What It’s Like to Be in a Long-Term Relationship When You’re Young
posted on March 7, 2016 | by Amanda Holstein
Today’s post is written by my dear friend and fellow blogger
Monica Beatrice Welburn of The Elgin Avenue. Thank you for sharing your story
with us, Monica! And be sure to check out her amazing blog here.
My boyfriend Oli and I have been together for seven years. We met when I was eighteen and he was twenty two, we fell in love quickly and seven years down the line we now live together. I know that Amanda often receives questions about single life, and I wanted to share the flip side of singledom with you – what it is like to be in a long term relationship when you are young.
How We Met
Oli and I met when he cut my hair. I had applied for a new part-time job, and needed a ‘good haircut’ (my Mum’s words) to impress. My friend had a lovely bob haircut, and I asked her to recommend me to her hairdresser, her hairdresser turned out to be Oli.
When Oli cut my hair, we got on straight away, he was so easy to talk to, and I liked him immediately! Oli and I were both in relationships at the time and so we didn’t pursue anything. A couple of months later, when we were both single, he asked me out on a date, and I said yes.
The spark was there again and from that first date, I knew that our connection was worth pursuing.
You see each other grow.
When you’ve known each other since you were young adults, you are a part of someone’s life journey through their most formative years.
I remember so clearly sitting down with Oli, using pritt stick and magazine scraps to create a mood board for a hairdressing competition he was entering, we were so naively excited and we couldn’t have tried harder to create the perfect mood board.
If I met Oli now I would know him as the man he is today, a confident independent business owner, without understanding the stepping stones which led him to where he is. We champion every one of each others’ achievements, and I am certain that every success is felt more poignantly by us, for having known all of the hard work that has led up to that moment.
Having been together for seven years, we have celebrated some incredible highs together, and also ridden out some tough times too. We’ve both lost people during our relationship, and those intense periods of grieving bring you together in a way you cannot anticipate.
We love each other like family. Whenever I feel we’ve reached a peak in how we feel for one another, Oli will make a brave decision, or support me in a way I didn’t expect, or just surprise me with a sweet gesture, which creates an even deeper love.
I truly believe that, cheesy though it sounds, love grows indefinitely with the right person.
Also, I think Oli’s growing hotter with age . . . so that helps ; )!
It is SO much fun.
You know how your best friends and you have jokes that no one else would get? Or memories that only the two of you share? Oli and I have belly-aching fun every single day. With the comfort of knowing someone for so long, you can share a similar humour, and one sideways glance can set you off with laughter.
Oli and I know we are in it for the long haul, and so anything that the other one wants to do for fun, we will gladly share. We spend couple time together as often as we can, and always aim to do something enjoyable and recreational with our time.
You can grow apart.
My uncle told me an analogy which has stuck with me. In life, the relationship you have with another person is like a train track, you must run parallel to one another. You may at times move apart, but the test is if you come back together again. Sometimes the tracks move apart, and never come back together, and this is when you should let each other go.
In your teens and early twenties, you face some of the most formative decisions of your life, you chose your career, where you would like to live, your friendship group…you have a freedom of choice which you may never have again in your life.
Being in a relationship can limit these choices, or they can bolster them with love and support.
Oli and I lived in different cities for five years of our relationship, I was pursuing a degree in London while he worked full time in another city. We were supportive of one another’s choices, and made our relationship work around the time limitations we had. Ultimately we knew (to borrow my uncle’s analogy) that our tracks were running parallel, and although at times they felt like they were distancing, that we would come closer together eventually.
The ‘other people’ conundrum.
When you meet someone in your teens or early twenties, you may face the difficult ‘other people’ conundrum. Yes you love your partner, but is there someone else out there, who may be a better fit for you? Or are you better off alone, right now?
I can only speak of mine and Oli’s experience; we have both met these questions at points in our relationship. We voiced these with one another and at one point we chose to take a break for a few months. This time of reflection and ‘single life’ was incredibly important for us, I discovered that I was stronger than I had thought, I was capable of living a life independently of Oli, and I also discovered, as Oli did too, that we missed each other terribly. Had we not had this time apart, we would not be in the type of relationship we are in now.
What I’ve Learned
The most important lesson I have learnt, for the success of a long term relationship, is to be open with one another, in every single way. It can be uncomfortable, and painful, to bring up some conversations, but in order to move forwards you have to lay all your cards on the table.
Oli and I found each other when we were young, we happen to have crossed paths earlier than some, and it is the right fit for us. There is no definitive answer when it comes to relationships, you have to be your own barometer.
I believe a relationship should be loving, fun, supportive and stimulating, a relationship is only worth being in, if it ticks all of the right boxes for you.
Whether we had met when we were fifteen or thirty, I don’t believe I would have settled for anything less, than the type of love Oli and I share.
Are any of you in a long-term relationship or have an opinion on this?