My first date is with my first boyfriend and, over two and a half years later, I’m still with him. In these past few years with him, I’ve learned a lot. Not only about how relationships work, or how he is, but how I am as a person.
So, here’s what I’ve learned:
- Communication is key;
- Independence is important;
- Maturity is a necessity; and
- Be understanding.
Communication is something that my significant other and I have and always do. If something bothers me, I talk to him about it and he listens to me. We talk it out. It comes from the basis of always being honest with each other. Communication is key for us as it is important. This isn’t something that’s done with for only romantic relationships, but with other people, too. Let your voice be heard. If something is bothering you, you go right up to that person and tell them. Here are some tips with communication, though:
- Think through what you want to say first, because you might not express yourself clearly with those first words out of your mouth;
- Take a couple of deep breaths if you’re angry because what comes out may not actually be something you want said; and
- Don’t be afraid of being heard. Just speak your mind (after you’ve thought it over and clearly), and let the other person speak.
- One last thing – listen. The other party can’t be the only one who listens. Once you’ve said your piece, listen to what they have to say. That’s when you can settle things or let things drift, if need be.
Now, Independence. For all the talk I give to my boyfriend about feminism and equity, I tend to depend on him a lot. If I had any decisions to make, I would go to him first and ask him about what I should do. He’s the one who taught me about independence, making me make my own decision and telling me that I can’t always go to him. I was put off because I’m so used to other people making my decisions *ahem, parents*. So, what he did for me was entirely new. And, now, living back at home, under the roof of my parents’, I can’t help but scream in silence and anguish that the independence I had, while I was an undergrad, has disappeared when I came back home. I like independence. I like not having to depend on others. However, you should know that there are some things that come with independence that I think is important to think about:
- It’s okay to ask for help.
- Being independent doesn’t mean you take the entire load. It means you can decide for yourself and you know how to treat yourself right.
- Independence does not mean being selfish.
I think maturity ties in really nicely with independence. I wasn’t mature. I got sick at jokes about sex. I couldn’t say the word sex. I couldn’t stand the sound of kissing. I had the maturity level of an eleven year old whenever it came to things concerning physical affection. My significant other turned me around on that. This is why maturity coincides with independence – maturity is being able to handle things with reflection and understanding the other side of things.
- Be empathetic. It’s not always about you, you, you.
- Just because you’re childish, doesn’t mean you’re immature.
- Maturity isn’t perfection. You’re flawed. It’s okay.
Now, this last one is understanding. It ties in really nicely with the other lessons I’ve learned. It’s really important to be understanding. It’s like maturity because you have to be empathetic and try to see where the other person is coming from. You see…
- People handle different things differently.
- Having positive communication can create understanding.
- Being independent does not mean everything is on your side. Take a look at all sides.
I really love being with my significant other and having him in my life. He has helped me unbelievably grow as a person in the short time I have been with him. I am not at all as immature and dependent as I once was. I have more stability in whom I am (still working on that. Another talk for another time), and I gained all of this insight that I am still working through. It’s really easy to talk about these things and act like things go perfectly, but they don’t. Each of these lessons are still lessons I’m growing in myself. Don’t take my advice to heart, where, if you follow what I’ve said, things will go great. They won’t. It’s a learning process. Just be mindful!