Dear future husband: I hope you have a lot of patience.
For my 23rd birthday, my then-boyfriend woke me up at 1 AM, drunk and excited to give me my "amazing birthday present": a light-up bottle of Vodka that flashed 'Happy birthday, Lindsay' that he got (for free) from an event he attended.
Did I mention I hate vodka?
It was one of the last straws that broke up our year-and-a-half relationship, and a few days later I ended things. At the time, I felt so incredibly validated and excited for what the future could hold.
I made it through that terrible experience and was brave enough to walk away from someone I knew wasn't right for me. I knew in my heart-of-hearts that choosing myself would open me up to meeting the person who knew my value, my worth, or hell, at least knew I'm a fan of extra dry dirty gin martinis.
I'll turn 27 next week, and well, my longest relationship since then was about two months. I haven't been sitting around waiting for an imaginary prince to bust down my door, though.
I've been dating. A lot. In every way you could imagine, on and offline, through events, at bars and with friends. I haven't met that right person, and being single for 4 years has changed me as a person, as a woman, and as a dater.
To my future boyfriend, wherever the loving f*ck you are, when it comes to loving someone who's been single for a while (read: what feels like forever), there are a few things you'll need to remember:
1. It's a daily struggle to believe the right person is out there.
Yes, you, this elusive person who I'll one day share my life, body and heart with, I have to remind myself every single day that I won't be alone forever and ever. It doesn't matter how many wonderful friends and family (and readers) I have who remind me of why it'll work out when I "least expect it" or "when the time is right"; I won't believe they're telling the truth until I meet you.
2. It's going to take a while to trust this little thing called love.
I've been on dates when men who ask if I'll spread my legs under the table so they can look under ... an hour after we've met. I went on six incredible dates with a guy, only to tell me he wasn't interested in "anything serious." And then he started dating some other girl a few weeks later.
When it comes to trusting that a decent, awesome, incredible man exists out there and actually wants to build roots with me, I might doubt it for a long time. But I'll try to trust, I promise.
3. My friends are going to put you through the ringer.
Mainly because I've put them through tumultuous ups-and-downs over the past handful of years. They've been there through every could-be relationship that broke my heart, every struggle I had on drunken Friday nights over two bottles of wine because I just couldn't bare the thought of going on another crappy date.
When you come into the picture, they're going to want to make sure you have my best interest in heart. And while I'll ask them to play nicely, I'm so thankful for the people who look out for me, no matter my relationship status.
4. My daily routine will revolve around me for a while.
Because I've been single, I've been busy figuring out the things that make me happy apart from being in love: traveling, curling up with my Kindle and my dog when it's raining outside, going on solo adventures around town that include coffee and the dog park, shopping, and spending an hour at the salon because I have the time.
I've built a big career and I've collected stamps on my passport, and so far, my day-to-day has been sans man. So, forgive me if it takes me some time to remember that I have to consider you before booking a plane ticket.
5. I've had a lot of time to think about relationships.
And I've been witness to the good, the bad, the awesome and the terrible from my friends' relationships. Everyone says it, but it's actually true: you learn so much about what you want and what you don't from going out on so many dates.
You also take notes from your friends on how they've made their long term relationships strong and sexy. I've been jotting down things to remember for years, and I have a pretty good idea of what I'll expect out of my next relationship. I know it won't look just as I imagine it, so give me a hot second to adjust.
6. I hope you're ready for a lot of fun in the sack.
No, but really. As much as those casual encounters and friends-with-benefits experiences were great at times, what's even better is having sex with the same person over and over again. When you really can take time to get to know what makes someone tick and what gets them out of their mind, that's when sex gets hot.
I absolutely can't wait to have crazy sex with you every single night until we're out of the new relationship stage. I've been saving it up for you for four years. Let's, literally, do this, babe.
7. I'm incredibly self-sufficient.
Because I haven't had a dude to remind me I'm gorgeous, or someone to take out the trash, or someone to hug me when I'm having a really awful day and want to crawl into a hole, I've had to learn how to motivate, soothe and comfort myself all on my own.
I manage a full life — my 401K, my savings account, my travel plans, decorating my apartment, taking care of a dog and every other detail — without any help. So, once you're here and we have to combine lives and work together, I'm going to need a few reminders that I don't have to be so strong all the time.
8. My friends and family are my everything.
Nearly every night for the past four years, I've texted or called my parents or my best friends. We went out together when we were single, when we were getting over breakups, when we were starting new love affairs, and when we just needed to get hammered.
I never had a built-in boyfriend who would do things with me when I was bored, so my friends became my companions in everything. It'll be weird sharing my time.
9. I can't wait to snuggle, but please, don't spoon me to sleep.
No matter how many times I fantasize about waking up with a man and turning over to cuddle him, there's nothing that beats having a giant bed completely to yourself. I'm willing to let you have half of the bed, and I'm even up for spooning right before we fall asleep, but don't treat me like a pillow. I'll always need to breathe.
10. I can't wait to do couple-y things with you.
Like going on trips! Or weekend adventures. Or cook-outs with your family. Or dinners in the city, or evenings spent inside with takeout and Netflix. I crave being part of a twosome, so when we meet I might have a few ideas of how we get this thing started.
11. As much as I (really) want to meet you, I'm nervous to.
I have this gut feeling that when I actually get into this elusive relationship with a wonderful person, many things about my life will change. But I hope they're all in healthy ways, not in the my-boyfriend-is-everything way that happens sometimes.
I've watched ladies go from being incredibly independent to co-dependent in a matter of weeks after meeting some guy. I can't ever let my whole wide world revolve around you, no matter how much I love you ...
12. ... but baby, I can't wait to love you.
I promise I was worth the wait — and man, I hope you were, too. Don't prove me wrong, k?