Giving it Up: Lessons from the First Year

by Rachel on June 30, 2011

On Monday, Eric and I had our one-year anniversary of being Facebook Official.

He surprised me with a card and a gift (Mad Men Season 4 on Blu-ray! I was so happy!) and I gave him this card.

The lovely thing about having a blog devoted to my lessons is that when a milestone rolls around, I can easily reflect on all the things I’ve learned. And oh…I learned so many lessons this year.

I learned how to have a breakdown without having a breakdown, how to make a guy’s bad day good, how to watch a triathlon, and how to handle sick days. Even hospital days.

I learned how how to avoid FEMA pancakes, what to cook a guy’s family for breakfast, how to be (or have) a cheap date, how to cook in nothing but an apron, and how to make a guy banana bread in the blender if he doesn’t have a mixer.

I learned about giving a guy a gift wish list, not peeking when you find said gift, how to host a fake holiday, and how to host a tree decorating party for two. Oh and that even if a guy asks you exactly what you want to do on Valentine’s Day, it might not go well…but what happens during your first Valentine’s Day as a couple is not a dealbreaker.

After learning that it’s OK to move across the country for love, I learned all about living in sin — that you’re going to argue about the decor and really argue when you go shopping for the apartment for the first time, but you’ll eventually compromise and end up with furniture you love. And that puppies will really challenge you and change things.

And Eric and I learned the hard way that a normal girl and a normal guy can suddenly become That Couple and that if you’re going to work 70-hour workweeks, you’re going to have to take your girlfriend on a really sweet vacation.

To celebrate our year together, we went out to dinner at BRC (a fabulous acronym — their mascot is a big red rooster) in Houston. I’ve wanted to go there for ages and it did not disappoint. The upscale pub food and long beer list was exactly my style. Afterward I told Eric how nice it was to go into the city for a fun dinner like that.

“I just need you to fuck the suburbs out of me once in a while, you know?” I said.

It’s not easy to leave him speechless, but that did it.

“It’s that kind of charm that’s kept us together for a year, isn’t it?” I said as he searched for words.

And then we went and got delicious gelato and headed home to start Year Two.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dori June 30, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I love everything about this post. Especially that there is a restaurant called BRC. That is amazing.

I can’t believe it has been a year — I remember that day! Time goes way too quickly. So happy for you and how much has changed in your life since we imaginary met.


2 Lisa @ Sunny Seed Stories June 30, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Congrats, lady! You two seem like a really strong couple. :)


3 EricaLS June 30, 2011 at 2:52 pm

so cute! I remember when I told my boyfriend that you were going to visit eric and he was like “that’s crazy awesome.” (also, I obviously talk about you like I know you in real life)

I’m so glad it’s going well and it’s so exciting to read about your relationship. Congrats!


4 Manon June 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Awwww….love this post. And REALLY love BRC….still giggling…because I’m mature :)


5 Heather June 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm

My dearest Rachel W –

Recently, as my life was filled with DTR and FBOing, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about balance in story telling. Specifically, of course, on THS.

Obviously, just because I’m in a new relationship, doesn’t mean the old relationship hurts any less. It doesn’t mean I’m instantly healed from the broken engagement. [Actually, it’s quite the opposite. My mother suggested during a recent discussion that this will probably be the most difficult relationship of my life. Touche.] I have a desire, and a responsibility, to discuss THIS PART of the broken engagement with my readers as well. Because the girls that find my blog by googling “what to do after a broken engagement” or something similiar, the ones who I receive emails from just days after they took off their rings, they are going to get to this point, too. And I’ve always said that one of the reasons we read specific blogs is becasue we find them relatable and we all, as humans, want to relate to someone. I want to be the someone that a broken hearted, hurting woman relates to when she is in this place. I want to provide that sort of sollace for someone.

I digress….

I found myself questioning the balance, because I wonder how much of my evaluating my old relationship publicly, specifically in discussion of my new relationship is “fair” to Nicholas? And the more I found myself wanting to share things, some of which have less to do with my previous relationship, and more to do with my current relationship, I found myself thinking, “Holy shit. Carrie Bradshaw was ballsy.”

Then I started thinking about other bloggers who are able to talk about their relationships with honesty and tact. And I realized, “Holy shit. Rachel is ballsy, too.” Okay – so I KNEW you were ballsy, but you know what I mean, right?

This post, this round up of the last year, this is what I needed to reflect on today. Not only to read your awesome, hilarious retellings of happenings along the way. Not only to gain the lessons from your life. But also to see all the readers who said “here! here!” in the comments section, the ones who found what you were saying completely RELATABLE.

So. Um.



6 Rachel June 30, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Oh man, so much to say to this! First THANK YOU for the compliments — seriously, that means a lot to me. I sometimes forget people are reading my blog or I don’t really know how it affects them.

Second, here are some things to consider when it comes to writing about your old relationship or your new one. I sort of go through these questions when I’m deciding what to blog about when it comes to relationships.

1. What is the point of this post? The point needs to be helping other people in the situation. Like you said — being someone for the person searching Google (or coming across my blog and finding an answer to something they didn’t even think they could Google) is SO important for me. I try to be that person for the girls who aren’t getting it yet and for the girls who are worried their relationship isn’t normal and for the girls who want a fairy tale relationship and have no idea of what that actually looks like. If I know other people can probably relate, I’m way more likely to post it. Sometimes my point is to just entertain, but I try very hard to have a point, even if my point is “Don’t be ridiculous.”

2. Is telling my story/helping others more important than how it will make the other person feel? I mean, I know I’m at a point where I couldn’t date someone who wasn’t OK with being on the blog, but let’s face it — no one loves the idea of someone else’s perspective on a situation being posted as truth for anyone to read. But sometimes, to me, telling my story is more important to me than their protests which sends us off in a whole new direction on the flow chart, because then it becomes a manner of HOW I can write about it without going too far. And if we’re talking exes, then there are two people’s feelings to take into account.

3. Will I feel like a liar if I don’t write about this? Not everything that happens in my relationship is the world’s damn business, but if something is going on in my life and I know that writing about anything else would feel like a lie of omission, then I write it. It’s important to me that people see the ups and downs of a relationship. The challenge — and the fun reward — as a writer is the HOW. (That Valentine’s Day lesson had four versions before I was finally OK with it!)

4. Is this a story I would feel comfortable saying out loud? Could I tell a group of people at a dinner party? Or in your case — is this a story you’d be comfortable telling the new guy?? It’s public, after all. And yes, I’d tell a lot of stories at a dinner party that other people wouldn’t — maybe that’s the balls thing — but that’s why I’m willing to share it on a blog. I like talking to strangers.

5. Is this news? I don’t usually post any feelings of mine that Eric doesn’t already know. I prefer he hear these things from me first, not learn them on my blog.

6. Can I tell this story honestly? If you’re always going to try to make yourself look good, then you shouldn’t be telling it.

7. Is this my story to tell? I try very very hard to only tell my story and to make it clear that even if someone else is involved, this is my story, my version, my truth. I try to focus on my reactions to things and I avoid saying how other people were feeling in a situation. I think my readers know that, so they don’t judge another person too harshly based on my story alone.

But really, I think it all comes down to the how. I will not hit publish until I’m confident in how I’ve told a story. I’m reminded of this Sylvia Plath quote I had in my Facebook profile for a long time:

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”


7 gretchen June 30, 2011 at 7:44 pm

What an awesome checklist; I may need to print that out and put it on my desk as a reference!

Also, “the girls who want a fairy tale relationship and have no idea of what that actually looks like”…..see this is what I really like about your and Eric’s relationship: you are REAL people. Your relationship is is both fun AND deep; it’s fantastic AND it makes SENSE. It does! It’s not that overly sappy, princess puff relationship that nobody really believes is possible (I mean come on…every time I see a “perfect” relationship I wonder what is really going on behind the scenes), nor is the “we know each other so well now that we hate each other, but for some reason are still in a relationship anyway.”

Far too many people try to make their relationship the first kind or end up in the second kind…but you two are….I don’t know, genuine. Just two people being themselves, together. And it works that way. It’s just nice to see it, you know?


8 Emily July 1, 2011 at 8:34 am

i just saved these comments in a word document. I’ve had four almost-posts sitting on my computer for the last three weeks about my last relationship and my current one–one of which actually started with “i dont know how miss bradshaw did it”–but i just wasnt sure if it was the right time to post them or that it was respectful to everyone involved. This was a god-send of a checklist for everyone with a blog and a significant other!


9 Claire @ Live and Love to Eat June 30, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Best card ever.


10 Mary (A Merry Life) June 30, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Love this post. Congrats!


11 JunieB June 30, 2011 at 3:45 pm

BRC is right by my house!!! loved the post!


12 Jordan June 30, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Happy anniversary! It’s a good thing my boyf and I celebrate our first date and not our first FBO day… I held out on him for a good three months for that.


13 Ashley Breton June 30, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Like every once else has stated, so ballsy! I’ve just read through the past year of you and Eric’s relationship and my blood literally rose when I read about you, Eric and “Polly” hahaha. I used to have a boyfriend that was too ‘nice’ that he wanted to ‘win people to Jesus Christ’ so he would form relationships with girls in order to ‘do this.’ Guess what? He is now engaged to the ‘girl who is just a friend’ after dating her a year after I dumped his ass after 5 years. Dodged THAT bullet, ha :)

Congrats on the year lady!


14 Ashley June 30, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Congrats again :) I have been reading since the beginning and am SO happy for you guys!


15 Jasmine June 30, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Isn’t it crazy how fast a year goes by? You guys have definitely come a long way in that year.

I have really loved following your love story through your blog. You are real, but of course how could anyone dating you not expect to get “real.” It’s a good practice, and it’s really encouraging to see that out there.

Good luck on that second year!


16 Vanessa June 30, 2011 at 8:11 pm

So cute! I just found your blog and I believe I have a girl crush on you!!!


17 Jennifer June 30, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Your card is classic! I need you to write my next card to my BF.


18 Ashley June 30, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I just love this post. And I’m so excited to read about what’s to come in Year Two.



19 MelissaNibbles July 1, 2011 at 5:31 am

This gives me hope for f*cking on the first date. It could lead to something….probably not though. Seriously though, happy anniversary!


20 Stephanie July 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Congrats on the first year! You and Eric give me hope that you don’t need to sacrifice who you are to be in a healthy relationship!


21 Liz @ Something To Chew On July 1, 2011 at 6:58 pm

This was a fantastic post, and definitely made me smile. Happy Anniversary!


22 zenlizzie July 6, 2011 at 10:43 am

Congratulations on your first year! You guys are really adorable together, and your posts including him don’t make me want to stab my computer.


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