Having been in a relationship for around six months now, it’s time to blog about it. No, not so much about mine, but about the concept in general.
People like clarity, definitions, and knowing what they’re at. We’re all using more or less the same words to describe relationships and yet everyone has different definitions for the meanings of e.g. seeing someone, dating, going out, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner… sometimes you may need some sort of relationship-defining talk (RTD) to be sure about what both of you want/mean/think you’re actually ‘doing’.
My boyfriend and I never really had an ‘official’ RTD but there were moments that made our situation clearer: when he first called me his girlfriend/partner and when we talked about the upcoming months for example. We have similar principles so non-exclusiveness would never even have been a topic of discussion.
The very first sentence starts this off nicely; why do I say ‘around six months’? Well, my relationship started rather ‘unconventionally’. We never really ‘went out on dates’ and asked each other ‘are we in a relationship now?’ so when I picked a date to celebrate us getting together, I chose the day we (or he ;P) made the first move, even though at that point we hardly knew each other and you would certainly not have called it a ‘relationship’. Even if you have a relationship-defining talk (RTD) which can make things clearer, a relationship doesn’t just start one moment in time, building a relationship takes time to develop, one thing leads to another, it’s a continuum in which you can’t easily pinpoint to one event being ‘the’ event.
I analyse and überthink pretty much everything, and it doesn’t help that this is my first relationship. I have to live with my brain every moment of my life and unfortunately I’m not very successful at turning it off at times, so at the early stages of my relationship it kept throwing questions like these into my conscience: What is a relationship? What am I meant to do? How am I meant to behave? Looking at other couples, what can I learn from them? What are they doing right/wrong? Why do I ask myself these questions? Exactly, why?!
Because we have that picture in our heads of how the whole thing is ‘supposed’ to work, mainly through the media (everything seems to come down to it!), particularly movies. Fact is though, we’re all different, and thus no relationship is the same. Yes, some people never argue and live happily ever after, others argue a lot and break up at some point, but the opposite happens to the same extent!
So, the answer to all questions in the end is: Don’t ask, because there are no answers as to how to do things ‘right’ in a relationship.
Evolutionarily speaking, especially women look for a long-term partner and may be wondering whether they’re actually investing into something that has a future or whether they’re possibly just ‘wasting their energy’. How do you know that someone is (potentially) ‘the’ one? Is there a ‘the one’? Only yesterday a friend and I were talking about this; with 7 billion people on this planet, how do you know whether the girl running past isn’t the love of your life?
I personally believe that everything happens for a reason. You meet people, some become very special to you, others don’t remain in your life for long, but you learn through each and every interaction. Similarly when you have a partner; it can be a great (or sometimes also bad) experience through which you grow (or fall into a deep hole but I like to think that eventually, it allows you to grow still). You may end up growing old together, or you may end up being one of those who go from one partner to the next and never quite feel like meeting someone you could stay with for longer – you may be happy with that or not. Some people have to kiss many frogs before they find their prince, others may find it at once. Life’s complicated and never ‘fair’ but that’s what makes it interesting, its unpredictability. So, yet another question you shouldn’t think about. Just enjoy the time you can enjoy together as long as it lasts.
After my boyfriend and I got together, there was a time when I thought a lot about breaking up. Why? We were happy, he made me happy! Well, for the first time I was ‘with’ someone who got closer to me than anyone outside my family before, which made me vulnerable. It didn’t help that my parents divorced when I was a kid; my mind was somewhat made to think that every relationship was doomed to fail at some point, which was terrifying. The thought of it ending (knowing that your boyfriend had several girlfriends before and he was the one who ended each of those relationships), leaving me hurt and scarred, was painful. As I mentioned earlier, a good relationship allows you to learn in many ways. I have come to accept that, sure, you never know how it will go and it may end sometime and it may be awful, yet we live in the present, and why should I end something that makes me and my partner happy? If it was to end at some point, I could still look back and think I had a very good time, and move on to whatever might come next. Life never ‘ends’, only sections of it do and new sections follow.
Being in a relationship should never be taken for granted. You can’t think that ‘if it’s meant to be it’s gonna work out’ without feeding your relationship. A relationship is hard – it is work and demands energy – but if it’s right it gives you back so much more. (look at e.g. this website for some hints on how to keep it working)