Back when I was in high school, I fell in love with one of my closest friends. The timing wasn’t right because I was going to leave for Australia, but we both took a leap of faith and we eventually got together. He was my first long-term boyfriend; we were together for 7 years. Being in love is an extraordinary feeling. If there’s anything that I know about long-term relationships, I know that it’s hard work.
Here are the things I’ve learned after being in a relationship for 7 years:
1. Hang out with your friends
Being in a relationship is not wrong, but it doesn’t need to be your only relationship. Dating someone can be super exciting. But sometimes we get too caught up in it that we forget about our friends. We should all know that the bond between you and your friends can’t be filled by your partner. It’s impossible to get everything you need from one person.
2. Keep the lines of communication open
Being 100% open is easier said than done. I didn’t talk to him when something’s bothering me. I thought “it doesn’t really matter, it wasn’t that big of a deal, I can handle it, I can tolerate it, it will be fine soon, it will be gone soon”. Then it became a thing.
I forgot the most important thing: listen to each other. Being in a relationship is a two-way street. Your partner might tell you something that is very important to them (and it might not be important to you) but you have to listen. Don’t put your wall up especially when you don’t like what your partner is saying. Trust your partner. Support your partner. Break that wall immediately. It won’t do any good to your relationship.
Always keep a positive point of view regardless of what your partner is saying. Keep the lines open and talk openly all the time.
3. Compliment each other
Your partner can’t read your mind. When you think she’s beautiful, tell her she’s beautiful. Not because you are in a long-term relationship, it doesn’t mean you can stop complimenting each other. Appreciate the small and big things.
4. Don’t make your partner jealous
Relationships should bring out the best in you.
It’s very difficult to feel “you are not good enough”. You start to lose yourself and then you start to stop doing the things you love to do. Sometimes you would think that you have to change yourself so you could be like that person. You shouldn’t be the better version of someone. You are you. Your partner should love you for who you are, and for who you are not.
5. Take more responsibility
We are all responsible for our relationship. I know how easy it is to search for a scapegoat when things go wrong so that you don’t have to take responsibility. Everyone who is in a relationship should stop playing the blame game and just focus on achieving the best possible outcome. Remember to focus on solutions rather than problems.
6. Choose your partner
Just last year, I stumbled upon an article Choose her every day (Or leave her) by Bryan Reeves. This article really hit me so hard. I just read it again today, and it really made perfect sense.
But if too many days go by and you just can’t connect with why you’re choosing your partner, and your relationship is rife with stress, let them go. Create the opening for another human being to show up and see them with fresh eyes and a yearning heart that will enthusiastically choose them every day.
Your loved one deserves to be enthusiastically chosen. Every day.
7. Give time and space to yourself; establish your own happiness
As soon as you start being in a relationship, everything starts to revolve around your partner. You don’t need to spend every minute of the day with each other. Do your own thing, do what makes you happy. Don’t be afraid when you grow and change while you’re together. There is nothing wrong when you want to be alone, or when you do things without your partner. It’s okay to take time for yourself in a relationship.
I always think that being in a relationship will not always mean you’ll end up being married to each other. It takes time and effort; it’s really hard work. But the only thing that I think will help you work it out is by communicating to each other.