Responses below by Crystal. (Did my best on this assignment)

What love means to me:
Love can be used to describe many feelings but I’ll focus on love for an adult non-related person at this time. When I meet someone and get to know them, I start to learn about them. I learn their quirks, their humor, their personality. I recognize the feelings I get within myself when I’m around them. Over time I feel that a person has left a mark on me that will never truly go away. At this point Id call that love. There have been times that the words have been said to me fairly early in dating someone. And typically if I hadn’t already, I’m pushed over the edge of loving them in return by the simple act of sharing those feelings with me. By this point I would’ve already had a strong attachment to the person but love makes things deeper. For me to love someone they have my loyalty, they have my devotion. I am imprinted by every single person I’ve ever loved. They each left their mark on my heart, and some left behind some scars. Ideally love is mutual, and means the same thing. For me that means being considerate of your partner, thinking of how something affects them and not wanting to hurt them, reassuring them and supporting them when needed. And love extends to friendships as well. I basically “fall in love” with friends who have had a major impact in my life. Some I have had some romantic history with but at least one was platonic and when we had a falling out it hurt like any break up would. I missed her, and was saddened by the things she said to me in the end. The things she judged me for and used to hurt me in the end. Sometimes love isnt enough. In fact love alone does not a long lasting connection make. Love needs 2+ people who are committed to supporting eachother and lifting eachother up. It may be unhealthy when this is one sided but when its teamwork it can be beautiful and when you nurture that bond and create a strong foundation any issue can be faced. It takes thinking of others, understanding, trust, and communication. It takes putting yourself in someone elses shoes to see their perspective when there is a conflict. I probably could go on and on. But when you love someone, its not to be taken lately. When youre in love that connection has the capability of waking you up in the morning on the most difficult days, making it through your hardest moments in life. To lose someone you love is one of the worst feelings one can experience. Losing someone you love due to a choice they made, that cuts deep and causes a flow of negative emotions that many never fully get rid of. Love is deep and meaningful and true. And it can one of the most beautiful things in the world if handled with care and with mutual love and respect from each party. 

What support should feel like and how to get there:
Support should feel like being eachother through thick and thin through anything that comes your way in life. Being able to talk through what we feel when something is wrong, and feeling heard. Being open to sharing and receiving information so that we can improve and work on better supporting eachother. I don’t know how to get there but it takes commitment to this goal by everyone to be able to feel supported and be supportive. 

What we want vs what we expect: what I want for my future is the big house all together. And a life where we are equals in love and support. A united front where challenges are handled with love and respect. Within that dream there’s things I know may never come true including having a partner(s) that declare an official commitment to me in some way and a baby. Though I’m not sure those things are ever going to happen. I expected to be able to work towards these dreams and face each hiccup as they come. What I want short term is to not fight and to be able to work on issues that cause strain in our relationships. I want to work together to find what things would be helpful and what things wouldn’t be. I expected that it would take time and wouldn’t be without a lot of blood, sweat and tears but that we would make it through and it’d be worth it in the end. 

Future goals and how to get there: no idea. Will come back later 

Emotional and mental welfare: not good. 

Outside help and therapy: I started therapy. And I have a few ppl I chat with for support now that I’ve opened up to. 

Contributing factors and miscommunication: plans being fuzzy and not making sure everyone knows what’s going on. Lack of empathy and support when someone isn’t ok. Little to no understanding or acknowledgement when someone states a need. Putting one person above another instead of finding a way to make sure everyone’s needs are being met. 

Coping mechanisms/downtime: gaming, reading, writing. Having another partner or friend when that’s available. Working on bigger personal projects that have been put off. Maybe working out and cleaning. Taking a walk. 

How to help eachother: do not default to angry. Ask what the other person needs in that moment. Take a moment to be present with that person and absorb what they say. Follow through with anything you agree to do to make things better. Use loving and gentle language when speaking to someone who is having a hard time. Work on long term issues to prevent the same things from happening again. 

Accountability: if 2 parties are having issues, the others step in to help somehow. It shows are joint commitment to our success.