In lue of the Day of Love – Valentines Day, I couldn’t help but think about how long my boyfriend and I have been together. At dinner, a girl asked us how long we’d been together, and was shocked when we both gleamed back 8 years. “Wow! You guys give me hope”, and right here I realized that it’s really not that complicated. We’re all looking for love, and often times get discouraged when we see others with what we want. But then I remembered that most of the people who ask me how we’ve managed to keep our crap together for 8 years, are 20 somethings. They’re sampling potential husbands from tinder, DM’s and drunken nights.
So I decided to share with you a few things I’ve learned from being in a long term relationship in my 20’s. My boyfriend and I met in college our freshmen year, and have been together ever since. I’ve literally grown up with him, and experienced half of my twenties with the same man I used to stress about finals week with. I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m no expert, and trust me when I say we’re far from perfect. Like most couples we’ve had our fair up’s and downs, but managed to work through them and grow together, growing deeper in our love and connection. Here’s what I’ve taken away from being happily taken at 20 something.
People are going to ask you about marriage. ALOT.
The thought of two people being together for a few years, and not yet being married or engaged, makes people really uncomfortable. Maybe the wedding of your dreams isn’t in your budget yet, or you simply don’t believe in marriage, whatever it may be-you don’t have to explain why you’re not married yet to anyone. It’s not anybody’s business but yours and the person you’re with. I can’t tell you how many men have hit on me with that stupid line. After telling them I have a boyfriend they say, Oh I would’ve put a ring on it by now? Really sir- you would have? I think I’ll stay over here with my non-marriage, long term relationship with the man I love, hence why I’m still with him after nearly a decade.
You’ll get mistaken for being high school sweethearts almost all the time
Because you’re 20 something, and look 20 something, people will automatically do math in their head, and come up with that you’ve been together since you were 16. You couldn’t have possibly met in college or at work. Nope, 16 sounds just right. Being young and in a long term relationship, people just assume that you either met in high school or you grew up together, there’s no in between. Unless of course you decide to explain to them, because they’ll eventually ask the famous, ” So how old were you when you started dating then?”
They’ll be plenty of talk about babies
Your parents of course want you guys to settle down and get married first, but they still can’t help but talk about their future grandchildren that you should’ve had by now. After all, you’ve been together a few years, it’s just natural for them to start thinking about those grand babies. Even your siblings and close friends will start to poke around about how cut your little ones will be. They know that your significant other is most likely “the one”, so they’ll be dropping baby bombs left and right. Just to plant the seed of- hurry the hell up please. But the truth is you both are still in your 20’s, and are still trying to navigate and figure out life like any other 20 something. Being in a long term relationship translates to people that you must have life figured out, but that’s far from true. Truth is we’re just as confused as the rest of you.
Sharing Your Space With Someone Is Never Easy
I grew up with two brothers, so sharing my space with my boyfriend wasn’t really ever that hard for me. I was used to the toilet seat always being up, and other annoying things that only boys do. But, it’s still an adjustment non the less, moving in with your significant other may be seem annoying at first, but after you learn each others domestic dislikes/likes it’ll be smooth sailing. You’ll be living with your best friend, what’s more fun than that? There’ll be endless amounts of laughs, deep conversations, and plenty of time to get to know each other on a whole new level.
You Have To Keep The “Spark” Alive
Think back to when you first met, everything you did together was interesting and exciting because it was new. Everything you experienced together was a first as couple, so it was easy to not get bored. But who’s to say you have to stop having fun once the “honeymoon” phase is over. Plan a bomb AF getaway, cook dinner together, go fifty-shades of grey on him, keep dating each other and falling more and more in love every single day. My boyfriend and I love having sleepovers with each other! Because our work schedules can be different sometimes, one of us is gong to bed or getting up without seeing the other person. So we literally just get our favorite dish and snacks, and stay up talking and being silly goofballs. It’s the little things that’ll make it feel like every night with him is the best sleepover ever.
A Couple That Prays Together, Stays Together
If you’re not religious, find something that bonds you both spiritually, and connect on a whole new level. My boyfriend and I are Catholic, so it was pretty easy for us to find ways to bond together through our church. Praying together, and praying for other’s together, allows you to appreciate your partner even more. I love knowing that my boyfriend’s a man of God, and I love seeing him give back through our church. Come up with your own prayer before you say Grace or something unique to the tow of you. Growing up we’d say grace before eating our meals as a family, and now me and my boyfriend have our own we made toegther.
Pick and Choose Your Battles
You’re going to argue, it’s inevitable. If you’ve ever met a couple that tells you otherwise, they’re liars. So yes, it’s going to happen, and some couples may argue more or less than others, but it’s how you comprise and move on that’ll keep your relationship going strong. You have to know when to pick your battles as my mom always says, and arguing over who should run to the store and grab the milk is ridiculous. You’ll have to learn to drop something, and move on. Don’t dwell on things that really aren’t worth causing an argument over. Arguing is natural, and is actually healthy for a relationship, so don’t compare yourself to other couples who swear they NEVER argue. But too much of a “good” thing, can be bad.
Agree to Disagree, and actually move on.
This ties in with the whole pick and choose your battles, sometimes you just won’t be able to see eye to eye on something. I can’t even count how many pointless dead end disagreements me and my boyfriend have had over the years. We’re still working on this ourselves after 8 years ( we’re both stubborn AF), but it’s really better to spend time loving each other than battling against one another.
It’s Okay To Have You Time
A lot of people assume that once you’re in a long term relationship that you don’t do anything without the other person. Not sure where this idea comes from, but it’s far from true. It’s super healthy and actually encouraged that you take time away from you significnat other, and do you. Do a spa day with your girls, take a trip without your boo, or just curl up and read your favorite book. Time apart makes the heart grow fonder.
Communication Is A Major Key
Without proper and healthy communication, you will not make it past the first year together. You have to work on your communication skills with each other and make sure that it’s always on point. It’s not something that you ever stop working at either, you should make an effort to effectively communicate about how your feeling, about your day to day, and anything that your partner should know. It’ll take time getting to learn and understand the other person’s communication style and how they best receive communication.