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Leave The Other Half Behind, Look For A Cherry Instead

February 6, 2024

A newlywed’s advice on the first step one should take for finding ‘the one’ in the healthiest way.

Written By Sarah Correa-Dibar, Gen Z POV

When my friends or colleagues ask me how it feels to be married, my true response is “complete.” It’s not because my husband is my ‘other half’ or ‘he completes me,’ but because I feel like I don’t need anything else — I feel complete with the love I receive. Being married was a dream for me, and my wedding was every dream come true.

When I was younger, I would read Hollywood magazines that would write about celebrity couples and how they were each other’s ‘halves,’ and I never understood what was so great about that. I would think: “Why would you want to be half of an orange?” (I’ve always digested the things I read visually, so when I read ‘half’ I pictured half of an orange). So I developed my visual analogy. Instead, I wanted to strive to have a love like two cherries: Complete and flavorful by themselves but linked together by one stem. Safe to say, I married my very own cherry.

I have found that I was ready when I didn’t need it (I never liked the phrase ‘it comes when you least expect it’). It came when I felt like I could walk into a bar by myself, take myself on a walk and read a book in a coffee shop, or take myself out to dinner. That is when I found I was ready for true commitment.At this stage, you know what is worth your time and you have an expectation of how you want to feel on dates with this person – as comfortable as you are when you take yourself out on a date.

Before I met my husband, I felt the most confident and self-sufficient I’ve ever felt. Not just physical confidence but confidence, emotionally and mentally, too.

I felt good knowing I had routines that did not depend on anyone else, not feeling like I needed the affirmation that I was pretty from some guy at the bar, not caring that I missed out on a pregame with some girls who were too busy in their own world to care.

Whenever you get to the point where you feel like you do not need company to feel good about yourself, that’s when you start to subconsciously draw closer to true love.

Similarly, I believe it’s important to take yourself out on solo dates or dedicate quality time for yourself to be able to set the bar that fits your measurements for how someone should treat you.

I feel it’s important to carve out time in your day for your self-care routines or hobbies you like to do. The person who respects the time and energy you dedicate for yourself does ultimately respect you.

It is important to note that self-love is a never-ending journey with many highs, lows, and no final destination.

I think it’s important to love yourself enough to know how you want to and should be loved by someone else. That way you don’t have to be in too deep in a challenging relationship to stop and think, “Would I treat myself like this person is treating me?” If the answer is no, you value yourself enough to walk away simply because that treatment is not reaching your standards.

I married my first love because I knew I would. Throughout high school and college, I would not stick around with someone who, on the first couple dates, showed mannerisms or etiquette I did not want to be around.

I’m not going to lie and say I never wanted a boyfriend because to be honest, I feel like everyone wants a partner. I wanted one for the same reason everyone else did – someone to have for yourself to tell everything to, confide in and feel comfortable with. I also did not want to waste my time on anyone who I did not immediately feel could give that to me from the first couple of dates.

This realization comes to people in many different ways. For some, they have gone through a hard breakup, for others, they moved to another city, and for me, it was annoyance and selfishness (selfish with my own time and emotions).

Self-love doesn’t stop once you’ve found the one you want to marry, it should always stay with you.

A healthy relationship doesn’t grow if you forget to cultivate it. A healthy courtship is separate, each partner starts dating showing their own ‘best self’. Once the courtship becomes a real relationship, and slowly, into a potential marriage, improving your ‘best self’ is no longer done as individuals but rather as a team.

You should want as much more for yourself as your partner does, and vice versa. As you both strive for more within yourself, you’re simultaneously striving for more in your relationship. Self-love is self-improvement, and the same goes for your relationship.

I realized this after completing a marriage prep course. We were told that during the Catholic wedding ceremony, the Holy Spirit brings the individuals in a couple into one. After that, it all made sense to me as to why relationships are healthy when both spouses strive to lift each other and push each other up every hill – because at the end of the day, you are helping yourself reach the top of that hill.

Overall, I believe that finding love starts with prioritizing yourself, including your time, values, emotions, and limits. Once you begin to recognize them, you’ll have the confidence you need to be self-fulfilled and not need a filler person to occupy the time while you find your future spouse (you rarely will ever know you found ‘the one’ with another person standing in your way).

Love yourself enough to know how you want to be loved by someone else, set a standard for yourself, and put up the caution tape you need to. And finally, always strive for more even in your relationship.

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