How Jeff and I Have Been Together for Over 8 Years: Keeping things light and being patient
Jeff and I have been together for a long time, like a really long time, especially considering we’re still just 27 years old. This November will mark our 9th anniversary, almost a decade of time spent together. I get a lot of questions about how we’ve managed to stay together, while being so young and how we’ve managed to stay happy. I’ve been lucky. I’ve had a companion throughout a huge portion of my life from college until now, I’ve had someone there by my side to join my in my quirky habits of moving all the time, always wanting to travel and see the world, and I’ve been lucky to have someone put up with my nonsense ;). But, in all honesty, the reason why I think we’ve done so well together and how we’ve really grown together is due to 2 reasons: keeping things light and being patient.
The number 1 question I get about my relationship is: When are you getting married?
My answer always confuses people and always results in more questions. I don’t (nor does Jeff) believe in marriage. I think it’s a great thing for couples who want that, but for the way we live our lives, it’s just not something that we need nor are interested in. I like to think of relationships this way: I’m 1 person on 1 path and Jeff is 1 person on his own path. We happen to kinda like each other, so we go on similar paths, side by side, like railroad tracks, he does his thing, I do mine. Our paths just continue along, side by side and that’s good enough for us. We’re 2 people who share part of our lives, but not our entire lives. I do my thing, he does his. When things start to get “deep” or overly committal with relationships, that’s where problems arise, in my eyes, but mind you, I’m one person, he’s one person, and we’re just one couple. When you start putting labels and pressure on the relationship, that’s when it starts to crack, in my experience. If something is working, then why change it? A relationship consists of 2 people who may or may not want 2 different things, so it’s key to communicate, but by forcing your relationship into some 1 size fits all box forces restructuring, forces a little bit of molding, so why not abandon the 1 size fits all model and live your life the way you like? In other words, what’s the point of marriage when you’re happy and committed to living side by side for the future? If you’re worried about “security” that might be a warning that marriage might not be the best fit. So just keep things fun, have real conversations, stay open with each other, and just respect the fact that you’re 2 people living separate lives, just within the same space or ecosystem as the other.
Patience is key in everything
To make things work, you can’t force anything or rush anything, and this goes for everything in life (well from what I’ve experienced in my 27 years ;)). You have to be patient. You first have to be patient with yourself to see what you want and need, and then you have to be patient with your significant other and respect their side of the tracks, their path. If Jeff and I had rushed things when we were young and didn’t grow up together, really becoming best friends, and really getting to know each other, then I don’t know that we would be where we are today. I attribute the success and happiness and love within our relationship due to the fact that we were patient with each other and supported each other as we grew into the people we are, and continue to grow into the people that we’re becoming. My advice is to be patient, to see if your paths are parallel, crossing unnecessarily so, or too much, or to see if your paths are veering away. In the end you have to be patient with yourself to determine what you want and what your needs are as you grow and as your partner grows because those things will change and evolve and you need to trust yourself and give yourself time to see what direction you might be moving. In the end all you can do is support your partner, but you are the only element you can control.
This post has also got me thinking that there are a ton more tips that I can share about our relationship, so I see a series coming your way! So stay tuned. I imagine as I continue to grow and as Jeff continues to grow my perspectives and reasons might change so stay tuned :).
Full circle: Keeping things light and having the patience to support yourself and be supportive of someone else are two major keys to a happy, committed relationship for the long haul.
Question of the day: Are you single, in a relationship, or married?