Advice for a Lasting Relationship
Some relationship advice from someone in a strong 5+ year relationship
Back when I was single, I was always the person in the group who could give amazing relationship advice, despite not being in a relationship.Not that I was the only single member of the group, a lot of us were, but I was the one who was always able to offer information to help a friend out.
When it came to my teen years, the older I got (15/16) the more anxious I became at the thought of being in a relationship.
Why? Because a lot of people were 'fooling around' or simply having sex, and I was far too self-conscious with my body to even consider doing anything like that. Considering my first kiss was at 16, the most I'd ever done was hold hands or hug someone.
While the information above may seem somewhat off-topic to the title, I'm hoping it'll give you a little more insight to my younger self, and also be able to relate back to it once we get further down this article.(I promise you, it's not just a mini-ramble!)
To start off the advice, I'd like to give you an idea of the mindset I was in before I got into my current relationship (for reference, we got together in early 2014, our last year of secondary school).
After the previous relationship I was in ended, which was back in 2012, I decided that despite everyone wanting to be in relationships, I didn't actually need to be in one. I didn't want to force myself to think 'I must be in a relationship! I cannot be single!' because, at the end of the day, there was nothing wrong with being single. If I kept that negative mindset, I'd just try and rush into relationships which would most likely end in disaster.
I didn't need to rush a relationship because, at the end of the day, I'd still be there to take care of me.
I genuinely believe knowing I could function with or without a relationship hugely helped my mindset when it came to dating.
Now I've mentioned that I'll share some advice with you, explanations included.
This must be the obvious one, I know. But there are some things I want to go into on this section.
If you keep your concerns or troubles from your partner or play hard to get and not answer a text for several hours, then the relationship isn't going to grow.
Talk to each other about concerns, fears, things that make you happy. Literally anything!
Over the years my partner and I have both realised that sometimes, even after all this time together, some topics are still easier to talk about over the phone. It's easier to type out and send a message compared to saying it to the others face.
And you know what? Sitting next to him and texting him about something I'm struggling with, but too embarrassed to say aloud so he knows what's going on in my head has been a huge help.
We're fully capable of communicating about anything face to face. But we also know there are other methods for us to healthily communicate between ourselves too.
Even if you state in every message that you're not comfortable enough to say it aloud, or too shy, or whatever the reason may be, once you press send, you've said it. You can breathe and then chat to your partner over the phone (yes, even if they're next to you) or have them respond and start speaking instead of typing.
If you haven't tried it before, I suggest you do.
Patience can be for many parts of a relationship, but for this one, I'm going to focus more on the topic of sex.
(This is why I included the bit at the beginning, I have experience with this, which was thankfully a good experience.)
If you or your partner isn't ready for that part of the relationship, (it could be the same reason as I stated for myself above or any other reason) or would much rather move slowly and build up over a period of time (be it a few weeks, months, or even a year or more) then the other in the relationship needs to respect that choice and move at the others preferred pace.
This patience is incredibly good for a relationship. It helps to build the trust of the person who isn't ready, and honestly it helps strengthen your relationship.
Take the time to learn more about each other which isn't on a sexual level. Enjoy the cuddles and tickle fights, or whatever it is you and your partner would be doing instead.
If you love that person, or they love you, then the one who's ready will be more than happy to wait and move at the suited pace. It's beyond worth it in the end.
We were friends first, we knew we had similar interests. We were good friends because of it. We started dating and hit that cute awkward phase before quickly going back to laughing and joking.
Now we spent a lot of our time being giant goofballs together. We really should write down some of the stuff we come up with. I imagine it being animated like a "Cyanide and Happiness" sketch.
Having this strong humour between us, we can be as daft or weird as we want around the other without the fear of being judged, because the other can respond with an even funnier comment. I cannot tell you just how many inside jokes we have simply from sitting and chatting together.
I don't expect you to go a few months into a relationship and do the whole full-blown money talk—it isn't a problem if you want to, relationships do move at different paces—but if it's going to become a serious relationship, you need to talk money.
You can do this by talking about future plans in general. For example, my partner and I want to buy a house together. We've talked—in depth—about how we plan to put our money together to save up for this.
We quite often go shopping together to get the odd items we require and agreed a long time ago that unless one of us insists on a meal out being a treat for the other, we split the bill. At the cinema, one of us covers tickets (two for one deal) and the other buys a drink and popcorn. These prices are no more than £1 different so it makes it fair for us both.
Don't be afraid to talk about money. Even if involves concerns with your career or ability to work. It's best to have these conversations.
Trust your gut. If it says something's off and they're not for you, listen.
Four months into my relationship, I was going to class for a study session (exam season, I don't miss it) and my body stopped me on the spot for no reason, other than to have this thought wash over me (I didn't hear it, but I knew exactly what it said. It's hard to explain) telling me 'This is it, he's the one.'
I was so scared of jinxing it, or it simply not being true that I didn't dare admit it to my partner for another three years. But it happened. And a gut instinct that strong has only ever happened twice in my life (that being the first) and they were both years apart.
Listen to your gut people, it knows.
A line of wisdom from me to you:
If you can't laugh together during sex, you're with the wrong person.
It's true. It really is. If you can't have a giggle while you're getting busy, even if you're chatting/joking about something funny while having sex (short snippets of things, not full blown conversations) then they may not be the one.
And that's my advice to you.
I love my relationship, I love my partner, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for us both. I never saw myself being with someone so amazing, that I am beyond grateful to have him in my life.
This is a little different to what I usually write on Vocal, but nevertheless I hope you've enjoyed it!