On our 5 year anniversary. 60 things I’ve learned over the past 60 months.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB5skEiNZF0

“Being in a relationship isn’t about the kissing, the dates or the showing off.
It’s about being with someone who makes you happy in a way that no-one else can.”
-Anon

Yesterday marked my 5th year anniversary with my Partner and I have to admit, I felt so giddy. It was like yesterday was the first day I met him and we were two teenagers again. 5 years is half a decade, it’s a long time if you really think about it. In those 5 years a lot has changed, both of us as individuals have changed, some of our hopes and dreams have changed our lives have completely changed. It’s crazy really we both look different too. One thing remains though, our love for one another. I know it’s so corny to say that but it’s true. We’ve had a tough year, 2016 and even the beginning of this year has been filled with a lot of lows and obstacles that could have easily broken us apart, but thankfully at the end of every argument we both remember just how much we love each other and no fight is ever ended with us breaking up, so that’s a good thing right? I’ve discovered so much about myself in this relationship, I’ve matured quickly, I’ve grown, I’ve learned to trust. That was probably the scariest thing of my life, trusting someone enough to take care of me and my heart, allowing someone to come close enough to see the flawed and unrefined me, to bring into my family, to share my life, my plans and my dreams with. But honestly, it was the greatest decision of my life. If I were to die today, I would die happy, I’d know I was loved, that I had a great family, friends and partner in life. I’d know that even if not all of my dreams were fulfilled, the greatest one was, and that was meeting my best friend, lover and partner. At 24 I can safely say I am content and happy, and I owe a part of that to the person I was blessed to share my days with. Getting to share these happy times, the celebrations and wins with, well, it makes successes that much sweeter. I am thankful I got to meet the man of my dreams in 2012 when I was 19 and probably didn’t even know just how much my life would change because of one person.

Can I swoon about how nice it is to know you’re safe with someone, to trust that a bad day can have a silver lining because you have someone willing you on. Every time I’ve fallen, I’ve had someone encourage me to keep going, every time I’ve failed I’ve had someone not only cheer me on to keep trying but has even taken it upon themselves to do it with me. One of my fears as a kid was that I would be so quirky and different that I would never find someone who appreciates the weird and wonderful things I love, but in at an unexpected time I met someone who fulfilled so many wishes of mine, someone who just understood why cereal for dinner is so good, why it’s okay to brush your teeth in the shower, why sleeping on the floor can be so comfortable. Over the past 5 years, I’ve discovered a whole new outlook on things I once stood so firm in my beliefs with, I opened my heart to things that scared me, I’ve blindly followed someone’s footsteps because I knew I would be safe with him. But in saying all of that, I have found someone who can welcome me into his life but at the same time encourages me to be my own person and independent. He’s the whole package and it doesn’t even matter what anyone else may think (not that anyone has a bad thing to say about him) because he makes my heart happy and that is all that matters.

After years of heartache and crying, convinced each and every time that I would never, ever be able to recover, the long days of feeling like I will never be happy again, all because I put too much into relationships that were never going to work, after spending way more effort than I should have into relationships, or even the polar opposite of giving up because I believed love had to be a certain way, I’ve finally found someone who can calm my aching heart, who has taught me so much about what it takes to love another person, to sacrifice and compromise. Well I would say that who I am now probably wouldn’t have happened had I not met him. Hell this blog would probably be non-existent had he not sat down at the computer and created my blog then insisting I write down all of my feelings, the good and bad, unapologetically because I deserved my voice too.

5 years has been a weird and rollercoaster ride, I’m looking forward to where the next 5 years takes us.

We went from spending our 1st year together, discovering each other, learning about one another on a deep and spiritual level, establishing relationships with each other’s families and assessing our compatibility. One question we had to answer was whether our relationship would be going beyond University. I went to University seeking independence and a degree as some kind of validation, but actually I came out with a whole lot more, and those things were not what you could learn in a classroom.

Our second year was spent trying to balance our studies with a new relationship. Living together marked a big step in our relationship but honestly it was such an easy transition, particularly because we had some good friends and their baby who helped us through our time in University and socially. We had some ups and downs, the mark of our first big fight, the honeymoon period seemingly over and towards the end, the reality dawned on us that we’d each met our own match. He taught me in this second year that I no longer had to be afraid to loose him like I had lost others in the past, and that I shouldn’t be holding him accountable for what others in the past had done.

Our third year together marked the biggest transition for us so far because we finished University. We prepared to pick up our lives and move once again. It was probably the hardest time we had at that point. Because we had reached a point where we had to decide what we both really wanted in life, we needed to know that we were willing to officially put together our hopes and dreams to see if we could have a life together. As it so happened, we did, we had fallen so in love that the thought of being apart was frightening for us. So after Graduation, we moved. Away from the life we had spent the last 3 years building. It was all that we knew. I moved away from my family in order to find and establish a career in London. Together, he and I, we were determined to begin our new adult life.

Our fourth anniversary we were preparing to move into our first home together. Thankfully we had a lot of support because it was a very stressful and difficult time. I don’t know what we would have done without his parents; I don’t know what I would have done without my parents. I felt like I finally had a break through with his brother and sister, that they finally accepted me into their family, and now, as things stand, his sister, well I have so much love for her, she’s such a strong woman and I admire her. His brother, after I got used to him trying to scare me all of the time, I actually started to see him as a big brother that I never had. I feel like our relationship is strong and I love him too, I’m thankful to have a big brother. Yes, our life was slowly forming to become a beautiful one.

Now in our fifth year together, well we’ve had a lot of things to come to terms with, a lot of changes has happened, probably a lot more in this 1 year than in the 4 years combined. A lot of lessons we had to learn and acceptance and patience to practice. I’m so glad I’ve had him as my rock and my shoulder to lean on. Sometimes in the silence of the night, I’ll turn to him and tell him I love him, and even when I just whisper it, in his sleep he’ll say ‘I love you too’. Sometimes I can’t believe how lucky I am to have him to myself, I get to be the lucky lady that he comes home to every night, I get to know what it feels like to be loved by him. Yes he’s made me cry, he’s been a typical ignorant guy who may say something mean, but never once has he just walked away from me. He’s made sure I know that love doesn’t have to hurt to feel good and for us, he works so hard to make sure our future is secure. He has given up a lot to be with me and I can never thank him enough for it.

It hasn’t always been easy, 5 years is a long time to live with someone without having a few battles from within. I’d like to say that I’ve learned a lot about relationships from being with him. So to mark my 5th year anniversary, 60 beautiful months of love, I’ve collected 60 things I’ve learned from being in love.

Enjoy!

  1. I’m sorry are only 2 words but can mean so much.
    It seems like such a simple thing to say but it’s such a good gesture. When you love someone you have to know when you’re sorry, a simple I’m sorry can stop any arguments from escalating or even soothe a person if they feel wronged by you. Big or little, an I’m sorry can fix almost anything.
  2. Love is about the give and take.
    Relationships are a two-way thing, it does you no good to be constantly taking from the relationship, at the same time you’re not doing yourself any favours from constantly giving. Treat your relationship like a bank, where you withdraw and deposit ‘love’ in order to have a healthy balance you have to do a mixture. So maybe it’s your turn to cook dinner, or he’s had a bad day, maybe you can do a nice gesture to show that you’re investing into your relationship just as much as your partner.
  3. Your mood affects his/her mood.
    I didn’t realise that moods can influence people much more than just you. So if I’ve had a series of bad days with bad moods, it can have a negative effect on my partner, sometimes it happens and because he knows I’m in a bad mood he feels like he can’t confide in me, which means he doesn’t really talk to anyone about it. Whilst it’s easy to be in a bad mood, it’s so much better to try and talk through this situation and help your partner help you pass through it so that your home life can be a little happier and you can then support your partner like they do for you.
  4. Being able to let your emotions and tears show doesn’t make you any less of a man.
    I’ve never really been with a man long enough for him to show me real emotion, so the first time my partner cried to me I just didn’t know what to do. I’ll admit I wasn’t the most supportive, but over time I’ve watched how he is with other people who are experiencing emotional pain, and even how he is with me, that has helped me know how I can best support him, the simplest way is to let him cry if he needs too. I don’t mean to generalise but I think men find it harder to show emotion than women. So my partner rarely cries, so when he does, I know it means something serious is going on, whether that be something bad has happened or emotionally he is overwhelmed. I feel like with my partner, I have to encourage him to let his tears flow as and when he needs to, and remind him that by doing so doesn’t make him any less of a man, if anything it makes him stronger. For some reason this comforts him and eases him enough to know he is free to cry, your relationship should feel like a safe space for your partner to feel how they want to without fearing that they will be judged. Everyone has a tonne of emotions and sometimes a good cry is all we need to feel better.
  5. Never let anyone tell you whom you can and can’t love.
    Over our 5 years together, we’ve lived a relatively free and safe life where our love has blossomed and grown to a beautiful thing. But last two years I’ve become very aware of some very minor few of have commented or looked at us as if we’re freaks for the simple fact that I am Asian and he is ‘white’. Some people, though very few, have been vocal enough to tell us that they think our relationship is wrong, and even though it’s such a small amount of people in comparison to the many people who support and love us, it can still hurt. This is why I am so against homophobia, I proudly support, any kind of consenting relationship, forget religion, race, gender, love is for everyone. Now I’ve been in this relationship, I can safely say, never will I let anyone make me feel ashamed to love who I love and never will I stop holding hands with my White partner because it makes an old fashioned ignorant person uncomfortable, and neither should you.
  6. You can find love anywhere.

I remember back in my hard partying and drinking days my Mum would warn me of the dangers of meeting men through my lifestyle. She always disapproved of finding romance at a club and I can’t say I disagreed with her. I think she scared me so much (all with good intention) that I was afraid to meet guys and expect much more than just a fling. The night I met my partner I just wanted to talk to someone and I had had a bad few days. Seeing him at the club I can’t say I was instantly attracted to him, not because he wasn’t good looking, because he is, but I just didn’t really want/expect anything from him. When he offered to walk me home from the club, I didn’t trust that he had any good intentions for me. After all, wasn’t he like the men my Mum warned me about? So he walked me home and I was too drunk to let myself into my apartment. He took me to my room and tucked me into bed. I was half expecting him to make a move on me but he didn’t. We ended up sitting up and talking for about 8 hours that night. He didn’t try anything on and just listened or talked, he didn’t even sit on my bed until I asked him to. I found his lack of moves weird at first, I even complained to my housemates about it. But thinking back on it now, it just showed how much of a gentleman he was. I say this with caution because the world can be a weird and dangerous place, but when you meet someone different from the bad people out there, it’s like you know it in your heart, and you feel different. I truly believe that you can find love even in the strangest places.

  1. Don’t let your past relationships affect your present ones.

For the first year or so I was so afraid to loose my partner, you’d have thought I’d be possessive over him or something but actually I did the complete opposite. I was subconsciously refusing to commit to him. Every night for those first few years, I would remind him that he knew where the door was so if he was going to use it, I wasn’t going to stop him. I gave him an ‘out’ of our relationship every moment I could. I think what I thought I was doing was stopping myself from being hurt, like because I was telling him he could leave, I would get hurt a lot less and wouldn’t be surprised if he did choose to, but really I was just making it harder for him to feel comfortable. I was so used to guys suddenly deciding I was unlovable or not worth respecting (I mean could you blame me? I had 3 long term and closest best friends turned boyfriend do that to me in the past, so many of my close girl friends had hurt me far beyond what I thought was possible) I just assumed he was going to be the same. But he wasn’t, and by assuming, I was stopping him from being able to be himself, I made him scared too, it wasn’t fair. The biggest lesson I learned in the beginning was in order to have a future; you have to let go of the past. Whilst it’s easy to play the victim, because yes you were well and truly hurt, it’s better for you to pick yourself and move on, because the past mistakes of a person shouldn’t be the reason why you don’t allow yourself to be happy with someone who wants their chance at being with you. It’s okay to let yourself feel loved, someone wants to show you the kind of love you deserve, and they’re not all out to get you.

  1. Life is about appreciating the little things.

I was so good at being this victim of a lifetime of pain. There’s a lot I’m still trying to heal from and navigate around. My partner is a big optimist and he just loves life. Sure he has had his fair share of obstacles and sad days but he always looks at the good side of things. He always tells me, if you can’t change something then just appreciate it for what it is and try to find the silver lining. He taught me that life is about appreciating the little things because life can be good. It’s easy to celebrate the big things, but celebrating the little things can show you just how a little gratitude can make all the difference in a bad day/week/month/year.

  1. People show you what they want you to see on Facebook.

I can’t be the only one seeing all these Facebook engagements or proposals or baby announcements and crying because I’m wondering when my time will come. Here we are working hard 6 – 7 days a week and barely affording a date night every week (first world problems) and I’m seeing these people on Facebook on their 6th holiday of the year. I was such a sucker for complaining about the Facebook lives I would see, until my partner reminded me that people only show you what they want online. Whilst it’s natural for people to want to share the good news and exciting things happening, people don’t always want to share the bad things too. Rather than being envious just be grateful for what you have, remember that the quality of your life can’t be measured in material goods and likes on your post. We’d sit here scrolling through Facebook and see an old friend of ours had just bought her third Chanel handbag, or an old classmate buying his 10th pair of designer shoes, I look at my Primark flats, or my favourite jumper from Tesco and before I may have felt envious, but I make it a point to remind myself that mine and my partner’s finances are spent a little differently. Yes maybe we could buy pairs and pairs of shoes we’d never wear, we could go on holiday every month, but the truth is we’re both so focused on our future and those dreams we have that go far beyond the material things that we just don’t have the money for it. Whilst we don’t have designer goods, we may not always be the best dressed, or know too much about holidaying in the sun, we do have our own house, which we spend a lot of time, money and love improving and decorating, we have a goal and those goals once accomplished will never go out of style, nor’ will we bore of it. I’m not saying that material things aren’t nice, but what I’m saying is, if you’re saving for this mortgage and you get upset about your friend buying a BMW, just remember why you started your goal and what it’s going to feel like when you accomplish it. For couples having their own safe heaven, a home to call your own is such an amazing thing, those shoes will always be there, Facebook envy will always happen, just don’t let that defeat you or consume you, because everyone has their good and bad days, your good day will come.

  1. A little bit of struggle may make your future happier and more comfortable.

To follow with my previous comment, the struggle you’re facing now is temporary, it will pass, and the good days are ahead. The dynamics of my relationship has always been with my partner thinks a lot about the future, he keeps us going, he thinks one step ahead to make sure we’re on track to reach those hopes and dreams we talk about every night. Then there’s me, I think a lot about the past, not to the point where I am consumed by the ghost of the past but it does make me think about how to act now, how I should behave, my thoughts and opinions, how I am in the present. I keep us grounded. When my partner is too busy thinking about the future I remind of the importance of paying attention to the present, to not get so overwhelmed with what he wants to do and where he wants to go that he forgets about what he is doing and where he is. But with me I can get so fixated on the now, that when we’re going through our struggles like we are now, I can be clouded by the darkness that I feel like there’s no way we’re going to get out. My partner reminds me to be motivated by our dreams and that our struggles now will help us to grow stronger for the future. Our hard work now is for the future happiness and comfort of ourselves and our family. So when you’re struggling, maybe professionally, maybe personally, maybe you’re relationship is going through something tough, just remember, pain and struggle is temporary, keep going, don’t stop.

  1. Little gestures of love can go a long way.

There are many ways you can tell your partner you love them, but one small gesture can be as powerful as one big speech proclaiming your love. Love and acts of love can be seen in different ways, for example, having a cup of tea ready after my partner gets out of the shower is my way of saying, I’m sorry it’s cold, I love you here’s your drink to keep you warm. When my partner comes home with and puts out fur baby to bed, it’s his way of telling me loves me and doesn’t want me to stress out trying to get her to bed when she resists so much. These little acts of love, doesn’t involve saying too much but it speaks much louder than words. It may seem like one little chore, but actually it’s telling your partner you care so much about them that you want to do something nice for them. If you do little gestures enough, it all adds up, soon it may become second nature, and doing something nice for your partner, will make them happy, thus in turn will make you happy.

  1. You don’t always have to like the same things.

My partner and I’s first year (at least) of our relationship was sustained mainly on passion. Yes we talked a lot, but we spent most of our time together in bed. We were pretty busy all other times, we were studying full time, we had social commitments, friends, and activities. I can’t say the fact that we had little in common really occurred to us until we were already living together and were committed to each other. We’re pretty much polar opposites when it comes to a lot of things. We’ve got different religious views, we have very different opinions on most things (whilst remaining very vocally opinionated) we both had different political views, family ideals, upbringings, likes, dislikes. So it’s a miracle that we made it to 5 years. But actually over time we both took it in turns to try things out that we had never tried, found hobbies in each other’s hobbies. There are still a lot of things that we don’t agree on, I cannot for the life of me sit through a whole rugby game, and he just point blank does not like eating Thai food. But when it counts, the important stuff, we’ve either compromised or actually found that as time has gone by, either one or both of us change our minds. Through a lot of talking and getting to know each other we’ve found that we now have a lot more in common than we used to, and actually when before our differences made us feel distant, it brings us together, it reminds us that no matter how much we change, we still retain parts of ourselves that we first fell in love with. That makes the process of change a lot less scary. I learned that just because you’re a couple doesn’t mean that you have to have the same hobbies and like. If I’m craving food that I know my partner won’t like, I’ll always make sure I make an extra dish that I know he will definitely like. If my partner wants to do something that he knows I wont want to do, he will ask a friend to go with him, but at the same time he makes sure that I too make plans so that I don’t feel like I’m missing out. I think embracing each other’s differences is so beautiful in a relationship, and it also gives you an excuse to have that much needed break that EVERYONE in a long-term relationship needs from time to time.

  1. As your relationship grows, so do you as individuals, sometimes it may mean your opinions change.

Like I said, change is super scary for people like me. It gives me such bad anxiety. But change is inevitable, as time goes by, people change, it’s all part of growing up. I remember the day my partner said he had changed his political stance, I was so shocked, I was upset, we finally had the same political side and he was going back to the enemy. You’d think it was not a big deal but in our home it was and for a while I actually felt like I didn’t recognise my partner. The thing is, it’s so important that in times of change you respect your partner’s decision and opinion. You’re both individuals with your own brains, experiences and opinions, politics in your home shouldn’t cause upset because at the end of the day you both think of each other’s best interests at heart but it may be that you go about it in different ways. Politics isn’t important in your relationship, what is important is the two of you. You should embrace the changes because it is signs that your relationship is growing too, treat the problems as teething pains and remember to be respectful and considerate, who knows you or your partner might be going through a rebellion phase, her decision to rally for a terrible president might be an oversight, maybe not, either way you love them and they love you, that’s the most important thing to remember.

  1. No matter what our individual beliefs are, we have to respect each other.

As with what I wrote above, respect is important. There are billions of people in this world chances are your soul mate will have several opinions and beliefs that are different to you. Whether it’s something small like their favourite colour for bedroom is purple and yours is white, or something big like they believe in God and you are an atheist, unless your relationship was built solidly on your love for one particular thing or belief over something, differences on a matter of opinion and beliefs shouldn’t negatively impact your relationship. Much like having friends of different race, genders, cultures etc. having a partner with differences from you makes life so interesting, you get to embrace and experience new traditions, new stories, new adventures. You don’t have to live the differences and be expected to change, most people just as you have a certain level of respect for them. I’m not what you would call a practicing Christian, and my partner is a strong atheist, by that I mean, he is a hard-core believer that religion is crap. So when we first met and started dating, he didn’t think I took religion too seriously, I didn’t really talk about it an awful lot. I went to church most Sunday’s but we weren’t seeing each other at that point so he didn’t really know how I practiced my religion. So often when we were out or with friends, he would laugh about Christianity and express how he hated religion, whilst I could see where a lot of his anger over religion (this is a whole ‘nother blog post) came from, it would actually upset me to the point where one night over dinner him and his Mum were laughing at the ridiculousness of organised religion, I had reached a point where I could no longer sit there and listen, I burst into tears and ran out of the room. I was both embarrassed and angered. That night was the first night we properly spoke about where I stood when it came to religion. Whilst I accept religions have flaws to them, in my heart I feel god, I believe in a loving and kind and undiscriminating God and it does hurt me when I hear people mock this belief, I can take a joke, I can laugh about it, but there’s a point that can be crossed when jokes become insulting and that night I had passed it. Chances are you might have experienced something different, we can’t keep our upset if we aren’t willing to talk through things, now I know if my partner goes on and on about hating religion he is going to upset me, and we try to avoid that situation. Peaceful beliefs whatever they may be, or opinions should be respected, just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t give you an excuse to use it in a harmful way of joking.

  1. Date night is hugely important.

It’s so easy to take quality time for granted particularly when you’re in the early stages of your relationship and dating. But when you’re in a long-term relationship, date nights loose their level of priority and sometimes are forgotten altogether. Let me tell you something embarrassing, for a long time my partner and I got so busy that going on dates was so far from our thoughts, our quality time was spent either shopping for our weekly groceries, or when we would sit in front of the TV both on our laptops doing additional work for our jobs whilst the TV was on. You can see why this whole situation didn’t last long, soon it lead to disagreements and squabbling, spending quality time should be much more than just sitting next to each other, you have to be able to communicate with more than just words, you have to connect with your partner. Date night gives you an escape from everything around you, no matter what you’re doing as long as you’re not being hassled by other people, just you and your partner that’s going to do wonders for your relationship. So maybe put your phone on airplane mode, maybe do something relaxing together. Whether you’ve been together for 1 year, 10 years, 100 years, date night is crucially important for connecting with your partner. Life can get so busy but you need to put these special evenings on the list of important events because for the sake of your relationship, you’re going to need it!

  1. No matter how mad you are it’s rude to hang up on the phone.
    I have to admit I did not learn this until my partner actually explained to me how rude it is. I mean we’ve all been there when we’ve been so mad at someone we’re talking to on the phone that we just want the conversation to end so you hang up. I am guilty of this all the time, if I don’t like the conversation and it’s escalating to a point where I feel like I’m getting very angry, I just have to hang out and chill out. It happens more with my partner and he’s doing/saying something that makes me mad. But I didn’t realise just how rude it is, not only is it rude but it’s also very disrespectful and counter productive. Slowly but surely I’m trying to stop this habit of mine, it can take only a few seconds to say ‘look I don’t think this conversation is good and we need to just stop and talk later’ which is so quick and easy and can potentially stop the argument from escalating, especially if you think about how hanging up can prolong a disagreement. So next time you want to hang up on someone to make a point, think about how it would feel if it were you on the other side of that telephone call.
  2. Relationships are not a race.

Similarly to having life envy on Facebook, relationship envy can be so difficult to overcome. Especially when you see all your old classmates getting engaged, married or having babies. Whenever someone has a baby and posts about it on Facebook, I literally feel my biological clock ticking. Your real life has enough pressure on it, from friends, family, acquaintances that your relationship really does not need it. It’s too much pressure to compare your relationship with other people online because again, people only share what they want people to see and you’re not hearing or reading the full story. I’m not saying people online who have things to celebrate are liars nor are they bragging, you should feel happy for them but it shouldn’t make you feel bad. Relationships are not a race; the people who get married and have babies or buy houses aren’t winning prizes for doing it first. Your time will come, professionally and personally, even romantically. If it’s not happening now it will happen later, everyone has their own paths they need to walk before certain things can happen for them. It’s okay to feel a little envy, it’s life, the grass is always going to seem greener on the other side, but just remember that you’ve got your own stuff to accomplish and goals to reach and when your time comes, to buy your house, get engaged, have a baby, it will be so sweet and amazing for you, because you did it in your own time, on your own terms and not because you felt pressured to by anyone’s expectations.

 

  1. There’s nothing wrong with being in a little rut.

People say that being stuck in a rut is the killer of relationships but honestly I disagree. I feel like it can only be bad if you let it. For people in relationships like mine, where my partner and I met, fell in love and moved in together in less than a year, then we set up home, moved away from our families together etc. Whose relationships have moved forward very quickly, perhaps even quicker than we had anticipated (and secretly wanted) then a little rut could provide a nice little break from expectation and deadlines. If we continued the way we were going, we’d have been married and living in a house full of babies before we reached our 5 year anniversary. Having a year or so of remaining on the same level in your relationship is fine, you don’t need to be engaged straight away, you’ve got your own relationship milestones and you need to give yourself a little bit of time to figure out life before adding complications and unnecessary stress. Take your time, enjoy the rut, but just remember that you can’t live in a rut forever, at some point you are going to have to face reality and live your life.

  1. Looking good for your partner is just as important as looking good for yourself.

Hands up who likes to get home from work and take your ‘outside’ clothes off? Hands up who’s ‘inside’ clothes probably consists of underwear and maybe a shirt? When you’re at home it’s so nice to feel like you can be super comfortable, not worry about what you look like, not have to bother with your hair, your makeup or even your clothes. Yes, I relish the days when I can have a PJ day and have no cares what peoples opinions of what my adult living looks like. But we have to remember whilst our partner loves us unconditionally, they are also humans and are drawn to pretty, attractive and aesthetically pleasing things. Before you think I’m saying our partner’s are shallow, that is not what I mean. Our partner’s probably met us when we looked good, made an effort, felt good. They like us being comfortable, but we can’t imprint the vision of us in dirty sweats into their mind. It’s important for us to look good for our significant other, to remind them that we are an attractive couple. Being well groomed is a sign you can look after yourself, meaning you don’t rely on others to look after you, that you’re independent and capable. But looking good for your partner isn’t just what being well groomed is all about, it’s also good for your confidence, it helps motivate you, if you look good, you feel good, you’re happy, your mood is lifted, it makes your mood infectious (the good kind) to other people, making you look even better. That all comes from waking up in the morning and deciding to put on a fresh outfit instead of your go to sweats. It’s amazing what a good shower can do for you isn’t it? And ultimately looking good for you and your partner can lead to an attraction from your partner, reminding them what a blessing you are, making them fall in love again and again with you.

  1. Sometimes relationships involve you doing something you don’t want to do but you know it’s good for you.

With two individuals coming together into a relationship, differences are bound to occur. Like I said before, chances are you and your partner have different hobbies and interests, it’s good, it’s a beautiful thing and we can only embrace the differences, it will make us more knowledgeable and us better. Sometimes your duty as loving partner is to do something with your partner that you may not necessarily enjoy or even like, but you love your partner so you have to take one for the team and do it, they’ve probably done the same thing as you. The thing is, part of the great thing about relationships is the fact that you have an automatic partner when it comes to activities; you’re almost guaranteed a companion on those trips and activities you have always wanted to go to. I cannot care much about tanks, in fact they kind of bore me if I were to think about it in great detail, but as part of my partners birthday present, he was given a tank driving experience, it was going to take a whole day of him driving around different types of tanks in different scenarios and partaking in muddy activities, that sounds like my personal hell. Unfortunately last minute, the person he was going to take had to cancel and he had no one who could fill in and go with him. He was so disappointed that he actually called up to cancel his appointment, and that’s when I knew, as a girlfriend, I could not allow him to miss out on something he had been looking forward to, probably one of those once in a lifetime experiences, and I knew if I didn’t volunteer to accompany him, I would feel like the biggest piece of poo in this world. So I went, and you know what? I ended up enjoying it, no I didn’t fall in love with tanks, no I probably wouldn’t be interested in learning more, but the day was generally a very enjoyable one, but what made it even better was seeing just how happy and appreciative it made my partner. I know scenarios like that don’t always happen, I could probably have found the whole day boring and hated it, but because I love my partner I wanted him to see I was having a good time too. Relationships are about the give and take, it’s about doing things you may not always enjoy, you do it because your partner does a lot for you, probably does things they hate doing but will do because it makes you happy, so sometimes when it’s your turn to step up, you do it, no questions asked.

  1. Compromise doesn’t always result in both parties winning.

I saw on an article, sometimes winning actually means loosing and it’s so true. In relationships there’s not really anything such as winning and loosing, not when you’re up against your partner. Compromises are the staple to a relationship, but just because you can compromise doesn’t mean crisis is averted, sometimes the compromise will just be that you both don’t get what you want. In fact you’ll find over the course of the years you’re with your partner, there will be things you miss out on for the sake of your relationship, just know the difference with missed things and important sacrifices. You’re partner shouldn’t let you miss out on things that are important to you nor’ should they take away anything of importance to you. Big compromises are hard to navigate but little ones are easy, you’ve just got to learn how to understand each other and respect that you may both have very different ways of looking at things. Worst case scenario, just rock paper scissors it, compromises aren’t the be all end all of relationships, just as long as you can both find the good in any outcome.

  1. It’s okay to fight.

Healthy couples fight too, that is a fact. Just because you fight doesn’t mean that you’re in a failing relationship, sometimes if you’re still fighting with each other it can be a sign that you both still care enough to fight for your relationship. A personally story, my partner and I fight like cats and dogs, we are two very different people with very vocal and loud ways of proclaiming our opinions and beliefs, so naturally we have tiffs about a lot of things, my sister once said ‘I don’t like spending too much time with you guys because you fight a lot’ and at first I was really offended, but then I decided I would take it as a compliment, I have known couples who don’t fight at all, but when they do they have massive rows that last for a long time and actually have detrimental effects on both the individuals but also in their relationship. My partner and I fight but rarely do we get into full blown rows, usually our arguments lead us to sitting in silences for hours but never last more than a couple of hours, sometimes we just pause our arguments so we can show each other a funny meme or tell a funny story. It’s healthy to fight, to let out your frustrations and anger without letting it escalate. Of course it’s bad to be arguing every single day and every minute, the good times have to outweigh the bad times for it to strengthen your relationship. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s bad that you and your partner are arguing, don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed for being open about your difficulties, relationships are hard, they are imperfect, why? Because humans are not perfect, anyone who claims to have a perfect relationship is lying, it doesn’t exist, arguments are human instincts, it’s not the amount of arguments you have that is important, it’s how you resolve it and move forward together as a couple.

  1. You can’t let your relationship be all that you have.

We can all get caught up in the bubble of being loved up and consumed by your passionate, particularly in the early stages of a relationship. But don’t let your honeymoon period end before you realise that there has to be more to life than you and your partner. It’s great to be in love and happy but remember that other people exist, you still have to remain sensitive to the fact that other factors, things, people need your time and attention. Usually one person in the relationship dedicates more of their life to the other, that person is the first one to get lonely, to forget their own life and will ultimately loose out by being in that relationship. Together as a couple you need to encourage each other to have a life outside of your relationship and do that right away before you forget how to be independent.

  1. Dancing together in the kitchen can relieve a lot of stress.

This is my very own personal advise to all the couples out there. I’m a very conscious person, I get very paranoid and struggle to let myself relax around people, even ones I know. This is something that came about as a result of my anxiety getting worse in my early 20’s (let’s hope this year I beat this thing!) so dancing with my partner got harder and harder to do, the more self conscious I got. One day I was doing the dishes and having a pretty crap day, my partner came into the kitchen, turned the radio up to it’s maximum volume and just grabbed, me, together we slowed dance, the music wasn’t even a slow song, but that feeling of intimacy, feeling safe in his arms, and just feeling silly dancing in the kitchen is quite a beautiful thing. It made me feel so much better. Now whenever one of us is having a bad day and the music is good on the radio, we go into the kitchen and dance, in fact we end a lot of our nights doing this, for some reason this intimate act is so uplifting that it gets you in a good frame of mind. Whether you’re with your partner or on your own, you should give it a go, no-ones watching, be as silly as you can and then try to take that smile off of your face, I bet it will be hard to, it’s so much fun…go try!

  1. Making plans together is a good way of paving the way to the future.

I’m a list maker, I love lists, and I pretty much write lists for everything. Very early on in our relationship we wanted to see our compatibility on paper so we each wrote our hopes and dreams on paper for the other to read, it was quite a fun activity and we found out a lot about each other through this exercise. Over the years we do this to help us map out the direction we both want to go through life, it makes seeing visually our accomplishments that much sweeter. Now I’m not saying everyone benefits from this or that you can even planning everything out is possible, because life is tricky and can often throw unexpected curveballs at you but, what I can say is, planning your life, making those milestones with hopes and dreams, well, when you share them with each other it can help you connect on a level of understanding, seeing that your partner has included you in their future plans can help you bond, it makes your relationship feel like it is made to last, it also means that when you’re going through those difficult times, you can have your relationship and your plans together as a way of reminding you, what you’re together for, what the struggle is for, you can use it as a motivation to make you both think long and hard about whether an argument or disagreement is worth loosing that dream life you’re both working so hard for.

  1. Don’t count!

I was watching BubzBeauty’s vlog about how her and her husband are navigating through life as new parents. She said they were squabbling frequently, well having a new baby and little sleep can do that to your relationship. But something important she took from the new experience, and something I’ve taken from my long-term relationship is, it’s so important not to count. Don’t count how many times your partner has cooked dinner or washed the dishes, don’t count how many times you’ve had to make the bed or hang the clothes to dry. Just don’t count. If there is something you need to do, then do it, don’t expect them to do it for you, whilst it’s nice for someone to do something for us, it’s also important that we do things for ourselves. You and your partner are going to experience your days differently, sometimes you may have a bad week, and your partner is doing a lot of stuff on their own, other times it may be your partner having the tough time. You’re together for a long time, it’s too long to be holding on to those numbers, in fact it’s a waste of time, because there are more important things to be remembering and hanging on to than some silly number that is pretty meaningless. No-one can add value to anything really, and just appreciate it when they get things right, relationships are constantly a work in progress and as long as you’re both trying to be a good and honest person for each other then that’s all that really matters. If you must count, count your own numbers, count how many times you’ve reminded your partner that you love them, how many times have you done something nice for them just because, how many times have you made them smile. Work on yourself and hopefully in turn your partner will work on himself or herself too.

  1. Relationships are all different.

There’s no use to comparing your relationship to that celebrity couple you adore, your parents or even your next-door neighbours. Couples are all different with their own unique quirks, their own obstacles and challenges and their own people. We have different tolerances; different experiences and therefore no two couple will ever be the same. You must understand that people have their own intentions and that there is no point in comparing yourself to another couple because their pain is probably your biggest strength and visa versa. Appreciate your relationship for what it is, strive to live and be better as a couple, let those other couples do their own thing and live their lives how they want to.

  1. Your partner should be your biggest fan/supporter.

Very quickly on in my relationship did I realise how important it was to be a fan of my partner. We all need the encouragement of our partner no matter how confident we are. As humans we thrive in an environment where we know that failure or success we have someone to support and encourage us. I’ve sat in the rain to watch my partner play rugby and he in turn has listened to hours and hours of me discussing a story I’m writing. As a partner, you have to be front and centre to support your partner.

  1. Humouring each other will bring you closer.

They say that humouring each other makes you feel closer to your partner. We spend so much time together that you can’t always be so serious; life is too short to take everything so seriously. Humour your partner, let them tell you the same funny story a million times, watch them laugh and feel so happy because of it. Humouring each other allows each of you the chance to dream a little bigger, hope for more, try that much harder. Let your partner feel like you’re time together is a safe space to make plans that you may not necessarily feel brave enough to dream about, appreciate that they want to share that with you.

  1. Sleeping in separate rooms is not the end of a relationship.

This is often shown as a sign that people are not getting along, and whilst it might be a big indicator for some that the end is neigh, for relationships like mine, it could just mean that we’re trying to make our different schedules work. Sometimes my partner and I both get very sick at the same time, we’re no use to each other, and we also both have very different ways of handling our sickness. I get very hot and need to be in a cold room, my partner gets very cold and needs to be in a hot room so naturally we sleep in separate rooms when this happens. But on a more ordinary day to day situation, we 99% of the times sleep together, but sometimes, if one of us has had a rough nights sleep, it may be one would prefer to sleep in the spare room, have their own space to just relax. Other times it may be that one of us wants to sleep downstairs, it happens a lot, and so if my partner has done that, I know that he is content sleeping on his recliner and I’ll just take myself upstairs. Sleeping in separate rooms don’t really have to mean anything, it’s okay to want your own space, my partner and I have been sharing a bed for almost 5 years, I think we’ve earned the right to have our own beds sometimes.

  1. Take the time to be silly together.

Remember the saying laughter is the best medicine? Well it’s also true for relationship. Taking the time to be silly with each other injects a little humour and fun in your relationship. Silly can be anything from going out and doing random activities or even just being silly and playing around in the comfort of your own home. I know as we grow older we need to mature but honestly, there is no age limit on fun, having that side of a relationship can be beneficial to both of you. Being young at heart is apparently really good for you, so play, have fun, be silly with your partner.

  1. Chances are there will be aspects of your relationship that confuses people; you don’t owe them an explanation.

I’m thinking about what I said about arguments being healthy, and how my sister didn’t understand this side of my partner’s relationship and mine. The way you run your household, how you conduct your relationship is your business. Sure there will be things you both do that people may not understand but that’s okay, you’re not in a relationship with that person, their opinion is just that, not fact. People can mean well and give you unwanted advice, the best thing you can do is understand where they’re coming from and thank them for caring so much, but ultimately, you don’t owe them an explanation. If the advice seems harsh and not helpful, just put it down to lack of understanding and experience. I used to judge relationships because I never understood what it took to have a mature and adult relationship, having been with my partner, I understand that love isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, it takes a lot of work and sometimes there are tears, fighting or silences, but it’s all part of the process and everyone’s relationship is different.

  1. If you fight about things like what movie to watch, food to eat etc., just put a load of suggestions into a bowl and pick one out!

Another personal advice that comes from the heart! My partner and I would get into arguments all because neither of us could decide on where to eat or what movie to watch, sometimes we’d spend the whole night thinking of what to watch that we would end up having to go to bed because it was too late to watch any movie! Well cut your time wasting by following this method. Cut out a load of pieces of paper and write down all the movies you want to watch, get your partner to do the same, fold the pieces of paper individually, put them in a bowl and next time you’re struggling to pick a movie to watch, you can just take a suggestion from the bowl, if you’re not happy with the result then repeat again. But obviously limit yourself to one or two picks otherwise you’ll have the same problem and no suggestions. You can do this with pretty much other multiple-choice problems, chores, food, and activities? Have I just saved a load of relationships? You’re welcome!

  1. Take the time to learn about your partner (childhood, favourite memories, work!)

I know this one sounds so simple but you’d be surprised how people struggle to answer the basic things about their partner, that can be a little deflating to the partner who may or may not know the answer to things like ‘What is your love’s favourite colour? Food? Place?’ Over the years you’re bound to discover things about your partner, their likes and dislikes, their ticks, but the past and childhood memories, happiest school memory, favourite teacher, the things that made your partner who they are, can be forgotten. Take the time to get to know your partner’s past, learn about them, rediscover their past passions, learn how they become the person you fell in love with. Understanding these things can help you connect on another level, your relationship will have more substance and sharing such intimate details will help your partner have trust in you.

  1. Be careful what you say, when you say it, how you say it.

You know, once you say something, you can’t unsay it, once it’s been heard, it can’t be unheard. It’s easy to get caught in the heat of the moment and say something quite hurtful to your partner. Often it’s your partner that gets the brunt of your frustrations, not because you don’t love them, but it’s because they’re the closest to you, they’re your constant, and secretly, sometimes, we feel we can say a little more to our loved one, even if it’s hurtful because we know that they love us and know us and therefore will be less affected. This isn’t right, correct nor is it fair. Sometimes in arguments when we feel we’ve been hurt by our loved one, we want to spew out the most hurtful things to have the most effect, but we may not necessarily mean what we say. The problem is, because we know our loved one so well, we know what to say to hurt more, we know the trigger points and that can make our words cut a little deeper. Arguments can be so petty and can have two mature people acting ignorant and selfish, seeing who can say the most with venom and hate when in our hearts we don’t feel that way, we’re just in a bad mood. Behaviour like this doesn’t create good relationships, and if a relationship can last longer than a year based on actions like this then it can’t have a stable foundation and will lead to one person being sick and tired and leaving their partner. Be kind to your partner, be careful with what you say, if you want to be with your partner for another 50 years then use kind and gentle words, be respectful, remember that words can last a lifetime, do you really want it to be an insult that your partner remembers?

  1. Be there for special occasions.
    It’s important for you to be present for eachother’s special moments and events, why? Well, because it’s part of your duty as a partner to be there but also for nostalgia’s sake too, remember what I said about the ‘relationship bank’, and how you need to deposit as well as withdraw from it? Well think about how much comfort you get from having the presence your partner at that awkward family get together, it’s the exact same thing for them. I remember how I almost missed my partner’s grandmother’s 95th birthday, we had had a huge argument that morning and he had refused to apologise to me. I felt so strong about the argument that in protest I told him I was not going to go to the party. Even saying that he didn’t apologise until literally two hours before we had to leave for the party. After he apologised and pleaded for me to get ready, I was still so angry that he had waited so long to apologise, also leaving me with so little time to get ready (yes because I’m on of those girls who needs half a day to get ready). I was so ready to have part 2 of our argument right then and there, but after sulking for another hour, I rushed to do my hair and makeup and put on clothes so that I could be ready to go with him. We had a great time and he didn’t have to say it but I knew how much he appreciated me coming. I’m glad I didn’t miss that day, I’m glad I was there for him, but also to be there with his family and witness all the love they had for his grandmother. Unfortunately she passed away a few months after this special day, it was a very difficult time for my partner because of how close he was to her. It makes me even more grateful for being there, and every so often he brings it up, how he was glad that I was part of that memory and how wonderful the day was. No matter what is going on, no matter how you’re feeling, you should make sure you never miss a special occasion, because it’s those memories that you can never re-capture and you’ll want to be there to witness it in person. Those are the treasured memories you and your partner will keep for life.

 

  1. Remember that family is important.

I think a common problem couples with families who live far apart from each other can face is how to balance your time to be able to see both sides of the family. Hubert and I live quite close to his family so we see them often throughout the year, so we dedicate our holidays and special celebrations like Easter and Christmas to my family. It takes quite a while to travel home for the holidays so we always try to stay at my parents for at least a week. Family is incredibly important to the both of us so we understand and appreciate the time we get to spend with our loved ones. Remember that family means different things to different people. You may not be too close to your family but your partner might be extremely family orientated, appreciate that they have different dynamics to you and try to join in those family moments because it could mean the world to your partner.

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
    Have I ever mentioned how much of a worrier I am? I am always paranoid and always over think things. Sometimes I try to guess my partner’s moods and thoughts rather than asking him. If he doesn’t react how he normally does when it comes to tasting the dinner I’ve worked hard on, I’m so dramatic and convinced he hates it. But over the years my partner has helped me see that not everything is the end of the world. Don’t sweat the small stuff; stop making mountains out of mole hills because often times when you think the world is ending, it’s a temporary problem that will go away. You may get lucky and find your partner is a natural born problem fixer, either way, you’ve got a partner who’s going to help support you through the small and big hurdles in life.
  2. It’s important to maintain your identity.
    Along with making sure you have a life outside of your relationship, it’s also important to remember that you need to maintain your identity. I think most couples can slowly morph into each other and there’s nothing more boring than dating yourself. So remember to keep your hobbies, take care of your friends, do the things that make you happy. A healthy relationship is all about maintaining that balance on independence and sharing your life with your partner. You don’t want your life to only be dedicated to them because you may find that to be really lonely and unsatisfying. Pursuit your own dreams but remember to consider your partner in anything that you do.
  3. Take care of yourself.
    This point is close to the one above. Taking care of yourself is all about practicing self love and independence. Remember that the person who is going to love you the most is yourself, but you can also be your own worst enemy. Whilst trying to be a good person to others is great for your morality, remember that being kind to yourself is also one way of making a change in this world. Take care of yourself in and out, because when you do, other people will see what a genuine and happy person you are, when you can love yourself, others will find it easier to love you, particularly your partner who probably hurts just as much when you’re being self destructive. Start everyday with a decision to be good to yourself, it’s amazing what it can do for your mental health.
  4. Have sex.
    In the early stages of a relationship, passion is an unquenchable thing. It’s all so new, so you can’t resist constantly touching and loving each other. I think once you get used to your partner, you find yourself seeking comfort in other things too, so that need to be connected is fulfilled through other methods, but here’s where we go wrong, we begin to fulfil our need for contact through methods that doesn’t necessarily satisfy us fully. Having sex is a need that everybody has, but it’s always so easily forgotten, either you’re not in the mood, you feel gross about yourself, or you’re just too tired, it’s understandable but you also need to remember that having sex is an easy way to connect with your partner on another level that no other person can. Sex is fun especially when you’re with someone you love, explore each other’s bodies because there’s always a new and fun way to satisfy each other, remember to look at sex as a healthy and happy way to keep your romance alive.

  5. Remember intimacy for you both is different, explore both.
    It’s been said that men seek intimacy through touching, and activities such as sex, whereas women seek intimacy through communicating and sharing. In order to have a meaningful and satisfying relationship you need to fulfil both needs.
  6. Go on adventures.
    Exploring and going on adventures is another way to keep things fresh and interesting. Discovering new places, learning new hobbies is a fun way to connect with your partner.
  7. Acknowledge each other’s feelings.
    With all these feelings floating around, it’s quite common to have some emotions unrecognised. Remember it’s important to acknowledge your partner’s feeling so that they can feel heard and validated, it’s your job as a supportive partner to lend an ear so that your partner can release those unwanted emotions and pent up annoyance so that it can’t manifest itself later on as anger towards you or even to themselves. We’ve all got to have a shoulder to lean on and luckily for you, your partner is ready and willing especially since they know they have you to turn to in their times of need.
  8. Be patient.
    My partner and I have been teaching things to each other since the first day we met and that is still going on to this day. When you’ve had to explain something to your partner a hundred times it can get very frustrating, but keep in mind that you yourself had to learn it at some point so remember to keep calm and be patient, it’s all good practice should you ever have to be around a baby or child someday.
  9. It’s never too late to learn something.
    I’m still learning something new about my partner even after 5 years. It’s a pleasant surprise to hear him talk about a childhood memory or share a piece of themselves with me. Remember that whether it be 5 months, 5 years of 50 years, you’re always going to be learning something new about your partner, it just shows how comfortable they are to share a piece of them with you and it’s a way of bringing you both closer together. Don’t be upset that you’re only hearing a story about them as a kid now you’ve been together for a few years, revel at the new information and enjoy the time hearing it in their words, chances are you’ve got an old memory you’ve not thought about in a long time, why not share it with them as well?
  10. Mind reading isn’t a thing, sometimes you can’t just be obvious and have to draw them a map.
    My partner, bless him, he is the sweetest man I know, but he is so flawed when it comes to knowing what things mean in ‘girl world’ I can never be too obvious with him because he takes everything I say at face value. Which is great when it comes to me asking him to do something but terrible when it comes to surprises. Most birthday’s and Christmases I know what to expect because chances are I’ve already circled it on the catalogue, printed 100 pages of it out from the internet and told him to his face what it is I want and no I do not want the fish shaped biscuit tin, and no I do not want a matching fish shaped cake tin (because you didn’t listen that I didn’t want the fish shaped biscuit tin in the first place). So we’ve got to allow for some understanding if our partner’s can’t read our mind. We’ve got to say what’s on our minds and in our hearts. Whilst it would be great to have someone who is great at being on the ball with things, it’s not always possible. Yes we connect on a deep level but probably not deep enough to know what the other is thinking every second of the day, that’s okay and if anything it’s hilarious to see how they interpret our words, even when we’ve broken it down for them piece by piece.
  11. You can never say ‘I love you’ enough.

I could say I love you to my partner 100 times a day and still it wouldn’t feel like it was enough to really say how much I love him. I don’t care how mushy that sounds because it’s the truth. Remember that there is no such thing as a shortage of love and no-one ever tires of hearing how loved they are, so make good practice in telling your partner how much you love them, sometimes it can mean the difference between a good and bad day.

  1. You need to think about the 2 of you.

Again, being part of a team means thinking about someone other than yourself, you’re building this life together so it’s important to consider your partner when making important decisions, it’s never a nice feeling when your partner makes a huge life altering decision without discussing it with you first, or even considering you, or making the decision for you. You are sharing your life together so you both needs to be able to make decisions freely and openly together, it does affect you both after all.

  1. Text arguing is a thing.

I find it truly hilarious that text arguing is a thing. My partner and I will get to points in our arguments where we either sit in complete silence or we sit in separate rooms. Then after a few hours of not talking, one of us will start a text argument. Occasionally you’ll hear one of fight back from the other room. I think this kind of behaviour is a little passive aggressive but it’s better than having your argument escalate to a row or disturb your neighbours. Text arguing could stop you from saying something you shouldn’t, or it may help you say something you’re afraid to say out loud…it could go one of two ways but you know what, for me it works.

  1. You need to have each other’s back.
    There’s nothing like feeling like the whole world is against you, it’s pure instinct to turn to your partner for support so imagine how devastating it must be to find your partner is on ‘their’ side. This can happen and it can be so damaging to the relationship. I think in public you should have 100% support for your partner, it’s behind closed doors that they should slowly explain to you why you’re wrong, or at least how you should reconsider what you did/said. It’s important to have your partner’s back because that’s what it means to be in the team. Knowing you’ve got their support can help you be a little braver, feel more confident. Be the wind beneath your partner’s wings.

  1. Responsibilities should be shared.
    The longer you’re with someone the more you develop a routine with each other, but as you grow older, the more responsibilities you find get stacked on your list. When you’re building a life with each other, you’ve got to know when to ask for help from your partner, you also need to be able to trust that you can share responsibilities. Chores, they’re easy enough to divvy up, but sometimes, something can happen that can stop your partner from being able to fulfil those jobs on a particular day, part of sharing those responsibilities is being able to pick up on the slack for your partner so that it can help them catch up. You know they’re in the relationship for the long haul so chances are one day they’ll return the favour.

  1. Communication is key.
    I’ll tell you now, I’m good at talking but I’m terrible at communicating. I can talk about anything but when it comes to answering questions I’m so bad at being able to articulate how I feel into words and sounds. My partner tells me I need to work on my communication skills when it comes to my personal life because I really struggle to tell people what’s in my heart. That is a huge problem because there is a huge difference between talking and communicating. In order to make things work, in order to keep your relationship strength, in order to fix a failing relationship, you’ve got to know how to communicate, openly, and honestly. On the flip side of things, in order to communicate, you also have to have a safe place to do so without being afraid you’ll be judged. If you can communicate that these are your needs, hopefully your supportive partner will willingly help you feel comfortable in order to sort out your problems.

  1. Be accountable for your own actions.
    If you do something bad or shady, own it. If you do something you shouldn’t have done, say it. If you want to go and do something, tell me. I’m not talking about cheating though that is a big no, no. But being accountable for your actions is so important that people seem to overlook it. If you do something bad that results in something escalating then admit to it, put your hands up and say ‘I fucked up’. Actions can be forgiven if the truth was told in the first place, remember that the longer you’re with someone the better they get to know you, not just your likes and dislikes but also your ticks, the way your eyes crinkle when you’re telling a lie, the way you hold you tummy when you’re laughing, your partner has watched you perform these actions time and time again, chances are they can see it even with their eyes closed, so if you’ve done something bad, own up to it before they have to call you out on your bullshit. Be accountable, because if you don’t have the strength to do that, then why did you do what you shouldn’t have done in the first place?

  1. It’s okay to take a break.
    I wish I had someone to tell me that it’s okay to take a break from your relationship without feeling ashamed. By break I don’t mean you go and date other people, but I mean you go and have a little freedom for yourself. A little me time, without having to worry about the ‘us’. I’m glad I know about it now because I can do something about it rather than suffer when I actually need this break. The truth is everyone needs some time apart, even if you’re closest best friend is basically you, you’re going to get sick of it and want to take a step away even if it’s just for one day, that is okay! It’s perfectly normal. Relationship breaks is not the be all and end all of the relationships, sometimes you need that time apart to remember how it feels to be without each other, to gain a new appreciation for who your partner is, what they bring to your life and what you miss when they’re not there. It’s okay to take a break, just remember it’s also important to come back home and tell your partner how much you love them.

  1. Staying romantic is important.
    I think a big problem with long-term relationships is that people tend to forget how to be romantic. You both relax around each other so much that you almost forget what it’s like to woo each other. Wooing is so important and shouldn’t end just because you’ve settled down together. In fact no woman ever wanted to ‘settle’ for anything, no one should. Being in a long term relationship is even more reason to be romantic, you and your partner have been out of the dating game for a long time so it’s important to keep each other happy (hehe) but also because keeping your relationship fresh and romantic is vital in lasting through the ages. Sweep them off their feet, make them feel sexy, be sweet and generous and attentive, romance shouldn’t end just because you share a bed with your lover.

  1. Celebrating the little things is important.
    I got this tip from Hubert’s dad. When we temporarily lived with his parents, they encouraged us to celebrate anything and everything, when I passed my theory driving test, we drank champagne, when Hubert transferred to another branch, we drank champagne, when we first started viewing houses, we drank champagne, when we mowed the lawn without being asked to, we drank champagne. I swear we’re not alcoholics, and your way of celebrating may be completely different, but it was a really great thing I took away from living with my in laws. Celebrate the little things because life can be difficult sometimes and if we appreciate the small stuff, the big problems won’t seem too daunting. With relationships, make sure you’re not just celebrating your anniversaries, celebrate the milestones too, they’re just as important to acknowledge and it’s something special you’re sharing together.

  1. Be positive, if you’re partner is struggling help them.

Like I mentioned earlier, your mood can affect how your partner feels, which can lead to a whole lot of sad blue days. Deciding to be positive for the sake of your mental health and relationship is the first step into owning your emotions. I know you can’t have happy days everyday, but on those days when you feel strong, make yourself smile, be positive, be optimistic. If you see you partner struggling during the day, help them, try to pass your positivity on to them. No you’re not a mood police who’s job it is to make everyone happy, but part and parcel of being in a relationship is picking up your partner when they’re down.

  1. You have to be a team.

One of the greatest thing my partner has called me is his ‘teammate’ I know not so romantic, but I feel like it’s a reminder to me that not only are we lovers, partners but we’re also two players in the same game, it makes it sound like, when he fails, I fail too, but when he wins, we both get to win and I think that’s just beautiful. It’s important when you’re with your significant other that you get rid of the ‘me, me and me’ mind-set and start thinking like an ‘us’. Yes it’s good to look out for yourself but just remember that now you’re part of a team, you have someone else to think about who is in turn thinking about you. A good team that can work together will grow together and that is the secret to a healthy, happy relationship.

  1. You can never, EVER, be too tired to say I love you.
    Can you remember the last thing you said to your partner? The tone of your voice or their reply? Do you remember how you felt in that moment? Would you be happy if that was the last thing you said? I know, it’s a dark way to end this list, but it’s the kind of thing I think about. It’s scary to think that your conversation with your partner could be your last, whilst it’s not good to live your life afraid that it will be your last, the mind-set of living your life how you want to with no regrets is a good way of turning it into a positive thing. There are nights when I’m so exhausted I don’t respond to my partner when he says goodnight, when I noticed myself doing that I very quickly reprimanded myself and decided from that day on, I would never ever be too busy, or too tired to tell my partner I love him. That should go for anyone you love in this world, life and death is divided by such a fine line, you just never know how long you have left in this world, let everyday be your day to tell people how happy they make you, how grateful you are for their existence and most of all how much you love them.

I know how super long this blog post is, longer than even my longest essay, but I hope you enjoyed learning the 60 lessons I’ve learned from being in a 60 month (5 year) relationship. Did you read anything you already knew? Did you learn anything today? Do you have anything to add to my list? If so, comment below and let me know! Sharing is caring after all!

Always remember…

Do something to make your parents proud today, your kids proud someday but most importantly, you proud every day!

Peace and Love

Jessy x

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