Love

I have been in a relationship with my best friend for almost 9 years.

Settled too young?

I hate that word: settled. I don’t like the connotations it carries. Don’t get me wrong, I love my partner and I don’t plan on leaving my relationship. But the idea of settling is not what I want in life. I don’t want to just settle. Settling to me means a kind of ‘this’ll do’ attitude. My partner is not a ‘this’ll do’ conclusion to my late teens. My relationship means more than to settle, to accept that this is it, to not aim for anything more than that.

I was almost 18 when I started this adventure. I am a very different person to that girl I was then. He also has changed as the years have gone on. For us we’ve grown together. We went to the same high school where we met and then university.

I was a 17 year old, that knew everything and knew nothing and was plodding along in high school and started having feelings for a boy I had known for 5 years previous. We had met up a few times and just talked for ages about our family, our dreams, our teenage problems that seemed so big at the time. We just clicked. So on a November evening, sitting on his single bed I said yes to being his girlfriend. A year later he went to university. He had gone a year before me as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when the time came to decide. I visited him numerous times and his friends become mine.

It was hard though, a long distant relationship. Our relationship has never been perfect but when it came to visiting each other within that first year of his degree, distance really helped strengthen our relationship I think. At the time it was really hard but reuniting after weeks apart felt amazing! When I did visit him, I fell in love with the university. It was then that I decided I wanted to go there, live there and learn there. University was the best time! We got to see each other whenever we wanted. We had separate houses which definitely helped to have space when we needed it. Leaving uni we both felt a bit lost. From 3 years of being students, studying but mostly socialising and living with your friends; to deciding what to do next, to actually have to make a living. It is hard to leave that life.

Neither of us had any money to move in together so we both went back to our parents houses. A couple years went on of seeing each other 3 times a week. It was fine but it did suck having to say goodbye, especially on Sundays when we both knew a week of work was coming. So eventually when circumstances allowed and we had saved some money, we started looking for places to rent. Within a couple months we found our new little home.

At the beginning, even though we’d been together for quite a few years, we were getting to know each other on a deeper level; this wasn’t always easy. They say you don’t really know someone until you live with them. For us, this wasn’t really the case but we definitely found out new things about each other, good things, annoying things and everything in between. Liam had a pet snake since high school so when we started living together, we became a family of 3 and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My family are his family and his are mine.

We have travelled to some amazing places and are soon to be living and travelling in Australia (when Covid fucks off).

Our relationship isn’t without its challenges, like anything it’s not always easy. But I think how we’ve managed to stay together throughout the years, is ultimately to do with communication. We talk about everything. He is the person I vent to, the person who knows my secrets and insecurities. He is the one I go to when I’ve had the best day and when I’ve had the worst.

Every relationship is different but for us, we spend a lot of it laughing. Cry laughing; mostly at him taking the piss out of me. We’re not a couple that goes out drinking together or goes to the gym. We like our own space. If I need time by myself he understands and likewise. We cook together and take turns washing up. We have a lot of the same friends. We like mostly the same food, apart from mushrooms (I can’t stand the stuff). And we have the same dreams, more or less.

We were friends first and that really helped. It never felt weird going to more than that. Other people thought it was weird and it wouldn’t last, but here we are…weird and lasting.

Advice for people in a new relationship.

1. Your partner is not a mind reader. Don’t presume they see things for your point of view. Talk about it. Never go to sleep on an argument, it’ll just fester and the frustration will build. And it’ll ruin your nights sleep-not worth it!

2. If you need to fart, do it. One of my friends was with her ex for about 5 years and never farted in front of him. Because of this her stomach would hurt and she would bloat. It’s not worth the pain. Passing wind is part of life, don’t be afraid. If they’re right for you, let rip.

3. Laugh. Life can get really serious sometimes. If you’re not laughing with your partner, get out. Laughing is medicine for the soul.

4. If you live together, don’t get complacent. Go on date nights, have nights away together. It’s not about rekindling, it’s keeping the fire burning.

5. Don’t compare your relationship to anyone else’s. Make your own rules. Don’t follow this advice if it doesn’t relate to your situation. Every relationship is different. What works for one couple might be a nightmare for yours. Trust in the foundation you have created.

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