You hardly noticed it happening. It started with a few dates, which became a few nights in watching Netflix, which became staying at one another’s most every night, which became living together, which became, “OMG, we’ve been together how long?!” Before you knew it, you were officially in what’s known as a long term relationship and there was no denying it.
The funny thing about it all was that it felt so natural; it just fit. Still, there were a fair few oddities you noticed along the way. In reality, being in a long term relationship is nothing like dating. Not one bit. It’s a whole new ball game. Here are just nine little things no one tells you about long term relationships.
1. You See Yourself in a Whole New Light
Before you got with your SO, you probably went through your life thinking you were a normal, sane, reasonable individual. We’d all like to believe that we have our lives together, that we’re in total control of our emotions and how we act. Sadly, that’s not always the case. Being in a relationship is like holding up a giant mirror to yourself so you can finally see all of your deepest, darkest flaws glaring back at you.
None of us are perfect. Being with someone for a long period means that you will learn things about yourself that you never truly expected. For example, you might have a short temper, be awfully messy, or be a big fat gossip. All of the above will be highlighted when your partner mentions them to you. Accept it. We’re all terrible human beings now and then.
2. You Will Bicker… But it Won’t Mean the End
If you’re under the impression that a “good relationship” is one where you always get along, never argue, and live a life of bliss, you’re sadly mistaken. This is the real world and we are real people. Sometimes, we all have off days. What’s more, since our partners are the closest person to us, we’re likely to take out our mood swings on them.
When you’re new to the world of LTRs, these little blips may shake you up. Don’t let them. The longer you’re with someone, the less the odd spat will worry you. In fact, a recent study found that arguing and expressing anger in your relationship is actually healthy. The reason is simple — getting out how you feel in the short-term means less conflict in the long-term. So, go ahead, tell your partner just how you feel.
3. The Butterflies Will Fade Away
When you first meet your partner, you feel utterly intoxicated by them. They’re the first thing you think about in the morning and the last thing you think about at night. You spend your days texting them, stalking them online, and day-dreaming about how many kids you’ll have. Before you see them once more, those familiar butterflies start a-fluttering in your stomach and you can barely control yourself.
Fast-forward a few years, and those butterflies have curled up and gone to sleep. You’re afraid they may even be in a coma or worse. Seeing your partner just becomes a part of your daily routine; you can’t imagine not speaking to them at least once every day. It all feels so very, well, normal now.
4. And be Replaced by Something Even Better
While the butterflies may be gone, they’ve been replaced by something new and perhaps even better. The sense of stability you get once you’ve been with someone a while is like nothing else in the world. Suddenly, you always have someone there with you; you never need to be by yourself. Your partner becomes your best friend, but more than that, they become your family in many ways too. You feel that you can tell them absolutely anything and, that’s because, you really can.
5. Personal Boundaries Will No Longer Exist
In the honeymoon period of your relationship, you did your utmost to hide all your imperfections from your partner. You wanted them to believe that you were a flawless, ideal person — the one from their wildest dreams. So, you never burped in front of them, used the bathroom while they were in there, or asked them to squeeze your zits. Oh, how the times have changed over the years.
These days, you’re not even sure where the lines of the boundaries are anymore. You’ll gleefully hold a full-on conversation while sitting on the toilet seat. You have zero problem plucking out your weird chin hairs in front them. And sometimes, just to gross them out, you go up to them and lick their face. Things have gotten pretty darn weird… and you love it.
6. People Will Constantly Ask You About the Future
Whatever your views on marriage, kids, and the whole shabang, there’s one thing that no one out there particularly enjoys — pressure. When you’ve been with the same person for more than a blink of the eye, something rather odd begins to happen to the people around you. Your nearest and dearest will think nothing of asking you the most daunting of questions. From, “When will you settle down?” to “When will you have kids?”’ there seems to be no end to this intrusive interrogation.
7. You Will Still Fancy Other People
Being in a LTR doesn’t mean that you go blind, you know? You’re still a living, breathing person and you still have those same old needs. So, needless to say, you will see people in the street and find them attractive. You may even linger a little longer when speaking to a particularly fit waiter in a restaurant. There’s nothing wrong with it. Fancying other people does not make you a cheater or even a bad person. It makes you human.
The point is that you don’t act on your feelings. That’s what being in a committed relationship is all about. You mutually agree that you will only be with one another. And, even when times get hard and you fight, that’s something that you stick to. In the end, it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give someone.
8. Your SO Will See You at Your Worst
Let’s not beat around the bush here; we all have embarrassing, awkward stories that we’d rather not share. Whether you’ve vomited in a plant pot at a wedding or wet yourself during a gym class, there’s sure to be at least one cringy skeleton in your closet. At the start of a relationship, you can easily hide all of the above. You can pretend that your life thus far has gone just swimmingly and that nothing red-face inducing ever happens to you.
Soon enough, though, that facade will wear thin. Your partner will be there to see your worst moments as they play out in real-time. There’s no way of hiding things from them when they’ve seen them with their own eyes. Oh, and to make matters just a tad worse, your partner will likely use these moments as ammo in the future. Joy.
9. But They Will Always Have Your Back
Sure, things may get awkward, a little too close, and downright weird, but there’s one thing of which you can always be certain: No matter what happens to you, your partner will absolutely always have your back. When you’ve been together that long, it’s as though you make a silent agreement that you’re always on one another’s side. Having that kind of support is an incredible feeling — one of security and, yes, love.
Since you’ve chosen to be together this long already, the way you see one another really has changed. This person is more than a mere fling or someone you lust after; they are your partner in more senses than one. And, honestly, that fact makes the whole darn thing worth it.