Honestly, a long-term relationship is one that is messy, not easy, and takes a lot of effort from both parties. It’s great to fantasize about love like in romance movies, but the reality of it is that it can’t always be like romance movies. Here are hard pills to swallow when it comes to long-term relationships.
Love is not just a feeling, it’s a choice
You know how there’s a difference between “I love you” and “I’m in love with you?” That’s because one is an expression of a feeling, while another is an expression of a feeling along with commitment and devotion. When you’re in a long-term relationship, you are actively choosing to love and be with that person every day. You are choosing to be committed, and you are choosing to be loyal and are choosing to be a part of this team with them.
When you make this commitment towards someone, you have to be sure that they also feel that same commitment. Otherwise, how can a long-term relationship be, well, long-term? You both have to be the ride or die for each other, you both have to advocate for your relationship and each other, and have to stick by one another every step of the way.
Feelings come and go, but what solidifies love is when it becomes a choice to do so every day. That’s what makes a relationship long-term (based on all of the old couples I come across TikTok that give relationship advice, which actually makes a lot of sense).
People change, and if you want a long-term relationship, you have to be willing to see that
We are not perfect human beings. Some of us only know what we learned, and need someone to teach us different ways to be. Especially if you’ve grown up in a neglectful or abusive household, it can be hard to unlearn habits that you’ve come accustomed to due to that environment. The first step to unlearning is to recognize what has to change and then act upon it.
What you need to decipher when taking this big risk is asking yourself if that person is worth it (which is where #1 comes in), and if they are also making an effort to change their bad habits as well. This is why patience, communication, and understanding are things that are often expressed as important relationship values.
To make this an easier pill to swallow, remember the person who you used to be, and how you handled yourself with patience, kindness, and love. Remember that we are all growing every day, and that growth should never be something to be ashamed of.
Love is not the only thing that matters in a relationship, but it can be what saves it
Obviously, what is also needed in a relationship is trust, understanding, and partnership (for example, me and you versus the problem being prioritized over me versus you when arguing) and many other things. Love is often not the only thing that keeps a relationship afloat, but it is most definitely one of the things that can save, reset, or improve a relationship.
Have you ever had times in your relationship where an argument felt like it would lead to the end game? Everyone has had those times. But, often times the underlying factor in keeping a relationship together is love. Think about how much you love that person, assess the situation, think about your partner’s perspective, and then continue on with the argument with love. This is also where #1 comes into play.
The comebacks from hardships are what make your relationship stronger
If you were able to be resilient with your partner together after a hardship, you’ll realize that it makes the relationship stronger. The more arguments you go through, the more you learn about your partner and yourself. What matters in this context, though, is the comeback. You both have to be willing to come back from the hardship. To grow from the hardship. To forgive, and to learn. Otherwise, every problem you go through will remain a problem and nothing will actually be done. No growth will occur. If you give space for the bad to get out, then you are also giving space for the good to come in.
You don’t always have to have contact with your partner (whether it be seeing each other or on the phone)
You both need space to be your own people. Otherwise, you’ll lose sight of yourself and your priorities. If you don’t separate your identity from that of your relationship, you will have trouble prioritizing yourself and your wants and needs.
Plus, when you’re not always in contact, this allows room for you both to miss each other.
Please remember that if you are in a neglectful or abusive relationship (physically or mentally), these five statements do not apply. Please reach out to local resources about your situation and know that you’re not alone.
Please take these things with a grain of salt, and apply them to your relationships depending on what you value. They may not apply to everyone, and that’s totally okay. Remember that you don’t always have to swallow these pills and that you make your own decisions. Apply what feels right to you.