I’ve been thinking a lot about love.
I’ve finally understood all that stuff people say to you about how your relationship with your significant other is a choice you make every single day.
Sure, maybe not at the beginning, when things are going so well and you can’t imagine ever breaking up. Your partner’s indecisiveness is still endearing; your daily “What do you feel like for dinner tonight?” dialogue is still super cute because he’s just the most adorable thing in the world. His constant hogging of the bed still makes you giggle and you just want to bite him because you feel such violent affection for him.
I get it. I feel that way about my new partner. But — even with all the joy and butterflies in my stomach — it has also been a major adjustment for me.
Having a partner means never going on new dates… potentially, ever again. I know that sounds like a really insignificant thing considering the upside of shutting down all my dating profiles is actually being loved by someone, and I agree, it’s so wonderful, but it has also turned my daily routine upside down. It feels like I have so much more time, because I’m not spending so much of my day checking messages on the long list of dating sites and apps I frequented.
I probably sound a bit silly, but I’m not going to lie- I really do miss it. I miss reading messages by men who find me attractive and are trying to get my attention. I miss getting to know someone. I miss the thrill of being chased.
This is probably a super weird thing to admit considering I’ve been with this new boy for a total of 111 days. Our relationship is still fresh, exciting and new, and don’t worry — I am still constantly overcome with feelings of wanting to skin him so that I can wear him around me when he has to go to work (he finds that adorable — don’t worry).
The thing is, I spent a good three years before him on the internet, trawling for male friends, one-night-stands, and lovers. I even chose love relationships that would allow me to keep doing this, with rather disastrous results — let’s be honest. I think my dumb excuse for this was to keep my options open just in case someone better came along. Like I said — dumb. And mean.
But here’s the point. Do I choose to stay with the boy even though I miss all of that?
Yes. Wholeheartedly. Without a doubt.
Why? Because he isn’t some idealistic Disney (or Marvel) version of a significant other that doesn’t exist. He’s a real person with a balanced mix of strengths and weaknesses. Also, because we complement each other. He and I are compatible in so many ways it’s uncanny. Both our usernames end with “tron”. Wut.
He is quiet when I am loud, he is steadfast when I am erratic, he is logical when I am a blubbering mess of feelings. He is thoughtful and funny. He is so crazy and silly when we’re behind closed doors and I love that. It’s like a private joke that only we understand.
And, most of all, because I’m actually taking the love out of the equation, and thinking about things more practically. The butterflies are great and all, but I want mutual love and respect once those butterflies are gone. I want to know that there will be loyalty, partnership and a greater sense of belonging that moves beyond the intense love you feel at the beginning.
Why do so many people give up — not when things get difficult — but when that intense feeling of passion has faded? The person by your side is fundamentally the same person as before but your rose coloured glasses are suddenly gone and it’s their fault that they bore you now?
Did you not realise you had a choice in how you felt about your partner?
I don’t believe that you wake up one day to the realisation that you’ve stopped loving your significant other. That just doesn’t happen. Things get in the way — sure, but your complacency is to blame for that fire being snuffed out.
I can’t say that S will be the person I spend the rest of my life with, but I’m at least happy to have met him during a time in which my feelings are much more in check. I am able to shake off the sadness or doubt much faster than ever before. While looking back at my past, I’ve been brutally honest with myself about the part I played in each failed relationship. It was an eye-opening experience which left me really humbled, because I realised I was more responsible than I originally thought. This has greatly helped me to not only become a better partner to S, but a better friend, and human being.
Is this what it feels like to be in a proper grown up relationship? All I can say is that I’m looking forward to our first real fight or problem, so that we can grow as individuals as well as grow together as a couple.