Whenever I meet people IRL who know me online, they often say two things: "I didn't realize how short you were" and "tell me about your boyfriend." I totally understand both. I've been told I look much taller in photographs than 5'1" and I don't share too much about my relationship online. So today, I still look pretty tall in these pictures but this is a pretty special post for me because I am opening up a bit about my relationship and I'm not doing it alone. I'm actually doing it alongside my boyfriend, Robb.
I've been in a lot shitty relationships/situationships. I didn't love myself for a long time so I couldn't properly love someone else. I credit the work that I did in therapy on loving myself, that I am still doing, for helping me be in a healthy relationship built on mutuality.
Robb and I are opposites. Robb is a businessman; I'm an artist. Robb is very pragmatic in his decision making and well, I'm more emotional. Robb thinks rules create structure; I think rules stifle creativity. Robb values stability whereas I value personal freedom. But we balance each other out in a really great way. When I suggested the title of this blog be "Opposites Attract," Robb jokes that I was Paula Abdul and he was the animated cat. And we both thought that was a pretty good reference point.
I asked on social media for people to send some questions for both of us to answer and I have to admit that reading Robb's responses brought tears to my eyes. So here are both of our responses to your questions and if you like this, maybe we will do a part two!
1. How did you met? - @curvesonabuget13
Robb: On OKCupid. I think I messaged Alysse first with something that wasn't completely sexist, racist, homophobic, trashy, crude/tasteless, boring, or sexual in nature. Obviously she responded.
Alysse: We did meet online. I was pretty jaded with the online dating process after a few years of bad dates, opportunists and all-around creeps. But Robb's message was different. I could tell he seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me and the rest is history!
2. What is your favorite memory that you've shared? -@curvesonabuget13
Robb: Bae-cation v. 2.0 in Miami! My favorite part in all of that was Alysse's reaction when I surprised her with the trip.
Alysse: The Miami trip is the one thing about our relationship that was on social media and that's because I was totally surprised that Robb planned this for us and I was TOO happy not to share. Robb went all out on this trip. We stayed on Ocean Drive. He rented us a convertible. We drank overly-priced frozen drinks during the middle of the day. Even when it ended up raining the entire time, Robb found a way to re-think plans at the last minute and make everything a blast. We both work so much that this trip was a welcomed treat.
3. What have you learned from each other? - @mustangsallytwo
Robb: How to be a lot more caring of other people's feelings. I came into this being relatively selfish. Everyday is a new lesson in humility; I'm getting better.
Alysse: I think I've grown up a lot during this relationship. I've learned a lot about not making assumptions and giving my partner the benefit of the doubt. Robb has taught me to be more patient. We process things and communicate in different ways and that's okay as long as we take the time to understand where we are both coming from. We are getting better at that.
4) How do you maintain independence in a committed relationship? -@femma_
Robb: I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, do you know what that means man? But seriously, I think giving each other space is the key to that. Interdependence is nice. But the strength of any relationship I think comes from two independent points of view that are culled from mutually exclusive friends circles and bonds.
Alysse: I actually laughed when we received this question not because it's outlandish (it's a great question) but because in our relationship we actually have more of a problem being dependent. We are both very independent people and we've each spent more time single more than we've been in relationships (which isn't a bad thing). But both being independent people makes for a pretty good understanding of each other's needs. It means that Robb is really understanding when I'm running late because of a rush order or a writing deadline and I totally get when he needs to work overtime. We both have our own goals that we respect and want to be there to support each other in achieving but we are also still working on finding more time for each other.
5) How do you support each other? - @mustangsallytwo
Robb: Just being there for one another when we need the companionship the most. I think I support Alysse by showing strength and solidarity when things don't always look too bright. Alysse supports me with love, kindness, optimism, and resilience.
Alysse: Robb has definitely brought a level of stability, strength and solidarity to my life that I really appreciate. Robb and I are both passionate people so even though we work in totally different industries, we can understand how deeply ingrained we are in our work and why it matters to us. Robb grounds me and helps me see a side of things I sometimes don't want to see. I think I support Robb by always being there for him and helping him to remember to dream.
6) How do you inspire each other? - @mustangsallytwo
Robb: I think we try to align our accomplishments and goals with each other. One keeps the other on task and focused on the big picture, and by looking towards the future I think we're able to drive our inspiration from that. I'm inspired to move through the corporate ladder at work. While I think that always was a long term goal of mine, I never really felt inclined to want and push up those individual moments of achievement until recently. I see how Alysse is so determined to make it in what she does -- I just want my professional life to mirror that kind of passion and determination.
Alysse: I completely agree with Robb that we motivate each other. Robb is one of the hardest working people I know and seeing how hard he can work at a task that I know would be a challenge for me reminds me that I can always work harder to become better at the parts of my business that don't come as easy for me. Robb takes what he does very seriously and I love his passion to help find ways to make things better. And finally sometimes, I still struggle with feeling like I am worthy of all of my dreams and I doubt myself so it really helps having a partner that believes in me.
7) What is your favorite thing about each other? -@curvesonabuget13
Robb: Alysse's passion for what she's does and the people she's an inspiration/role model for. Alysse puts up with so much, and gets kicked down by so many rude, classless, jealous, and close-minded people. Every time she gets knocked down, she gets back up and fights harder than she did before. That's so powerful to me.
Alysse: There are so many things I love about Robb but I would have to say that I love his big, caring heart the most. It's so clear to me that Robb cares deeply about the people he chooses to surround himself with. He is someone that really loves to help people and make things better for them if he can and he will do this for everyone from a person he's met once to a friend he's known his whole life. And he doesn't care about getting credit or being recognized for what he does so much as he cares about the fact that he helped make someone's life a little brighter. I admire that so much.
Thanks so much to everyone who asked questions! This was fun to do. Now onto the outfit details. We are both wearing men's 2XL tees from Chicago-based Enstrumental Clothing Co. I shop menswear frequently for myself so when I saw these tees, I decided to get them for both of us and it helps to know that Robb's tee is also my size in case I decide to borrow it.
Rap - Lies = Hip Hop Tee, Enstrumental
Carhartt Jacket, Zappos
Cleveland Indians Hat, MLB Shop
Shut Up & Create Tank, Enstrumental
Black Knit Mini Skirt, thrifted (similar)
Black Faux Fur Coat, Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Geometric 70s Vibes Shades in Black, Ready to Stare
Ankle Strap Platform Lug Sole Heels, Charlotte Russe