The Relationship Secret

I hate having to start a post with a disclaimer, but I felt compelled today.

#1… I’m not a relationship expert. At all. I had my first kiss at 18. Dated here and there throughout college. And didn’t have my first real capital b Boyfriend until I met Garrett.

#2… This isn’t about my relationship with Garrett. My intention of this post is not to open our relationship up, but instead to share my own experiences with relationships in general and what I’ve discovered over the years.

#3… I really do believe this covers all kinds of relationships, starting with yourself… your family… your friendships… and romantic relationships.

One of my favorite movies in middle school and high school was A Walk to Remember. I watched it countless times over the years and listened to the soundtrack all the time too. Every time I watched it, I’d think about how lucky Jamie (the girl, Mandy Moore!) was. I connected so much with her and frankly wished that something like that would happen to me. That is, I was always secretly hoping and wishing that some cool guy would notice me and the rest would be history.
Never happened.
Looking back, I realized I had it wrong all along. I don’t know if I was the only person in the world to interpret the movie this way, but now I see it in a completely different light. It’s not that Jamie was lucky; I think it was really Landon who was lucky all along for finding someone as amazing as Jamie. For years, I was blinded by Landon’s coolness factor and overlooking just how much Jamie actually brought to the relationship. Now it seems so obvious.
I really never thought about it like this until just over a year ago. I was feeling kind of down on myself for a hundred different reasons. I just felt overall unconfident within a bunch of different aspects of my life. I felt like the critic’s voice in my head was turned to high and it was affecting me in such a negative way where I was second guessing just about everything I was doing. My blog, my friendships, my relationship with Garrett.

And then, while crying on the phone with my mom, I had this epiphany moment. “Wait,” I thought, “I’m actually doing pretty great. I love my job. I’m having such a fun time at this point in my life. My friends and I have great relationships. I have all these amazing opportunities coming my way and I’m handling everything pretty great.”

I started to see myself differently.

It may have felt like I was failing and flailing, but I actually wasn’t. And once I opened my own eyes to that and turned down the volume of that critic (it seems like there will always be some kind of voice!), everything felt less…. complicated.

Just like the movie it feels so obvious now.

Of course how I feel about myself and how I value myself affects my thoughts, my success, my relationships.

Which brings me to the point of this post. I have turned into the go-to girl for my friends when it comes to relationships. I’m not a relationship expert, but I’ve found myself bringing this super simple thought process to everything. I’m more like a broken record telling my friends the same thing every time they feel down or frustrated with dating.

You’re worth so much more.

You’re worth so much more than 2am text messages, or unanswered text messages for that matter. You’re worth so much more than ghosting, and nitpicking. You’re worth so much more than being ignored and put down.

I’ve had a handful of conversations with some of my closest friends recently and the story is always the same. It’s completely disheartening for me, as a friend, to hear the frustration and sadness and confusion that they experienced dating. And I get it. I’ve been there.

Instead of focusing on the bad things that are going on, I try to ask them what they’re missing in the relationship, what they want. And it’s always that they just want someone who’s nice. Nice. That’s it! There’s no long checklist of obstacles, physical traits, and background information. Nice. Is that too much to ask for? I don’t think so.

Then I launch into my friend mode telling them why they deserve someone who’s nice. Why they shouldn’t be with anyone who isn’t nice. It’s not about the other person in the relationship. It’s about you. When you realize just how much you’re worth and what you bring to the table, it’s impossible to accept anything less than that.

Spend some time figuring out what makes you amazing. (This is great for more than just relationships, of course.)

What really ends up happening is that you have enough confidence to realize what you do and don’t deserve and enough confidence to not get into wrong relationships. (Or get out if you realize it’s not working.) And when you’re in a relationship, you know your value. You don’t have to sit there and question every single thing wondering if you made a mistake or if you’re enough for the person. You are, because you’re you.

(And anyone who doesn’t realize that is just not worth it.)


PS I’m such a huge believer in positive thinking. I think this falls somewhere in that area of thought. 

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thanks for this post! i couldn't agree more with everything you said. i think that women tend to undervalue themselves a lot – breaking out of that mindset is definitely something i'm working on.


I am so in love with message and really want to simply say thankyou. I think so often we forget our worth, I know I do, so thank you for reminding me. I am so happy you remembered your worth too. x Lucy-Claire //


This is really crazy timing…last night I was tossing and turning thinking about someone and really getting down on myself for the way things turned out. It kind of morphed into a mini version of what you mentioned experiencing once, where you feel frustrated and start second guessing everything. Love the post (and selfishly love the timing) – we all need to be reminded here and there that we ARE enough, and are worth more.


I love this post! I went through a similar struggle myself, it was easier for me to realize when it came to romantic relationships but this past year was the first time I really realized it applied to friendships as well. I am a great friend, I don't need people in my life who ignore my texts or act like I have betrayed their trust just by being honest.

Bloom & Focus


A beautifully written piece! I've been reading your blog for years and I have to say my favorite posts are always the ones like this – personal, positive, and real. Thank you for sharing!

Breakfast @ Kiki's

Thank you for this post. Like you I loved this movie and book, and misinterpreted it too. But now that I am older, and married I see it for what it truly is, and I am so much better for it!


This post makes me remember "the old Carly" that I became in love with years ago. Tips and tricks, heart to heart posts.. Love it!


Oh Carly…. I'm totally not in the target demographic for this post (I'm married) but looking for just "nice" in a relationship is selling yourself short just as much as staying with some guy who is not going to value you. Nice can't be the end goal because the nice guys will hurt you too. Look for dependable, for kind, for mature, for hardworking, for honest, and for whatever fits YOU. And lastly, my favorite bit of advice to my single friends is to love yourself and be happy while single. Relationships are hard work and you should never depend on someone else to provide you with your happiness. 🙂


Thank you Carly, this was exactly what I needed to hear. You make me want to be the girl I know I have the capability to become. Xo.

Joyce Novacek

Nice post! I just had to comment and say I watched A Walk to Remember 10000 times and also constantly listened to the soundtrack 🙂 That was a high-quality CD.

Rachel Lax

Carly, you're amazing. This is like. Just what I needed, and I'm just now reading it oh, you know, four months after you wrote it.