Lessons From My Longest Ever Relationship

9 Feb 2018

Lessons from my longest ever relationship

It’s been three years since G asked me out for a drink in the darkest depths of January. Three years since we kissed in St Pancras station. Three years since he made me pancakes in his shared house and three years (nearly) since we decided 14th Feb was probs gonna be our anniversary.

And here we are: sharing a flat and planning a wedding (and, right this second, having a conversation about whether we have any Cajun spice in cos it's gonna be a wild Friday night).

I will actually be spending our third anniversary in Singapore with a friend like the top-notch fiancĂ© I am. I leave on Sunday so we’re having a lil celebration tonight by making jambalaya; the first meal G ever cooked for me (you can read that story over here).

But it’s important to acknowledge that 3 years means this is the longest amount of time I have ever chosen to spend in a relationship with the same person. So here’s a few lessons I’ve picked up in the last 1095 days:

It should be easy

Oh mate, I want to go back and tell my past self this so bad. It should be easy. It should be simple. It should be we-want-to-be-together-so-we-will. Obviously life throws challenges at you and there can be hard times, and compromise and disagreement. But there’s that and then there’s trying to unicycle across the ocean whilst drunk. 

Talk about money, share money

Ah money. That tricky bugger eh? People can be so hush hush about money but in my opinion, if you can’t have an open, honest conversation about money with your partner then you ain’t getting very far. G and I actually share all our money, in one account, which works for us. Not only does it make life so much easier, it makes us feel like a team. It’s not about what each of us earn, it’s about combining our collective resources and knowing what we have together. Yes it takes a lot of trust in the other person; in a way, it’s a bigger level of commitment than getting married, but man does it just make money and life easier to deal with. 

I need someone who is self sufficient 

On balance, I’m pretty independent. I enjoy spending time alone just as much as I do spending time with my favourite people. I work better out of the office, am regularly working on my own projects and get angsty if I don’t have regular time to write. It’s only since being with G that I’ve realised how important it is to be with someone who a) understands that and b) is perfectly happy to entertain themselves. Some of my favourite times are when G and I are just chilling on the sofa on a Sunday afternoon whilst he reads the paper and I write. Comfortable silences are so the one. 

Establish what you want early on 

A friend told me recently that someone they knew had broken up with a v long-term partner because that partner had said that they didn’t want marriage or kids. I was honestly astounded that they’d gone, literally, years without having this conversation. I don’t remember the exact conversations but I feel I was pretty clear with G from the start that I wanted children some day. These conversations can be a bit nerve wracking but so is getting seven years down the line and finding out you’ve invested your life in someone who doesn’t want what you want. 

You need the same mindset about work

If G had an all-hours-in-the-office mindset about his job, we’d have very quickly fallen out. Work can be important, for sure, but so is eating nachos on the sofa or spending the evening in the pub. In my opinion, no one ever lay on their deathbed and wished they’d spent longer at the office and this is fundamental to my way of living, so I need someone who agrees with me. And hey, it can work the other way round as well. If you both want to work until 10 at night, great; you guys do you. 

It’s what works for you 

Comparing yourself to other relationships is about as useful as sticking pins in your eyes. Every couple is different, with different desires and ways of doing things. G and I do not do everything together, we don’t buy Christmas presents and he knows better than to expect a phone call when I’m with my friends. That’s how we roll. Everyone should just do what works for them; what makes them happy. 

So thanks, future husband, for loving me, for putting up with me, for also wanting to get married in a pub and for not even looking mildly disgruntled when I leave my stuff absolutely everywhere (soz). You da best.