Prior to my current relationship I had only ever reached the early stages of dating. It was still a time to look and act your best as you still wanted to impress your date and win them over. As my relationship reaches its first year mark, I reflect back on the changes I’ve noticed when a relationship becomes long term.

People Stay

Since this is my first long term relationship, the biggest lesson has been that people do stay. I’ve never been in a relationship that stayed together after a fight. The first sign of trouble meant it was time to pack your bags. So i’ve wanted to avoid issues out of fear that it would make my boyfriend want to leave or that the fear of getting hurt would make me run away. Now even while in the mix of a disagreement, I’m thinking about the future past the current issue .

Comfort level

First is that you don’t always have to look your best. It’s the no makeup and freshly washed damp hair, it’s the double chin while laying in bed watching t.v., it’s the silent farts that don’t slip out so silent. You can relax and be yourself and also appreciate your partner feeling comfort enough to be vulnerable in the same way.   

Security

Having someone consistently in your life for a few months, you learn to count on them to be there for you. Knowing the fresh puppy love has worn off and that you will have bad days but you are still loved. Everyday won’t be great and you’ll probably ugly cry because you burnt the pancakes but now there’s someone there to help you make the next batch.

Trust

You trust them to show very vulnerable parts of yourself to them and know that they will hold you through the tears. I have also finally learned that issues and disagreements don’t have to be a threat to the relationship. That they are things to work on and grow from and not a reason for leaving.

Communication

You’re probably never communicating enough. So often i make assumptions because I’m afraid i won’t like the actual answer. But my own thoughts and worries hurt just the same and probably make it out to be worse than it is. It’s better to communicate how you’re feeling as soon as possible before your mind makes you crazy. There should even be conversations about how to best communicate. Defining the best time of day when you’re both open minded and phrases that aren’t in an attacking manner will be so helpful in future discussions.

Self Improvement

It’s made me come face to face with my own issues that I had been able to ignore when they weren’t really affecting anyone else. Since all of my dating history is short, failed relationships – I didn’t trust that this relationship would last past a couple of months. After the fourth guy leaves, your self esteem is bound to take a dip no matter who you are. So I had a lack of trust and self esteem and even added on jealousy for good measure. None of these are healthy for a relationship and my boyfriend hadn’t done anything to make me doubt him and that is also unfair. He shouldn’t have to pay for my ex’s mistakes. Over the months, I’ve made sure to communicate with my boyfriend when I’m struggling with one of these issues so he can help me help myself. I’ve also educated myself on ways to deal with these issues in a healthy manner and have enlisted help from others to better myself.