As I’ve been on the dating scene for a few years, I’m inclined to think I know a thing or two about short term relationships. But seeing as my current relationship is my longest, I needed to call on some friends who have been in multi-year long relationships to get some true insights on that slow burn. And here’s what I learned:

If you’ve been together for multiple years you’ve probably experienced some major life events from birthdays to funerals and new chapters of your life such as graduations and job changes. We change and grow over the years and it’s important the relationship grows as well. You go through struggles and celebrations together strengthening your bond.

Common issues in short term relationships like self doubt and self consciousness fade out. All shared experiences and trust over the years have made jealousy a thing of the past. Any girl can go up to your man, you’re confident in your relationship and you know she’s just wasting her time. Your man loves every weird inch of you, and trust me, by now he has seen it all! There’s no hiding anymore, he’s experienced every one of your odd behaves and they didn’t scare him off! You’re more relaxed and secure in your long term relationship now.

Being committed to someone for multiple years gives you faith in love and hope in the future. Being able to depend on someone for anything that life throws at you makes you confident in yourself that you can handle all of life’s ups and down.

I, personally, have never been able to date someone if I didn’t see a future with them. So being with someone for many years makes it more certain that they could be a life long partner. Life doesn’t really give you a lot of guarantees but knowing that you’ll always have this person beside you could ease some stress. Making future plans with this person could be exciting to think about and plan for.

This leads us right into cons of long term dating though since having to factor someone else into your future means less freedom. You can’t just take that job a few states over, you have your significant other and their career to consider as well. You can’t just buy that new car if you wanted, you have to talk to your significant other about future housing and other expenses. You’re not just looking after yourself now.

The other side of the coin of having someone there for you always, means that you can become dependent on them. All that confidence you had suddenly evaporates when you have to do something by yourself. For example, I have social anxiety and get very anxious having to shop for groceries. I’ve now gone to the grocery store with my boyfriend a few times and that anxiety has really receded (granted probably because my focus is now concentrating on not yelling at my boyfriend for walking too slow but that’s besides the point). Now if I go to the grocery store by myself will I be pushed right back into that same anxiety or will the positive shopping experiences healed that issue for me? Will I be dependent to only go shopping with my boyfriend?
I’ve heard from lots of long term couples that they don’t think they could handle modern dating now. Dating apps seem shallow and hopeless and finding a new partner would be a difficult journey. This could make someone feel trapped in their long term relationship, like they’ll never find someone else to love them as much again.

They have forgotten that the beginning of every relationship is new and exciting! You’re thinking of all the endless possibilities and early love gives you hope for the future. The beginning is still fun and light. There’s no need to dive right off the deep end into tough situations and deep insecurities. For now you’re both showing your best selves and seeing if it’s worth the risk to be vulnerable and show the rough sides too.

In the beginning, every new conversation, date, and touch gives you butterflies. And you still get to keep your freedom too as you two dance around each other, give one another space and not trying to seem too desperate for the next date.

On the other hand, the dating world creates a revolving door of people in your life and the lack of stability and support can make a person feel lonely. This could also make you feel hopeless that love will never work out for you. You begin to think something is wrong with you, afraid to show your true self because you’re not sure what might makes them leave. You meet new people that you have fun with but you haven’t met the person you can be sad with.

Sure, a new spark will catch your eye and make you wonder, but it’s the slow burn that will keep you warm through a cold, dark night.