, which was creating The Way We Met.  Writing about love and relationships is what I was meant to do, and for 27 years I didn't know it.  Every experience, every tear, every friend I've ever counseled in relationships has led me to this point right now.

You can't take back what has happened to you or what you've been through.  You can't un-see what you've seen. The best advice I can give to you is that self-improvement is the best revenge. All you can do right now is take the grief you are feeling and turn it in to something productive.  Make it the force that pushes you out of bed every morning and the voice in your head that says, "nothing and nobody is going to keep me down." Spend all your time and energy focusing on yourself, and in time, an even better companion will come along.  Your battle wounds will always be there, but in time you won't feel them anymore. They will merely be a small scar to remind you of a past you overcame but that no longer hurts.

I've been in other relationships since my first boyfriend and have fallen in love again.  Of course, it has been a different kind of love, a healthier one. Nothing could ever compare to the high-highs and low-lows of my first, nor would I want it to. For me, that was an experience that was meant to happen once in my lifetime in order to shape me into someone entirely different.  I was completely consumed in my first relationship; I didn't really think about my own dreams or passions and didn't really care about meeting new people or trying new things. That is entirely opposite of the person I am today. I think greatness is achieved only after we have experienced complete failure.  How do we learn great strength if we have never known great weakness? Sometimes we need to rise above our worst moments to create our best ones.

I know so many of you read the stories everyday on The Way We Met hoping and praying for "the one" to come along, and they will. But until then focus on your relationship with yourself. If you're going through a heartbreak, I promise you your best days are yet to come.  You are about to know yourself better than you ever have and learn the limitlessness of your strength. You will not only survive but thrive as a result of what you're going through.  Pain makes you strong, not weak, and that's where people have it twisted.  Feel your pain, let it hit you, let it penetrate your soul, and wake up tomorrow a better and stronger person because of it. This is not the end, its only the beginning...

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Places to Meet Someone

I recently had a great opportunity to be on Elite Daily's new talk show that they are launching in October.  I will post the link on my website once it's uploaded.  I was brought on the show to talk about The Way We Met and weigh in on what seems to be the best places to find love.  Since I've now read thousands of meet-cute stories from couples of all ages, demographics, backgrounds, and races, it's become clear to me that the research I've gathered draws towards specific trends. Since the Elite Daily segment will be cut down and edited, only a fraction of my pointers will be broadcasted on the show.  Therefore, I wanted to take the time to  to share with you guys a complete list of all the best places and ways to meet that special someone.

1) Doing the same things....  WITH A DIFFERENT ATTITUDE.

Let's face it, our generation is glued to their Iphones; checking instagram, looking at snap-chat, and texting the same people we text every day of our lives.  The truth is, if you actually glance up, you'll see there is a whole world happening around you and if you participate, you might be shocked at how your life changes.  Many of the story submissions I receive come from couples who met in ways that were nothing out of the ordinary; on trains, standing in line at CVS, scanning the isles of a grocery store, or waiting at the apple store to have their phone fixed.  One couple even met a stop-light, rolling down their windows to say hello and then exchanging numbers before the light turned green! The only difference that occurred on the day these people met the love of their life while doing the same routines, is that they decided to be present. It's amazing how the universe responds to you when you set out with a positive attitude. So the next time you're out running errands, put your phone away.  Smile at someone in line or buy the cute stranger standing behind you his/her coffee.  Surely they will have to come thank you for it, which will start a conversation. Get creative! Don't just assume that today is the same as every other day, because today can be exactly what you chose for it to be. So chose to be bold, offer someone a compliment, take a risk, and be open to possibilities. You'll be shocked to see how magical the outcome can be.

2) Try Something New

Yes, I know this is completely contradictory to my last suggestion, but they are both equally effective ways to meet someone. Sometimes we have to take ourselves out of our comfort zones to meet new people. Perhaps there is an activity you've been wanting to try forever that you keep talking about but never take action.  It could be a cooking class, guitar lessons, or that new spinning studio that just opened. When we immerse ourselves into new activities, we build character.  One of my favorite quotes is from the movie Into The Wild, (If you haven't seen it, you need to immediately) which says, "the core of man's spirit comes from new experiences."  New experiences change us, challenge us, and make us better, more self-aware individuals.  Also, the best part about trying something new is the opportunity to meet new people that comes along with it. If nothing more, maybe your new hobby becomes something that makes you a more interesting person and gives you something exciting to talk about on your next date. New experiences expose us to new networks of people who also have networks of people. Your soul mate might just be a friend of the friend you just made in Improv class.  

3) Do some good

There are so many ways to be charitable and to get involved while helping others.  Helping others has a way of in turn helping and healing yourself.  For example, maybe you decide to commit to the goal of running a 5K (you could even chose a race where the admission fee goes towards a cause you're really passionate about). Anytime you put yourself in a situation where a large community comes together, you are increasing your odds of meeting someone new.  Also, when people set out to help others or to achieve a goal, they are often exposing their most vulnerable self. This is why it's an optimal time to form new bonds. Accomplishing something like finishing a race builds character individually, but more importantly, requires the support of those around you.  There is something about all being in it together that creates camaraderie.  So, maybe instead of going on a spring break trip to Mexico with all of your friends to binge drink for 7 days, as fun as that can be, chose to donate your time to something more charitable like habitat for humanity. I guarantee you that you will leave the trip with new friendships and relationships that are built on a much stronger foundation than the friends you would have made at Senor Frogs. As a result, the likelihood of you staying in touch and maintaining lasting relationships after the trip is much greater.  Another great suggestion, check out the November Project.  It's a free outdoor fitness community that meets once a week in cities all over the U.S.  To see if they are available in your city, check outhttp://november-project.com/

4) Online Dating

So I can't leave out online dating because the reality is that one out of three married couples meet online.  If you are going to resort to use your computer or cell phone to find love, than at least take into account the ways to be more successful at it. Treat online dating as an introductory service. In other words, don't spend too much time texting with someone before meeting them in person.  The best way to gauge if you have a real connection is to meet face to face (obviously in a public place where you feel safe.) Too often, people meet someone online who they perceive to be perfect and everything they are looking for on paper.  However, upon meeting in person they often find themselves disappointed when the connection just isn't there. Well the honest truth is that most of the time people end up with a partner that is the exact opposite of whom they envisioned they'd end up with. There is an unexplainable spark and chemistry between two people that can only be assessed in person. So don't waste your time trying to type the perfect text message because none of that will ultimately change your fate.  You won't have perfect responses in person, so just be yourself.  Why would you want to be with someone who you weren't your real self with anyways? So my best advice is to just speed up the process and skip to grabbing a drink or a cup of coffee.  That way you can decide if there is even a connection there worth pursuing.

Take a Break

I’m going to drop some knowledge on you right now if you are single and looking for love.  Perhaps you are frustrated and have grown bitter towards love because every person you’ve gone out with has wound up to be a disappointment.  You may even be at the point of throwing your hands up while declaring that you’re giving up on dating.  It’s kind of like when you go out and drink too much and the next morning you swear you’re never drinking again.  You know that’s not true.  You’re getting hammered at the next opportunity that calls for it, regardless of how terrible you feel right now.  The same goes for your love hangover. 

If you are desperately looking for love and not finding it, the best advice I can give you is to stop looking. Maybe it’s time to take a break from the countless dating applications you’re on; Hinge, bumble, match.com, plenty of fish, tinder, shminder, you get the point.  

People often say that love comes when you’re not looking for it.  Maybe your problem is that you reek of desperation and it’s time to do some soul searching.  Take all the energy you’re putting into looking for the one, and pour it into your passions, career, or hobbies instead.  I believe when people are on a pursuit of doing what they love, they also find the right person of whom to love.  Better yet, it may be during this pursuit of your passion that you stumble upon the perfect person who shares your same interests.  For example, maybe you decide you’re finally going to take those tennis lessons you’ve always wanted to take. Then, next thing you know it, you happen to meet the most amazing guy who is also a beginner at the sport.  Now, not only have you found a great guy to date, but you also have something in common to build your relationship on.  The score might just end up being love-love.

However, this journey has to be genuine and honest to who you are.  Don’t just go signing up for every activity under the sun in hopes you’ll find the perfect bachelor; because then your relationship will be built on a lie. If your favorite food is fried chicken, don’t go to a vegan food fair hoping to find love;  you’ll just end up being miserable eating quinoa with your boyfriend while sneaking off to KFC every night. Just be true to who you are and everything will fall into place. If you change your focus to following your heart, you may find in turn that the man of your dreams will also be following after your heart. 

That’s all for now. Stay tuned…

What I Know

While the idea for “the way we met” as a platform to share couple’s love stories was created over night, I have been preparing for this opportunity my whole life.  I was 16 years old and in high school when I had my first serious boyfriend.  We shared the typical young love; passionate, dramatic, high-highs and low-lows.  It was a pretty long relationship that was on and off for many years and continued on after high school, well into college.  When it ended, I was devastated, and didn’t think I would ever find love like that again, but I assure you that was not the case.  Furthermore, that young heartbreak changed the course of my life forever; it forced me to evolve as a person at a very young age, become self-actualized, and read more self-help books then I’d like to admit. 

When you’re young and going through heartbreak, you’re convinced it will never get better. You are sure that no one has ever been as in love as you were, and that the heartbreak your feeling is unmatched by any pain anyone has ever experienced.  I assure you that is not true.  There is a reason why almost every great love song was built around gut-wrenching heartbreak.

Some of the most epic novels, songs, and inventions of all time were inspired by heartbreak. The pain of a broken heart has led to the creation of iconic masterpieces.  This, my friends, is the silver lining to it all.  The Huffington Post reported a study that showed “trauma can help people grow in areas of interpersonal relationships, contentment, gratitude, personal strength, and resourcefulness.” If you are currently experiencing a broken heart, the wounds may be too new for you to comprehend this.  However, what you will see in time, with great clarity, is that it may have been the best thing that ever happened to you.  Little by little every day you will transform into a better version of yourself; the changes will feel too small to recognize at first, but one day you’ll wake up and it will all make sense.  Facing new challenges and overcoming them is what builds strength in mankind and shapes the core of our character. Overcoming the challenge of a broken heart will force you to become independent and content with yourself. Then once that happens, you’ll end up attracting another amazing person into your world, and it will be more rewarding than ever before because you’ll most likely be on a stronger foundation, have a whole new career you’ve created, or some other large accomplishment to show for due to your self-growth.

Many people want to know what my current relationship status is.  I’m not sure why that’s so important, but I will tell you this.  I have been in many relationships.  I have had my heart broken, and I have broken a few hearts along the way.  It doesn’t matter whether I’m currently in or out of a relationship, because my beliefs on love do not change.  I am always optimistic about love and believe it is the greatest joy of living. I made a promise to myself a long time ago, that regardless of how many times I had my heartbroken, I would never grow bitter towards love.  I would continue to put myself back in the boxing ring over and over because great risk equals great reward.  You can’t just build up walls and close yourself off to love because of one person, or one rejection, or one failed relationship (or multiple for that matter.) You have to keep fighting, keep trying, keep getting out of bed, because your next prince charming is out there. 

So I’d like to end by saying this, nurture the most important relationship you have every day, which is the relationship you have with yourself. Know who you are.  Date a lot of people while you’re young so you know what you’re looking for in a partner.  Be confident and know your worth.  You teach people how to treat you, so until you know what you deserve, don’t go out searching for love.  Who you wind up with as a partner will always be a direct reflection of what you think you deserve. Allow your significant other to simply be an addition to the happiness you’ve already created within you.  I stared the way we met on a mission to give the world hope again. Love is out there, beautiful relationships are blossoming every day, and your fairytale will happen too if you just continue to not give up.

That’s all for now.  Stay tuned.

               

All the Love

This morning I woke up to see @thewaywemet featured on HuffingtonPost.com. I just want to thank all of you who are following this account. I started The Way We Met two weeks ago for many reasons but one of the main ones was to put real, genuine, wholesome love back into the world. I'm so sick of social media being all about which celebrity has the most plastic surgery and who's cheating on who. So to everyone who is following, just know you are a part of being a change in our world. My stories are about average people finding love. It doesn't matter what your race is, skin color, sexual preference; there is someone out there for everyone. My mission is to share positive stories to remind everyone what is important. This account isn't about making single people feel alone and sad, it's about giving them hope. So please stay tuned for many many more wonderful stories to come. Love is the greatest joy of living, and everyone is worthy! I love you all! @thewaywemet

Are we Swiping Left on Love?

I’m a Midwest girl who has lived in Los Angeles for two years now.  It recently occurred to me that most of my friends back home in Michigan are married, while in LA, I don’t know a single person in their mid-twenties who has settled down yet. Why is it that in the small town of which I’m from, so many have managed to find a spouse, but in an overly populated city like Los Angeles, the general complaint is “how tough it is to date here." Obviously, this could be for a myriad of reasons.  One of them being that many of the people who flock to Hollywood do so in pursuit of chasing self-absorbed careers in modeling, acting, and the like.  People here are often on an agenda, putting off serious relationships to focus on their own selfish goals. However, I believe there is another crucial piece to this puzzle. Perhaps the problem is in numbers.

There is a famous study conducted by Sheena Iyengar, the author of “The Art of Choosing,” in which jars of jam were placed on display at a grocery store for shoppers to taste test as they walked by.  The consumers were also offered a discount coupon to encourage them to make a purchase. Every couple of hours, the selection of jams would be switched from 24 different flavors to only six. The result was that of the people who stopped to try a sample during the 24-flavor display, only 3 percent ended up making a purchase.  However, when the selection was reduced to only six options of jam, consumers were 30 percent more likely to walk out with a jar. This experiment credits the fact that when consumers are faced with too many options, they feel debilitated to make a decision.

In the words of Beyonce, I don’t think they're ready for this jelly.  (Just kidding, i needed a humor break in here)

Anyways, regardless of small towns or big cities, marriage rates in the United States as a whole have consistently dropped every year since 1960 and divorce rates have simultaneously skyrocketed. Relationships are drastically changing and part of this shift is due to increased options and our inability to commit to a decision as a result. Our generation now has countless dating applications and websites available to us that have made access to meeting people greater than ever before.  Yet, isn’t it ironic that an increase in the number of avenues to date people has resulted in a decrease of committed relationships?

The truth is we are overloaded with decisions, and it’s not just at shopping malls or restaurants, or with career choices; it’s with choosing someone to love. Social media has made it hard for us to commit to one person because we are over stimulated with alternatives.  One swipe to the right is all it takes to replace one pretty face with another.  We have become so desensitized to dating, unsatisfied with what we have, and constantly in search of the next best thing. I’ll admit it, there have been times where even I have collected so many matches on tinder, I forgot who was who and had to start deleting matches.  I simply felt overwhelmed by too many men waiting in my queue.

I recently heard someone say that Facebook shouldn’t be called a social network; it should be called an anti-social network, and it’s so true. Studies show that our society is more unhappy than ever before and it's probably because many of us feel so alone.  

So, now I'm on a mission.  I'm on a mission to find the people out there who ARE in a committed relationships.  Where did they find each other? How did they meet? What is the key to a successful relationship? How are they turning insta-happy into a lifetime of happiness? Stay tuned..........