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writing about love, relationships, & mental health // https://www.charlotteivan.com

One millennial woman, two millennial men, and three baffled minds

When I met Angelo, I quickly realized we had very little in common.

At the time, I had been talking briefly with another man, Eric, for about a week. We enjoyed the same films, had easygoing, lively conversation, and generally had a shared interest in one another.

However, I didn’t initially get the impression that Eric was looking for something serious, as we didn’t talk all that regularly and he had never asked me out on a date. It was harmless, yet still a little exciting.

When Angelo suddenly entered the picture, it was clear we shared an instant physical…


I’m not talking about the international language of love, either

When I lived in Italy, I dated a man whose mother was Japanese and whose father was Italian. The first time I heard the Italian language spoken with a Japanese accent, I was so inspired.

When I visited their home, I was welcomed with unique fusion dishes, our dinner plates stacked with fish cakes and homemade panzerroti. It remains some of my fondest memories from my time in Italy.

There was only one problem — and this particular problem created a thousand more.

My boyfriend and I didn’t speak the same language.

I don’t mean metaphorically, I mean literally. I…


Some of the societal rules and expectations for just existing

  1. I must smile and return your greeting, even when I don’t know you or am busy running an errand.
  2. I must have sex with, or at the very least, kiss you after you pay for my meal or my movie ticket.
  3. I must let you invade my private space without getting rude or snappy.
  4. I must never make any suggestions about how a man can change his behavior. I must always alter mine.
  5. I must walk home with a friend or two.
  6. I must hold my keys in my hand in case I need to protect myself.
  7. I must plan…


Dealing with shame, regret, and one disastrous hangover.

I hadn’t seen my good friend from college in quite some time. When he texted me to meet him for drinks on an otherwise boring Thursday night, I quickly kissed my boyfriend on the cheek and grabbed my pink coat on my way out the door.

My friend and I met at a restaurant that turned into a club after hours — fake palm trees and Cuban architecture serving as the backdrop as we sipped mojitos a little too quickly.

When we’d exhausted our attention span for that space, we hopped in an Uber to ride ten blocks south. Entering…


A few of the reasons, in no particular order.

I’m a cis, bisexual woman. I’ve been dating cishet men for quite a few years now — I started young.

Young enough that the word “men” isn’t quite accurate to describe a few of them at the time I was dating them. Over the years, I’ve dated a range of cishet men, from different socioeconomic backgrounds to varying habits and interests, to those who are from entirely different countries, and a slew of ages.

I’ve seen a few cis women sprinkled in between these relationships, most times leading nowhere and not lasting very long, usually because I had internalized shame…


Being in love does not mean the same thing for everyone.

There exists, even still today, a mythical ethos around the idea of true love in the United States.

Puritanical values of monogamy, patriarchy, and outdated concepts of gender have shaped dating in the current era into an unrecognizable, complicated pile of anxiety-ridden thoughts, stuffed haphazardly into our psychological closets. As ideas and the cultural status-quo around dating shift, there is no longer just one path to follow.

Now more than ever, many of us have options. Women can date multiple partners, never get married, and never have children. Men can marry men and discussing gender as a spectrum is in…


Your reaction will teach you how you really feel about your past.

A few weeks ago, a message popped up on my screen. In between bites of pasta, I glanced down to see a name appear on my phone that I hadn’t seen for about three years. I was nervous, intrigued, and a little hesitant to open it. We hadn’t exactly ended our previous relationship on good terms, and our tumultuous history boded poorly for any kind of potential friendship now.

Plus, I was in a new relationship that was going well. It just didn’t make sense to invite this person back into my life. …


A reminder of your purpose in life, even when you feel you don’t have one.

I’ve suffered from depression since I was 9 years old. It’s been a long, winding road, so to speak. I’ve gone through periods of my life where I felt completely hopeless, and I struggled to fall asleep and get out of bed in the morning. I know what it feels like to believe, wholeheartedly, that life is pointless. That all of this effort to just exist is for nothing.

It’s absolutely not true, though.

There are reasons that life is worth living. It just takes those of us who suffer from depression a lot longer to realize and believe that…


PSILY Summer Fling

Throwing stones. There were hundreds of them, smooth black tops breaking through the surface of the sand. It hurt to walk on them, but I didn’t want to put on my shoes. Throwing stones; that’s what I was doing on that Thursday. The sun had crawled to its highest point in the sky, with no clouds blurring its heat. I moved slowly, carefully. It was too hot to run, but the California water was always cold.

I walked until the tiny waves tickled my ankles, a stone in my hand. I was about to toss it when a neon flicker…


Balancing passion, ability, and tact in my interpersonal relationships

I need to create. I need to write and express just to even begin to make sense of it all. So many highly-charged emotions circle in my head so fast that I can feel them ripping my psyche apart. That’s what bad days are like. When bad days happen, I need to create. Or, if I don’t have the energy to, I need to feel like I can relax because I’ve at least consistently created in the recent past.

After going through a few jobs when I graduated college, I realized it would be difficult to find one that I…

Charlotte Ivan

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