How Ashley Graham's Decision To Abstain From Sex Helped Her Find Love

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Ashley Graham in sultry photo shoot
Self, Sex

You can see things for what they are.

"Eff love." Those were the words of singer Rihanna after her first very public breakup, a thought many of us (myself included) have had. 

Love is something extremely sought after, but the good stuff is sorta like hunting for Easter eggs in your backyard — right in your face, but hard to find. 

And while some find it easier than others, deep down it's something that we all desire. However, for a few people, it can take a bit of soul searching and then some — including supermodel Ashley Graham, who struggled in love until she met her husband.  

 

Husband & Wife

A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@theashleygraham) on Mar 9, 2017 at 8:38am PST

Graham has opened up in the past about her abusive relationship, and with the upcoming release of her memoir, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like, she digs even deeper into her past relationships, the struggle to love herself, and how it affected her relationship with men in Glamour's June edition.

She also describes a heartbreaking incident with her first boyfriend where he dumped her for refusing to have sex with her and told her she would be "as fat as his mom." 
 

Related: 7 Things Model Ashley Graham Said That EVERY Woman Needs To Hear
 

"I started dating at sixteen. My first boyfriend and I were together for three months until he said, 'I have to break up with you because you won’t have sex with me. And I’m afraid you’re going to be as fat as my mom.'

Thus started a pattern of going out with anyone who thought I was hot; I lost my virginity to a guy I barely knew because he gave me compliments like, 'Ashley, you look really pretty today,' or, 'I like when you wear your hair like that.' (The next day he ignored me in school.)

When I left Nebraska to start my modeling career in New York City, my dates followed a similar pattern: A guy took me out, then we had sex, then I wouldn’t hear from him again."

Her dating woes didn't end there, and she found these same issues in all types of men — until she met her husband, Justin Ervin, in church. She recalls it feeling as througthoughs looking into her soul when they spoke.

She describes their romance as "innocent and sweet," as the couple was forced to think outside the box (spring) as they were celibate due to Ervin's faith. They wouldn't spend time at one another's home late at night, but would instead get together for a late night movie or walk. (Which is making me swoon all over the place at this love story, FYI.) 

But even then, she was still skeptical in the same way that those who've been burned by love are, no matter how open and forward he was with his intentions.

It wasn't until Justin passed the not-so-standard "meet the grandparents" test that she knew this was the real deal and the love she'd been searching for. 

She took her black boyfriend home only to find out her family was racist. But the way Ervin handled the situation was what really told her everything she needed to know about the relationship, and she committed to him completely.

"I’m so grateful that happened, and it never would have if ­Justin hadn’t put his hand out there. He always puts love before pride, which is what he did with me. When I was playing games, he called me out on it. When we began dating, he did it with intention."
 

Related: Ashley Graham Wore A Sexy Swimsuit — And The Fat-Shaming Trolls Went Berserk
 

While celibacy wasn't initially Graham's choice and it's not always a solution for finding a lasting relationship, I think Graham is proof that sometimes when you're soul searching, remaining celibate can help you come to things a lot quicker.

When you're damaged and a little broken on the inside, deciphering men's intentions is difficult enough, you find yourself always wondering if his only goal is short-term (read: getting in your pants.)

But, when that's no longer a concern, you can reflect and gain a more clear perspective of the man that's standing before you — you can find the love they're showing, not just the lust. 

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