A Life Changing Read: On Staying In Serious Relationships

I want to make this space, my column, honest because I believe keeping it real will make the reading that much more relatable. I write for my friends (you who are reading this) and I write to hopefully help you help yourself. I realise, consequently my personal life will be publicised. However, I want to culture an environment where it is okay for you to openly talk about something that may otherwise be considered a taboo or a stigma. If everyone knew how much shit everyone else goes through, there won’t be space for judgementalism. 

Hi friends, welcome back to the jungle life, welcome to my column, and if the new semester has reunited you and your partner, welcome back together! Speaking of partners, I met my boyfriend during my first semester of uni on Christmas Day of 2014. This is not my heart-wrenching breakup story, although it could be if I had given in to my weak will and made the choice to give up on my relationship. I want to talk about this.

My boyfriend and I have been together for nine months which isn’t that long of a period compared to my friends and their partners who have five years on us. However, the amount of shit that we’ve gone through made it seem as if we’ve been together for years. Is this how everyone else feels? This is not my first relationship but it is my first long-term relationship. I knew it was going to be a long-term relationship when my boyfriend and I discussed plans of moving in together and even thoughts of getting married (crazy, I know).

Anyway, in the course of nine months I have, on many occasions, contemplated my relationship even while my boyfriend held me to sleep at night. The idea of committing yourself to someone else wholly and the fact that being in a serious relationship means you are meddling with someone else’s life weighed very heavily on me and it scared me, it still does. It made me want to bail at the first sight of problems. I first heard the quote,

Falling in love is not a choice but staying in love is,

from my boyfriend on a night when he was consoling me. Choosing to stay in love and to stay with someone despite poor circumstances takes a lot of selflessness and a whole lot of faith. It is hard work and it is mental toil. I have very frankly told my boyfriend, “Being with you is so stressful.” I’m not saying it’s his fault, I’m saying our relationship affects me that way. I’m not educated on the different stages of a relationship and I’m not even sure if it truly exists or if it is applicable to everyone’s relationship, but I know I am at that stage where one thing after another, big or small, will test my relationship and I have to work through it with my boyfriend.

I believe I have managed to come to this point with him because we have been exercising communication which really plays a major role. Confrontation and exposing the skeletons in your closet can be very uncomfortable and nerve-wrecking. However, the more you share and the more you discuss, the easier it gets and the more comfortable it becomes to a point where you can voice anything without fearing judgement. No one is a mind reader so unless something is heard nothing is going to be resolved.

If you drop your relationship at the first sight of trouble, it’s going to become an endless cycle with everyone else you see in the future. I was in that cycle and at that time it seemed like, what my friend jokingly called, ‘serial dating’ but in actual fact it was me walking away from all those great potentials again and again and again. No relationship is going to come without its problems. I really wish it isn’t this way but how can something be worth it and how can you truly cherish something unless you have to fight for it.

I challenge you, my friend, to fight for your relationship by learning to be selfless and to be vocal. Best of luck.

Love, Jon.

Image Credit: browardpalmbeach.com

Creative writing student. "People like me / walk the earth with half shut eyes. / People like me / see the ground through our palms."

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