This week I’ve been reflecting on relationships. Not just the romantic ones, but the friendships too (more on those later). As far as romantic relationships go, however, I’m what my friends have called a serial monogamist. I like being in a committed relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally happy on my own too (found that ability in my twenties), but there’s something really nice about having a partner in crime. But as I approach my thirties, I’m a little startled to see that the way I approach relationships, and how I exist in them, has changed in a big way.
In my early twenties I viewed a romantic relationship as something exciting yet comfortable. I was constantly in search of the “puppy love” phase but I also thought that it was important for me to be in a relationship constantly. I thought that was the big goal in life. You get in a relationship, fall in love, and then get married and your life really begins.
It seemed like a pretty linear way of living life. You go right from point A to B to C. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If life worked like that, I always thought that I would be set and would hit all those milestones that I expected to hit by the time I was thirty. And maybe that works out for some people, but it certainly hasn’t worked that way for me.
Instead, I am finding relationships to be complex things where some days you fly and everything fits perfectly, but other times it feels like you’re working through every trauma of your past to get to the future you both want. It’s wonderful to have a partner beside you working for the same goals and striving for the same level of excellence. Its working through the fights to see the sun on the other side instead of calling it quits at the first sign of trouble. It’s trusting that the other person has your back when you may not have your own.
And I’m learning that life doesn’t begin and end because you’re in a relationship or not. Life is what happens around you as you choose your path, whether you have someone making footprints beside you or not. I’m learning that relationships don’t define who you are as a person but you are who define you and the relationship should compliment that. And that’s both empowering and frightening at the same time. It means that I have to decide who I am, even in a long term relationship.
Now those who know me know I’ve been with my partner since my early-ish twenties, so a lot of this learning has been done with him by my side. We have grown together and faced more than our fair share of bumps along the way. And things are complicated because of the amount of growing we’ve done together and separately. That growth hasn’t always been at the same rate or at the same time. But still we choose each other. And thats powerful.
I’m learning that relationships aren’t what happens when two people see each other in the right place at the right time, but rather that it is when two people choose each other every single day, despite all the other stuff that could get in the way. And when you stop choosing each other, that’s when the relationship ends, not when things get hard. And I’m learning that some days the odds are stacked against you, and others its a windfall in your favour. It’s rarely something in between.
What is your favourite thing to learn about your partner? How has your view on relationships changed over the years? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to like the post and follow to find out when I post next.