I'm Not Good At Relationships, But I Know How To Love

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woman holding man close
Love

I realized a while ago that I am a bit of an emotional klutz.

I say things that don't need to be said out loud and sometimes nose my way into situations that don't call for my presence or input at all.

I have held onto people for years completely unaware I was in love with them and, strangely, I've held onto people I loved at one point years after I stopped actually liking them.

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I am prone to casually blurting things that step outside the social boundaries of monogamy, and that always makes things interesting/awkward.

Simply put: the rules of relationships and the social structures of romance seem to evade me.

But, if nothing else, those I love have no question that I do.

I am loyal to a fault.

I get loud in defense of my loved ones even when they won't.

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I spend too much time and money on gifts or special extras.

I get extra sentimental when heaping on overzealous praise at the drop of a hat.

I rave about those I love to friends so often I am sure they're convinced I am overcompensating for something.

I've always been this way, but in my younger years, my lack of confidence or real-life romance role model caused me to counter my good intentions with a lot of belittling language or insane jealousy when I felt slighted.

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These years aren't my proudest memories, but honestly, I am glad I am able to see them in my rearview instead of realizing I am still acting out like that now.

My love isn't possessive and makes no attempts to control my partner these days.

I have found that loving from a place of gratitude that we get to share time together — no matter the amount — eliminates an enormous amount of BS relationship drama and, in turn, keeps my relationship afloat longer in the end.

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I know how to give in ways that complement my partner's needs.

I know how to listen when I am mad.

I know how to create a warm space with my presence and build up my partner when he is hurting or feeling less than himself.

I know how to protect the part of a union that makes being with someone special and worthwhile in any context.

And I know how to find someone who will give me the same.

I may not be great at playing by those weird, arbitrary social norms about romance, but dammit, I know how to love.

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Liz Pardue-Schultz is a writer whose work has appeared in Huffington Post, Time Magazine, XOJane, Medium, SheSaid, HelloGiggles, Ravishly, and Thought Catalog.