Yes, I'm Marrying My High School Sweetheart, But It Was No Cake Walk
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Yes, I'm Marrying My High School Sweetheart, But It Was No Cake Walk

Relationships are hard work and keeping one alive for over 8 years is even harder, but if there is anything I have learned from the experience, it's that it is totally worth it.

Yes, I'm Marrying My High School Sweetheart, But It Was No Cake Walk

Recently, I had a very emotional conversation with a friend who is at a tough point in her relationship, which is going on three years. While listening to her talk about the issues that they have, I couldn't help feeling an overwhelming sense of deja vu. The things she was saying to me were exactly what I had cried to my best friend about, not long ago. And it was then, I knew what I needed y'all to hear.

I do not claim to have the only valid relationship advice, but I do have several years of experience in a long and successful relationship, and I have a few "secrets" I would like to share with you all. This will be the first of a few installments on this subject, so follow me and my articles, because this one is to be continued.

People always say relationships can be hard. Well no sh*t! That is the understatement of the millennia. And you know what? They get harder the longer you are in one. I said it before and I'll say it plenty more before we are through, relationships take work. It takes an extreme amount of self-discipline, empathy, and compromise to be able to wake up each day and consider another human being in countless daily decisions, and count on the fact that you know them well enough to do so.

I am engaged. At 23-years-old, that isn't too totally insane. But the first question people ask me when they find this out is, "how long have you two been together?" And most people are absolutely stunned to learn I have been in the same relationship for over eight years. When we are young, we dream about marrying our high school sweetheart, but it is so rare that we actually do, and for many good reasons.

Not all couples are meant to be together forever.

My fiancé and I have been through a lot together, and our relationship has been tested, time and time again. And while I may be a hopeless romantic, I do not believe fate has anything to do with the success of our relationship, or anyone else's. It is about hard work, and a willingness to compromise and sacrifice for one another.

When I say I am marrying my high school sweetheart, people automatically think that my life has been this fairy tale, but they are so wrong.

This relationship has put both of us through hell. We have fought and made terrible mistakes and even broken each other's hearts. But each time we put our relationship through fire, it came out stronger, and that is because we were both willing to put the work in.

Whenever we encountered an issue that seemed like it could break us, we took a step back and remembered, not what we were fighting about, but what we were fighting for. Because when you decide that something is worth fighting for, there is almost nothing that can convince you to give it up.

That being said, the first of my "secrets" to having a successful long-term relationship is balance. Because while a relationship is definitely work, that work needs to be divided equally between the two people sharing in it. Have you ever felt like your S.O. isn't putting in the same effort that you are? Are you the one left planning all of the dates and quality time? Do you feel like he/she does not make you a priority when they are your number one?

These are sure-fire signs of an unbalanced relationship, and it is important that you let your S.O. know that you are noticing this because odds are, they have no clue. To them, this relationship is going great, because so far it has seemed effortless, but in reality, it has been you pulling all of the weight.

This isn't a red flag. I am not telling you to get out now. I am just telling you, that you are not alone. Many people feel like this in their relationship at one time or another, and the solution is simple.

Your S.O. needs a wake-up call.

You need to let them know how you have been feeling, and that it is important to you that they start being more active in your relationship. This will not be a one-time occurrence either. Over eight years, both of us have had to remind each other that this relationship is a two person job, but those occasional reminders have been what has kept both of us on our feet and our relationship active and thriving.

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