I have always considered myself to be a ''good'' girl. After all, why wouldn’t I? "Good girls always win! ", I used to think… Not anymore! Ever since following the "good" girl code was not enough to prevent me from a relationship catastrophe, it might be the right time for a reality check! For someone who lives a pretty "decent" life, do not enjoy nightlife as much and got married at twenty-three... I must say, I was your typical "good" girl; always making sure to do the right thing all the time! Being raised conservative, when I gave my life to Christ, I had never been taught how to handle relationships specifically romantic relationships. Back then, dating was portrayed as "evil" by the Church and "inappropriate" by parents and this pretty much resumed my life before I got married. It's all started in my teenage years. Although, I am not tall nor do I have an ''enhanced'' body shape, I was easily noticeable as a young girl. Actively volunteering in my community, I, therefore, became an easy target for men at a young age. Despite being wooed by a lot of boys and men, I oddly never had any interest in dating any of them. Throughout my adolescence, as I witnessed many of my girlfriends dating and getting their hearts broken, a deep belief took place in me. This common scenario in a teenager's life, unfortunately, had a traumatic effect on me. At thirteen, I have decided to stay away from boys and carried that decision into my twenties! At age-appropriate, every time I was asked to go on a date by someone I appreciated, I would get angry at myself for even thinking of saying "Yes". It came to the point where I would deny myself the right to grow romantic feelings for someone, so was I scared to make a mistake and choose the wrong partner. A few years later, here I was, twenty-three years old, with no point of reference on how to pick '' Mr. right''. Things became a little complicated for me... Soon after my graduation, I had a career and big plans for my life. I knew what I wanted to do for my life and my identity in Christ. I was ready to settle, waiting for that magical spell to finally find my "mate" (LOL). Well, I've found the spell but after the magic was gone, the reality of maintaining a relationship hit me hard. I have encountered a part of me, I never knew before. Was I too firmed on my boundaries? Were my expectations realistic? How to forgive? When to leave a relationship or work it out? What is acceptable? or not ?... I had a billion questions running through my head for the past seven years that unfortunately, I could not seem to answer now that I was married... All these years, I was just trying to protect myself but the same process was also prevented me to learn about myself in the area of "Eros love", romantic love. I was naive, mislead by all kinds of cultural and religious philosophies. Although I am not rooting for sexual intimacy before marriage or premature-dating, I do believe now that dating is an important step to get to know yourself a little better and set up healthy boundaries in a relationship from the get-go. As an adult, whether you call "dating" a friendship with a romantic interest, a romantic relationship or a special friendship, I believe the intent is to get to know yourself and the person before "falling in love". It is not about the number of dates or the number of men... even with one person, the dating phase should not be neglected. Nobody should be pressured to marry the person or get engaged nor should there be pressure for profligacy in the relationship. At the end of the day, it is a personal decision with consequences like any other decisions, the choice is yours. But if you are truly looking for love, be careful! Not everybody can receive, accept and love you the way you are even when this "You" is changing, evolving or transitioning to a new person in the different seasons of life. Remember, if someone loves you from inside out, they will honor your body and your boundaries. Grossomodo, that's a lesson I gained from all of this. Easy to say than to do... but a good relationship starts with knowing and loving who we are first and being cautious of who we let in! As for me, "am I still a good girl?" Of course! There is nothing like being a "good" girl with some wisdom on top! Now, I am excited for the next chapter of my life. A good girl, gone Wise... Happy New year! !