In lew of the holidays, and getting some magical photos taken for holiday cards, I decided it would be a prime opportunity to share our story. My partner, Oscar, and I have been together for over four years, but have been friends for six. I wanted to open up to you all about how we came to be and how we make it work after all these years. Hope you enjoy.
Falling in love was the last thing I expected at 22 years old. To be honest, I never was into the whole committed relationship thing. I liked dating, liked attention and affection, but I had been in some toxic relationships as a teenager and didn’t really trust the idea of young love. But I was luckily enough to find someone that changed all that for me.
To be honest, I didn’t really find someone. No, Oscar chose me. He chose me from the very start and as hard as I tried to push him away in the beginning, he had already decided he wasn’t gonna let me go. No matter how hard he had to work, he was gonna get the girl.
Oscar and I met in the beginning of 2011, when we were both just 19. It was just another typical “kick-back” that encapsulated my social life as a teenager. I went to the party with a girlfriend, her then-boyfriend, and a boy I was seeing at the time. Oscar was wearing an obnoxiously oversized Suns letterman jacket and was playing beer pong – I thought he was adorable.
A few months later, I ran into him at a campus event – a kick-off to the semester Lupe Fiasco concert – gave him my number and told him to text me. We “talked” (oh, don’t you love these millennial dating terms) for about two weeks until I decided he was just too sweet for me. I friend zoned him – hard. Now any other guy would have been bitter, tossed me aside and moved on. But Oscar isn’t any other guy. Like I said before, he already chose me.
Over the course of the next two years, we would stay friends – hanging out at campus events, going out with mutual friends. Every time I was around him, I always felt good and happy. He was always there to study late with me, bring me coffee when I needed a pick me up, listen to all my problems. It got to the point where I could not deny my feelings, or claim that we were just friends. He became the person I wanted to spend my time with because I loved the person I was when I was around him.
The thing that really drew me to Oscar, and what makes him stand out from a crowd is his genuine spirit. I was attracted to the way he made me feel, and that he never played games. Never tried to act “too cool” or like I was just some chick, he was very straight forward with me from the start. Additionally, his lack of ego is almost saint-like. He doesn’t have a need to make everything about him, or get offended easily. But what really stood out to me was hearing how other people described him. As being always kind, always gracious, and always willing to go out of his ways for others. These are the qualities that really count.
Although we might seem like the picture-perfect couple, the truth is our relationship has taken major hits, and we’ve had to put in an extensive amount of work to get us where we are today. To be honest, I have put him through a lot – from making him jump through hoops, to my own struggles and fears of commitment and insecurities. It has not been an easy road. But I am a deep believer that nothing worth having comes easy, you have to earn it.
I have been fortunate to learn a lot about love and commitment through my partnership, and overall these are the things I want to share. How we communicate, how we put each other first and make an effort to not repeat previous mistakes. This is the work that has to be done in order to make any relationship, platonic or romantic, work.
The first is communication. I truly believe that is the foundation of our relationship. From the very beginning, we were both open and honest about our wants and expectations, even though they were different. But having this straight forward attitude about where we were allowed us to always be on the same page, of understand where we each stood and what our expectations of each other was. It may sound simple, but if you don’t have this openness from the start, then your foundation will be off.
We also communicate through our arguments. This one has been more challenging for us, as we both have different styles of dealing with our anger and issues. I want to put it all out on the table, get it out there and just talk, talk, talk. Oscar is more one to shut down, be silent and not deal. We’ve had to learn how to adjust to each other’s communication styles so that we’re both getting what we need – for me it’s conversation, for him it’s space. Working on finding that balance allows us to find a resolution faster.
Next is putting each other first. This has been much more challenging for me, as I am naturally a pretty independent and admittedly selfish person. I never had any desire to put anyone before myself until our relationship, and it had previously been my nature to just call it quits when faced with this. If there is one thing I’ve truly learned from Oscar, it’s how to be more selfless. While it comes so easily to him, I’ve had to practice it. It is definitely one of the lessons I am most thankful for.
And finally, making the effort to not repeat mistakes. Let me emphasize that this is not easy. We all have things we struggle with, things that are part of our nature through upbringing or past experiences, and it is HARD. And while we do occasionally get tripped up in old habits or poor choices, we both work significantly to correct problematic behavior. It’s about constant effort and practice on both sides, constantly.
I would have never guessed that at 22 I’d find a love like this, but it’s mademe the woman I am now at 26. I truly believe that everyone is worth this, but it’s beyond looking for someone you’re attracted to, to someone you can build a partnership with. Find some who is your best friend, who makes you better, who challenges you, and who is so much more than the sum of their parts.
Wishing you the happiest of holidays,
Featuring: Oscar Salinas
Location: Hollywood Forever