It's a Tuesday. I've taken a mental health day off work, to really sit around, ponder, plan my U.S. trip and to do a blog post - so worth it. I am not in my usual environment, my desk is cluttered, I am on a DESK TOP COMPUTER (what is this vintage device?), and I have had 4 choc chip cookies for breakfast. I am off to a good start. I often find myself only being able to write about things I am passionate about. I was looking for some writing inspiration this morning and looked to my older sister and my mum for some advice. They told me to write about veganism (I am not a Vegan - they are) or perhaps even write about societies approach to labelling people. As fun as that sounds.........It doesn't and I cannot relate YET. I am 22, and don't know enough about the world and society to talk about those topics without sounding like an obnoxious twat. So I decided to blog about something that quite frankly I am an absolute professional about - maintaining a 8 year long relationship with my beautiful & hilarious & very patient boyfriend. I won't name him on here, because he doesn't like being associated with my foul language and that tends to come out when I am blogging. He'll come around, I promise.
ANYWAY. Over the past 8 years, I have learnt SO much. Seriously, I can't even begin to explain the journey we have been on together but I will give you some back ground information. We met in 2007, on Myspace (can you believe?), It was absolutely love at first comment. Comments turned into MSN chats - you can tell I am a 90's kid, MSN chats turned into texting, which evolved into one phone call; no more and no less. We eventually met, and spent some time getting to know each other at face value because let's be honest, you can be ANYONE behind a keyboard. A few months into our face-to-face friendship we eventually just turned into a couple. He never technically asked me to be his girlfriend, he just assumed I was and that we were on the same page but for a few weeks there I was like are we? aren't we? I don't understand. He's a very laid back human being and so carefree - but by the book. Whatever, the beginning was picture perfect. I think most of you now have calculated back and realised I was turning 15 when I got myself into a relationship (young, silly, but great f*cking judgement - obviously).
Now the reason I feel so passionately about relationships, maintaining a healthy and STRONG relationship is because every single one of my friends are declaring love, engagement and marriage after 1-2 years of meeting and knowing someone. I am old school in my thinking that I would love everyone to have a fantastic judgement ability like myself, but people DON'T. You do NOT know someone after 1 year, even 2, hell I am still learning things after 8 years. And you know what? sometimes the things you learn are f*cking raw, they are awful and hard to deal with - and this is when people run, break up, and divorce. I think there needs to be more people out there willing to work through all of the sh*t, to ultimately find pure bliss, happiness and unconditional love.
Over the 8 years that I have grown with my boyfriend, I have learnt a thing or two about how to make a relationship work to both of the individuals' advantage. Let's get one thing clear, you are not ONE, you are two individual souls who have chosen to go through all of life's problems together for the rest of your life (if you don't feel this way about your significant other - why are you with them?). So many lessons have been learnt and I thought I would share them, to hopefully help others who are going through similar experiences, and unsure about the outcome.
If you're going to love, love HARD.
Finding love is so much rarer than you might believe. No matter what age you find love, know that it is real. Hold on to whom you love over anything. Over the desire to 'experience' being 18, 19, 20 in the clubs. Always follow your heart and don't allow anyone else to intervene or dictate who you should be investing your time in. It is YOUR journey. Love is the most powerful emotion in the world, and giving it unconditionally is by far one of the best feelings you'll ever experience, as well as receiving.
If you don't have good negotiating skills, learn some. The best tool you can ever bring to the table is the ability to compromise and see your significant others point of view. If you can't do that, your ego is too big and you should get the f*ck out before you waste anybody's time. Compromising comes down to simply picking and choosing your battles. You cannot go to war about e v e r y t h i n g so really think before you make a big deal over a left-up toilet seat, or his love for video games.
Hold on to your friends
You're going to need these important people if shit hits the fan, and it will. Girls especially need a good, secure venting circle that they can unload on their friends, receive advice, guidance and sometimes just chocolate and wine will do the trick. Maintaining strong friendships whilst in a relationship can be one of the hardest balancing acts on the planet. It is tough. Stay in touch, don't get swept up in the idea of only needing your significant other in all situations - because seriously who else is going to deal find your relatable when you're going through a fat phase, choco-a-holic phase, a PMSing phase or a clothing debate phase (which happens every weekend) other than your girlfriends?
The THREE-YEAR mark is real
And it is f*cking hard. I heard lots of my older friends mentioning about how the three year mark is a pivital moment for all couples. You stop bonding, tend to find characteristics annoying and truly start to fall out of sync. I think this mark is unavoidable, no matter how great your relationship is. However, if you can learn to fight through the third to the fourth year, you will be taken aback by how strong your relationship has become. Try to compliment your partner, as often as you can. Realise you are a team and that for your significant other to feel whole and complete, they need to feel as though they are supported. Especially when you want to rip their hair out for working 60+ hours per week and spending no time with you - instead of whinging about the lack of quality time, perhaps compliment your partners amazing work ethic and how mature he/she is becoming by owning responsibilities.
My biggest tip: Do not be jealous
Seriously, who wins when you are jealous? Your emotions are SO HIGH STRUNG you could pretty much kill your partner with those dagger eyes. Forget it. It is the worst emotion we can embody and it is just down right unattractive. Lay down the boundaries of what you deem respectful, and if he crosses that line then have a mature discussion about it. But by being paranoid by every single text message, phone call, facebook message is just screaming and highlighting the insecurities in yourself which your partner really can't fix. Fix yourself first before you f*ck your relationship up over a misunderstanding.
So many people ask me how my boyfriend and I have made it work for 8 long years, especially because we are both so young. I always answer the same way; we are friends before ANYTHING. We don't get caught up in the 'romance' so to speak. What I mean by this is we are so simple, we just enjoy each others company. Both of us are very low key characters and are very aware that a relationship does not have to be about the 'things' (gifts, dinners, romantic holidays). We are 110% happy whether we are at home playing playstation in our track pants, or out with all of our friends - we don't care about the environment, just eachother.
A relationship should be the happiest roller coaster of emotions in your life. My favourite relationship quote is: if the roots are deep there is no need to fear the wind. Obviously all relationships are not perfect, but it is all about how you react to situations and ultimately the amount of respect you have for one another will be the biggest focal point for your entire lives together. I am not saying all relationships are supposed to work, some fail to teach you lessons. However when you truly find someone who encompasses everything you've ever wanted in a significant other, hold onto him or her with your LIFE.
What do you guys think? What are some tips you could give other people who are just starting out their life with their significant other? In 8 years I have learnt so much, My grandparents have been married for 50 years and I am almost positive they would have so many other tips and tricks to make LOVE work.