While I will be the first to admit that being in love is amazing, relationships aren’t all kisses and date nights. Sometimes you get a little frustrated or even straight up angry with each other. No relationship is perfect. Single or not, we all get relationship envy. Whether you are jealous because you want to be in a relationship or you are jealous because another couple “looks” happier or goes out on more dates than you… it’s a thing. Tonight’s post is all about the good and the work that a real relationship brings and misconceptions about long-term relationships. Single or not, I hope you can feel a little more thankful about where you are in life and WHO you are surrounded by.
I want to start off saying that I love Jonathan very, very much. He has given me such indescribable joy throughout our relationship. I have laughed, adventured, and grown more in the past two years than I have my whole life and he’s a huge reason for that. This does not mean we have not had our fair share of arguments and even a season where we thought we might not make it. I spent a lot of time being jealous of other couples’ “happiness” and what they did for date nights (dumb, but it’s real). When I was single, I was jealous of people in love and I thought it would go away when I fell in love again. You guys, it doesn’t. I could go on and on about being happy with what you have but instead, I want to show you that you are not alone. Love is wonderful but it is not glamorous. Every relationship is different but I wanted to share some things I have learned throughout my short time here on Earth.
It’s Not All About You
Out of all of the topics I am about to discuss, this one was the hardest for me to learn. I had my first serious relationship in high school when I was probably too young to even grasp this thought yet and ended up having to figure it out with Jonathan. While it is great to receive love and attention and praise at all times, a relationship is not just about you or the other person. Relationships take compromise. All my single ladies out there, quit imagining the over-the-top gestures your future boyfriend is going to make to you every day and start imagining how you will both show you care each and every day.
I remember when Jon and I first started dating and I noticed how everything we did was all about me. What movies do I like? What restaurants do I like? As nice as it was, I knew that if I really liked this guy, I had to put some effort into the relationship too. I decided to watch Jon’s favorite movie with him… Deadpool. I hate violence and I hate the type of humor in Deadpool but I knew how happy it would make him if I watched it with him. I didn’t like the movie but I really liked spending time with him. The joy he got from me doing something he loved far surpassed me sacrificing a couple hours on Deadpool.
As simple as this is, it is a gamechanger. Ask them where they want to go to eat. Go on a date you know they will enjoy. Jon has gone into makeup stores with me countless times, bought me feminine products when there was an emergency (without me asking, he’s a keeper, y’all), and watched chick flicks or TV shows he’s not the biggest fan of. It seems very small but it’s the compromise that shows the other person how much you really care about them.
The Smaller Disputes Avoid the Bigger Ones… Usually
This section does not give you permission to fight with your significant other over everything they do. In fact, it’s rather the opposite. Instead of letting your emotions and anger or irritation boil up, have calm conversations more frequently. When the other person is constantly late, talk to them nicely about it. Don’t throw passive aggressive comments their way or slip it into another argument about something different. Address issues when they arise, not when it comes up three months later along with six other issues.
However, if you are having to have “conversations” monthly or weekly, you may need to rethink your relationship or consider if you are being a little too unrealistic or picky. I thought I was being awesome by having calm conversations all the time but Jon saw it as me constantly picking at his flaws and slowly began to shut down. Our relationship almost fell apart because I couldn’t stop nitpicking him. The first six months of our relationship were us keeping everything in too long and erupting and the 6-9 months after that consisted of the exact opposite. It took us nearly a year and a half to figure out how to better communicate with one another and not to approach things the way we had been.
Basically, take time to get to know how to talk with one another. This is not going to happen naturally or overnight. Jon and I are a little more stubborn (we like to call it “passionate”) about things so it probably took us longer than most to understand each other in this way. Don’t rush your relationship or figure it out too late. Take time. Talk it out. Shoot, even ask them how you could have better approached the situation or if something were to ever come up, how you should approach it. Fight over the important things, but don’t let all the little things rule the conversation.
Chivalry is Not Just For Men
This is going to get a lot of “wait, what?” responses so let me just explain myself really quickly. If you expect the man to be the only chivalrous one in the relationship, it’s not going to end well. This goes along with the “It’s Not All About You” but I wanted to focus in more on the little things. Ladies, if a guy opens the door for you or helps you carry something, say “thank you.” Please oh please do not say “I could have done that myself.” We all know I am a feminist and extremely passionate about equality among the sexes but that does not mean women get to be mean when men are nice to us.
As a woman who prides herself on being independent, I have often been rude when Jon has shown gestures of chivalry or kindness. Jon honestly gave up after awhile because he was tired of me always being so rude (my words, not his). I remember calling him and crying about how I felt like he never did anything nice for me and how I felt like he didn’t love me. He is so chivalrous he didn’t even tell me it’s because I was a psycho whenever he was nice. I realized it the next week when he opened the door for me and I said, “I got it. Seriously.” I immediately apologized for my behavior and now openly accept any gestures of chivalry with praise and love.
We have to let men be good to us and be good right back. It’s not solely their job to wait on us hand in foot, but when they do, show them how grateful you are that they did. Surprise them with a cup of coffee at work, give a kiss on the cheek, write a sweet note. Give that chivalry right back in the way they love best. Don’t let chivalry die in the 21st century.
If you are single and still reading this, I hope you understand that relationships take work and effort. It’s not just date nights at the newest restaurants and hand holding. If you have a best friend, you will understand this. Sometimes you fight, but you have to choose to forgive and choose to forget. Love is a choice you make every day with every person in your life. Don’t yell at them for the way they drink their milkshake but tell them how cute they look instead. Build up the people around you and you will find they often love you right back.