What are long-term relationships really like?
I’ve quickly learned that Maroon 5 was right all along: it’s not always rainbows and butterflies no matter how much you and your partner love each other.
“Long-term relationships will change you either for better or for worse,” According to Jianny Adamo, Counselor and Certified Relationship Coach at Fearless Love. “Love has the power to transform us so hopefully we have chosen well and picked a partner that can grow with us. Their friends and family become our friends and family and vice versa.
Their debts or assets will either take or give to our relationship. Their ability to support, listen to and cherish us will be wind in our sail but if they tend to criticize, invalidate and can’t hear you, this will take from you.”
Inevitably, every long-term couple will go through difficult phases in their relationship.
The key to making it last?
Remembering that no matter what you and your partner are on the same team and can tackle anything together including working through rough patches.
Here are 7 unexpected things you learn in your first long-term relationship:
- Questioning your relationship is normal
You might think that once you’re in love and settled down, you’ll know without a doubt that your partner is “The One.” Truthfully, it’s totally normal to have the occasional doubt about your long-term relationship and you shouldn’t feel guilty when that happens.
“Even if you’re deeply in love with your partner, it’s perfectly normal to occasionally question your relationship. “Everyone has doubts from time to time whether it’s about the future of the relationship or if your partner truly is ‘the one.’ As long as the doubts aren’t lingering and constant, they’re normal and even healthy.”
2. You’ll experience temptation
Being in a relationship doesn’t prevent you from being attracted to other people sometimes: having a crush while in a relationship is totally normal.
You will still find other people attractive and, even if you stay away from temptation, it can occasionally find you.”Social media pretty much guarantees you’re going to interact with people from your past and present who might not have the best of intentions. However, being aware of the temptation allows you to keep your guard up and fight it.”
3. Long-Term Relationships can feel “Boring”
When you spend so much time with one other person of course there are going to be moments when you think, “wow, this is boring compared to being single” but being occasionally bored in your relationship isn’t always a bad sign.
“The biggest ‘secret’ no one ever tells you about long-term relationships is that the relationship is mostly boring. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just important to realize that the excitement and raw passion of the early ‘in love’ phase will fade to a degree. However, those who truly love each other will work to find joy and happiness in the everyday things of life. When you achieve this, you know your relationship is truly built to last.”
4. Forgiveness is Crucial
If your partner does something that hurts you, you should communicate about it and work out a solution together. But in a healthy long-term relationship, neither partner will continue to hold a grudge against the other for something that they’ve agreed to put in the past.
“Forgiveness and the ability to let things go. Yes, arguments will happen but they need to be fully dealt with and then forgotten about and never brought up again. This allows a couple to move forward daily with a fresh slate. Instead what we often see happens is that insults aren’t forgiven and pain is held on to. And so, when a fresh argument arises it now sits upon the previous unresolved pain and hurt.
Couples that stay together for the long term have the ability to fully resolve and then permanently put away their dispute.”
5. It’s OK to go to bed angry
The old adage that couples should never go to bed angry might be good advice but it isn’t always practical.
After a long day, you’re tired and extra cranky and this is not a good combination for effective conflict management. Rather than rehashing the same points over and over again and escalating an argument sometimes is best to just go to bed.
You tend to have a clearer mind when you wake up and in the calm of the morning the issue may no longer feel like a big deal, so you can let it go or work through it more rationally.
6. You can share a bathroom and have a hot sex life
If you’ve never been in a long-term relationship you probably cringe at the thought of your hypothetical partner seeing you during “gross” moments. In reality when you’re truly comfortable with someone you can witness the icky stuff and still maintain a hot sex life.
Many close couples have an open door policy when it comes to bathroom etiquette, and their sex life is thriving. There is a level of comfort, intimacy, and acceptance that comes with sharing a bathroom. It shows that at your grossest or sexiest, your partner loves you all the same.”
7. Arguments are Normal
When you’re in a long-term relationship arguing is inevitable. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a tiny squabble over the dishes or a serious disagreement what really matters is how you communicate during and after the argument.
Many couples have a dysfunctional dance in which one partner pursues the conflict in hopes of resolution or comfort and when the other partner doesn’t respond, shuts down or ignores the issue, the pursuer tends to yell, cry, or engage in other negative behaviors for attention.
Learning how to change this dynamic which involves listening skills, understanding and validating your partner’s emotional experiences is a key to successful long-term relationships.”