Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Three Shockingly Simple Things that Make a Relationship Work

I met him at a Halloween party the day before Hurricane Sandy hit.  We danced to Azealia Banks and then snuck out onto the porch where we drank a beer in the wind. At one point, I took his hand and said, “I feel like you know me, and I know you.”

Weeks later, he would poke fun of me for this.  I still cringe when I think that I actually said that, that I took this guy’s hand in mine thirty minutes after we met. It was one of those heady, alcohol soaked, 22 year old girl moments…you know what I mean.   

There’s six solid years between us.  That's six years of his own experience, with relationships, heartbreak, falling in love...and this is what I've learned so far: 

1.   It’s okay not to spend every minute together.  It’s easy to end up spending all your time together, but I think it’s important to spend just as much time apart.  We both have our own projects, our own ways of passing a Sunday afternoon. Sometimes it can be oddly difficult to walk away from him, but once I’m on my own, I can check in with myself (then light candles and play Sheryl Crow). 

 2.  Value your time together.  One night we were watching a movie, and I received a text from a friend.  My phone was on the bedside table, so naturally I checked it, and then responded.  Another text, another response. Repeat x 25.  Finally, he turned to me.  I hadn’t even realized how that might be annoying.  Now I put my phone away during date nights, and he does the same.  It’s such common sense but it makes a difference. 

3.   Take it day by day.  I have the unfortunate tendency of wishing, all the time, that I could control the future.  I call it “anxiety fantasizing.”  He encourages me to stay in the present moment with our relationship.  I actually panic slightly, when I realize that I haven’t been planning my future, but when I force myself to take a deep breath, I relax and eventually feel kind of...relieved.  It's much more manageable to just know you have to tackle one day instead of every single day ahead of you for the rest of your life.

(photo of the Royal Lovebirds via CNN)

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