Adam and I just celebrated our 9 year anniversary on the 27th April, and it’s crazy to think that we have been together so long. Next year is the decade, the big 10 years, and while it feels like the time has gone incredibly fast since my timeline is often measured by events, at the same time, mentally I feel like I have known him forever and I can’t even remember my life without him. There’s something so special about that connection when you find it with another person, it feels truly like you found the other half of you.
I just want to put out there firstly that I’m not making this blog post with intention of rubbing my relationship in anyone’s face, neither am I gloating, and neither am I being inconsiderate to others who haven’t found their partner yet. I am making this blog post purely out of what’s in my heart at this current moment and with advice on what’s made mine and Adam’s relationship work so well. Everyone is different, everyone has their own baggage, and everyone thinks differently, but for me, I’ve noticed a lot of things which have contributed positively towards a happy relationship and I want to share that. I’m in no way at a veteran level, but I feel like 9 years is an extremely long time too.
Honesty & Communication
Ever since I was little, I’ve always had the inability to lie. I have too much of a conscience to keep anything from someone or lie about it (I even struggle with surprises) and I’ve found this extremely helpful in a relationship. Honesty is one of the main things you need. You should never, ever bottle up your feelings or upset when the other has caused it, you should always be vocal in a calm and thoughtful way about what you’re feeling, and you should be open about what you’re doing and who you’re seeing – you don’t need to hide anything. When you’re honest with each other, with everything, the support system and connection you have with the other person gets stronger by the day. Adam and I are so open and honest with one another that he will even tell me if something I’m wearing doesn’t look good, if my stomach looks big (I know most people would have a fit over that) and I do the same for him. It’s nothing critical or rude, but it’s looking out for the other so they don’t feel embarrassed. The honesty always comes from a good place.
How you communicate with each other is important too. There’s no need for raging and shouting when something can be said calmly and efficiently. Arguments don’t need to be had when a discussion is perfectly fine instead. Adam and I have luckily never had a blazing row and that’s purely because of how disagreements are handled on both of our parts. You can’t get your point across in heated arguments, so talking in a calm and collected manner will often work if it’s something you both stick to. If you feel you can’t be honest and open in person, you can always try writing a letter instead.
The number one thing you need in a relationship is complete trust. If there is none, it will not work. A lot of the time I feel like others are always suspicious of their partner, not trusting anything they are doing, checking their phones, emails, social media, causing an argument about a work colleague etc because of the place of distrust. I understand where that can come from because of past experiences of my own and I understand why it would happen. I used to have trust issues in a previous relationship, but one thing I quickly learned is that you can’t stop anyone from doing what they want to do.
Trying to prevent someone from cheating on you will not work and will only stress you out even more. They will always do what they want to do and if you honestly have to prevent them from doing it, you shouldn’t be with them as they’re not worthy of your love or time.
In order for things to work, you have to trust the other person unless proven otherwise. Everyone is different and you honestly can’t tarnish everyone with the same brush, so you have to have trust. People can’t feel trapped or encased as it will make them rebel and want freedom, so in a relationship, freedom is also needed in that we shouldn’t treat the other like they have done something wrong and try to prevent them from doing something wrong, it doesn’t work. It causes anger, resentment and eventually a breakup. I’ve seen it happen numerous times and it proves you need trust for it to work. If you can’t trust the other person and you always have worried feelings (which are valid, not made up) then it’s probably not right for you as you’re not feeling secure.
In everyone, a healthy amount of jealousy is fine, but I’ve personally found that there’s no room for excessive jealousy in a relationship. There’s no need for it. If myself or Adam finds someone else good looking, we will say so, and it doesn’t upset either of us. If someone calls Adam hot or flirts with him, it doesn’t worry me and neither does it him if it’s the other way around. I understand where jealousy comes from and obviously if your partner would show more attention to another person and not to you, it will come up, but finding that balance is key. Knowing that Adam loves me and I love him erases any negativity or jealous emotions. I find that jealousy often comes from a place of unhappiness with yourself, if you’re not comfortable with the way that you look or who you are as a person (you have no reason to feel like that, we’re all amazing in our own way) then you often feel like you’re not good enough and it eventually leads to resentment and breakups as well.
Be comfortable with who you are so none of your own insecurities are pushed onto the other. Putting your own problems and worries into your relationship and onto your partner leads to negativity and they wont appreciate it because it’s irrelevant and hurtful.
It’s definitely human nature and animal instinct to find other people attractive, we would be lying to ourselves if we said we didn’t. But I often look at situations from my own point of view first. If Adam finds another girl attractive or she has a great body part, I will think to myself ‘yes she does, she’s very beautiful’ and I can appreciate what I see rather than take it on as an insecurity. I then look to myself and think ‘well I find other people attractive too and will often look and admire, but it never means I love them or want a relationship with them, it’s just an appreciation and that is most likely the same way of thinking for Adam. So learn to love yourself enough to know that nobody else is a threat to you. You’re together for a reason.
Much like honesty, and many of the other points as they all combine into one to make a healthy mix, sharing is extremely important. You need to share your emotions, your feelings, your life, your being, etc in an equal manner to become one strong unit. This also includes sharing burdens, happiness, chores (I’ve found that sharing money doesn’t apply here though, we always keep our own) and thoughts in equal ways creates a very healthy balance in your relationship. There’s no resentment of things being too one sided or hurt stemming from the other not taking any responsibilities or keeping their feelings to themselves. Everything needs to be out in the open and spoken about so sharing is essential. I’ve committed my life to Adam, so 50/50 on everything and being open is extremely important to us.
Second to last, but in no means less important, there’s support. Supporting your partner 100% in all their endeavors and choices is one of the best things you can do. Even if you’re not entirely happy with their new found obsession or hobby, support them. Everyone has their own things that they like and they need their own space and alone time to enjoy things outside of the relationship and away from the world. Whether that’s a hobby of gaming, collecting things, photography, whatever they enjoy (as long as it’s safe and legal, I’m not on about unhealthy addictions) then show that you’re supportive. I always support Adam in all his choices, I help and share my advice and thoughts on them too, in a positive way, just like he does with me. It’s good to have a support network and feel like you can always rely on that person and not feel like you have to hide anything from them at all. You shouldn’t feel like you need to make them give any hobbies up just because they’re in a relationship now. We all need our own time and relationship time, a balance between those two is extremely important to avoid resentment and frustration.
Go At Your Own Pace
Finally, I can’t stress this one enough! Go at your own speed and what’s right for you. Adam and I have been together 9 years like I said, but we only got engaged last year. It took us 8 years to finally be engaged, but that’s because it felt right for us. Of course there were countless comments and remarks from so many people after us being together only 2 years about when we were getting married or having kids etc, which eventually stopped after about 5 years, but it seemed like everyone was always shocked that we weren’t moving in together (we still haven’t) or getting married. Everyone is different, everyone is unique, you can’t define a relationship on a timeline that is meant to suit everyone.
The engagement after 2 years and having children when you’re married isn’t for everyone. For Adam and I it couldn’t have been further from what felt right. We still have no plans to get married at the moment and no date because we want to live together when we do, and financially we are not in the right place for that at the moment, but it will all happen in time. Don’t feel like you need to conform to society when it doesn’t feel right. Don’t rush the other one into marriage and kids if it’s not right for them. What matters is your happiness and staying true to yourself, so disregard the rushed timeline if you feel pressured, only do it if it’s right for you. I feel like you need plenty of time to get to know one another extremely well and decide if you want to spend your life with them, so don’t rush it before knowing everything you need to about them as it often ends in divorce.
– I would absolutely love to know your thoughts on this topic and on how to make a successful relationship. To those of you who are in one, what have you found works for both of you? Or from past experiences, what has failed and caused your relationship to break up? There’s always golden nuggets of knowledge we can take with us after every relationship, it’s always a learning curve. Let me know!