What I’ve Learned After 2 Years Of Being In A Relationship

Our two year anniversary of dating is next week! For a reflection of what I learned after one year, click here.

I learned a lot about myself when I was single, I’ve never been one to jump from serious relationship to serious relationship. I think self exploration can be done in a relationship, it’s just harder. The first year of our relationship involved a lot of learning curves for me, I had been single and independent for a long time and was badly burned after my last relationship. As we approach our two year anniversary, I was given more time for self exploration and growth. Here’s what I learned after two years of being in a relationship.

  1. It’s okay to be afraid of big steps. We moved in together, we got a dog, I freaked out. But that’s okay.
  2. Nothing has changed, communication is HUGE. If you are freaking out, you need to tell your partner. They should understand, they should be the one who is able to help you.
  3. Make time for your friends. There are just some things your boyfriend will never understand. It’s important to have at least one other person to confide in.
  4. Things will easily start to get boring in the relationship. The simple thing to do most nights is to plop on the couch and watch Netflix. Put in the effort, switch things up, don’t let it get mundane.
  5. It’s normal to have relationship doubts. Some people just have a harder time settling than other people. If you know yourself, you should know when your doubts are valid or not.
  6. Alone time is still very important.
  7. The longer you’re with someone, the more you think about the future. And the more the future becomes about “us” and not “me”.
  8. No one is as perfect as they look on social media. We bicker – a lot. It’s healthy.
  9. At the end of the day, love isn’t Romeo and Juliet and dying for someone. It’s choosing to be with the person who you like spending time with – every day with – who you don’t actually hate ever.
  10. Take everything at your own pace. It may seem like you NEED to follow the steps of getting engaged, moving in together, getting married, and having kids. But just because that’s the normal plan doesn’t mean it’s your plan.

Let me know how long you’ve been in a relationship for and your biggest piece of advice in the comments! ūüôā

woman holding man s hand during day
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The Pressure Of Long Term Relationships

My first serious relationship was 4 years long and when I say serious, I took it very seriously. I pictured marriage and kids. Planned where we’d live, where I’d go to college, and how our lives would be.

At that point in my life, I would frequently say “why bother being in a relationship with someone if you don’t think you’ll get married?” And that was at age 18 ish.

But I can now tell you I was wrong. Because relationships are learning experiences, sometimes it takes 2 seconds to know you don’t like someone and sometimes it takes 2 years. Why should we stop ourselves from diving into love just because we don’t know how serious it will be, how long it will last, or if we’ll get married?

Long term relationships can really apply that pressure especially when you’re in your mid-late twenties where everyone is starting to get engaged and married. It makes you think that the longer the relationship goes on, the harder a break up could be. Just because you’ve been together for someone for three years, does that mean you’ll marry them?

And if you don’t end up marrying them, did you waste your own time or theirs? Is it unfair to be in a relationship if you’re not sure you see marriage down the line?

As always, I preach communication with your partner because it’s honestly something they should know so they can decide for themselves the risks they are taking. Obviously every relationship doesn’t end in marriage, the one I thought that would ended in lots of tiny pieces set on fire. So you can’t base anything off of if you’ll be spending the rest of your life together, you just have to enjoy the time you’re spending together now.

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The Pressure Of Being In A Relationship In Your 20’s

Every other week someone I know is getting engaged, buying a house, or getting married. When you’re in your twenties, there are three kinds of people in your friend group. The single ones, the ones who met their significant other in high school or college, and the ones who met their significant other after college or a little later in their twenties.

I’m 24 and any friend who met their love in high school or college are now engaged. I fall into the category of the ones who met their love after college, so I feel a little behind. I feel deeply for my single friends, because no matter how happy you are being single, you still feel left out sometimes.

Now I feel a lot of pressure being in a relationship in this stage of my life because everyone automatically expects that engagement and marriage are a few short years away.

But a little over a year ago I didn’t really believe in marriage. I didn’t want it, I didn’t want a relationship, and now while I’m in a relationship I’m still not 100% on board with the idea of marriage.

When I mentioned my boyfriend and I are planning on moving in together, I was asked if I thought a ring was in the future and I replied, “god, I hope not.”

I’m just not ready, but I feel a lot of pressure when a lot of people my age are ready and have been ready. It’s just what comes with my age. When you’re single in your twenties, you’re pressured to find a boyfriend. When you’re in a relationship in your twenties, you’re pressured to get engaged.

As much as I know what I want, it’s hard to ignore that nagging pressure.

hc
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Where I Thought I’d Be At 23

If you were to ask me 5 years ago, when I was 18 years old, where I thought I’d be when I was 23 – I would have a whole plan to reiterate to you.

I wanted to be engaged the months following my college graduation, proposed to by the age of 22. I wanted a fall wedding or maybe summer. And a year long engagement.

At 23, I would have already been married by now. Or my wedding would be coming up in the next few months.

I thought I would be living in a North Jersey suburb right outside the city, even though I don’t like North Jersey. And I would be working for an edgy, social media campaign in New York City – even though I don’t like the city.

I was supposed to have a dog and a pet pig. The mini pig was supposed to be a college graduation present. The dog would’ve come swiftly after.

I would be planning to have kids by the age of 27, two kids. One girl, one boy.

But now I’m 23, and everything about where I thought I’d be makes my head spin. I don’t want any of those things and I’m completely happy.

To be engaged after college would have been thoroughly stressful for me, between figuring out how to cope with the real world and finding a job. The last thing I ever would have wanted was to plan a wedding and commit myself to someone before I knew what the hell I was doing.

And even after landing a job, to get married within the first few months of working would have been insane. I wouldn’t have been able to afford living in the suburbs – not that I ever even wanted to! I was going to live and work in places I didn’t even like to make someone else happy. And now I live in the place I truly wanted to be and work at a job I love.

As much as I like dogs, I can barely take care of myself. And I’ve kind of figured out that mini pigs are so cute, but they come from breeders and there are so many homeless animals that would need my help first.

I don’t even want kids! I found out almost two years ago that I don’t like spending more than a couple of hours with them at a time, and I wanted TWO in a span of FOUR YEARS.

You can’t plan your future. You are always changing and circumstances are always changing – your plan for the next five years is merely a guideline. But it doesn’t always work out because who you are now and who you were then are two very different people, who have yet to experience certain things.

I’m not who I thought I’d be at 23 and I’m totally fine with it.

hc
photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hernanpc/

The Annoying Single Friend

Disclaimer: I’m the annoying single friend.

Not all single people are annoying.  But there comes a time in our singleness where it becomes more of an affliction than just the status of our love life.  It literally becomes ailing for us to see other couples making out and we spend our nights swiping through Tinder hoping we will soon find someone to take an Instagram picture with Рlike those pictures of one of us pulling the other to a destination Рeven though we continuously talk shit on people who do stuff like that.

It starts out slow – the annoying single friend disease. First, we may just watch from afar and start to think how our lives would benefit from a relationship. But then we take it to the next level and begin to voice our concerns.

Our relationship friends come home and brag about how their boyfriend bought them flowers. ¬†We’ll nonchalantly state how we would love if someone bought us flowers. They reply “oh, you’ll find someone some day soon!” And we shrug it off.

Then we stop shrugging it off and begin asking the tough questions. ¬†When will I find someone? Why does no one like me?! And of course, your relationship friends don’t really have an answer to this and probably feel super uncomfortable that you keep asking just because they found someone before you did.

The single annoying friend will then take to social media. Tweeting: “lol just saw someone get engaged #sosingle” and we might have said lol, but really we’re just dying inside. ¬†Reposting articles on Facebook that are really depressing more than they are helpful with titles stating “Why You Don’t Want A Relationship In Your 20’s.” ¬†Which most of the time just means “Why You Can’t Keep A Guy Around At Any Point In Your Life Let Alone¬†Your 20’s.”

The annoying single friend sickness really only starts to come out when the happily single life they were living paused for a moment and just isn’t as happy as they remembered. ¬†Your annoying single friend will eventually turn back into the plain old normal single friend, once they get enough sleep and online shop for 3 hours straight. ¬†Try not to let the affliction affect you – whether you are the annoying single friend or the relationship friend – it is only temporary.

On behalf of all annoying single friends, I apologize in advance.

photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ohnophotos/
photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ohnophotos/