what they don’t tell you about being in a relationship

it’s October — cue the PSL Starbucks orders, the halloween memes, and the pumpkin carving. although this month is pretty much dedicated to halloween, it also marks the beginning of a new season. autumn? fall? nope. CUFFING SEASON.

hearts yearn for a companion year round, however, there’s something about the colder weather, shorter days, holiday festivities, and oversized clothing that particularly sends them on a quest for a boo thang. you’d think people would get together more in the summer when everyones hot and tan and eating açaí bowls. but no, dudes apparently wanna cuff the chick with hairy legs, dressed in her grandpas sweats 7 days a week, expects gifts for Christmas, and who eats like she’s preparing for hibernation. loneliness really be that brutal sometimes I guess.

has fall changed both the leaves outside AND your relationship status? have you been CUFFED? how sweet. a new romantic connection is a beautiful thing, but it isn’t all fun and games. well sometimes it is games, but that’s a sure fire way to derail a relationship.

being in love is one of the most incredible things a human can experience. but being in a loving, committed, and thriving relationship isn’t an effortless task. it takes time, understanding, compassion, hard work, and a whole lot more.

I don’t want to tell you how to live your life, but I’m currently in a healthy n loving relationship that I worked for. it wasn’t always easy and it still isn’t sometimes — especially when my relationship is long distance. but throughout the effort and the work I put into my relationship, I’ve learned some valuable things that need to be present in order for it to work and thrive. and if these things don’t make your relationship work and thrive, then you probably shouldn’t be in the relationship.

what they don’t tell you about being in a relationship

BE VULNERABLE

its so important to be as transparent and open as you can be in a new relationship. you can skip the farting and the burping and the poop talk for now — that’s not what I mean when I say show them ALL of you. talk about the things that excite you. share an embarrassing story. tell them what you like and don’t like in the bedroom. discuss your pet peeves. show your humor. speak up when you disagree or get upset. open up about an insecurity. laugh that goofy, real laugh you try to hide. show the raw, authentic you. if they don’t like it, #boibyeeee. if they do, you’ll experience the most beautiful and genuine connection there is.

BE HONEST WITH YOUR PARTNER (& YOURSELF)

nothing true and genuine is built on lies. and relationships that aren’t true and genuine tend to crumble sooner or later. I know it’s hard to be brutally honest — especially with someone you’re still getting to know. however, it’s better to find out that you’re not a match a month into the relationship rather than 8 months down the line. take note of the way the person makes you feel. be honest when your partner asks you “what’s wrong” (read: cut that “nothing” bullshit when you actually mean “everything.”) I understand that honesty sometimes leads to dispute, and you don’t want to argue with your boo. but let me say this loud and clear: arguments can be healthy. communication is messy, and sometimes yelling or disagreeing or crying is what happens in order for us to be heard or come to a resolution. obviously, there are ways to communicate our feelings other than arguing, yelling, or crying, but I’m just being honest — we’re human and our emotions tend to get the best of us at times. never feel bad for saying what you mean or feel even if it’s not what the other person wants to hear — or if it causes an argument. you can never get mad at someone for speaking their truth.

HAVE RESPECT FOR YOUR PARTNER (& YOURSELF)

honesty, most of the time (unless you’re just rude), means that you have enough respect for the person to tell them what’s good. it also means that you respect yourself enough to be real with your own feelings and speak up about them. you gotta know what you deserve, and you gotta hold your partner to that standard.

you also need to respect your partner as an individual. respect their needs, their opinions, their wants, their boundaries, their dreams, & their passions. you might not always agree with them, but the moment you start to treat them with a lack of respect is the moment you strip your partner from their individuality. which, therefore, causes a whole lot of resentment and toxicity. respect the things that make your partner who they are, even if they’re different from you. you are equal beings and it’s so important to remember that — especially in the heat of an argument.

AGREE TO DISAGREE

you’re going to disagree with each other. understand that even though you’re in a relationship, you’re individuals at heart; you’re entitled to your own opinion and that’s perfectly okay. stop trying to be right or prove your point or “win.” most of the time, the things we argue over are futile and unproductive anyway. respect their opinion, agree to disagree, and move on.

PUT IN WORK

relationships are filled with fun and giggles and ease and love and happiness and unforgettable moments. but i’m not kidding when I say this — they’re a full time job. this makes sense, because relationships are not meant to be stagnant. you’re both growing and changing and evolving and creating new passions or routines for yourselves. so the relationship is also bound to do all of those things. if you expect to just effortlessly fit into the other persons life 100% of the time, you’re relationship will not last. it’s an ebb and flow — a “rhythmical pattern of coming and going or decline and regrowth.” there will be seasons where school or career or goals will be prioritized over you, and that’s okay. you’re going to experience dips and spikes in effort being put in because life still happens. but here’s the thing — you need to figure out whether your relationship is temporarily taking a back seat, or if the lack of effort and reciprocation happening is the start of the end.

even when other parts of life take precedent over our relationships, we still need to be putting in effort where we can. this doesn’t have to be elaborate, but simply sending a cute text in the middle of the day, being present and listening to your partner when you’re having a conversation, surprising them with flowers, making them dinner, or writing them a love letter/note are all realistic ways to show them you care. prioritizing other things in life doesn’t have to mean you stop putting in effort. let your partner know you love them, you’re thinking of them, and that you want to be in this relationship. sometimes it’s hard work, but it’s so worth it.

SACRIFICE AND COMPROMISE

I am very, very much my own person. I tend to be inconsiderate of other people’s feelings or opinions when it comes to my own desires. I’m selfish by nature, and I like to do what I want, when I want, regardless of what anyone else thinks or wants me to do. this isn’t a sustainable, or realistic, way to live in a world meant for connecting with others. i’m learning that when it comes to a relationship you typically have one overarching goal — for the other person to be happy. as much as I love being individuals and promoting doing whatever the hell you want, the truth of the matter is that you can’t always do want you want.

okay, you need to know the difference between sacrificing your own happiness for your partner’s — do not do that. however, it’s really important to sacrifice or compromise if it means bettering your relationship and doesn’t interfere with who you are and your wellbeing. for example: maybe your partner doesn’t like drinking or going out, but you do. instead of making it an issue, communicate ways in which you can both come to a middle ground and cater to both of your happiness. that might mean you sacrificing a night out or two, or it might mean your partner compromising to go out, but be home by midnight. whatever it may be, if you implement these two things into your relationship, I guarantee it will make you both happier.

BE FRIENDS

Like I said, relationships and being in love are beautiful things. but for them to work, you have to be friends. I know this is a weird thing to say, but you’d be surprised at how many relationships only exist because of chemistry and good sex. make sure you have common interests and laugh at the same jokes — or at least laugh at each other’s joke (always awkward when couples don’t find each other amusing, lol). aside from the physical aspect, make sure you actually enjoy spending time with the person. some of my favorite things to do with my boyfriend are literally driving in the car and singing, and going to the store. if you wouldn’t want to just hangout and do your daily routine with them, then they probably aren’t for you. looks and lust fade anyway, a homie that you also make-out with is forever. and. that’s. the.

tea.