So I took a little vacation lately from my story-telling life. Something happens when you get out of the 20s, work intensely in your day job and...
This may be a good time to let you into a little tidbit that I've been trying to keep fairly quiet for quite some time now. Not hiding it, exactly, but not throwing it around, in case it fell apart and I would be forced to expose myself as some type of fraud: I haven't been single for nearly three years.
Now, if you take a peek at some of my older posts, you may have noticed a second person creep up in my stories - whether talking about enjoying comic book movies or an overly flirty waitress. Posts were never exactly about him or us (but rather the lesson I learned) although he knew I'd write about him every so often. Truthfully, I didn't know if he -- or we -- would make good content. Or, that I would be able to do it justice.
But time passed, we stayed together and two things happened: (1) I continued to make many mistakes and (2) I amassed many, many more stories and lessons, very different than what I shared before. After all, I wouldn't be my anecdotal, analytical self if I weren't trying to make sense of the mess and rationalize it all.
With this one post, I'll break my silence and share a few painfully hard-hitting truths I've had to cope with being in a long-term relationship like this one. I cite these having done an unscientific self-assessment of my own feelings. But, I also find it essential to add a bit of balance to discussions on relationships, no matter how optimistic I may be. Maybe this is in part fueled by what happens when you hit the three year mark, as some studies point out.
First, the Novelty Does Indeed Wear Off: When we started, I wanted nothing more than to spend time with Sav, learn all I could... After all, shouldn't all relationships end up like a bad rom-com, complete with a Tuesday night on the couch, wrapped in each other's arms? Yeah... No. On the contrary, I would say that as the relationship progressed, and we were seeing each other daily, it was still nice but not quite as exciting. Something about the mystery fades when you're seen in your comfy sweats, oversized sweatshirt and glasses.
Second... You Don't Have To Be Marriage Bound: I would say that about a year in, as I saw my friends with engagement rings, then wedding rings and kids, I started to wonder if my relationship would be headed there. Would I be getting married? Now, I've written about weddings on several occasions, but that's in large part because I was also obsessed with it. Now, though, as we've had a chance to be together and my career has taken shape and I've changed, I've started to wonder not only whether I wanted to be married, but I didn't mind taking my time to make sure this person was "the one." Simply put, I wanted to take my time figuring that out and I didn't want a time frame to help me make that choice.
You Need YOU Time: Yes, we have a partner in life. That's all fine and well. But there still should be a small piece of you that you can feel is special to you and that you can own. Do you read? Keep reading a couple of chapters on the commute to work. Is there a corny show you like to indulge in? Do it. Coffee plans with a friend? Keep the catch up session. It's natural, because of life, to get distracted from many of the things we used to do. However, it's important to still hold on to something.
Finally... Not All Endings are Happy Ones: Yes, this sounds morbid. But it really isn't. I've known many relationships that have moved on to marriage after several years. And, I've known others that have completely fallen apart, too. Here, you just need to know what works for you. Is this person the right one? Are you happy? Is this a momentary thing? This is a tough one, but knowing where you stand will really help you learn as much as you can. Every relationship can teach you something so don't forget to learn about that person... And yourself.
Now that I've taken all this away... The only thing I can do (and my one commitment to myself) is to make sure I remember it every day and stay true to myself.
I'll let you know how that all goes.