What It's Really Like Being in a Long Term Relationship in Your 20s
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What It's Really Like Being in a Long Term Relationship in Your 20s

It's time to stop telling people in relationships that they're wasting their youth

What It's Really Like Being in a Long Term Relationship in Your 20s
Katelynn Mauro

As I approach the five year mark with my boyfriend, I want to explore the bitterness surrounding long term relationships, specifically those in your 20s.

I’m sure you’ve heard the adage “your 20s are your selfish years” meaning you probably should be out living the single and mingling life, having fun, falling temporarily in love and lust with many people, and focusing on your own personal future.

That’s perfectly valid and important, but it leaves no room for those of us in long term relationships. People often try to make us feel ashamed for being “tied down” instead of “exploring our options”. There should be no shame in being in love, in being disciplined, in being committed.

Let others live and love

My friend just got married to his high school sweetheart at twenty four years old, and people gave them grief about it pushing the cliche “don’t do it, you’re too young to be tied down.” I’ve heard similar things even though I don’t consider marriage a part of my imminent future. People like to project their feelings onto you and feel like they are doing you justice by giving you relationship advice, but just because you’ve been scorned and hurt, or just because settling down didn’t work for you doesn’t mean you have to make others feel bad about their relationships. Everyone is entitled to live the lives they wish without the bitter warnings and judgements of others. My advice is to mind your own business and let others do what they want, since it DOES NOT affect you.

It's not a waste of my time

I want to make something clear; just because I have been in a relationship since high school doesn’t mean I’m missing out on anything. I am still “selfish” and deeply invested in myself and my future, I still live it up and party and love people. I don’t feel like I’m “wasting my youth” because I’ve got a brilliant, compassionate, enigmatically divine and devoted man by my side who loves me even when I don’t deserve it. Monogamy has its flaws and we admittedly don’t wholly agree with it, but right now it’s what we, the two people actually in the relationship, have decided to do.

Living and loving in this here and now

We don't measure our love in forevers, we measure it in todays. Today I am here for you, here with you, today I am the fullest me because you love me. Today I love you. The future is uncertain for all of us, twists and turns and setbacks await us. Love may grow like a tangled vine climbing years and years, or it may rot like a weed and die. We cannot know.

All I know is that our todays grew into five years, which considering our age is an impossibly long time. Yet here we are, and it doesn’t seem that long at all.

We’ve grown together, moved to a new city together from our stagnant hometown. We run a household together, taken on the responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, and handling finances. While our own families are absent as we move into young adulthood, we’ve become each other’s family and have invested love, trust, and aspirations into one another. We take our goals and ideas and attack them together, working out the complex details as a team, which is way more effective than going at it alone. When life gets stressful and overwhelming, I find peace in the fact that you will be at home waiting to comfort me, you will be ready to listen.

Everyone can make their own decisions

Your 20s are a wild ride of new experiences and adversity and adjustments, and I am grateful I've had my love through it all as a solid support system.

I am proud of these last five years, I'm proud of the decisions we've made and the effort we've put into building a life together. I'm proud of the journey and excited to see where our love takes us next. Relationships work when you don't burden each other with expectations, they work when you both consciously focus on yourselves and each other rather than the pressures of society and relationship advice others impose upon you. Everyone is entitled to choose their own path in life, be a good person and realize that even when you mean well with your advice, people will ultimately always do what they want and that is how life should be. Let others love with no judgement or pressure, let others love without shaming them for loving. Furthermore, there is no one way you should be living your life. There is no should. Do you and forget the rest.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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