Do you ever look at your parents or some other seemingly tedious couple that’s been together forever and think, "I really hope I never end up that way." Well, be careful what you wish for. There are so many myths about long term relationships that you should reject before they poison your well of happiness. You might just become your parents one day and think that the whole long-term love and commitment thing is pretty cool. I know, I know — the whole “growing up” thing is for the birds. I get it. But it probably won’t be as boring as you think.
Sharing your whole life with someone is an adventure, to say the least. You have to navigate becoming who you are while also merging that newly formed life into a long life as a couple. Next thing you know, you have shared bills and maybe even kids, and everything you thought you knew about what made you happy turns out to be wrong. It sounds scary and complicated. It sounds amazing and comforting. It also sounds like a recipe for the worst heartbreak of your life if things don’t work out. But when it comes down to it, that’s no reason to shy away from the hard work of being in a long-term relationship.
1. You're Happy All The Time
I need more than one hand to count all the times I fantasized about putting a pillow over my partner's face and pressing down — OK, maybe that's a little dramatic. But you get the idea. When someone is with you all the time, they're bound to get on your nerves. The trick is to find someone who you would rather fantasize about smothering than live without.
2. You'll Always Be In Love
Being "in love" is a complex chemical cocktail that requires a lot of work to maintain. There will be times when you love your partner, but you're not necessary feeling the butterflies and fireworks. The thing a lot of people don't realize is that love is sometimes something you chose and not something you feel. It ebbs and flows. Those melty feels will come back, as long as you continue to nurture the relationship and be good to each other.
3. You'll Never Have Feelings For Another Person
You're human. There will be times, no matter how much you love your significant other, that you find yourself occasionally thinking about someone else. You may even start to get a smattering of real feelings for this outsider. It's actually pretty natural and more common than you'd think. It's unrealistic to think that just because you've chosen to be in a committed relationship, that you'd never, ever have those thoughts and feels. It's how you act that makes the difference. That's pretty much the defining factor of commitment.
4. You Can Stop Trying So Hard
On the contrary. You have to try even harder. When you've been together forever, it's easy to slip into patterns where you take each other for granted, slack on the romance, and forget to nurture this crazy thing you've gotten yourselves into. You need to make an effort to be sweet even when you're annoyed, kind even when you're angry, loving even when you're tired and supportive even when you're overwhelmed with your own stuff. It's just as much work to keep someone as it is to get someone. But it's the good kind of work.
5. Things Will Get Boring
Nah. Here's the thing. Life will get boring, but it won't feel boring to you. Your definition of boring will change, no matter how crazy that sounds. For example, maybe right now, the thought of spending the millionth weekend in a row in your PJs on a serious Netflix/cuddle bender sounds boring, but when you're in a long-term relationship, dealing with all the stuff adulthood throws at you and trying to keep your love on lock, that sometimes feels like heaven. All things in moderation.
6. You HAVE To Get Married And Have Babies
If I had a dollar for every time my mom hit me with the old grandchildren guilt trip, I'd be a rich, rich woman. But guess what? You make the rules. Don't ever want to have kids? Don't want kids now, even though your uterus begs to differ? Think spending the equivalent of a small mortgage on a wedding is bananas? It's 2015. It's your relationship. You do what you want.
7. You Lose Yourself
You'll lose yourself a little. And you'll find yourself a little. And you'll bend and compromise and change and adjust your sails and do things you never thought you'd do. But that's just par for the course in any long relationship. Th secret is being able to grow and change and adapt together without losing your individual identities. You gotta do you and us.
Keeping your own goals and friendships and hobbies alive, even as you work to merge two lives into one, will go a long way toward preserving your sense of self. On the flip side, there will be times when all your goals are joint goals and it seems like all you do is compromise. Don't panic. This is pretty normal too, and it's OK to make sacrifices if those sacrifices will lead to better tomorrows. It doesn't make you lame. It makes you a team. Just maybe don't wear matching outfits every day. That's kind of creepy.
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