Last week, my boyfriend, Jonathan, went to visit his family. It’s the first time in months that I’ll be home alone without him for a couple of days.
Don’t get me wrong: I love spending time alone. As a good introvert, I cherish my relationship with myself, and I was looking forward to this moment. But, this time, Jonathan’s absence had a weird effect on me.
It made me extremely reflective.
We are at a very good point in our relationship. We live together for over two years, overcame our biggest problems, and are moving to a bigger apartment. We share our dreams and goals. Overall, we love spending time together, and this relationship makes me feel extremely loved.
Realizing how good it feels to be in such a stable relationship made me think of our history together.
After five years in this relationship, I found five rules that are completely underrated and apply to most relationships:
Love makes you vulnerable.
Everything worth something in life has a price. For instance, being successful requires that you work hard.
Likewise, love requires that you become vulnerable.
True love is an act of giving your heart to someone else. You open up and share your story with someone else. But this logic also means that the other person can do whatever they want with your heart.
No matter how stable your relationship is, there is no guarantee that the other person won’t leave.
And that is ok. That’s just the way feelings work. There is no happiness without some sadness.
After all, if you only feel joy, it eventually becomes your new normal — and suddenly you’re not happy anymore.
Instead of closing yourself to love, embrace vulnerability. It’s a natural part of love and a sign that you have something worth fighting for.
Love is not on the big gestures.
When you think of love, what comes to your mind? Let me guess: dramatic people in the airport, singing a serenade, or plotting a crazy scheme to be with their loved ones.
The movies made us believe that love is on the grand gestures. They portray extremely emotional and toxic relationships to keep us hooked. But that’s a complete lie.
Love is in the routine.
Love is supporting each other in successes and hard times. Love is asking how their day was and genuinely listening to their answer. Love is accepting your differences. Love is making plans together. Love is discussing what you’ll have for dinner.
It’s easy to fall in love with a guy who takes you to a fancy restaurant. The challenge is to keep the fire alive daily.
Of course, planning grand gestures is romantic. But, in your relationship, focus on the small actions.
Love is boring.
When I thought of my relationship with Jonathan, I was surprised to realize how awfully boring we are. There is no drama in our lives — no crazy exes, no secrets, no anything. And that’s okay. I’m perfectly fine with my boring relationship.
I realized that successful relationships are pretty boring.
True love brings you stability and partnership. It makes you feel safe. What makes this love successful are the companionship and the small moments. And, the truth is, that’s really ordinary.
But, in the end, there is beauty in boring.
There is beauty in being in a calm relationship, with no worries. It’s what everyone wants: to be in a normal relationship. Not that you shouldn’t put effort into your relationship. But, in the end, building a stable routine is nothing like the movies.
If you find yourself in a boring — but loving — relationship, don’t worry. Instead, enjoy it.
Love requires change.
Life is like a videogame: it has a lot of different levels.
You start as a kid, and you go through high school. Next, you go to university and start making professional choices. Then, it’s time to make serious decisions — you start your career and maybe even a family.
Each level requires a different set of skills. In the process of learning those skills, we change.
In long-term relationships, you have to evolve together.
Successful love is about going through the levels together. As we change, the relationship changes as well. So you need to be prepared to face this change with your partner.
Change is a natural part of life. It means we are growing. Don’t fear change. As long as you have the same dreams and help each other achieve them, chances are you’ll grow together.
Love is unpredictable.
You have no control over love. When I met Jonathan, neither of us was looking for a serious relationship. We agreed to take things slowly and to have fun.
Of course, it didn’t work as we planned.
Love is entirely out of your hands, no matter how much you’d like to control it. You have no control over when you meet your partner, feelings, or even whether the relationship will work. Instead, love happens naturally.
It has taught me to work with what I have. Reality is not what I wish; it is what it is. And, sometimes, there is not much you can do.
In love, the best strategy is to enjoy the journey. As long as you are open to opportunities, love will find you where you least expect it.
Sometimes I find it hard to believe how lucky I am to be with Jonathan. Relationships have always fascinated me because there is no one-fits-all rule. And although it requires a lot of effort, everyone wants to find love. In the end, each relationship creates its personality and dynamics — and that’s what makes it so great.
I’m much nicer on Twitter.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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