It's my first Valentine's Day in love, and I plan to do it up. Except, my partner and I have been together and in love for seven years, so why do I consider this my first?
My boyfriend and I come from a long and transformational history. It all began when I was 14 and he was 18. We were the original Kylie and Tyga.
He fell in love first, while I was just trying to make it through high school. However, as time rolled on, my love for him developed and strengthened.
With that came growing pains and teenage perplexity. We were a very young and confused love.
Do I want this guy? How can I really know if I haven't really been with anyone else?
This trail of thought continued for some time. I toyed with his emotions, we broke up and made up and he stood firmly beside me.
Now, at 23, I am more positively in love with him than I've ever been before. He's in love with me as well, but he's also dealing with the heartbreak that came and stayed throughout the years of me figuring out my feelings.
After I decided what I wanted, he broke up with me. Perhaps he did it to protect himself. After all, what if I just ended up breaking up with him again?
Nevertheless, we are back together again, but it has been a heart-rendering reality check that made us take lots of "space." So, why do I consider this our first Valentine's Day? Because this is our first Valentine's Day after a huge breakthrough in our relationship that taught me a lot about our commitment and even more about myself.
This will be our first Valentine's Day after moving all of my belongings out of his home to give us physical space for a relationship breather. This will be our first Valentine's Day after such huge arguments that they make us both seriously contemplate the future of our relationship.
So, with all of that said, this is the first Valentine's Day I love my boyfriend of seven years with new eyes, a heavier heart and on an entirely different level than ever before.
Our breakthroughs tested our tenacity and my patience, and they allowed me to see him for who he really is. It taught me what it means to have self-love, while still having extra love for my partner.
Every day, I find a new way to love him, which means this Valentine's Day, we'll be celebrating differently. I'm not sure what he has planned, or if he has anything planned at all.
(Valentine's Day wasn't ever really a thing for us. We don't do well with societal pressure to be sexy and romantic.)
But, I do know this year comes with an entirely different energy. It's an intensified, electric, overwhelming, entranced energy that you can only get from dating someone for seven years.
Even after all this time, I'm finding a new way to love him. So now, in my early 20s, a once young and confused love has transformed into stronger and matured ardor.
This year, our love is different. It's an "I see you, I adore you and you are worthy of everything great" kind of love.
It's an "I understand you more than I did before, and I am working toward understanding you more than I ever have because you deserve someone who can understand you" kind of love. It's an "I'm working toward being my best self not only for myself, but for you" kind of love.
So this Valentine's Day, we're doing it up in our own way with a new spark, like we've never been in love before. Sometimes, it takes a tumultuous period to get to the best part yet.
Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours and, of course, me and mine.