3 Tips for Hard Seasons in Life

PC: Ryan Christodoulou

For anyone that knows me well, I’m a pretty positive person with a lot of goals and fearlessness when it comes to moving, traveling, and trying new things. I’m also a pretty motivated person to take action and face challenges in front of me with motivation and a positive mindset.

That said, for about five months I’ve really fallen out of my norm and have felt pretty lost.

I’ve had a long five to six months of marriage/ life in my husband’s country. It’s been exhausting really. Culture shock, marriage shock, living with in-laws shock… Not to mention the behind-the-scenes extreme fighting between my husband and I—not what I expected when we would talk about life in his country leading up to my moving here!

Outside of social media I felt lost and confused. I questioned every life decision leading me to this point trying to figure out where I went wrong in making it here to this place.

Then, a few simple changes have pushed me in a positive trajectory in the last 30 days and I am in a MUCH better place now than before. I feel a little bit more like myself and every day I am getting closer to feeling motivated with life and work by running the course marked out for my life.

That said, I know we’ve all experienced hard days, weeks, months, and years. And I’m here to share three tips to encourage you. These are things I’ve been doing this entire season of stress and change, and I hope they can help you as well!

  1. Surround Yourself With People Who Care

Who is your team? Your tribe? Who loves you most? Who can you call on and open up to without fear or judgement? Bring those people into your circle ASAP because that is going to make the difference between feeling alone in the world, and feeling capable of conquering the world. Not everyone should know all the nitty gritty details of horrible things you are going through in life. But some should. Your relationships matter and I promise by calling the lifeline of friends or family who have your back fully, you will be empowered. Even if circumstances don’t change in the physical sense right away, by leaning into your community, you will notice things around you shifting and moving just in how you interpret and process life with others. Relationships matter so much to getting back to a place of motivation and positive change.

I opened up to a few people in my life and knowing they are praying, having them hear me, and accepting words of comfort, affirmation, and empowerment though we are countries apart. It is more meaningful than anything.

2. Diet and Sleep

Your diet and drinking plenty of water through the day has more of an effect on your mental emotional state than you may realize. See, your mood is actually enhanced by the good or bad bacteria in your gut; gut health matters and has a direct effect on your brain and the amount of serotonin produced. By keeping a healthy microbiome and by getting probiotics and even practicing intermittent fasting to help your gut health, you can help your general well-being and mood. Here and here are articles to start with that explains more on gut health and mental health, if you are interested in extra reading.

Along with that, is getting plenty of rest through the night. In a basic sense, your brain chemistry re-calibrates, heals, balances, and allows new growth through periods of sleep and rest that you cannot get any other way. Your hormones balance out and your long-term memory kicks in. Sleep is a vital part of letting your body recoup and regroup that no other action you take while awake can help you achieve the same results in order to feel and live your best. A really great, easy to read article on sleep and improved mental-emotional health is this.

3. Watch What You Watch

One huge thing that has made the difference of a “blah” day or a “worse-than-blah” day, during these months of confusion that I had been living is truly what media I was ingesting. Music, shows, news, books, and other entertainment—the power of healthy and uplifting messages in the things I was watching and listening vs not so healthy or uplifting truly matters. My husband, a big music person, at one point told me he got rid of all kinds of music on his phone with negative self-talk and negative messages on women and relationships. This action step was good and is something I can respect on his end. For me, I learned quickly news and can be turned off if its not adding value. The movies can be turned off if they aren’t adding value. The music can be switched out if it’s not adding value. Instead, I started picking up healthier books through personal recommendation and a Leadership Training Program I went through from October 2020 through December 2020 and the impact was huge.

In any event, these three steps are things that I am taking seriously to maintain as I get mentally stronger once more. By focusing on what I can control and letting go of what I can’t, I’m feeling like my normal self once more as I was designed by my Creator.

What tips do you have when you consider getting off track the course you want to be on when it comes to living a positive, motivated life? Anything you would add to this list?


For anyone interested in reading material that helped me during these months, here are some books that made a world of impact for me:

I also read The Heart Work: Declutter Your Past to Make Room for an Amazing Future by Jackie Dorman and You Deserve the Love of God by Stephen Hill, which are two books that are more God-centered and encouraging on a spiritual level.

Normalizing Failure

Photo Cred: Amy Humphries

The number of times in my life that I have done anything at all, perfectly is approximately zero. I’ve done some things well, other things even better, but nothing in life have I executed or carried out perfectly. As a matter of fact, some things I’ve attempted in life… many things… I’ve absolutely failed in. I’ve failed to show up for friends and family when they’ve needed me. Failed in carrying out duties at work. Failed in my workouts and fitness life at times which I take pretty seriously as a lifestyle and habit.

And yet through my failures I’ve learned. Overcome. Transitioned. And grown. Through my failures I’ve seen things from a new perspective I didn’t know mattered. Through my failures I’ve been able to stand up and try again.

John Maxwell, a bestselling author and expert on leadership says, “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”

Applying this concept to my life, I’d like to introduce the idea of failure being quite normal even freeing. Because in failure we get the chance and opportunity to try again and overcome.

An example of this could be a child learning how to read or trying a sport for the first time. It would be insane to expect that child to perform a new task perfectly. The beauty of being a child is they are given the right (for the most part) to make mistakes in things, learn consequences if there are any, and get better.

I remember my first swim meet ever, I was 7 years old, maybe 8, and was supposed to swim a 25-yard breaststroke. I got to the end of the lane and popped my head up, thrilled to see I had won. For all of 3 seconds when the person running the timer in my lane said I was disqualified. I actually swam freestyle, not breaststroke. Oops! I learned the lesson and never made the mistake again I don’t think through all my years on a swim team. I had failed. But no one held it against me.

So why would we hold failure against ourselves as adults? Why do we take such considerable strides to HIDE failure on social media and with friends and family? I’m all about putting our best foot forward in life, but what if that is actually crippling us at the end of the day rather than living authentically with our stories of not being where we want to be yet that could be encouraging and helpful to so many people.

I submit to you now that failure is more normal than carrying out any task in life perfectly.

I’d like to see failure normalized, not hidden behind pretty social media posts and trying to hide our faults and failures to the enormous extent that we do.

Another example comes from my own life with working out and Triathlons. I used to compete in regularly 1 to 2 times a year in Triathlons around the northeast of the US in new cities and towns each race. My first year I had a HORRIBLE race time. I put so much effort into training and making a goal time for the race, yet I completely blew it the day of the race. I briefly thought to myself “I’m not made to do Tris.” I almost gave up this hobby and lifestyle because of a bad race. It took about two weeks until I missed the swimming, biking, and running and chose instead to say, “Well, it seems I have a lot to learn and become better in with regards to workouts and training. I can do better next time.”

I think giving into the first statement, “I’m just not made to do this” isn’t going to help me win and become better at the next thing I choose to focus my time and energy on. It isn’t going to help me succeed. It isn’t going to help me really at all. Though I failed in reaching all of my goals that first race, I chose instead to see my end time as a reason to adjust, get educated on workouts, include other people in my training by talking to a couple of other athletes who had done way more racing than I ever have.

I chose to realize that “failure” was just a matter of personal definition, not an absolute that determined an end to something that I really enjoyed— in this case swimming, biking, and running—despite my slow pace and poor choices in the race that really set me back.

Normalizing failure for any and all can be a way to rethink failure in general. If you personally “did bad” in something— could be anything from baking a cake that turned out horribly that you meant to give to someone for a special occasion, to showing disruptive and “bad” behavior at an event that in retrospect you realize you shouldn’t have acted that way—and you choose instead to learn grow and change based off of that perceived failure, have you really failed at all?

I don’t know a single person on planet earth that has done ANYTHING perfectly in life. But everyone I know has messed up in big or small ways around me my whole life, including myself, and the world still moves on.

Instead of getting caught up with our failures, beating ourselves up, ruminating on went wrong, what if instead we chose to focus on the positive that might be a result of that failure? What if that time we didn’t show up as we should for someone we learn the art of apologizing and making amends? What if we recognize that no matter how old we are, we are fallible human beings and failing is a part of life. Failing is actually… normal… and can bring about positive change including overcoming obstacles and achieving greatness in some area.

This new year, let’s embrace our “failures” as we might call them and realize that as Maxwell said, “The only guarantee for failure is if we stop trying.”

As long as you admit the mistake, change the course, make a new decision next time you’re faced with a problem or dilemma that you “failed in” then truly failure isn’t the end of the story.

I’m sure many people are making new year’s resolutions and vowing changes for 2021. Let’s not see 2020 as a failure, but a year of learning and growth. Let’s choose to walk into 2021 refreshed for amazing opportunities that if we keep going, don’t give up, and try again in we can have the greatest personal success imaginable, no matter what our goals are be them relational, financial, spiritual, physical, or any area of life that you may be holding onto failure in.

There is always hope. There is always room for growth and change. There is always a new time to keep the faith and change the course for better next time. At the end of the day, without failure we will never fully understand the deep feelings that success brings.

The Biblical Side of Living Like a Glutton and The Fattened Calf Mentality

It’s holiday time and I couldn’t pick a better season to write this post that has been mulling around my mind for about two months. I’m glad I’m writing it today because of the timing of the year and I hope it brings encouragement and FREEDOM to your health, eating, and relationship with food… especially if you are like me at all and have struggled with eating in the past.

The Fattened Calf Mentality.

This is a term my brother said to me once and though I don’t recall how many years ago he and I discussed “the fattened calf way of eating” I can honestly say through the years it is the best mindset I’ve adopted when it comes to food. More on The Fattened Calf mentality in a second, but first a little history of my personal, messed up turned healthy, relationship with food.

I had struggled with what works for my body since middle school and though I eat healthy compared to many people around me, I’m sure I look like a pig compared to many others. Therefore, after finally finding a food lifestyle I am comfortable with in my late twenties, I realize how personal diet is and…

1) I don’t really care what other people eat and…

2) I don’t really care what other people think about what I eat…

After all even Jesus was accused of being a gluttonous, drunk (more on that momentarily).

Through the years, I’ve listened to and watched foodies, men and women in the fitness world, doctors who wrote books, food bloggers, and have done my own reading and research. I have accepted and rejected lots of information on food either by trial and error… actually consuming food, or by comparing and contrasting information without even picking up a fork.

My current diet works for me and that’s what counts. I love to share it with people, but it doesn’t even have a name, so therefore instead of telling you what to eat (though there are non-negotiables like you must eat multiple fruits and veggies daily to be healthy), the best takeaway after losing 20 lbs in 10 months and maintaining this new weight for about two years, is what I’ve adopted and call The Fattened Calf Mentality. With it, I feel good about myself almost every day with the eating part of the healthy lifestyle I try to maintain. Workouts are the other side of the same “Healthy Lifestyle Coin,” but are not what this post is about.

Food is very personal. Tastes, preferences, age, baseline health, cultures, family background, lifestyle, habits, education around eating, and so many other things play a role what you and I put into our bodies every day to keep them running—we hope at their optimum level. No two people eat exactly the same thing all the time, unless you’re pregnant and consider what you eat as the same as the baby within you. The Fattened Calf Mentality has less to do with what you are eating and more to do with how you are eating and therefore can apply to everyone. This is also why I won’t go into the specifics of what I eat on a day-to-day basis.

So, what is The Fattened Calf Mentality?

The Fattened Calf mentality comes from looking at the Bible and what Jesus, and everyone else, ate as a Jew living in the first century. I cannot talk about much of anything in my life without tying in the Bible. I cannot escape the value of a biblical worldview/perspective/ drawing from the history of the Bible and applying it to my life. So, if I’m being honest as I write this, I stole the concept directly from God and as I choose to believe, His Son, Jesus.

As I struggled to figure out how to get food to work for me years ago, I questioned how did Jesus “do food”? He was sinless so binging and purging, starvation, and gluttony weren’t things He sinned doing– like I seemed to struggle with daily. But did He starve himself as you and I might define starving or eat gluttonously in comparison to others? Maybe, yes, and I’m pretty sure there He was accused of BOTH things, plus being a drunk while on earth (Matthew 11:19).

In my dive into “the perfect diet,” I learned that Jesus consumed a Mediterranean diet, which from research AND personal experience is one of the best diets out there. You can Google what a Mediterranean diet is, but another key thing I learned is that as a Jew, one thing Jesus wouldn’t have eaten is pork. A number of cultures don’t eat port the way say, Americans do with their hams and bacon. If you do eat pork and it doesn’t cause any bloat, headaches, swelling, or anything else and you like it, great! Keep eating it. Again, this is NOT a how to on what to eat or not to eat. Just an important discovery of what I found and works for me ESPECIALLY AROUND THE HOLIDAYS. Additionally, Jesus also had his 12 disciples around him through most of the accounts we have, many of whom were fishermen. Jesus himself performed a miracle by feeding 5,000 people out of just 2 fish and 3 loaves of bread (Matthew 14:13-21). I truly love fish and seafood and don’t feel the need to cut that out of my diet as I slowly implement a more plant-based diet. Maybe someday, but not right now!

What is most interesting about the Bible when it talks about food is how much FEASTING there is all throughout the entire book. The old testament drips with talk of feasts and parties that God planned into the year to give people a break and let them… simply party. And from what I understand those parties lasted weeks sometimes. Gorging on food and drinks during seasonal planned events was a lifestyle. These times of feasting remind me very much of the holiday season we are currently in.

It’s interesting because as much as feasting was a part of the picture, so was fasting.  It’s just that we don’t hear about the fasting as much. It’s not really talked about. There are only a few verses in the new testament about fasting. But we know it happened. And for me personally, breakthrough occurred when I married these two concepts of feasting and fasting together and coming up with The Fattened Calf Mentality.

There is a time to fast. There is a time to withhold from eating. There is a time to give up. There is a time to be okay with being hungry. I think we have been lied to, through marketing, about needing to eat 3 times a day + snacks. When I embraced the idea of being hungry, that it’s actually really healthy for my body to be hungry, I felt better doing that act of letting my digestive system rest and refrain from eating. The health benefits of fasting are quite good for you. Just Google all the positive things that intermittent fasting can do for your body. Even a 24 or 36 hour fast to just rest your body and give it a break from all the digesting and breaking down it’s constantly doing from the generally heavy foods we dump into our systems, is cleansing and healing and has many health benefits. I choose to embrace hunger at times, to me it feels better than being stuffed.

But let’s not forget the feasting. If you shock your body with too much food every once in a while, this can actually jump start your metabolism to kick it up a notch and burn more. Also, food produces dopamine and serotonin—naturally produced chemicals in your brain that simply make you feel “happy!” This is science. But beyond the science, feasting and parties are historically and culturally important around the world. Why does so much of our world revolve around food? Feasting is important and over doing it with food is actually… okay, I think. I used to beat myself up when I ate too much, but not anymore. I appreciate knowing that God blessed me with too much food to enjoy. Gosh, what’s better than a good meal with awesome people?

And for me, though refrain from many foods and am slowly walking into a more plant-based diet, I can’t forget The Fattened Calf.

One story Jesus tells his followers is of the “prodigal son” who leaves his family trying to make it on his own. Definitely paraphrasing here, but the son ran out of money, spending it on women and booze, and was too embarrassed after going broke to return home. He got a job at a pig farm, and because he was starving would eat the pig slop he fed the pigs because he had nothing else. Eventually he realized that the servants that took care of his Dad’s property were taken better care of than his current situation. He decided to go home and see if his Dad would hire him to work his property after so many months away.

The Dad who loved his son waited months for his return. And that particular day, seeing his son a long way off coming up to the property, ran for him. He hugged his dirty, smelly son, and the moment called for a party. He ordered the fattened calf to be killed. Though I don’t fully understand the historical and cultural meaning behind the fattened calf, I’ve heard it was a big deal. (The story comes from Luke 15.)

I’ve learned that there are times and seasons each year to go crazy and eat big, binging and having a good time. There are times to kill the fattened calf and enjoy it. Then, there are other times to fast, embrace being hungry, and refrain from eating the same way as the kings of the world through history. (Seriously only kings though time ate the way our first world nations eat and it’s crazy the surplus of food we consume.)

There is so much more I could say on The Fattened Calf Mentality that I’ve adopted when considering food consumption in my life, but I will end it there for now.

Diet and food are complex. But by simplifying it to the one phrase has helped me grow in leaps and bounds by having a healthier relationship with food. I know I can enjoy food to its fullest, like now, during this holiday season, while making fasting as much a part of my life, if not more, at other times. After unpacking my research and history, I’m hoping this post brings freedom to those who are controlling, strict, and limited with eating as I used to be– and shed light on how we can enjoy food, and drinking even (without actually becoming gluttonous-drunks).

My encouragement is this: be cognizant of what you eat, you only have one body and need to take care of it. But be sure to recognize, embrace, and celebrate those fattened calf moments in life and consume food that you normally wouldn’t– like meat, wine, and an extra dessert– without guilt.

Candy vs Soul Food Relationships

Anyone who knows me well, also knows the value I put on health, wellness, and disease prevention. I do this through whole food, high nutrition eating and a balanced weekly workout routine. These things are fundamental to who I am and how I function on a day-to-day basis.

A prime example of how seriously I take my physical health and wellness lifestyle is this: In 2018-2019 I lived in Madrid, Spain for almost a year. I would drag a small suitcase through the Metro and city streets, EVERY SING DAY, to and from class, the gym, and home… filled with healthy snacks, my gym clothes and shoes, and my laptop. I didn’t have a car to haul it all in, and working out and eating right are just that important. When I moved back to the US from Spain, I ditched the suitcase, but continued my daily walks, working out at 6 AM without fail, plus gravel and road biking on the weekends. I’ve kept up with this lifestyle from the time I was in middle school and high school, active in sports and learning to appreciate salads and vegetables as a meal, not just a side every once in a while.

For as much as I pursue and put time, energy, and effort into my physical health and wellbeing, I can’t say I have always done the same when it came to pursing romantic relationships.

I had written this post for a group of women, The Higher View, about a month ago, just before getting married, and felt compelled to turn it into a personal blog post, which I am finally doing today… three weeks after getting married.

SO, here goes with the initial post!


I think in light of getting married this week, this post shared by a friend stood out to me and I wanted to pass along the concept. Hoping it brings encouragement to single ladies, or anyone struggling with friendships or other relationships in general!


Candy vs Soul Food in Relationships.

Are we entertaining relationships and people that are producing FRUIT? The good, life producing, healthy and wholesome food that we need to survive? Or are we entertaining the sweet looking, tantalizing, fake candy “food” that does no good for us? The latter may cause more harm in the long run as it brings a sugar rush and high, and then leaves us worn out and burnt out with the drop in levels when it’s all over.

The same friend that posted this [quote] graphic told me something years ago that helped get me where I am today in not chasing fake relationships with guys, but instead to go after the life giving kind.

We were at some restaurant, having our fill of chips, guac, and margaritas. I was bemoaning some guy and she encouraged me to look at his fruit, checking in with God about it. When I did that, it turns out he wasn’t producing any fruit despite me wanting and wishing it.

NOW, years later, I’m about to get married to a man with a generous heart and kind soul. He’s pursing God. He treats strangers with love and looks out for his friends and family. I think of my friend’s wisdom often. And the change happened in myself first in what kind of men I was willing to feed my soul with.

Real “Soul Food” relationships will be filled with Fruit that satisfies as they are connected to the One who gives true life. They won’t leave you crashing and burning. Just like we choose what eat and what we put in our bodies daily- junk or whole foods- which determines the health of our physical bodies, we can choose who to put ourselves around, talk to, and entertain on a daily basis. Are they connected to the Vine and producing fruit? If not, you may want to let them go and pursue healthier people who do.

Don’t neglect your soul and what you are feeding it with via the relationships you have!


Jesus’ says in Mathew 7: 15-20 about knowing a person by their fruits.

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

The fruit of a person is life building or soul crushing. Let’s be wise and as much we pursue bodily health, let’s take care of our souls by what and who we are feeding them with.

{Hear From Him} Long Distance Relationships

MGP-KandJ-Final-48

Very excited to announce the first post created WITH my lover man and future hubby, Kevin. I’ve wanted to do a post with him for a while, and being engaged and long distance we decided to write our first post on this very topic: LDR’s. We’ve gotten a lot of comments from friends and strangers about how we do it.

“Wow, power to you guys. I could never do that.”

“I had to break up with my ex after two weeks of distance– we just couldn’t figure it out.”

“How do you know it’s going to work out when you are married and living together?”

We know we’re not the only one’s who have been here, my own grandparents were long distance during WWII and wrote letters to each other during their first year or two of marriage!  Honestly, we have it easy with the technology available to us and we wanted to share with those who are curious, or are in a long distance yourself– it is possible to have a long distance relationship, and for it to work!

Here are 6 tips for you from us! Read through em and let us know of any tips you have from your long distance dating experiences!


Your Phone is Your Best Friend – Kevin

Keep it charged. Be mindful of the battery percentage. You don’t want your phone dying when having meaningful conversations or when you are trying to say something important. One huge factor in communicating well is to have (as much as possible) regularly scheduled phone times, where you both know you are available, even if it’s a brief morning call and lunch break check in. Be thoughtful of these times, keeping your schedule as clear as possible and having your phone battery fully charged and ready to go for when you can talk.

Look into each other’s eyes. See each other’s smiles. Laugh as much as you can together and even share in sad times and see each other cry. This establishes a true friendship that can be more durable in the long run.

Try to acknowledge your significant other’s calls or messages as much as you can. Understand that even though you each have separate lives, messaging and calling throughout the day is a big part of any relationship. It’s amazing what a heart emoji can do for your sweetheart days. Reply to their messages as soon as you can.


Gifs, Emojis, and Undivided Attention – Juliandra

Like any relationship, it takes work in communication to be in a long distance one as much, if not more, than an in-person relationship. One huge aspect to communication that has helped Kevin and I is the little things.

Sometimes we don’t have hours on end to spend with each other. Sometimes it’s a 10-minute phone call between work and gym and then maybe a call while doing errands and that’s all we have time for that day. And it’s okay as long as we keep up with the little things like an “I Love You” gif or “Thinking of You” text. Those little messages will help keep communication going, whether or not you can talk much during the day.

And because you don’t REALLY know what your partners’ day is like as you aren’t a part of the daily ins and outs, then being sure to be the first one to send a sticker or gif through the day can just be a stepping stone to showing your partner they matter and are on your mind.

Little things matter too, even when you do have hours to spare on the phone. When you talk, do yourself and your partner the favor of turning off your TV or notifications on your phone, giving him or her your undivided attention. This communicates that you’re focused and fully engaged—Little Things matter so much!


Keep Physical Reminders in Sight – Kevin

This works as it reminds you of your lover and brings memories that keep you going, no matter what is happening around you in your day.

I have mementos hidden in drawers and placed around my room of pictures, gifts Juliandra has given me, and things we’ve collected together on trips. These physical things matter in a tangible way and ease out a smile every time I see them.


Your significant other has a life outside of you—don’t hate them for it.  -Juliandra

As a matter of fact, try to be encouraging of it! Like all things in life, balance is key and though you will want to spend most of your time together on the phone, and that’s important to keep communication lines open, having relationships and activities outside of talking to each other is important too. When things come up that you are home, but they are away for hours or even days, encourage them to take those times and moments with other friends and family. It will give you more to talk about after the fact, and shows you trust them with how they spend their time outside of talking with you. Long distance is hard enough, don’t make it harder for your partner by being selfish that they be at your beck and call (no pun intended) at every moment.


Creative Date Nights – Kevin

The opposite to Juliandra’s point above, it’s just as important to have dates and times figured out in advance, where your schedule is clear just for each other. These nights are meant to be work free and relaxing. No interruptions allowed.

Pick out a movie, get a drink, and order food you both like. Get your phones fully charged so no one gets left out during your date. It usually takes a minute or two, but syncing your movie and watching it at the exact time makes you feel as if you are both right next to each other.

Other things we’ve done is going on walks and even shopping at the same time. Not caring about the looks of others when on a video call during your date night, especially when out and about, gives the feeling of being in your own world together. The rest of it fades away.


Expect hard things to come up when you do see each other – Juliandra

One thing I didn’t expect dating long distance was the awkward to sometimes hurtful moments when were together in person. When talking on the phone, it’s easy to avoid conversations you don’t want to have, or brush things under the rug that are actually a big deal in person. And it’s okay to have those moments. Expect it even. You are two people who might not get to see each other often, and there will be an adjustment period every time you are physically in each other’s presence. Things that you didn’t know were an issue might come up, and have to be addressed to have clarity in the relationship. This doesn’t mean you should end things because it’s hard, it just means that you’re human and so is the man or woman you are dating.

I’ve realized in dating Kevin that every time we see each other I get super sad or even irritable with him days before he leaves. I didn’t understand how we could be together even during fun events and me feel so dejected inside. Or, we’ve ended up bickering, fighting, being less than patient with the other always just before another long parting.

When I realized this pattern, which would surface every visit and always just days before separating again, it has been easier to know that its coming and be better prepared for it the next time. But no matter what happens—giving myself and Kevin grace in the hard, awkward moments of being together after a lengthy separation is key.