I’m definitely no expert on love. Through the years I’ve had my fair share of bad relationships. In fact I’ve been divorced once before. I encountered some of the darkest days of my life during that time frame, but I needed to go through that. You see, people fear being lonely. It’s in our DNA to want a companion, to want to love, to want to create. So naturally, losing someone is painful. There becomes fear you’ll never find someone else, fear you’ll never love the same way, etc. I felt all of that. And while I may have suffered, I learned a lot about myself and how strong I really was. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and I pursued it aggressively.

I would always hear this “you have to love yourself first before you can love someone else” phrase and I didn’t really understand. Here I was, 27 years old with a successful career, loving family, great friends and a life to rebuild. I was scared shitless because I didn’t even know where to begin. I thought I had everything right. I invested my life into a woman I loved, was loyal to one company, and bought a beautiful new home to start a family. Where did it go wrong? I would wake up and go to work, come home and get some food and then get to bed. I had no desire to do anything; my mind was like scrambled eggs. My life, however, took a turn on a warm afternoon in April, and slowly that phrase started to make sense.

I received a phone call from my best friend. He had asked me if I wanted to go kickboxing. I laughed out loud and said, “Bro, seriously? Are you out of your mind? I’m not in shape for all of that”. We shared a couple laughs but he convinced me it would be fun and even if it wasn’t, it was a reason to get out of the house. So we get to CKO and we’re greeted by the bass thumping music. I looked around and kinda liked it. We took the class and I was hooked; finally something to want to leave the house for. I didn’t even care about the work out aspect of it, it just gave me something to look forward to do everyday. I’d go alone, take my bag in the back, work out and then go home. Not only was I excited to go everyday, I was getting in ridiculous shape, too. And so I was moulding a relationship with myself, learning to love spending time alone with my thoughts, meeting new people, and learning about what life had to offer.

I began finding comfort in being alone. I no longer had a desire to “have” someone in my life to keep me occupied, to love me, or to bring me happiness. I was going places whenever I wanted to, doing things however I wanted to and creating memories in the process. In essence, I was creating my own happiness without someone else. In doing so, I’ve been able to identify what i want in a woman and have made certain that I’ll never settle for anything less than what I truly deserve and desire. Mind you, there might not be a single person in this world who wants a family more than I do. I’m just not willing to settle in order to have that. I believe that God and patience will bring me everything I’ve dreamed of and more.

I have a totally different perspective on relationships today than I did even two years ago. The majority of ones I see are hanging by a thread. See, I think of relationships with the same lens as I do my career. If I am going to invest my time into something, it’s because I know I am getting the same investment back in return. Why would you put time and effort into something that doesn’t put the same time and effort into you? And then be naive enough to believe it will bring you happiness? Men and women wake up everyday and go to work to be successful. Most have this obsession with making more and more money. Imagine they felt the same way about your feelings and happiness? Giving more and more effort each day because it’ll bring them closer to that next step. Why shouldn’t they? Money doesn’t bring happiness, hell I would rather be broke and in love than rich and miserable.

A picture or two up on Instagram or Facebook will suffice as a portrayal of happiness these days. Time goes on, the passion and romance fades. And people are okay with this. Don’t be. Don’t settle for less than what you truly deserve. Why spend nights apart? Why live separate lives under one roof? Rather than fading, your love for someone should intensify over time. Your eagerness to make them happy and spend time with them should grow each and every day. This is the person you’ve chosen to build a life with, if there’s anything worth investing your time and energy into, it should be them. If at any point you question that notion, you should probably reconsider your relationship because forever is a long time to just settle.