Seven Years In

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

This Valentine's Day, I wanted to talk about how relationships, even long ones, are always full of learning and progress.

I don't know if I've ever said my boyfriend's name on here, which is odd because it's not a secret, and I’ve certainly said some of my friend's names. So, his name's Rahul, and last month, January 2018, marked ten years of us knowing each other. It's insane to think about.

I met him as a shy, awkward freshman in high school. He was a sophomore, and though I didn't know why, I knew I wanted him to like me. A mutual friend introduced us and we chatted for a bit. I felt awkward and nervous so I said I had to go to class (15 minutes early). He asked if he could get a hug because for some reason, somewhere on my MySpace I said I liked hugs. I laughed and hurriedly left.

It was all so painfully awkward that I don't know why we continued talking after that. He teases me about it to this day.

For three years, we were very good friends. I didn't have a cell phone, but luckily it was the good ol' days of AOL Instant Messenger. We'd talk online too far into the night, I'd write on my Xanga about the boy I had a crush on, and when we got together my senior year, my Internet friends were elated.

We went to different colleges, which some people reacted to as a bummer but I (we) saw as a blessing. We were able to live our own lives, make our own friends, and have our own experiences. It was difficult at times, but it definitely helped us become more independent people. We graduated college the same year, and I loved that we were able to share that milestone together. A few months later, I moved in to an apartment by myself, which I swore I would never do but am very glad I did, and a year and a half after that, the two of us moved in together.

We've known each other for 10 years, have been dating for a little over seven, and have lived together for almost a year now.

There's a lot (a lot) of history, and it sometimes makes me feel like we should have everything mastered, that our relationship should be perfect by now. A couple who's been together for seven years shouldn't bicker about stupid things. They shouldn't have miscommunications or misunderstandings. At this point, everything should be easy. Right?

Not really.

The truth is, no one's relationship is ever perfect. All couples bicker and have misunderstandings. Marriages decades long still have bumps in the road.

Rahul and I had a conversation about this recently. We were talking about how we've known each other for so long, and I confessed that when we first moved in together, I was worried because things weren't going how I'd expected. We bickered and argued, and while it was never anything serious, it wasn't how I had envisioned it going. It wasn't the total carefree, blissful phase I thought it'd be, and I worried that maybe that was a bad sign. Maybe we were doing something wrong. Maybe I was doing something wrong.

He reminded me that we are still experiencing new things together, and with those new things comes more to learn. (And with more to learn comes a few difficulties along the way, naturally.)

Moving in together didn't feel like as big of a step as it was because we'd already been together so many years. I didn't think it'd feel much different than him staying the weekend at my place. But of course it'd feel different. Of course there'd be things to learn about each other. Of course it would take some adjusting. And as time goes by, there will be plenty more.

The point of all of this is to say: Don't worry if your relationship doesn't feel as flawless as you think it should be at this point. Relationships don't have a moment where you officially reach Perfect, Problem-Free Relationship. And that's not a bad thing.

New things bring challenges, but challenges bring growth.

Happy Valentine's to you and yours.

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