If one were to ask me how I envisioned my ideal relationship five years ago, I would have said that I dream of a whirlwind romance similar to those in romantic and drama-filled movies. I wanted the rush and the suspense and the heartbreak and the tension alongside the ultimate happy ending. I wanted the most soul crushing song to play as I yearned for the love of my life in desperation, and I wanted the textbook, cheesy moves to cushion the scene.

In many respects, I have experienced this type of fire and ice relationship, and as riveting as the stories are to hear, they are not always the most fun to tell. For the most part, the romances that we see in our favorite movies, television shows, and books are toxic and unhealthy regardless of their positive endings. As much as I remark about the cinematic nature of some of the experiences that I have had, I also remind myself that we watch movies for entertainment. Love looks and feels different for everyone, and sparks can still fly even when a relationship has a calmness to it. A little bit of peace exists in knowing that your relationship is not the latest gossip or does not to be unpacked.

People will ask me how my current relationship is going and other than saying that everything is going well, I do not have much else to report. I have noticed that people usually have more to say about their relationships when they have concerns or worries about them. I could write novels about the relationships that I have had before this one and they would probably be bestsellers, but I feel so much better now. My relationship encompasses reason and accountability, and the love that we have for each other places our individual happinesses at its foundation. I do not feel like I have to fight for the happy ending; the happy ending will naturally arrive. Obviously, my relationship is not perfect and the seas can be a little bumpy at times, but I am always able to maintain my balance.

My past experiences have definitely influenced the way that I handle or react to things that happen now. For the most part, I am just better at knowing myself and what I need from my partner. I am better at communicating these needs as well. I value myself and I advocate for myself. In the past, I always felt as though my partner and I were on opposing teams and it was unpleasant. I now genuinely believe that Neeraj and I strive to achieve the best possible outcome for our relationship.

I have grown to value the quiet moments and the happy medium. Instead of writing from pain, I write from joy. I still find myself dreaming about that whirlwind romance from the movies, but then I remember how grateful I am to have the relationship that I have. I blanket myself in the ease of my relationship and shudder at the thought of the past version of myself crumpled on the floor. I still have the flowers and the cute dates and mushy moments despite no longer having the drama and the heartbreak and the manipulation. My relationship is exactly where it should be.

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