Today I’m going to be talking about what I’ve learned from living and loving someone for almost ten years. Mine and my partners 10 year anniversary is coming up in a few months and it has got me thinking about how we made it this long, I mean, don’t get me wrong – I love my boyfriend. I’m not about to start writing a list of adjectives to back up my reasoning because I don’t want to make y’all jealous of the total hunk I have all to myself……but…..
He can be an arse, a total dick head at times. An immature, stroppy man-child. He can throw his dummy out the pram and be a stubborn buttmunch…. but…. I still love him. Just as he still loves me when I’m being a monstrous twat. So how do a buttmuch and a monstrous twat make it work for the best part of a decade? Here are a few things I have learnt that make living with someone a whole lot better and may help make things last:
Compromise; an agreement or settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.
So we know what the word compromise means, but what does it mean when we’re trying to compromise in a relationship and why is it important? Compromise needs to happen because you aren’t dating a clone of yourself (thank God, I think I would have suffocated her in her sleep by now if I was!) so that means there will be some difference of opinion. Sometimes this is rather inconsequential; he likes smooth peanut butter, she likes crunchy…peanut butter doesn’t cost a lot so you buy two jars. A compromise has been made and both parties are happy, but this is a very simple and trivial matter. You’re hardly going to break up because someone is insane enough to think smooth peanut butter is preferable over the classic crunch (and if you do break up then seriously, get a grip…).
The real issue of compromise comes when you have an issue which is important to you both and neither want to give-in. When these instances occur what they are really doing is seeing if you are compatible. If you can’t find some form of compromise, then chances are there will be more issues down the line which will be more important. Myself and my boyfriend, for the most part, have a very similar world view and this helps immensely when trying to compromise, mainly because we can understand how the other feels that way, we can respect it but we can justify why we DON’T feel that way. Understanding and empathy are very important when trying to compromise.
If you can’t understand WHY someone else feels so strongly about something then it is highly likely you aren’t going to last the distance. I recently watched a short video about the issues with America and the middle east – there was a part where the lady spoke of enemy’s. She said that violence won’t stop until we understand why our enemies are upset. If you can understand why your partner feels so opposed to your own view, then you can make better decisions. You can either choose to take on board their view and come to some compromise or you can decide that there is no common ground. That their views are so far from your own that you cannot empathise with their feelings. If this is the case then most of the time the relationship won’t work. Often, you will have to both come to an agreement that is less than perfect for you both, but this is life.
If you can’t compromise on the small things, then you need to seriously re-evaluate why you feel there is a future with this person. Important things that you feel are intrinsically Right and Wrong should not be compromised on. If you can’t agree on morals then I personally feel the relationship is doomed to failure, unless you can rationalise and empathise with the opposing view.
Knowing when to “Drop It”
There are important arguments which often arise from a lack of ability to compromise, and then there are totally pointless arguments that come from two people who won’t back down. This point will be fairly short and sweet as there really isn’t much to say other than: Pick your battles. If you want your relationship to work, know when to just drop it. Know when you’re being a dick. It can be hard to do but once you get into the habit of always having to have your way, on things that really aren’t important then you will get into the habit of arguing about petty things, and that wears you down when you live with someone.
Having to constantly argue gets tiresome, especially when it is something trivial and all you wanted to do was come home and chill out with your partner. If something isn’t really that important to you then don’t make a big deal out of it just to prove a point. The only point you’re going to be enforcing is that you can be an annoying fucker, and who wants to deal with that when they go home?
Supporting your other half is incredibly important, as is encouraging them to follow their dreams or goals. Letting your partner know you’re proud of them, showing support when they take on a new venture, reminding them of WHY you support them (because they are awesome and you believe in them and they are good at what they are doing) is so important to their confidence. We can all have down days when the world seems full of shit, we can all lack confidence in ourselves but having the person you love tell you how proud they are of you can help you bounce right back up again.
You’re supposed to be a team so if you can’t show support and encouragement to the person you love then there is something wrong. You should be proud of your partner’s achievements and their efforts. Support shouldn’t just come when we are successful, or trying to be, it should also come when they are at their lowest. You may have had a shitty day and come home only to find your partner is in an equally shitty mood. This can easily slip into a “Who’s had the worst day” competition but that isn’t fun for either of you and will most likely leave you with a shitty evening as well as a shitty day.
It’s important to empathise. It’s important to reinforce that it is You Two Vs The World. Close that door and forget the shitty day together, remind each other how lucky you are to have someone to face it all with and understand that sometimes they need to vent the shitty day regardless of how crap yours was. They aren’t trying to out-do you they just need to vent.
This is so important and yet so difficult. A lot of the time things are not discussed because we don’t want to have awkward conversations that could potentially flare up into a heated discussion or worse, an argument. Making it clear from the very early stages of a relationship that you are willing to air issues and discuss them rationally is much easier than trying to open lines of communication later down the road. If you have a relationship where it’s normal for you to both voice your opinions and discuss how to deal with issues, then you have a really solid foundation.
Being able to communicate well with your partner makes so many aspects of your life easier and more enjoyable. It can take away the insecurities people feel and it can open you both up to more experiences. You can grow together, you will feel far more at ease and happy in yourself if you know that you can speak to your partner about anything. It can be hard to open up to people and be honest, very hard indeed but once you’ve set the precedence then it’s there and will benefit you both infinitely.
Equality and equity
Some of you may not know the difference between the two things but for me it is a very important difference. Equity involves trying to understand and give people what they need to enjoy full, healthy lives. Equality, in contrast, aims to ensure that everyone gets the same things in order to enjoy full, healthy lives.
I believe equity is very important in a relationship, understanding that your partner is not a clone of you and that they require different things in order to make them happy is very important if you want them to be happy and remain that way with you. You are not the same person and to assume what makes you happy will be equally satisfying to them will most likely cause feelings of dissatisfaction and neglect from your partner as their personal needs will not be being met.
Last but not least…..attraction and passion…
Of course it had to come in somewhere. I personally feel that in order to have a successful relationship you need to keep reminding your partner that you find them attractive. It is so very easy to slip into the realms of ‘taking him for granted’, very easy indeed. Mundane day-to-day life makes us forget that we actually fancy the pants off of the guy sleeping next to us. We are so used to seeing them on a daily basis that we forget to stop and smell the flowers.
Your partner is a hottie, don’t forget to tell them! I could receive a hundred compliments from random strangers but they would all pale in comparison to one from my guy. To let someone know you still want to jump their bones, despite having seen them sat on the toilet telling you they’ve run out of paper, is a major compliment. You’ve seen each other at your least desirable and you still have the hots for each other…..make sure you let each other know verbally as well as physically.
Well that’s it for my very loose overview of what I’ve learnt. This is not a definitive list and some of the points may not be important to you and your relationship, but these are the things that I think have helped me ensure mine is still going strong after 3373 days….