A Free-Spirit's Guide to Falling in Love

A Girl's Guide by Colleen Dunn


"An over intake of romantic comedies and Disney movies growing up quickly turned me into a hopeless romantic with an unwavering belief in true love. However, it also made me a tad unrealistic. I pretty much spent my entire life expecting to run into Aladdin or McDreamy - without ever lowering my standards to what might be considered an "acceptable" level. Logically I knew it was unlikely, but I’ve never had any interest in trying to hide this side of me.

I'm also a free-spirit. And I - like most free-spirits - have been overly cautious when it comes to love. It’s scary to feel that you’re losing your independence; to realize that now you can no longer just pick up and move to Brazil, even though you never had any plans to pick up and move to Brazil anyways. You can’t go eat Indian for dinner every night or refuse to acknowledge the existence of sporting events. It’s suffocating and it makes you want to run away. It makes you feel like you’re sacrificing who you are, because before this relationship you’d never heard of Dave Eggers and now you have three of his books.

Being in a relationship takes a lot of caring about another person. It takes listening to someone talk about something you couldn't give less of a shit about and remembering details about their life as if they were your own. It seems like you have to limit yourself.  But, refusing love to maintain your independence is the biggest restriction of all.


Fully aware that if my heart was broken my soul would never be as free as it was before, I still let go of the consequences. This could end badly … but then again, it might not. (... I'm a free spirit aren't I? I'm used to trying new things!) Love is just another one of life’s adventures.

My boyfriend and I were friends for several years before we started dating and for that reason I had more of a grip on the reality of a relationship with someone ahead of time. I knew that he wasn’t perfect, I knew all of his flaws and issues and annoying habits because I’d seen them first hand during years when he was not trying to impress me. I had always failed at imaging myself in a realistic relationship, until I started imaging a relationship with him.

It’s hard being a romantic! We set unrealistic expectations and then are sadly disappointed in relationships when we realize someone isn’t perfect. But you have to realize the person you are with is just that: a person. One with flaws, with annoying habits, different ideals, and terrible friends. What you seem to forget, is that you are a person too.

Free-spirits and romantics are both collectors of the little thing’s that go unnoticed by most; the look a person gives you when they think it is for the last time, the feeling one gets after the first couple sips of red wine. And, the secret about free spirits is often they’re romantics too. They are just waiting for someone worth belonging to. Speaking from personal experience, it’s worth the wait."



Colleen Dunn is currently a senior at the University of San Diego, and will be graduating this Spring. She blogs here and tumbls here. The free-spirit in her just went to Sundance Film Festival. The romantic celebrated her eight-month anniversary with her boyfriend by making his favorite candy.
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9 comments:

  1. I feel like this was written just for me. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. this is beautiful. i gave up on "independence" and a potential lifetime on/off again relationship with a fellow "free spirit" to commit to a relationship that i know will give me a lifetime of security and reciprocated love. i will never regret this. however, i always remind my single friends that being in a relationship means making a choice that you will no longer be open to certain adventures in life when they start getting jealous about my relationship status.

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    1. thanks for sharing your story, Anna. A great reminder that life is about choices - including the choice to open ourselves up to what might be waiting for us.

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  3. I don't think it's possible more me to love this any more. PERFECT! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. isn't Colleen's advice great? As women we are all so multidimensional and it's a challenge to negotiate the competing aspects of what we want from life!

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  4. Love this, really.
    You've been tagged on my blog today!

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  5. AWWWWWW!!!! I LOVE THIS/YOU SAM/YOU COLLEEN!!! <3

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  6. I really like this post. Great insight, Colleen!

    And Sam, it reminds me that we need to rework my guest post. I fell in love on December 15, 2011 (and it makes me want to barf that I know the date and just said that in a public domain), so my take on dating in Chicago is going to be a wee bit different now.

    I actually think it'll be a nice juxtaposition!

    Let's pow wow. ;)

    xo Alessia
    www.byalessia.com

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    1. Alessia, I'm going to edit up your first two this weekend! Maybe we should do a third to talk about the new love in your life?

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