There are two types of long relationships. There are those relationships where you are best friends who can make each other come without it being difficult. And you’re in a relationship where you both know you’re just passing the time. You no longer laugh at her jokes, his excessive drinking isn’t as funny as it used to be, and the other person’s personality is extremely annoying upon reflection. You are the couple who sit silently facing each other in Vapiano, the reason why the child who sees you from a distance later develops a fear of commitment.
There is still hope, however, as 42 percent of marriages end in divorce. This means that many couples – I’m lumping marriages and long-term relationships together – get a second chance. It’s encouraging because even though long-term relationships are challenging – there’s a limit to the number of times you can watch someone’s face turn red with anger because the pizza delivery guy is taking too long without yelling at them – if you’re going to take it easy for a while – they can also pay you a lot.
But how do you know if that’s really the case? How can a generic article like this apply to your close relationship when over years of interaction you have built a unique bond with the person you are in a relationship with?
You will read that below.
The thing about arguments is that most of the time they are about absolutely nothing and can be resolved very easily. Unless your partner* has cheated on you – or has suddenly taken up drowning kittens as a new hobby – the vast majority of your arguments can be resolved by stopping and thinking: am I a dick? The answer is almost always ‘yes’.
The problem is that adults who have done something wrong and are punished for it tend to stick around because it reminds them of when they were children. But you’re not a kid anymore, are you? You are a tough adult. You have a payment card with which you can pay contactless. You could order seventeen drinks at once, smoke seventeen cigarettes and set off seventeen fireworks indoors if you wanted to. Don’t let pride get in the way of your sanity: If you know you’ve been a bit of a bitch, just apologize. Stop slamming doors, dry your tears, stop pretending to be angry when you actually want everything to go back to normal, because being angry is really just boring.
* We use the word “partner” here to remain gender neutral, but be aware that depending on how deep you are into it, you may soon begin to seriously use this word to describe the other person in your relationship. to point out 🙁
The ‘spark’ is a rather vague term. What does it mean? Is it just a term that Relatieplanet.nl uses to recruit customers? If you feel like you’re missing the “spark,” it’s probably because you’re entering a new phase of your relationship; you can only sneak tongues in the laundry room at parties for a certain amount of time, flirt all day on facebook chat, or drink way too many fifteen euro cocktails every time you see each other. At some point, the hangover begins to affect your cognitive functions and your work begins to suffer. Your boss wants to talk to you, and then he’ll discover your chat history where you’ve written the phrase “let’s cuddle on the couch tonight” literally hundreds of times. And that’s no fun for anyone.
Being dependent on each other is part of having a serious relationship. In addition to the happiness you feel when you see your partner, a sense of dread and sadness will come over you when you think that the other may be gone one day, the fiercely burning fire of love will slowly turn into a quiet crackling fire. It is okay; don’t be put off by it – it means you’ve successfully entered a new phase of your relationship – one that’s likely to be much more meaningful.
If you crave discomfort and novelty so much that you develop an obsession with keeping the ‘spark’ alive, pull out your Disney pajamas and call your mom begging for candy, because you’re clearly still a kid.
Sometimes you go through those horrible self-reflective periods where you can’t help but doubt everything, like your relationship is actually such a good idea. It’s normal. If you don’t like yourself all the time, how can you expect to attract the person who sometimes farts in bed all the time?
But again, don’t panic. Just wait until it passes or until you can think rationally about what you really want, and until then don’t do anything stupid.
How old are you, five? Can’t resist those Snickers on the counter? Grow up. The grass is always greener on the other side, and a drunken kiss isn’t worth the overwhelming, all-consuming guilt that will haunt you for weeks, months, or years.
Sometimes you look longingly and enviously at your friends who are single: don’t they look happy in all their wonderful solitude? Aren’t they much less bound than you? They can hang out at parties for six hours longer, shoving key points of one thing or another up their noses. They may decide during the night to go to Berlin for a weekend. They can flirt and have one-night stands. They can rot in their own filth all weekend, a hundred episodes George Shore take care of each other and smoke thin joints. No one is forcing them to shop. No one tells them to shower and join them for brunch.
But the single story also has another side: singles are usually very unhappy. That’s why they complain about their single life all the time. A universal truth: everyone else seems happy, but they’re not. This is why we all hate our lives so much. Finding someone to hate your life with eases the pain. Remember that.
Getting a partner means getting your partner’s friends, those are the rules. Your partner’s friends always want to go to a café or barbecue together. Your partner’s friends will always want to “question” you to find out if you are “good enough” for their friend. It’s common for partners’ friends to be idiots and bitches. Your partner’s friends make you question everything you thought you knew about them.
But everyone has bad friends. Everyone is friends with a classy girl named Frédérique, whom no one likes, but she lives nearby. Everyone has friends from college who just talk about their school days and how much fun it was. This is why you need to get over your other half’s friends, even if they’re a bunch of incredible assholes: Nobody’s perfect, and even fewer people have good taste.
It’s important not to put too much pressure on each other to be integrated into each other’s friend group, unless that’s what you both want. You don’t have to trot your partner around the cafe and show them off to everyone, pretending that he or she is a tough scar with a good story behind it. Just let him or her go. Unless you’re some kind of obnoxious control freak who tracks their every move through Find My iPhone, your partner’s independence is probably one of the things that made you fall in love in the first place, right?
Most people enjoy the occasional company of at least one of their parents once they’ve pulled themselves out of the emotional misery of adolescence. So don’t make a big deal out of meeting your partner’s parents.
Maybe you should spend an evening with a grumpy dad who judges you by your stature and the way you drink a beer. You may sometimes be dealing with a crazy mother who seems extremely sweet until one time you accidentally step your foot on the couch and she starts crying. The relationship between you and your partner’s parents is often strange: filled with high stakes and built on a half-hearted search for each other’s likable traits and talking points to fall back on during quiet lunches.
In general, don’t worry too much about meeting parents – they’re just old people, like the ones you see at the butcher’s or the station. The most important tip: Don’t be shy. Have a joke to break the ice—the last thing you want is for them to think their child made a 20-year pact with a bland, tasteless oatmeal cookie.
Unless you’re one of those self-conscious couples who routinely schedule joyless sex sessions to keep the numbers up, at some point in your long-term relationship you’re going to have less sex than you did when you first started. It’s inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be a problem: if the sex is still good, there’s some variation in it every now and then, and everyone still comes regularly, there’s nothing wrong with taking it a little slower.
But if the sex starts to get a little boring, here’s a good solution: talk about it. Say, “I want to do some weirder shit,” or “I want you to push my anus a little bit with your thumb,” or “It would be great if we could experiment a little with feet.” By the time sex becomes a drag, you’ve probably been together long enough to talk openly and honestly about what’s on your mind.
People often worry too much about this. You know you’ve been sleeping together almost every night for the past two years and you’re still paying rent, right? And don’t you think it’s so nice to wake up together on a Saturday afternoon and split the delivery cost of a pizza so you don’t have to feel so guilty about the Margherita points you slip in together afterwards? And that it’s a lot more hassle to constantly text each other what you’re watching when you’re both watching Netflix in your own house than just watching together on the couch?
Then it’s just a matter of moving in together.
Yes, you will be on each other’s lips at times and there will be some disagreements, but when the time is right, go for it. If you plan to stay with this person for a long time, living together is just part of it.
The Invisible Timeline
It’s ingrained in all of us that while it’s fine to live your life the way you want, you’re a total idiot if you do because there are certain magical steps you need to take at the right time if you don’t may your destroy any chance of happiness. You owe everything you grew up with: from silly comedies where recognizable characters are hopelessly bad to passive-aggressive think pieces with titles like “10 Reasons Why You Should Be Single in Your Twenties” and, if you have a uterus , constant reminders that you are becoming less and less fertile as time goes on.
And then an invisible timeline has crept into your subconscious: in your late teens, you must be in a serious relationship, learning to have sex; in your early twenties you fuck anything and everything and then around 26 to 28 you meet the love of your life because you still want to look pretty when you get married and are young enough to raise some offspring. without having to spend all your money on IVF.
The more you let this invisible timeline rule your life, the more you will doubt everything. Don’t get caught in this neurotic spiral. If you’re happy with your relationship in your early twenties, what else does it matter? If it doesn’t work out in the end, you can always play sissy in your thirties or forties. Being in a long-term relationship is actually the most subversive thing you can do in your twenties.
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