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By Morgane Freeman, Marketer/Podcaster/Mental Health Advocate

We all have an age in our heads when we know we will supposedly have our life together. That is the age when we will have the job we always wanted, the home of our dreams, the earth-shatter romance, etc. (Mine is 35, which is just four years away.) As we strive to reach these milestones, there will inevitably be some roadblocks hindering the journey. 

If 2020 has taught us all anything, it’s to be flexible. The milestones of love and happiness are different for everyone. And the lessons are just as unique. Perhaps your journey leads you to an occasionally challenging but blissful romance that lasts a lifetime. Maybe it leads to divorce and then a more joyful marriage - or it might lead to a fulfilling single life in your 50s. Wherever life takes you, the following milestones are likely to occur. Personally, I’ve experienced each of these in one way or another.  

Your First Crush

There is a special someone that has your eye. You get butterflies when that person smiles at you. You feel like you can do just about anything in the world. But what if they are smiling at the person behind you? So, your crush doesn’t like you back? You receive a no to your homecoming date invite? (That last one is very personal.) Or, what if they have another special someone in their life? Well, they were not for you—no need to waste time fantasizing about the what-ifs. Your crush can just be a crush. It lets you know your heart is ready and willing to explore a new relationship with someone. 

Your First Fight

Disagreements are common in any relationship, even friendship. Arguments are bound to happen. The emotion of a debate reveals the passions and concerns of your partner. However, what if you never really fight? Perhaps you or your partner are walking on eggshells about your true feelings. Not being open and honest reasonably early in a relationship might lead to a significantly damaging fight down the road. This can quickly disrupt and possibly ruin your relationship. Having a passionate discussion is powerful. It puts your communication skills to the test, allowing you and your partner to engage in an otherwise uncomfortable conversation by addressing both parties’ feelings.

Your First Trip

Though traveling isn’t quite a thing at the moment, taking time away from your regular routine can show you a new side of your partner. Sharing a romantic getaway with your sweetie might seem like well...a pleasure cruise. But it also might turn into a nightmare. You’ll quickly learn if your partner is a plan-ahead kind of person or a take-things-as-it-comes type of person. No fun in the sun with your partner? Fear not; it just may not be in your budget or your relationship’s journey.

Proposal/Wedding Planning

I once was told that the months or days after a proposal are likely the happiest you’ll ever be in a relationship. You both know where you stand. It’s a genuine and honest place, hopefully. You two feel like you can take on the world. Until friends, family, and your past get involved. Wedding planning is stressful enough as it is - without adding in outside opinions. If the dating relationship doesn’t end with a proposal but ends in heartbreak, once the tears dry, your heart will feel normal again. Consider all the lessons you’ve learned from your partner. Perhaps you learned how you wanted to be treated or not be treated. You’ve learned what you love in a partner and what you could do without. You’ve grown and evolved as a person as well.

Whether you reach these love milestones or not, you’ll develop your cadence. Romantic comedies will have you viewing romance through a rose-colored filter when in fact, love is a commitment—a long-term relationship and friendship with your partner. As you hit or miss the aforementioned milestones, you are a step closer to your happy place. It might not be every day filled with love and bliss, but you’ll find your rhythm in love and happiness.

Morgane Freeman, MS, is a Social Media Specialist in the Financial Industry. She has a BA in Communications from Wilberforce University and MS in Marketing from SNHU. Morgane resides in the Kansas City, MO area. In her free time, she’s the host of Young Black MRS, a wife, plant-based cook, and a mental health advocate.