Attention, security, passion, and love are common things that many women and men crave throughout their entire lives; and even search for, knowingly or unknowingly. Relationships begin to form during high school, and progress into more serious relationships towards the end. However, when entering college and beyond is when a relationship truly begins to evolve and more importantly, mature.

By the time college rolls around, there should be goals you have for yourself and your life that are much bigger than any you had in high school. In high school you worried about grades, SAT’s, sports performance, getting into a good college with scholarship money, and the like. Before you knew it, all of your goals were attained. However when entering college, goals seem to be a little bit more tough to reach. You strive for a high GPA amongst hundreds or even thousands of others trying to do the same; you strive for good internships, great opportunities, and graduating with honors and sometimes, a job already in line for you.

A common goal of many people, whether they like to think of it as one or not, is stability. Let’s be honest, constantly searching for someone to talk to, or hook up with depending on your preference gets tiring. It’s much more enjoyable not having to worry about searching for your Mr. Right, or even just a Mr. Right now. Now, everyone’s preferences differ. However regardless, at some point or another you are going to crave stability, and college is the perfect time to wish, hope, or even look for it.

College is a time to mature. You are said to leave college a different person than who you were the day you walked in. College is a time to grow, find yourself, and possibly find love along the way. It is a time where you are much more likely to find your perfect match, because although there is still room for growth and maturity, you can get a better idea of who someone is during college.

There are many people who need constant attention, and feel lost without it– hence the reason some men and/or women are constantly in and out of relationships. There are other people who have had a serious relationship or two, but it just didn’t work out the way they planned. If you’re me, you never felt as if the relationships you would’ve had in high school  were worth your time, so you waited patiently for your soulmate. And, there are others who never had a relationship and swear they never will until the day they die, whether they know they want to or not.

Regardless of your outlook on relationships, a common problem among many young women is judging a book by it’s cover. Now, you could take this and continue talking about men and relationships and whatnot, but that’s not quite where I’m going this time. When I mean “judging a book by it’s cover”, in this sense I am talking about how people perceive relationships looking in from the outside.

DISCLAIMER: Let me be as clear as possible– I am not saying this is strictly a problem among young women; what I’m saying is, I have seen this more commonly among young women, rather than young men.. (I don’t talk to any guys about their female issues).

Judging a book by it’s cover never did anyone good, ever. And social media seems to be one of the main causes behind these issues. From the looks of it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and the like; many happy couples seem to be, well… happy. Their photos display them on vacation, kissing on the beach, out to eat at fancy restaurants, with nothing but big smiles and cheesy long captions. Sometimes, seeing couples on the streets or on college campuses, you see the passionate kisses and the long hugs. However, this is not even a fraction of the time spent between two people in a relationship.

I have had many instances where I myself, have seen photos, videos, or statuses with couples I know, and couldn’t help but think how happy they must be to together. However being in a serious, committed relationship, I see that happiness isn’t the only option. Not saying that I’m not happy, because I’m happier than I’ve ever been; but don’t be fooled by my Facebook posts.

The fact of it is– this is reality. In more instances than none, I have had friends come to me congratulating me on my relationship. Weeks later, I have the same friends coming to me crying, begging that they were happy like I am. I’ve heard “I see how happy you and Rory are, and I can’t help but wish I had something like that.” or, “I wish I had someone that I knew loved me, then I would be able to sleep soundly every night.”

I sleep soundly every night knowing my boyfriend loves me, yes. I sleep soundly every night knowing my boyfriend would never do anything to hurt me, yes. I sleep soundly every night because I am happy with the one I love, yes. But most importantly, I sleep soundly every night because I am at a place in my life that I want to be at, with the man I love. Although being with Rory makes me happy, just as much as him complimenting me, buying me things, and taking me out does, I am still in control of my happiness.

If I am unhappy with something, I voice it, just as I know he does too. I am happy because I want to be, and having Rory to love me just makes me x100 happier. He is not the only source of my happiness. Good grades make me happy, good books make me happy, good coffee makes me happy, and etc. I won’t lie and say that he isn’t a huge part of my happiness, because in all honesty he is, however I am not holding him 100% responsible for making me happy 24/7.

Relationships are about mutual effort, mutual growth, and even mutual mistakes. Growing is all about learning, finding yourself, and sometimes screwing up along the way. It’s not as easy as you’d think to tell the man you love when you are upset, even if it’s because of something as little as stubbing your toe. I understand that times will come, some worse than others, but I never put the blame on Rory when I am feeling down, or unhappy. Blame is placed where blame is rightfully do, if there is any; because sometimes humans are just feeling low for no reason at all.

The happiness I get from loving Rory and receiving love back is unexplainable. However, there is more work put in than what it looks like. And when people judge relationships by the looks of it from the outside, they have no freaking idea what goes on behind closed doors. From the looks of my Facebook, you would think everything was peachy… however, what if I told you Rory and I got into an argument a little under a week ago? You would have never guessed, right? No, because no  one (I know, at least) posts that sort of business on their social media. They want people to see what makes them look the best, not a picture of them crying after a fight with their significant other.

Relationships are about handwork and growth, individually and mutually. And I know I’ve said this a lot in my past few articles, but I can not stress this enough. Love can be a miracle. However that is no excuse to stop working on your relationship. Constant communication, love, and effort needs to be put in by both parties– it’s 50/50. And it bothers me when people are judging something from the looks of it on the outside.

Some are meant for relationships, and some aren’t. When the right person comes around for you, the feeling is indescribable; like everyone says, “you just know.” Needing a significant other to secure your happiness and confidence is unhealthy. Discovering what you really want, really like, and really need is more important than rushing into something, and it eventually failing.

Self security is the most major part of a relationship. Before loving someone else, you must learn to fully love, understand, and accept yourself. Yes, more growth will come with loving someone else, however you must be confident in yourself before you are confident in someone else. Finding the one, and knowing that you will do anything to make them happy, should be enough for you. Then, in time you will learn that they would do the same for you, ultimately making you even more happy.

A relationship should not be full of questions and doubts. Two confident individuals in a relationship make the best partners for a successful relationship. It’s all about trusting, loving, and taking the jump for someone you know is worth it– plus, constant effort and work.

Next time you see a photo of a beautiful couple, don’t wish you had that. Work on loving yourself, and trusting yourself, then wish for what will be perfect for you. Social media is a dirty thing that is corrupting lives, but also doing good at the same time. Don’t let yourself judge a book by it’s cover. What’s good for someone else may not be good for you; and what you see isn’t always what actually is.

Happiness will come from someone else once you are happy with yourself. Disagreements, bickering, arguments, and fights are all part of growing and learning. Create your own happiness before looking for it in someone else. It may seem tough but I promise, you will thank me later.