I promise you that this isn’t something I’m making up. In fact, I wish I had my phone ready while talking to a friend the other day so I could record them asking this question that made me giggle so much. My friend said, “You and your boyfriend seem to have such a great relationship, how do you get that and how do you keep it?”
I thought this was funny for a couple of reasons. First, over the past three years in this very column, I have documented the crumbling of one relationship, I have detailed my journey in dating and truly finding myself and I’ve discussed figuring out what I wanted in life. Now I’ve been in a relationship for almost two years. So trying to sum up three years of work, communication and false starts is not easy.
Secondly, me? Who am I to give anyone any sort of relationship advice? Thirdly—even though I said I only had a couple of reasons, this seemed to really stick out to me while pondering their question—you should never judge a relationship by social media. Instagram is littered with couples holding onto the false hope that if they take the right picture with the perfect lighting and get enough people to click the heart button underneath the photo it will help repair their relationship. After talking through all of that with my friend, I finally got down to the details.
How do you get a great relationship and how do you keep it? The finding part of a relationship is a hard question. That all depends on where you live, what fills your day up and what your emotional bank account is looking like. Are you looking for someone to fill up your emotional bank with love or are you looking for give and take?
That only comes with finding joy within yourself, where you then can handle the love someone can give you. It isn’t easy breaking this down and there’s no simple answer, but I can tell you how you make a relationship great and how you can keep it that way. Communication. Communication. Communication.
I’ve written about this before, but I feel like in our society of short texts and Instagram stories, we forget what it means to truly communicate with our boo thang or our best friends. My boyfriend and I recently went through this when he officially-officially moved in.
The first “officially” was when I made a couple of drawers ready to receive some of his clothing that he would forget when he would stay over for long periods of time. The second was when his change of address forms were signed and sent off. That really made it real, like combining our material items that have sentimental value did. How did we decide what stayed and what went? Communication and compromise.
My level of obsession with all things “Harry Potter” is just about on a level of 10. If I could live every day inside of the Hogwarts Castle at Universal Resort, I would. Over the last several years more and more retailers have released “Harry Potter” items to enchant your house, and I decided to decorate my bedroom in magical decor—yes, as a 30-something-year-old man. Don’t judge me!
My boyfriend is not the biggest “Harry Potter” fan and thankfully he doesn’t judge me for it either; he encourages it. I knew having a magical-themed bedroom would not be the best situation for him but I also knew he wouldn’t want me to go without my dose of Hogwarts heaven. So we sat down and had a very adult conversation about what was important to me and what was important to him. Instead of having side lamps in the shape of owls from the “Harry Potter” universe, why don’t we paint the bedroom in colors that have touches of the Potter world? Boom. First compromise down! From there we went and discussed items that we were passionate about.
Are you truly listening to your boo thing and having a little empathy? When it comes to relationships that is what I believe it comes down to. When you take away your ego or your longing for wanting to be right, magical things can happen in your relationship. Think about your last argument over something that seemed trivial. Did you take a second to think about why your person was arguing so hard for their point of view? It can change your dynamic when you are able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.