Three years ago I created a dating profile on a dating app for teenagers. I had just gotten out of a long, unhealthy relationship, and wasn't sure if I wanted to try love again.
After talking to lots of boys, most who just wanted nudes, I had almost given up. Luckily, right before I signed off the app forever, I started having the first real and intellectual conversation I'd had since I signed on. Little did I know that boy would later become the longest and most fulfilling relationship I'd ever have.
Now, with our three-year dating anniversary coming up, I'm looking back at the past few years. When I see the person I was at 16 when we met versus the person I am now at almost 20, I realize I've learned a lot, about love especially, and to commemorate the anniversary I thought I'd write them all down.
Here are the six things my three-year relationship has taught me about love:
Relationships are a work in progress, always.
Your relationship won't be the same as it was a year ago, and it definitely won't be the same as it was on your first date. that's OK, it shouldn't be. Being in a relationship at such a critical age in life taught me that for a relationship to be successful, it has to grow and change as the people in it do. What worked for your relationship at the beginning probably won't work forever, just remember that.
50/50 effort is preferred but just not realistic.
Everyone dreams of a relationship where they only have to put in half of the work, half the "sorry's," and half the "I love you's," but unfortunately that won't happen. Sometimes when your partner is feeling down it might be a 75/25 effort day, and sometimes it might be a 10/90 day if you're sick. All that matters is you're both trying your hardest, always, even if your hardest lacks sometimes.
It's only kind of like the movies.
"The Notebook" gave me high expectations for love, and if my three-year relationship has taught me anything, it's to have expectations but only realistic ones. Your boyfriend probably won't write you letters every day for a year and climb a Ferris wheel to get your attention, but he might write you cute notes every now and then and take you on a Ferris wheel, and that, most of the time, is enough.
Open and honest communication is a must.
Sometimes being honest feels like the hardest thing to do, but it's necessary for a healthy relationship. There were times when I had a fight with my boyfriend just to realize during it that it could have been prevented if I just told him how I truly felt at the beginning. Once you stop beating around the bush, your relationship becomes so much easier.
Don't take the relationship too seriously.
Don't spend the whole relationship hiding your quirks. Eat that hotdog in one bite, sing your favorite song in their shower, and bring your baggiest sweatshirt to sleepover in. You should feel comfortable in your relationship, and if burping after every sip of a drink means you're comfortable, then do that. The right person for you is out there, and they probably burp that often too.
It's going to be hard, but with the right person it will be worth it.
In the past three years, I have laughed more than I ever thought possible and cried far less than I did in past relationships. We fight and push each other's buttons sometimes, but those moments don't even come close to amounting to the happiness the relationship fills me with, and that's how you know you're with the right person.
The relationship I'm in now has been more rewarding and loving than anything I could have ever imagined. When I signed onto that dating app three years ago, I never thought I would find the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, but thankfully I did. Because of him, I know what love is supposed to feel like.
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