5 Life and Relationship Insights I’ve Gained After Getting Engaged

In 2019, I went through an epic healing journey.

To make it short, I changed my attachment style from anxious to secure. I stopped getting attached to toxic people. I left a job that I didn’t enjoy and started building a life I loved.

More than a year later, my current life is unrecognisable compared to the one I had before my first visit to the therapist’s office.

I used to mope around in a rented room in some lonely part of London, feeling anxious from the moment I opened my eyes. Now, I’m living in a two-bedroom house with a beautiful private garden, happily together with my fiance while planning our big wedding.

This transformation wasn’t by chance. It was by choice.

I told myself I wanted a stable life, and it became clear to me then what I had to do. I just didn’t expect that it would come rather quickly — I figure Paulo Coelho was onto something when he wrote, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

As someone who has been on both sides of the healing journey: anxious vs. secure, miserably single vs. happily single, dating the wrong people vs. happily committed to the love of my life, I’ve gained many unique insights that I wish someone had told me when I was younger.

1. Being anxious is not natural

I used to think anxiety was a part of my identity, but now that I’ve gone through therapy and improved the conditions of my life, I realise that I was wrong.

Anxiety took away a lot from me — experiences that could have been fun turned into panic attacks and traumatising memories. I wouldn’t say I regret my past in that regard, but things could definitely have been different had I had a secure attachment style.

I wish I had gone to therapy, adopted a healthier lifestyle (for example: playing sports, going to the gym, etc.), and not used online dating during my university years as it caused endless emotional ups and downs.

The truth is, having little to no anxiety is a huge advantage, and it makes the experience of life so much more enjoyable — that’s really how it should be, not soapy essays and sad pop songs all the damn time.

Anxiety is not a personality.

2. You’ll be in a healthy relationship when you’re intentional enough about it (and have a bit of luck)

When it comes to my love life, for a long time, I faced the classic dilemma that I’m sure many young girls could attest to.

I was attracted to the guy with whom I had no emotional connection and who ended up treating me badly, while I had no physical chemistry with the guy who was nice to me.

It was quite easy for me to accept that the former guy wasn’t right for me, but somehow I kept thinking that I should have given the latter guy a chance and there was something wrong with me for not liking them.

Worse, I believed that these two guys were my only two options, and considering I couldn’t choose either of them, I was destined to be alone.

Well, I was gladly proved wrong when I met my future husband.

There is indeed a third option — someone whom I’m connected to on many levels and chooses me every day.

But he wasn’t the one who opened my eyes to this reality — I was.

Through therapy and self-research, I became aware of my toxic dating patterns and learned to break free from them. I started to be turned off by unavailability and was drawn to qualities such as empathy and family-orientedness.

Notably, I didn’t expect a good partner to fall into my lap — I held high standards and set firm boundaries while vetting romantic prospects. I was intentional. Especially, I put a great deal of effort into warding off my anxious thoughts to choose love every day.

I’m in a committed relationship to be married because that’s what I wanted and am actively choosing.

I believe that when something doesn’t happen for you or keeps missing in your life, chances are you haven’t wanted it or been intentional enough about it. The power is in your hands.

That said, dating is also a number game. So let’s hope luck is by your side, so you don’t have to weed through too many people before finding your right one.

3. Being in a happy, healthy, and committed relationship has a lot of benefits

It seems like, nowadays, especially in Western countries, being a single woman with resources is more celebrated than being in a relationship.

From a feminist’s point of view, I get it. However, from a human being’s point of view, I encourage people to get into healthy relationships and have faith in humanity because it benefits both men and women in the long run.

Yes, it’s hard and scary to prioritise relationships and love because, after all, people can change and unexpected things might happen and hurt you deeply. But this risk is far outweighed by the pros of a healthy, loving, and committed relationship.

I realise that being in such a relationship makes everything in life easier. I have more free time and energy to do what I love; when I feel down, there’s someone to cheer me up; when I face a setback, there’s someone to overcome it with me.

Everyday life is fun and meaningful because there’s someone special to share it with. Holidays are exciting because we can make plans together and spend time with our extended family. As a unit, we feel stronger and more equipped to weather life challenges such as this pandemic.

Being with such a caring and capable man, I don’t have any worries about the future. Most of the time, I don’t even have to do anything because my partner has already done it for me. He’s incredibly thoughtful and loving.

Our lives as individuals were good, but our shared life as a soon-to-be-married couple is next level. That’s the magic of being with someone who’s compatible with you.

In short, there’s no shame in wanting a relationship or marriage. In fact, you should take your love life seriously now — the rewards are plenty.

4. It might take a long time for you to find the love of your life, but when it happens, it happens fast

I spent almost 25 years of my life being more or less single. For my partner, it had even been longer than that before he met his future wife, me.

But, when we went on our first date, it became clear very quickly that our connection was special. Our relationship then progressed like a breeze. My sister had even bet that I wouldn’t get married until at least 30 for how independent I seemed but, now, I am engaged and have my whole life mapped out. Just like that.

If you’re looking for a relationship to get married, know that finding the right person takes time and effort, but it’s definitely worth the wait. When that person enters your life, the big milestones, even ones that seem so far-fetched right now, will quickly become available to you.

So don’t rush. Choose your partner carefully.

5. Your childhood traumas don’t disappear just because you’re in a healthy, happy relationship

I might have become securely attached, but my relationship with my father is still broken and it affects me deeply, even in my romantic relationship.

For example, small things my partner did could be triggering for me and cause me to react strongly. Or I might be emotional for no logical reason, which required a great deal of my partner’s understanding and patience.

Speaking of which, being in a healthy, happy relationship does make a big difference.

My past romantic relationships were often a source of hurt that easily imploded whenever my childhood traumas got the better of me. Meanwhile, my current one acts as a safe, secure environment for me to work through any personal issues.

It’s no longer “me vs. the person I’m dating and my issues” (because both cause me pain) but “us vs. the issues together” (because my partner is on my side and wraps me with love.)

It’s a big red flag to view your partner as an opponent that you need to play games to gain power over or protect yourself from. If that’s the case, you need to cut them off immediately. You might not even be ready to date yet.

All in all, life on the other side of an epic healing journey is awesome.

I know deep down that I’ll be okay no matter what happens next. I’m confident that I’m resourceful and resilient enough to keep making lemonade out of lemons.

My advice to you is this:

Whether you’re in a relationship or single, it’s never too late to get to know yourself and heal the wounded parts of you.

You deserve a quality life, and you can have it if you want it because you’re totally capable of giving it to yourself.

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