Six Things I've Learned From Being in a Seven Year Relationship
A Little Love Insight
I’ve been in a relationship for seven years, and in March it will be eight years. No, we aren’t married, but yes we do plan on getting married. As of when, well that’s a good question. We aren’t sure yet, I’m still in college and we are waiting until I can find a good teaching position and we can at least start to plant seeds to start roots.
However, this isn’t a writing about when my boyfriend and I are getting married. This is a writing about how we’ve actually kept it going for the past seven years.
Here’s the short version of how we came to be:
It all started in the eighth grade. I had just been re-enrolled in my hometown’s public school after being in a different school. (If you want to read more about that, see my other story “Worst Year of my Life”) He and I had known each other in the sixth grade, but not well. Then, I moved, then I came back. We had grown a little.
What started our little friendship was the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. What helped it blossom was the fact that we had all of our quarter classes (classes that changed every quarter in the school year) and due to the alphabet, we ended up sitting next to each other in each of those classes.
We found we liked many of the same things, including Studio Ghibli movies. On March 21st of our freshman year, we found out we liked each other and bam! Next thing we knew we were boyfriend and girlfriend. We fit the cliché of high school sweethearts. Young and in love, so beautiful. If our school had a “Top 10 Couples” list, we probably would’ve been on it, because everyone said we were “sooo cute!”
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Looking back, we were both so selfish. We wouldn’t compromise, we didn’t listen to each other, he had a hot temper, and so did I. Also, both of us were equally stubborn, which didn’t make it any easier.
I was also very insecure. The trauma of seeing my parents’ marriage destroyed at the age of seven affected me in ways that I wasn’t aware of until I was with my boyfriend. Every little fight we had, I had this fear that we were going to end up like my parents.
I also have something called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or more commonly known as ADHD. This disorder is so much more than impulsivity and inattention. It feels like a train going 200 mph, and you’re the conductor, and you can’t stop it no matter how bad you want to. The train is your mind and your emotions.
I get riled up and I can’t calm down, no matter how much I want to. I literally overthink about my own overthinking. I’ve gotten to the point now where I know what to do, and so does he, but we were teens at the time.
We didn’t know squat.
Yet, even with all of that, here we are happier than ever. Sometimes, I don’t know how he is still with me. I’ve learned that I can be extremely hard to love, but he does it like its second nature to him.
Now, if you are wondering what the point is to this, here it is. I want to share with you how we have kept it going. After some reflection here are six things that I have brainstormed on how our relationship is still going:
Listen to your partner. I don’t mean just nod your head and say “Yes dear.” “That’s great baby” Or “I’m sorry honey.” No, they walk in looking like they had the worst day in the world, or say they had a bad day, put the phone down, sit down, and LISTEN. Nod your head, eye contact, all that. Even if it’s something little or they are just bellyaching about something silly. You are their rock, so you need to be there.
You also need to listen even when you may not want to. You think you are right, and they are wrong, or they are upset about something silly. Well guess what, it may not be silly to them. They aren’t trying to make you mad by telling you how they feel, they are literally trying to tell you how they feel about the situation or their opinion about something.
This is one we learned early on. If you are a country music fan, think about the song “Meet in the Middle.” Pretty much explains my point here. You compromise. Relationships are 50-50 and sometimes it’s more like 60-40. Talk with your partner, see what you both can do and if it means you have to step back and think about what you can do, then do that.
You are going to fight, fighting is normal. It’s the frequency of your fights that can be a red flag or not. I’d say once every few days is too much, but every once in a while isn’t bad. Don’t be ashamed, there’s a reason you or your partner got upset. Now it’s time to figure it out, and how to make it better.
Keep in mind, it’s not just about you and your happiness anymore, it’s about both of you. Do what you can to make sure that you are both content with whatever decision you come to. If you can both be content then I would say that’s a win!
3. Do Your Part
This is a big one for me. You can’t always be the one who gets your way and makes your partner compromise. No, you have to do it too, and when you say you are going to do something, DO IT. It’s that simple. I can’t really go into any more detail.
4. Spoil Them Back
Before you go thinking you have to buy them that expensive thing that they want, keep reading. The point of this one that you spoil them as much as they spoil you. It doesn’t hurt to buy them dinner every once in a while, or bring home something little like their favorite candy.
You don’t have to shower them with gifts either. It’s telling them how they look handsome/beautiful every day, it’s making them their favorite food when they had a bad day, or it’s watching that game or movie with them that you may not enjoy. It's making them soup when they are sick and making sure they ate something that day.
My stepdad will only buy flowers for my mother on two occasions: Valentine’s Day and her birthday. Yes, that’s very sweet, but more often than not, he will bring home flowers that he spotted on the side of the road for my mother to put in her handmade bouquets she likes to create using flowers from her garden.
Its little things like that usually cost you oh about… $0. Not to mention, they aren’t that hard to do.
5. Love, Even When You Don't Want To
I don’t know about you, but my S.O. can really make me mad. He’s made me cry, he’s made me angry, confused, and just downright annoyed! However, I still love him.
Even with the right person, there are still times where you aren’t going to love them as much as you did before. They may do or say things that hurt you, or annoy you.
You still got to love them. I always try to tell him that I love him, especially when I’m upset with him. At the end of the day, you two are here because you are in love. Don’t ever forget that.
6. Be Silly
Besides number five, this is probably my favorite. I don’t care if you are 15 or 50, you are never too old to be goofy with each other. Heck, my dad will grab my stepmom in the kitchen and start randomly dancing while loudly booming in his best “opera” singing voice “La da dee, la da daaa!!!!”
Even my S.O. still does the silly things he did in high school to make me laugh, and I do goofy things to make him laugh. That, and we’re both weird.
Don’t be afraid to be silly. It's part of being human, we as a species love to be goofy. Even as adults! It’s also very refreshing from the usual stress of life. They may give you a funny look, but if they are still with you, then I’d say you have nothing to worry about!
Whelp, those are the six things I have learned from being in a seven year relationship! I hope this was a good read for you, my dear appreciated reader.
About the author
I'm a college student from small town Nebraska. My major is Elementary Education with an endorsement in k-6 special education. I'm a bit of a nerd too, but really I'm just a 23 year old who's trying to figure out this thing called "LIFE" :)