In Elite Daily’s Q&A series Everything I’ve Learned About Love (So Far), celebrities share their most heartfelt and heartbreaking lessons about dating, relationships, and breakups, and offer their best advice. This time, Lauren Speed-Hamilton — who met her husband Cameron Hamilton on Netflix’s Love Is Blind — discusses how a life-changing vacation gave her a new perspective on dating and how vulnerable she felt falling in love, sight unseen.
What's your best piece of dating advice?
Get to know yourself before you get into a relationship. So many people think that getting in a relationship and finding love will somehow complete them. But like, man, if you just really get to know yourself and what you want in a partner, it makes such a huge difference. I got to know myself through journaling and travel.
Before the show, I was kind of having a dark period. Things weren’t going how I wanted them to go. I got to a point where I was like, you know what? Life is too short to sit around and wallow. I’m going to Cuba. I'm going to have a good time. I'm going to love on myself. I may flirt with some Cuban men. My parents freaked out. They were like, "What are you... What's going on?" I was like, "I have to go and be with myself."
In Cuba, I journaled, I prayed, I ate food, I danced to music, and I just really enjoyed myself. I always call that my Eat, Pray, Love trip because I honestly came out of that with such a renewed perspective about who I am as a woman and what I want out of life and in a partner. My parents always talk about that trip like, "Man, we commend you. We need to go on a trip by ourselves."
How did you know your partner was The One?
I knew Cameron was The One by the second day, which you actually kind of see on the show, where we both start crying when we're talking about our family. I had never had that experience on a date where I cried with the person. I felt a connection I had never, ever felt before, and I knew he was special. I was like, this is getting kind of scary. It’s the second date. I’m crying. I’m falling for this guy. I’m talking through a wall. What the hell is going on? But at the same time, I just let go and let the experience take me.
What's the most meaningful lesson you learned from your current relationship?
Love can be scary because it makes you feel like you're out of control sometimes. But for me, that's actually been the most empowering thing. It was a lot for me to let go because I had so many bad experiences in my past dating life — just not being happy and having unsuccessful relationships. So, it was hard for me to even open up about that. But once I did it and felt that freedom of being loved and being in love, it was exhilarating.
What's a fear you used to have about dating or relationships that you've overcome?
Since my past relationships kind of ended in disappointment, I had all these defense mechanisms set up. Anytime I would feel myself being happy, I would shut it down, like, this isn’t going to work. And that actually happened a lot on Love Is Blind. They didn’t show it much, but they did show me kind of having second thoughts — like, I don’t know about this, is Cam kind of too perfect? I thought I was protecting myself by ending my happiness, when at the end of the day, I was just hurting myself. So, I had to really learn that about myself and get to a place where I was like, why am I doing this?
What's one misconception people might have about your love life?
I think that people think that Cam is this soft-spoken pushover when he is not at all. OK? Cam is so fiery and passionate. We really level each other out. I have this bubbly personality, but Cam is actually really funny and super charismatic. We’re both really excitable, and that makes our relationship work, too.
What is your strength as a partner? What's something you want to work on?
My strength is that I find the humor in moments that are awkward and tense. Like, whenever me and Cam are having moments that feel like, ooh, it's getting tight or uncomfortable, I'll just blurt something out. Or if me and Cam are having a disagreement, I'll just kiss him mid-debate. I call it dissolving the stress.
I’m definitely working on my work/home life balance. Especially with Cam and I living together and working together all the time, sometimes it’s easy to just work, work, work. When your husband or your wife is your business partner, it’s hard to turn that off. But it’s like, no, we just need time for romance. I don’t want to talk about emails.
What's your most memorable first date story, good or bad?
Aside from Love Is Blind? I once went on a first date with a guy and he was just like, "Hey, let's hang out. Let’s grab some food." He took me to Little Caesars, where they have a $5 pizza. I’m not judging, I like pizza, whatever. But when it was time to pay, the guy asked me if I wanted to go half. It’s not all about money, but it was just the principle. I actually paid my little $2.50 — I paid my $3 and I wanted my change back. And after that, I was like, nah, I’m good. Never called him again. We got to go Dutch on $5? It ain’t gonna work.
Who is one celebrity couple you admire? Why?
Barack and Michelle Obama. They're both intelligent. They're both go-getters. And they're changing the world together. They’re like royalty to me. You can tell the romance is still there after so many years, you know?
What does love mean to you?
Selflessness. It’s about putting your partner first, regardless of whether their happiness is different from your happiness. It’s about releasing yourself and loving someone so much that it’s not even about you, it’s about them. Sometimes, love is about letting someone go. It’s not, I love you, so we need to be together. Sometimes, it’s, I love you, so we need to let each other go. To me, love is the most powerful thing in the world.