Weekly Top 5: Things I've Learned about Being in a Relationship
Today is Friday, January 18th, which is the 12th anniversary of my first date with my now-husband. TWELVE YEARS. How can this be? In my mind I am still that spunky 26-year-old I was when we met! Not to mention, how is it that we have been together 12 years already? But when I think of all the things we’ve accomplished…working together daily, opening (and closing) more than 10 bars and restaurants, getting married, adding stamps to our passports, renovating a 100-year-old house, having two children…whew! I guess it really HAS been 12 years! So while I am no expert and our relationship is definitely not perfect, I thought today’s WTF should be an ode to things I have learned about being in a relationship over these past 12 years.
1. Stop counting
When I first told my colleague Jordan that it was the anniversary of our first date, I told her it was 11 years ago. Then when I did the math I realized it was 12 years ago, and it made the first lesson learned very apparent – quit counting! Not dates, or months or years, but things. The things will get you. Who took the trash out last, who said they were sorry first, who got up with the baby. Full disclosure – this one is hard for me. I have a natural tendency to “keep score” and I’ve had to learn that in the end, it does no good for anyone.
2. Do your own thing
There is often a point, usually early in a relationship, in which you do everything together. You just want to be with the person all the time, and you end up taking a hiatus from friends or hobbies or activities that you enjoy. I think this is normal, and maybe even sweet, as long as you don’t stay in this googly-eyed state forever. Giving your partner space and distance allows each of you to stay engaged with the people and things that fill you up and make you YOU. My hubs knows that there are certain things I need that just make me happy. They aren’t really so important to him, but that’s okay, they don’t have to be, because he knows they are important to me, and that’s enough.
3. But don’t do your own thing too much!
Some people end up doing their own thing so much they might as well not even be a couple! I find this usually happens to people who have been together a long time, but not always. Look, I know you don’t want to go to Pittsburgh for Aunt Mae’s birthday, but do it for your partner. I know you probably don’t want to go to that business dinner with the big boss who is in town for one night, but do it for your partner. Being in a relationship means that sometimes you do things you don’t want to do, but you aren’t doing it for you, you are doing it for them. So put a smile on and suck it up. I can promise your partner appreciates it.
4. You gotta put in work, work, work, work, work
Maybe this isn’t true for everyone but I suspect it is. At some point, you have to work on your relationship. You have to make it a priority and you have to acknowledge the issues and the discrepancies and work to correct them. We honestly had things pretty easy until we had kids, and since then we’ve found we have to put a lot more effort into our relationship. We talk about it pretty openly and honestly, and while it was a little uncomfortable at first, it has allowed us to know exactly where the other person is at – and figure out how to meet them there if need be.
At the end of the day, when all is said and done, if you and your partner can laugh together, you’re on a good track. The clichéd old saying is true – laughter is the best medicine! There are so many positive mental and physical effects from laughter, including stress relief, lower blood pressure, released endorphins…I could go on and on. And even after 12 years together, no one makes me laugh more than my good ol’ hubs.