In a little over two weeks, I’ll be celebrating my nine year anniversary with my partner. It feels like we’ve been together forever (in a good way). Life before him seems like such a long time ago. To give you a better idea of how long we’ve been together, I was 23 when we started seeing each other and he was 20. He turns 30 at the end of this year and I just turned 32.
In many ways, we’re different people from when we first got together. I don’t think you can be with someone that long and not change at all. Plus, add in just the general changes you go through while living in your 20s and early 30s. It’s a recipe for change and growth and all the stuff that can either bring you closer or tear you apart. Luckily, we’ve grown together, each person acting on the other and, in turn, being acted upon.
I’m not going to say it’s been smooth sailing 100% of the time. I still have days when I don’t feel very in love at all. Then other days will come along where I feel just as in love as I was in those first few months. It’s strange that way, I suppose. You have to work at it all the time once that clichéd honeymoon period ends and that initial intense chemistry and desire fades.
It’s easy to be in love when you’re in that crazy haze of lovesickness, when you feel like you need each other and every moment apart is unbearable. But that fades and what you have left is up to you to make something of. Do you actually like each other? Do you have anything in common? How do you handle it when you disagree? Does every little thing about them start to bother you?
I have quite a few single friends that will tell me, ‘oh, I broke up with such-and-such because he wasn’t X or he didn’t do Y’ and so often I think, ‘But that’s so minor’. Of course, you never know what goes on behind closed doors and if it’s not working, it’s not working but I think people give up because they don’t think being in love is hard work.
People say to me, ‘I want your relationship. You guys look so in love/have it so easy’. No, we don’t, we fight like any normal couple. We don’t have it fucking easy, no one does. Being in a long term relationship is hard and, even after all this time, we still fuck up and piss each other off and have our moments when we question what we’re even doing together anymore. The problem is that people think it should be easy and as soon as it gets a little tricky or the person has a habit they don’t like (not affectionate enough, doesn’t spend enough money on them, too nice – seriously, that was a real excuse, I’m not even kidding), they ditch it and move on. They think that it can’t be love or it can’t be ‘meant to be’ because it’s suddenly become hard work.
If you’re looking for that perfect somebody, you’ll never find them. They don’t exist. Every person you’re with is going to have some ‘flaw’, some behaviour that you don’t like. You have to decide if they can change or if you can live with it. And, if you somehow stay together through everything, some days will be easy and some days you’ll wonder why you bother. But hopefully you will bother because you’ll remember the person you fell in love with and you’ll know that any strife you experience is temporary and, with communication and patience, you’ll get through it.