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"How do I love without the expectation of forever?"

-Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

You love unconditionally and hope for the best. That’s what we all have to do. When it comes down to it, every love we have is uncertain. Anything can happen at any moment and living with the expectation of forever is a little silly, if you ask me.

We have to live for now, and we have to love for now. I’m a firm believer that people come in and out of our lives for a reason. I think we love more than once and in many different ways. I think love is so precious. I think we should never limit the amount with which we love another human.

I understand all those fears that come along with loving someone, I get that…but, you guys, no amount of ‘knowing’ how long you’ll be with someone will make any of those feelings less scary or less feelingy.

When you’re starting to feel overwhelmed with “what ifs” and “what abouts” stop and take a deep breath. Look over at the person you’re whatiffing and remember why you’re with them RIGHT NOW. Who cares about two days from now, love that human now. If it’s supposed to last forever, it will. You will both work hard and compromise and communicate and it will work.

Kristin Says:

The only way to love without the expectation of forever is to know that we never, ever know what our futures will hold. This is a scary, sometimes completely overwhelming thought – but it is the truth. We can plan everything down to the most minute detail; we can get a steady job, have a savings account, date people who we know will help with the laundry and the yard work for that day we have a yard… and the reality is that our plan is never completely ours to execute.

Some of us view that reality in the context of there being a higher power outside of ourselves who has a plan for us. Some of us view that reality by accepting that we cannot control all aspects of life, and that “what will be will be.” Some of us get into the fetal position and cry. All of those responses make sense to me — this shit is scary!

Regardless of how you view the uncertainty of life, though, the most positive approach to loving someone under these circumstances is to appreciate each and every moment for the moment itself. Now – you aren’t the f*cking Dalai Lama, so you aren’t going to be able to do that all the time. I am going to echo Dannielle a bit and say that in those moments when your brain is like HEY ANONYMOUS YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN, you should look back at your brain and say, “Listen brain, I know that. I know that and it scares me, but I cannot control it and right now, in this moment, I am happy.”

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"I dont know if this is a stupid question. But how do you love yourself? How do you get to that place of being okay just being by yourself and not feeling lonely?"

-Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

We’re all a little different when it comes to love. Especially self-love. I think self-love is the most important love. lovelovelove

START by switching all the negative things you think about yourself. I mean, the tiniest little things. Instead of thinking ‘i always mess this part up’ or ‘i never look good in orange’ or ‘math is my worst subject,’ focus on the positive alternative. So, like, ‘i’ve almost go this song completely perfect’ or ‘i look FLY in blue’ or ‘I AM BETTER AT READING THAN ANYONE ON THE PLANET.’

Here’s the thing. You have more in common with yourself than anyone else, you know what makes you happy, you know what pisses you off, you know exactly what you want for your birthday. YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO BE YOUR OWN GREATEST AND BEST FRIENDS. You just have to do it. After you switch all those negative beliefs you have about yourself, remember to appreciate how awesome you are as a human being.

Stop comparing yourself to others, stop wishing you were better, stop wondering why things are the way they are, and appreciate you. Appreciate all that you have been through, appreciate the strength you have, appreciate your talents, appreciate those times when you make yourself laugh. Make yourself laugh CONSTANTLY. You are incredible, amazing, beautiful, unique, and perfect. Appreciate that you are you.

Kristin Says:

Life is really a crazy walk / sprint / jog / nap / meander through moments of doubt, fear, excitement, awe, boredom, happiness, anger, peace, AND SO ON AND SO FORTH. Nothing in this life is predictable, but one thing is certain: there is a place of real and true happiness for all of us so long as we believe it is there and we actively seek it.

When you fall in love with someone else, you fall in love with their nuances. You fall in love with the tiny things that no one else notices that set them apart from everyone else. You struggle with some of the things that might not be a perfect fit, but in the end you always come back to that spiderweb of beautiful things that melts your heart. That is what you need to find within yourself. You don’t have to love every piece of yourself to love who you are. You can have weak spots and fearful moments, but – just as Dannielle said – you have to find the things that you love, and you have to work to keep your focus there and build out from that center of strength.

Surround yourself with people who highlight the good in you and in others.

Be healthy: exercise, eat good food, be mindful of your brain and heart.

Forgive yourself when you feel weak. We all feel weak sometimes.

Remind yourself, as much as possible, that you are strong, you are capable, you are beautiful, and that you have all the things you need to learn to love yourself. I promise you, you do.

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"Why is love sometimes not enough (and what do you do)?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

I’m a firm believer that love is never enough. I also firmly believe you have to do what’s best for you.

I mean, love is amazing / the best / incredible / life changing.. but it’s rarely ever ENOUGH. You know? People are too complicated for love to just work out and all your problems just solve themselves. A lot more goes into making a relationship work and sometimes, regardless of the amount of love the two of you share, shit just doesn’t work out.

This doesn’t mean you’re broken or they’re broken or you’ll never find love again. It means you’ve opened your heart to someone, you loved and were loved by another human and it was almost perfect. HOWEVER, the big huge thing that is making everything crumble? It’s the universe telling you that there’s something even more incredible out there. There is someone out there who understands you completely and you understand them completely and you have all the same goals and hopes and the two of you are gonna rock the world together. ORRR there is someTHING out there just waiting for you to find it; a passion, a dream, a goal, a trip around the globe…

Everything happens for a reason. It might take you 3 months or 5 years or 2 decades to figure out what that reason was, but trust me, if you work hard and follow your dreams and do what’s best for you, you WILL figure it out.

Kristin Says:

I agree with Dannielle – love alone is not enough to carry you through life or sustain a relationship. Love is beautiful, necessary, and crucial in many areas in life, but it can’t just stand up on its own and make everything okay. I have fiercely loved many individuals in my life who I couldn’t sustain a relationship with —- and I still fiercely love those people.

Timing is extremely important in shaping that love and turning it into a tool that promotes growth and strength. If I were the person I am today when I started dating my first girlfriend, our relationship would have been entirely different.  I would have handled our fights differently, I would have handled our time together differently… I would have handled our love differently.

Trust me when I tell you that your experiences with love right now – especially the experiences that end in uncertainty and confusion – are the experiences that will lead you to a love that is enough. That love will come along with confidence, communication, independence, vulnerability, and patience. Understand that it is okay to love someone and to walk away from that person when you know that things aren’t right. That isn’t failure – that is growth in its most powerful form.

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"what is love? what does it feel like?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

It feels like pooping out cupcakes…

basically… give or take.

Love… it’s so different for every human. i mean, on the one hand, it feels like having a best friend in the world who also is a good maker-outer and makes you giggle so hard you wanna punch ‘em. On the other hand, it feels like having an annoying little sister who makes you wanna cry bc she forgot to pick up toilet paper on the way home. On the other other hand, it feels like christmas and your birthday all the time. It’s scary, it’s confusing, it makes you wanna throw up 30% of the time, makes you wanna sleep 40% of the time and makes you wanna skip down the hallway of your school the remaining 30%.

It starts as one feeling that you’ll never be able to explain and it grows into another feeling you’ll never be able to explain. Love, you guys. It’s that stuff you talk about constantly and you don’t know what you’re saying. It’s the stuff that makes you over think everything you say and do. It’s the stuff that drives you mad and makes you feel completely calm at the same time.

“It’s that can’t-eat, can’t- sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over-the-fence, World Series kind of stuff.” – It Takes Two starring Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen

Kristin Says:

It depends on what kind of love you mean, really.

Falling in love with someone, in my opinion, happens so many times during the course of a relationship. The way we love people grows, expands, shifts, and bends around the paths that our lives take, and it is never, ever constant.

Recently I have been thinking about love as an onion. So romantic, I know. But like, here is how I feel: When you begin to fall in love with someone, it happens through getting to know who they are and how you fit together. That kind of love feels like all of the things Dannielle said up there; it feels like a rollercoaster, it makes you sweat and cry and laugh in places that aren’t even funny, it makes you unsure and more sure than you’ve ever been, and it gives you tunnel vision when your eyes settle on the other person’s sweet, perfect face. That kind of love is the very middle of the onion.

Love is tricky, though, and just when you think you’ve captured it in your hands and you finally understand it, something in the universe will shift. Things will look different. You will realize that even though you know everything there is to know about the person that you love, you only know those things from one angle. You will get scared… sometimes you will run away. Sometimes, though, you will hang on through the shifts and bends and confusions and begin to fall in love all over again. The center of the onion is still there, but now you are forming another layer.

Every layer will have it’s doubts, fears and insecurities… and every layer will teach you new things about yourself and about the other person. The one thing I can tell you is that love is never just one thing, and you won’t ever have to wonder if you’re falling… because there is simply no escaping when it happens.

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"When is a good time in a relationship to say ‘i love you’ ??"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

This is a toughie bc like i remember telling my boyfriend in high school that i loved him and i wanted to marry him over ICQ (it’s like AIM or GCHAT for all you TINY PEOPLE), even though we had only been dating for 1 week and we couldn’t speak to each other in real life and I’m pretty sure we only dated for a solid 2 weeks. …And he didn’t even like me until after i got my braces off anyway. ##truelove

But at the same time I WAS FUCKING FEELING IT…I mean, I look back and I’m like ‘who WAS THAT GIRL’ you know? You guys, we literally couldn’t SPEAK when we were in real life we just sat next to each other and made out like once. and I was convinced we were in love…bc i wanted to be in love…bc everyone in movies was all in love and what not…plus i watched Dawson’s Creek and Charmed and IT SEEMED LIKE SAYING YOU LOVED SOMEONE WAS ALL THAT REALLY MATTERED.

No one can really answer this question. I would just suggest you check in with yourself. There is always the potential that you feel crazy inside and you feel like you want to tell someone you love them, but you also know for a fact you don’t love them…and it’s hard and conflicting and maybe you’ll say it anyway and maybe you won’t. Love is complicated and weird and hard and confusing and no one can explain it to you…but it’s also awesome and wonderful and beautiful and fucking great and you’ll realize that deep down you don’t really WANT anyone to explain it to you. you know?

Kristin Says:

Two excellent times to say I love you to your boo are:

1)  In response to them saying “I love you,” contingent on the fact that you have been feeling like a crazy-person because you can’t stop thinking about them and you don’t even care that you are going to miss an episode of Covert Affairs BECAUSE YOU JUST WANT TO KISS THEM AND HEAR THEM TALK, or,

2) When about a month has passed where you have been saying things like, ‘I like you so much,’ or ‘I care about you,’ or, ‘Do you know how much you mean to me?’ but what you really mean is, ‘I love the goddamn shit out of you.’

I have had three long term relationships, and in all three of them I have been the one to say ‘I love you’ first.  In my first relationship, I told my girlfriend I loved her after a month, and I fucking meant it…but my emotions were literally out of control because I had never fallen in love before.  She didn’t tell me she loved me back until another two months had passed – and I didn’t care because I loved her so much.  You know?

In both of my other relationships, I had more of a handle on how I was feeling and on navigating that and waiting to burst out with the ‘i-love-you’ announcement until about month four…

BUT YOU GUYS.

We are all different, and you have to do what your heart is telling you to do when your brain and your heart agree that you should do it.  Falling in love is one of the craziest adventures that you can go on with another person, and the words ‘I love you,’ will mean something different to you and your boo at month three, year one, year three, and year ten.

You might stumble over your words, you might wait for weeks and weeks, you might blurt it out accidentally in a totally inappropriate place, it might be awhile before the words are returned, it might be a while before you can return the words, but there is no guidebook here…you just have to trust your heart and learn with your experiences.

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