At the end of the day you both decided to enter your relationship. If you want to make it work, then respect your decision enough to try.
I have been in a relationship with Eric for a little more than 7 years now! We have lived together for about 5 years and it has been working just great! I absolutely love living with him. He is not just my partner, but also my best friend and the person I feel most safe with. I have got to tell you it was not always like that. There have been many moments where either one of us would leave home storming out (me more than him).
Every relationship has their own story and those dark moments. Those moments where we are not sure how we will be getting out of them…together.
I am not going to bore you with a bunch of details about us, buuutt I am going to share a few facts about us. Eric and I started dating when we were 17 years old–yes we are HS sweethearts!!! I went out of state for college and he stayed home. This was very hard on us, especially since there was a time difference. To be honest that year was not our hardest. Our hardest 2 years were when I moved in with him. We were both 19 years old.
I decided to quit college and build businesses with him. As I am writing this, this thought still makes me smile. It might seem odd, two 19 years old not going to college! Oh my goodness, they must have no direction! How are they going to live?! You know, even though we had no idea how the real world worked we knew we had each other and faith that this was the right choice for us.
We had no money, no jobs and we were not in school. We relied heavily on his mom (if she is reading this, I hope she knows how much we appreciated her help).
Shortly after, the “dark ages” happened!!! So many late nights crying and arguing. Mostly fighting about money. We carried so much tension towards each other and because of our lack of money there was not much we could do socially.
When he worked, I was left at home feeling pretty hopeless. We lived with his family and I felt pretty alienated and alone. I didn’t know his mom or brothers all that well so I would hole up into our room.
When we argued, we didn’t have the room to go anywhere for a breather. We were in a way stuck with each other.
I guess you can say, I was definitely the angry one. I was the one that sabotaged our good moments or punched back emotionally and mentally. That is not something I am not proud of. Love is supposed to be kind and patient, not aggressive.
Eric definitely had his moments, he found his own ways to hurt our relationship, but I can say I was definitely the toxic person and at the time I definitely did not see it that way.
One thing I did learn is that if you want to make it work, you really can. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, it is totally up to you if you want to reach it. Of course it takes the both of you, but you must be the one to initiate the changes you want. The thing about us is that we were both willing to put in the work.
We started to work on ourselves. That is the key. It is about knowing who you are or at least knowing what you want and then working to get there. Making those positive changes does not happen overnight, that takes weeks, even months.This is the time where you both have to be patient with each other because everyone grows at their own pace. You cannot rush or force change on your partner. People only change when they are ready and willing to do the work. I know it might be so overstated and so time consuming, but what we did was lots of reading and listening to positive audios of experienced people.
I saw how much blame I would put upon Eric! A lot of it just wasn’t his fault. What really helped was each of us focusing on ourselves. During that time, I learned that I was unhappy with my life. It wasn’t Eric’s fault but I definitely acted as if it was. I would bring him down and it’s not that I didn’t want him to be happy, I just didn’t know how happiness looked like with him.
Once we stopped trying to change each other and focused on changing ourselves we almost instantly improved. When you grow and learn more about yourself you gain this awareness that helps you see your life in a different and even better perspective.
Your partner no matter how much you know each other is not a mind reader. This is something I constantly remind myself of. Whenever I become irritated at something he did or didn’t do, I remind myself to speak up. Instead of giving him my passive aggressive attitude I tell him exactly how I feel. That all came from learning who I am and what I want.
Being in a relationship is a decision. You now have to keep in mind not only your feelings and wants but your partner’s as well. I think when you have been together for so long you just go through the motions of life. Like moving in together, banking together, getting married, buying a house, then deciding to have a baby. All these changes and many others is a lot to experience. We start to see our partner as a part of us, when in reality they are also their own person. They have their own feelings, comfort zones and so on. If you can separate yourself from your partner and see them as the man or woman they are on their own, then I truly think appreciating them comes easier. At the end of the day you both decided to enter your relationship. If you want to make it work, then respect your decision enough to try.
When you appreciate your partner, then communicating becomes better and more efficient. No, none of us are perfect! We all make mistakes, say things that shouldn’t have been said or some things go unsaid. Communicating lays everything out on the table. You learn each others expectations. Don’t think there are no expectations–because there are. Just like a boss expects certain tasks from you, it is the same in a relationship. I don’t mean this in a negative connotation. I don’t mean you expect your partner to wash the dishes every night. Expecting things from each other helps build trust because you both have an understanding of what you both need and want. Expectations should come from the heart. There should be communication and an understanding of both your needs.The expectation of being there for each other and lifting each other up are not done out of force but of love and thoughtfulness of each other.
Together you should be able to find a way to meet in the middle. That is a relationship working in unison.
If something doesn’t feel right or something is going wrong in your relationship then let your partner know. Most often when I communicate my feelings to Eric, he had no idea how I was feeling. I used to jump to conclusions and blame Eric for whatever I was feeling. Now, I try to self-reflect and ask, is this something I am upset about because I’m frustrated at myself? When you take the time to self-reflect it takes the pressure off from your relationship. We stop playing the blame game and recognize what is really happening.
Always keep in mind a happy relationship is a private one. Try your best to keep people out of your relationship. It is tempting to share with people, get advice or even vent but be super careful who you invite into your relationship. This is totally up to you but what has worked for Eric and me is keeping people out. When we find ourselves in need of help, we pick up a book or audio and if we find that, that hasn’t helped, we decide together who we speak to. Inviting someone else into your coupled relationship can throw off the dynamic. Instead of being two of you, there is now three or four people involved with their own opinions and experiences. Bringing people in is not about choosing sides or placing blame. It is about them helping you find that common ground and then finding the solution as a couple.
At the end of the day, I know it can be hard to hear or realize but if you are that toxic person you need to make some changes–if you want to stay with your partner. Trust me, when I realized how I treated Eric and those around me, I was devastated! I couldn’t believe the person I was and I decided I didn’t want to be that person. I wanted to feel happy and build a life with Eric, not destroy it before it even got started.
I am not going to lie to you, it took a lot of work (still does). Many tears were shed from the both of us and it took a lot of time and effort. Not only are you working on yourself but also mending a relationship.
So many people ask us how we keep it all together and how we seem to never argue or look distraught with each other.
Really is just comes from an understanding of each other and what we want. Our goals together are bigger than ourselves combined and we know that together we are stronger. We have come to realize that we are two individuals forever intertwined and yet we still have our own path to follow. The only great difference is that we get to work together as we change and grow.
As a millennial, we want to get caught up in passion and that wild life. Where we travel, have fun, work and meet new people. You can have all that but, I am definitely here to burst your bubble if you think you will have that all the time. You will definitely have those moments all throughout your relationship that are filled with wild passion, but they will look different every time. It could be you both accomplished a goal or made a giant change together–that is also passion. A relationship is not just about this drama filled life. It is about loyalty, coming to understand each other, and being able to rely on each other.
At the end of the day never stop working on yourself, don’t think you already know everything about yourself and your partner. The moment you stop growing, that’s when you stop working together.
If you are in a relationship, tell me in the comments how long you have both been together!
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Until next time,