How I’ve Stayed in the “Honeymoon Phase” for Two Years
The longer I live through a great relationship, the more thought I give to wondering about why so many people, including my past self, stay in bad relationships. I wonder more and more about why relationships die so quickly when the one I’m in now has stayed so lively for two years, but I know that things weren’t just made to be this way. Making a relationship’s luster last isn’t effortless.
Imagine, if you will, a one-bedroom apartment in one of the most crowded suburbs in the country. John and I are always bumping into one another because we both seem to always be foraging for snacks in the kitchen and needing to use the bathroom at the same time. Like most individuals, we also have our own distinct tastes in entertainment and ideas on how we like to spend our time. How, then, do we always seem to avoid getting sick of each other? How, then, do we always lead with loving kindness and respect?
The answer lies in a series of compromises.
We still have our own friends
Having our own support systems through friends is still really important to us. John is a homebody, so he usually plays video games while I entertain in my small kitchen. Despite my general hatred of social media, I have a good understanding of the fact that that’s where he communicates with his friends the most and I try not to scold him for looking at screens.
He lets me have my friends over without being an overbearing presence, and his attitude towards my friends who are around frequently has been something that definitely hasn’t gone unnoticed. No one wants to be with someone who hates all of their friends and unconditionally controls their time.
We incorporate each other into our own hobbies
I learned to play Xbox because of him. While I never planned on playing Halo in my free time, I know that it makes him happy and I’ve learned to enjoy frivolous first-person shooter games.
In the same fashion, John lets me pick artsy independent movies fairly regularly. Most importantly, we can always agree on going hiking on the weekends and taking naps.
We carefully pick and choose responsibilities
I’m a part time student with two part time jobs. I still work less hours than John does, and I respect the fact that his commute to the city for work every day is a daunting one. Because of this, I find myself happily doing household tasks like laundry and dishes. I cook dinner every night because not only do I love cooking, but I also feel it would be terribly unfair for him to have to do it after waking up at 5am and coming home 12 hours later. He often cites feeling guilty for “not doing enough around the house”, but I feel that the arrangement we have is fair and balanced because I have more free time than he does.
Consider everything in-between, too
There’s not one simple and concise answer for making a relationship work. I know that the three big things I’ve listed are important, but I’m also sure that twelve dozen other minor things come into play that keep our relationship lively and healthy.
Maybe it’s the fact that we agree on politics. Maybe there’s something to be said for the fact that our large age difference is a factor that’s in our favor and there’s way more to that than numbers. Maybe it’s the way in which we’ve been treated poorly by other people in the past and have learned experience in how we want to behave — it’s possible that none of the daily bliss would be attainable if we hadn’t both gone through tenuous divorces and breakups.
More often than not, I think that loving passionately will make a person go out of their way to act with goodness and kindness in everyday life when no one is looking.
You can improve your relationship whenever you want
To end on a hopeful note, I want anyone and everyone who reads this to know that I’ve come into problems here and there despite loving my partner fearlessly. We had the notorious phase where we argued constantly, but I made a concerted effort to improve myself and my relationship (and so did he). It’s as simple as the fact that he took care to stop drinking frequently and I took care to stop yelling when feeling angry. We choose to be happy together. Happiness doesn’t just magically come to us.
That being said, it’s never too late to leave an irreparable relationship. If you’re regularly being mistreated, it’s time to find greener pastures. This is merely a call to assess whether or not your “irreparable” relationship could be worked on.
I’ve been in the “honeymoon phase” for two full years. It’s about the work that my partner and I put in every single day — pleasurable work that leaves us feeling mutually rewarded. I never thought that love so enduring was possible, but I’m here to tell everyone that it is.