For a single mom like myself, it feels like beginning to date again is a hopeless cause. All the odds seem to be against you because more than ever, you are looking out for yourself and your happiness. I began dating my current boyfriend over a year ago, and I could honestly say that I have never been happier.

One of the hardest parts about dating is staying true to you. People get so caught up in making their partner happy that they forget to take care of themselves.

the beach at lastOne of the biggest reasons why I hesitated to begin dating was that I did not want to lose my independence, and most importantly my identity. I wanted to be the best mother to my one-year-old daughter, and I did not want anyone to get in the way of that, especially a man.

When I finally decided to give dating a chance I was afraid to do what I did in my previous relationship, which was let myself get lost living the life that my partner wanted me to live. But so far I am happy to tell you that that story has not repeated itself.

Instead of building a wall to protect my feelings and myself, I decided to do what was right and give love another chance. If I was going to do it, I was going to do it right. No walls, no fear, or bad attitude.

I have been doing what feels right in MY heart. If something feels wrong, or if I have a bad feeling about something, I have learned to speak up. One of my biggest mistakes my whole life is expecting for others to know how I am feeling. Boy was I wrong!

Woman Reading a DiaryCommunication is key in any aspect of life. And that is what has allowed me to keep my identity in my relationship. I standup for what I believe in, and I speak up when I don’t agree with something. Don’t be afraid to do it. If you don’t feel comfortable to speak up to your partner, you are probably with the wrong person.

Intimidation and fear can be the biggest causes of the loss of independence and identity, and the first step to fixing that is to get rid of the negativity.

One of the biggest pieces of advice that I can give anybody is to do what makes you happy. Yes I am a fulltime student, employee and head of household, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t find the time to do something for myself.

It doesn’t have to be anything drastic. Anything from a mani or pedi, to going to buy yourself a new pair of jeans, to simply reading that book series you’ve been wanting to catch up on.

You need to learn to love yourself before you can love anyone else. It is definitely not easy. I am a giver by nature and would rather take care of my whole family before looking after myself. But sometimes it is essential in order to live a happy life.

For the first time in my life I feel that I am capable of being in a relationship while staying true to myself. If I can do it, trust me, so can you.