After living the single girl life (read: sleeping with my ex and wanting to get back together) for the past four and a half years, I’ve finally settled down with someone new. And now that I’ve gotten my shit together, at least on the relationship front, I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things about being in love.

1. It’s okay to still love your ex

I had convinced myself that I was over my ex, and I really am. But being over someone doesn’t mean that you won’t always love them deep down. I fell in love with someone new, but those strong emotions will always be there – and that’s okay!

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2. Love isn’t always 50/50

And it’s not always 100% on both sides, either. There are some days where I can only give 20% and others where I might have to give 95%. In a lot of relationships, some give more than they receive. To be honest, I’m definitely the receiver this time around, and I’m lucky to be with someone who understands that I’m not as affectionate as he is (though I admire how loving he can be) and sometimes need my distance.

3. It’s okay to receive

I’ve spent the entirety of previous relationships feeling like a bit of a failure if I couldn’t get my partner off. Beyond that, I didn’t care about coming that much. The emotional connection was what was really important to me. There were times I even treasured slow, lazy sex at night that kind of put me to sleep more than it got me off. But now that I look back on it, a lot of my previous partners were lazy or selfish. I strive to make my guy climax every time, but now I’m realizing that it’s totally fine if he doesn’t and I do. It’s no fault of mine, and I’m lucky that I’ve gotten mine every time we’ve been together.

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4. Every healthy relationship is important

To be honest, I’ve been in crappy relationships that I wish never happened, and I’m not going to act like those needed to take place in my life. No one deserves to be treated like shit. However, if a relationship was healthy, it will always be important to you. Now that I’ve entered my second serious adult relationship, I’ve realized that I’ll always treasure all of the previous ones I’ve had, serious or flings. They taught me things that are making my current partnership so much better.

5. If we break up, we’ll be okay

Having been through a break up before, I know that my ex and I will always care about one another. But I also know that the drama is just not worth it. I really think that this time around, if things don’t work out, we’ll always treasure the time we had together – and not spend months harassing one another with drunk texts and “trying to make things work.” It’s great to fall in love, and I hope that if I ever fall out of love again, this time I’ll do it gracefully.

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