SEVEN THINGS FOR SEVEN YEARS

I’ve been sitting on this blog post idea for a little while now – I don’t talk about my relationship all that often as I’m a firm believer that we have to keep some things to ourselves. However, I have been in a long term relationship for around seven years now, so there are definitely monumental things that I’ve learnt from. Especially since living with someone – Sam is the first person I’ve ever lived with where it’s just the two of us, and it definitely takes your relationship to a completely different level. You learn so much about someone when you live with them, but it also teaches you things about yourself. I find relationship advice quite cringey if I’m honest, so I just wanted to relay some things that I’ve learnt over the years incase it resonates with anyone out there. Every relationship is different and I don’t believe anyone can truly be an expert where affairs of the heart of concerned…

Sometimes you need to drift apart for a while to come back together stronger – people who say that breaks mean everything is over forever are naive in my opinion. Sometimes you need space in order to become the people that you’re meant to be, it’s not always easy to grow consistently with someone by your side. People change so many times throughout their years on earth, and you’re never changing more than in your twenties. It can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, and you’re trying to figure out where you stand within it all. I am of the opinion that sometimes life is just sad and things don’t work out – there’s no real reason for it other than timing and circumstance. I’m also of the opinion that if two people are really meant to be together then they will be – no matter how much time has passed. I also think it’s possible to have more than one ‘true love’ or ‘soul mate’ – as humans, we can love in so many different ways, and we connect with everyone differently.

I’ve convinced myself I’ve lost the love of my life before, and then one day you wake up and realise how silly you were. Everything feels heightened when you’re in the midst of a break up, but relationships lost don’t for a second mean that new ones can’t be found…

Don’t sweat the small stuff – this is such a vital part of making any relationship work. Whether it’s romantically inclined or not, if you’re someone who tends to jump the gun, this can really have a negative impact on those close to you. When you live with someone, there’s no hiding your slightly less attractive qualities shall we say – you’re basically exposed. You have to learn to be accountable for your own emotions as an adult and prevent unnecessary bickering from getting messy. A great way to combat this is to just announce when you’re in a bad mood from the get-go, that way it’s usually clear that you need a bit of headspace. You have to realise quite quickly what’s worth being annoyed about, and what’s just being magnified because it’s different in some way. Everyone has different ways they like to do things, whether that’s cleaning, planning a holiday, or just the bloody weekly food shop. You have to be patient above everything else and eventually you’ll find a happy-medium – I can be a bit of a Monica when it comes to cleaning and tidying, so I definitely had to become more laid back when Sam and I started living together. Just like he had to become more laid back with the idea that my half of the wardrobe will inevitably take over his half…

On the flip side, fighting sometimes is totally okay too – some people seem to have this warped idea that arguing automatically means a relationship is over. If you spend most of your days with anyone, arguments will naturally arise just as your general mood and frustrations alternate. Arguing is completely normal and not always a sign of an unhealthy dynamic – it’s how you speak to each other and resolve them that’s the real testament to your relationship. Always be respectful and try not to project your own bad mood/insecurities onto someone else when possible – this is something you become way more mindful of as you get older. The more secure you are with yourself and who you are as a person, the less you let other peoples actions affect you in a negative way. Obviously if you’re having constant confrontation then this is something that needs to be addressed – that kind of shit is just exhausting and nobody needs that in their life.

You might love the bones of someone, but it doesn’t always mean you’re right for each other…

Living together doesn’t mean you don’t need to make time for each other – it might sound silly, but it’s a trap a lot of people seem to fall into. I’m definitely guilty of working too late and not making time for date nights as often as I should, it’s easily done when you’re working for yourself, and it can make everything feel a little off balance. I think it’s easy to get complacent when you’re in a long term relationship, and this can sometimes have a negative impact on how much of a spark you feel. It’s so important to have weekends away and new adventures together whenever you can fit them in – it doesn’t have to break the bank either…

Live Separate lives too – I guess this kind of contradicts my previous point, but it’s all about balance. I get that some couples work together, live together, and have the same friendship group – that’s amazing if it works for you, but I’ve always felt that’s a bit of a dangerous way to live. It’s important to have your own stuff going on and then meet in the middle somewhere – it doesn’t matter how smitten you are with someone, having your own time is still massively important. Sam and I have completely different careers, but then they cross over sometimes too – he’s a web developer so he often helps me with things like my blog layout which is great because it means I don’t have to fork out for outside help. We don’t see each other during the day which is nice because the evenings feel more special – it’s our time to cook together, watch films, or sometimes we get stuck into some work in separate rooms. Mixing things up and not feeling guilty for focusing on yourself sometimes is essential – luckily I’m with someone who understands how tough freelancing can be, and he doesn’t make me feel guilty if I have to stare into my laptop like a zombie some nights. In turn, this makes me more aware of when I’m being selfish with my time, and encourages me to switch off when it’s important…

You start to struggle to give your single friends advice – after seven years with someone, it’s safe to say that the dating scene has never felt further away. The idea of ever having to date again fills me with a sickly feeling, and don’t even get me started on Tinder. You start to completely forget what it feels like to be single, and struggle to come up with a cool person response when your friend asks you what she should text back to a new guy. The world of small talk and flirting feels like a lifetime away, and it’s completely okay to feel on a different level.

Long term relationships don’t make you boring, and they also don’t mean you have to consider marriage or kids anytime soon either. They simply mean you found someone you like spending most of your days with, and the rest is up to you…

As cliche as it sounds, true happiness really does come from within – if I could go back and tell my young self anything, it would be to stop searching for happiness in other people. It’s such a dangerous game, and one that is bound to destroy a relationship eventually. Sometimes it’s not your partner that’s the issue – it’s that you need time to be truly independent and learn about yourself. There’s nothing more unhealthy than covering up your own insecurities with a relationship, trust me, sometimes being alone is a beautiful thing. I felt lost for a long time because I wasn’t sure what I wanted career wise, and I didn’t feel like I had something of my own to concentrate on. I’ve never been happier than the last twelve months because I’ve finally learnt to balance working on myself whilst being in a stable relationship. There’s something so unsexy about the word ‘stable’ isn’t there? But trust me, after meeting all the wrong kind of people, there’s nothing more rewarding than being with someone who supports you and builds your dreams alongside you…

 

Alice x


Photographs by Adriana

Cardigan | Topshop (similar here)

Cami Top | Zimmerman

Jeans | Topshop Boutique

Sunglasses | Zara (similar here)

Boots | Miista

Bag | A.P.C

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7 Comments

  1. I can relate to a lot of point here. My boyfriend and I live together at the weekend and one week per month. So our time together is even more special than if we were living together all the time. We learn how to live together but also we learn about finding our own space which can be quite tricky sometimes. But as you said, it’s all about balance.
    Thanks for this helpful article Alice,

    xx

  2. All of these are absolutely “on point”! You are so right about the relationships… They aren’t supposed to be perfect but they’re not supposed to be a constant struggle either. Making time for each other is crucial but also being able to lead your own lives and do things separately is so important too.
    I love your style and this outfit is so retro and girly!I love your makeup!

    http://lartoffashion.com

  3. Love all of your outfits featured in this post. Relationships are so complex. Many of your points spoke to me. I’d say for me one thing I’ve learned out of all my long term relationships is to always make effort to be considerate if each other. Whether that means of each other’s time, space, mood, everything. It makes a world of difference.

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