After a two week vacation abroad where I had the time to reflect on various aspects of my life and where I envisioned myself in the near future, I decided to dedicate this post to the most difficult thing I’ve encountered thus far: growing in parallel with your significant other.
I have done a few relationship posts on my blog before, but nothing as specific as what it means when you’re in a long term relationship and are still discovering certain aspects of yourself let alone the person you have integrated into your life. After hitting the three year mark with my boyfriend and making the active steps to move in together, I’ve compiled a mental note of a few things I had no clue about when beginning this (my first) relationship that I’d like to articulate and explore.
THEY ARE NOT YOU
No matter how much it may feel like the opposite, the person you’re dating is not your other half. You are your full self and they are someone who compliments you as a person. They add to your life, not fill up a void and so to assume that they should think the exact way that you do is silly. I have gone through this many times before where I assume my boyfriend will have the same reaction as me to something because why wouldn’t he? We’re dating, we have similar interests, of course his mind is now synced with mine and we function as one ubermensch. That’s unrealistic and will lead to too many things left unsaid in an otherwise very social relationship.
TALK, LISTEN, TEXT
I’m not a very verbal person. I don’t enjoy listening to my thoughts vocalized too often because I seem to never find the right words when speaking aloud. Thoughts become jumbled and meanings left open for interpretation. Relationship gurus will tell you that the best thing for a couple is face-to-face communication. I have never been good with public speaking, so occasionally ( and I do mean occasionally), I will compose my thoughts in an orderly text. Yes, that’s very contemporary of me and can be seen as creating a disconnect in my relationship, but so far it has proven to be the opposite. All the things I can’t say in a quick, haphazard back and forth conversation are laid out nicely in a paragraph that can be looked through and mulled over.
SOMETIMES IT’S GOOD TO FIGHT
I am the person who cringes at the thought of bringing up something remotely confrontational. It’s sometimes hard for me to ask for help in an overly busy store if it means getting all up in someone’s business. However, after the few times it’s happened, I’ve learned that fighting with your partner is quite the catharsis to an issue that may have been ignored for too long. You’ll hear about those couples that fight constantly—every other day they are broken up again—but the idea of having to point out a flaw in my boyfriends actions or thoughts can sometimes make me physically ill. Sweaty, nervous, dry mouth. For all the well-constructed texts I’ve sent to my boyfriend, a raw, unrehearsed fight where feelings are blurted out work ten times better.
For the first few months of our relationship I had a deep issue with ever thoughtlessly throwing a piece of myself on the table for him to see. Most of the time, I was very aware of the person I was presenting to him for fear of being my normally weird self. I say weird in the sense that weird is a universal state of being—all of us think we’re weird for reasons that may not be weird to others. Three years later, I’ve discovered something vital; I’m super weird. And so is my boyfriend, but to me he never seemed/seems weird. He is himself; I accept that and like it. I’m sure he sees me the same way and all my worrying was for nothing, only getting me slightly closure to an ulcer.