I've been with my boyfriend, a 23-year-old animator, for eight and a half years. Yes, since we were 14. Yes, since we were underage emos sharing homework and cider. And, no, despite the many misconceptions about long-term relationships being the worst, dating the same person for eight years isn't bad at all.
Me, my boyfriend, and our dog live a mostly-blissful life of artistic poverty in Brighton. The only thing about dating the same person for eight years that gets truly annoying are the questions people always ask about it. A typical conversation goes like this:
“How long have you been together?”
“Eight and a half years.”
“Wow ... eight years … wow.” *counting on fingers* “That’s cute. But that would mean you guys were …” *more counting*
“Fourteen. We were 14 when we met.”
“So you’ve never …”
“Don’t you ever …”
I've had this exact conversation with everyone I've met here in Brighton, back home, and on holiday. Perhaps to some it’s hard to imagine being “tied down” from such a young age, but their curiosity is often disproportionate to my reality. Usually, people react to my eight-year relationship as if I'd claimed to have four legs and 10 million dollars in the bank.
If you're also curious about what it's like to be with the same person since you were 14, allow me to enlighten you by answering the six questions people always ask about my long-term relationship.
1. “But … Don’t You Get Bored?”
I’m a restless creature, so any boredom I feel in my relationship is the same as the boredom I feel for staying at the same job, living in the same city, or writing the same article for more than ten minutes. But on a cosmic level, no. I know that any boredom is simply a result of my own restlessness, not a matter of actual discontent with my relationship. I’m pretty stubborn, so if I'd actually had enough of him, I'd be halfway across the country with our dog by now.
Mostly, I am the opposite of bored. I spend every day with my best friend. Someone who knows my history, my friends, my bad habits — someone who will happily watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians with me and not need to be taught Scott and Kourtney’s tangled history.
2. "Why Haven’t You Given Up On Your Looks?"
Aside from the fact that it's absolutely disgraceful to insinuate that anyone can “give up” on their looks, this question is extra baffling for three reasons:
1. Women's beauty routines don't exist solely as a way to seek out and impress men.
2. I live with my boyfriend, he sees me every day, and sometimes I like dressing up for him too, thanks.
3. I do leave my house sometimes.
3. "Doesn’t The Sex Get Boring / Haven’t You Stopped Having It / Don’t You Wish You Could Cheat?"
No, no, and … no. Having sex with someone who knows what I want, is always there for me, and whom I feel comfortable with ... Well, that’s kind of the dream, isn't it? All cheating on my boyfriend could possibly bring me would be the dissolution of my relationship and the brief, fleeting enjoyment of hooking with someone else — quickly followed by shame. So in short, no.
And no, we haven’t stopped doing it just because we've been together forever, thank you. We are monogamous, not dead.
4. "Don’t You Two Argue All The Time?"
Constantly. We're two individual adults living in a one-bedroom apartment with different families, shared responsibilities, and one TV. We argue about everything, from the minutiae to the genuinely important. We argue like siblings. I am strong-willed and really, really annoying, whereas he's a little lazy. But since we're so comfortable with each other, I can voice the smallest inconvenience in an honest way that I never could with a roommate or friend. Plus, he does whatever I say.
5. “Sooo … When Are You Two Getting Married Already?”
We are 23. Babies. Fresh out of University. A writer and an animator, ours is a classic love story rooted in mutual, romantic poverty. When we can afford to rent more than two rooms, feed ourselves, and still have an excess of cash lying around, then maybe we will consider the frankly unnecessary step of putting our commitment to paper. But regardless, I’m pretty secure with things as they are.
In all honesty, when I started dating the weird blonde boy who attended the same classes and drunken sleepovers that I did at 14, I didn’t expect to be with him nine years and one city later. I'm happy I still am — but I'm in no rush to get married, either.
6. "Don’t You Feel Held Down?"
No, and if you do, then you should have a look at what’s going on between you and your partner. Over the duration of our relationship, I have gone to University, traveled California, gotten a job, and gone on vacations just with my own friends. I have changed in a myriad of ways for the better, and I have gotten nine years older. I just haven’t had to go through anything alone.
If I was being held down, I would leave. I have time and room to grow and change, and we have had our adventures, mostly together. It's nice, not constricting.
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