Happy Valentine’s everyone! I know that there are a couple of people from here and there that doesn’t like this day — some of which would blatantly tell the world how much they didn’t like this “holiday” by sharing quotes and funny stories of broken hearts and being single — but I hope that you know that today is about LOVE in general, whether it be you’re single or taken or in a pretty complicated relationship. I’m not fan of Valentine’s myself, maybe because the influx of people at the malls (or generally everywhere) just annoys the hell out of me, but I figured it would be nice to post something cheesy and timely for today. 😉
If you’ve been following me long enough then you’ll know that I am in a long term relationship with a guy named Mark. We’ve been together for eight years already and we started dating way back December 2007. I never really talked much about him on the blog — I guess I just don’t like talking much about our relationship at ALL — but it doesn’t mean that I don’t love him. I guess I’m just the type of person who doesn’t like to talk about intimate details of my life, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m not proud of what we have, or where we are right now. I just find everything a little too cheesy, and I am not good on dealing with cheesy things, so I’d rather not go in there than feel myself cringing on all the sweetness. Ha ha!
Anyway, last December, we went to Zambales and had an overnight getaway at a hostel in the area. There, we met a couple of people who eventually became our friends, and during our conversations, it would always amaze them when we tell that we’ve been together for a long time already. Considering my age, people would usually tell me that I’m supposed to be “out and about” and that I “shouldn’t be committing too early”. It’s not like we’re getting married anytime soon! But I’m contented with my decisions in life, and being with Mark has definitely made me very happy in more ways than one.
One of the things that people would usually ask is on how we keep our love alive. I mean, eight years is a long time, and being young would always equate to being more adventurous, but how were we able to keep up? This relationship never intended to be as long as it is — when we got together, we were young and stupid and being ‘serious’ on a relationship was nowhere on our plans — but eventually, we made it work, and here we are. Some of our years went by quickly, some were dragging and painful, but I’m glad we were able to keep it together and make things as special as it is today.
People would say that dipping your toes on different relationships and heartbreaks would be the best way to learn about love and relationship, but let me tell you this — you would also learn a lot from being together with someone for a long time, and it can be as valuable as being into many different relationships. Here are some of my takeaways from our eight year (and counting) relationship, and I hope that you guys would end up learning a thing or two about my post on love and all that shiz. 😉
Take Away #1: You will never survive without trust.
For four years, Mark and I were in a long distance relationship. I moved to Los Banos even before we celebrate our first year together, and it was only after I graduated that we get to spend more time together just like what usual couples do. It took us a great deal of trust to make it through, and I guess it has always been one of the foundations of our relationship. There were times where this became an issue to the both of us, but I’m definitely happy that we’ve mend things and we’ve move past the challenges. I guess, in the past 8 years, we’ve both realized the gravity of trusting each other. Sure, love is important, but without trust, a harmonious relationship will definitely be impossible.
Take Away #2: Make sure that you also grow individually.
We are a clingy couple, sure, but one of the things that I am happy about our relationship is that we don’t suffocate one another. We definitely spend a whole lot of time being together, especially when I finally went back to Manila after grad, but we make it a point that each of us have time to spend to ourselves. I love how we let ourselves grow individually, and it was something that I appreciated a whole lot. I mean, I get to spend time away with my friends, and he gets to do the same. We make sure that we include each other on all the plans that we have, but when there are times that we can’t bring a partner, we don’t take it against each other. We just let it be, and then afterwards, we tell our stories and laugh about it. It was surely different if memories are spent together, and as much as possible, we make it a point that we share new experiences with one another, but when there are times that we feel like we wanted to go by ourselves, that is perfectly fine. And I am perfectly happy with it.
Take Away #3: Relationships are hard work.
Relationships are not only laughter, happy memories, flowers, chocolates, and being all cheesy. In fact, as much as happy tears are encouraged, relationships are also all about going through painful experiences, heartbreaks, compromises, and going through a lot of challenges. There are no perfect relationships — as much as social media would project, no couple are happy a hundred percent of the time, and neither are Mark and I. This isn’t romanticizing our relationship, but we definitely went through a lot. We’ve cried, we’ve broken each other’s hearts, we’ve been in pain, but through all of it, we were able to see past our imperfections. We’ve been through A LOT of rough roads, and with the bumps along the way, there were a lot of times where we could’ve given up and just leave each other alone, but we didn’t. We decided to stick with each other and fix ourselves, even if the process would mean that we have to deal with one another while we’re still hurting. I know that we still have a long way to go and a bunch of challenges to go through, but I find comfort knowing that we are the type of couple that doesn’t really give up that easily. There are and there will be definitely a bunch of painful experiences, but I am surely looking forward to the bright and happy memories that we are bound to share eventually.
Take Away #4: Communicate well, and communicate often.
Mark and I are a talkative bunch — we love telling stories and despite being together for 8 years, we never really ran out of things to talk about. From funny anecdotes to random videos on Facebook to interesting documentaries to the things that make us feel bad, we make it a point that we communicate to one another. We don’t just talk when we are together, we also make sure that we listen to one another. Of course, miscommunication will always be something that we would come across, but at the end of the day, we make sure that we meet halfway and understand the points that the other is trying to make. It’s not easy, but one of the effective things that we do is to take a pause, and then when our tempers are doing much better, we talk. As a communicator (naks), I strongly believe that being able to properly discuss things and bring the message across to one another is very important on maintaining a healthy relationship.
Take Away #5: Be each other’s best friends.
Don’t treat your other half as just your boyfriend or girlfriend, treat him / her as a friend. Be as random and funny and crazy as you will be when you’re with your friends. Show your partner who you really are, and if that person really loves you, they’ll accept you wholeheartedly. I guess one of the things that some people would struggle with is the fact that they try to hold back some parts of themselves from their partners because they feel like their partner won’t understand. And then, as time goes by (or sometimes, when they finally get married / move together), they would feel overwhelmed on how different their partners are versus on who they project to be during the first parts of the relationship. Maybe it’s because we’ve been together long enough, but Mark and I are really comfortable with one another. We’re not always cheesy — Mark would sometimes tell me I’m fat (how dare he, am I right) — but that’s okay. We don’t have to be cheesy everyday anyway. We’re the type of couple that tell each other even the most mundane things, and I guess it only made our bond better and stronger. We actually tell each other everything, even if sometimes, it would mean that arguments can come up. But just like a true blue BFF, we end up mending things, and making the ends meet again. More than a boyfriend or a girlfriend, we are each other’s best friends, and I couldn’t ask for more.
This post might sound like we’re really happy (we are), but I hope that you also get to see that relationships have its struggles, and there are times where things can get crazy and dirty and sad. But at the end of the day, I guess we kept our love alive by just being ourselves, by meeting halfway, by compromising and understanding each other.
How about you guys? How do you keep the love alive? Or, if you don’t have a significant other, how do you think should you keep your love alive? Share it below and I’d definitely love to read your answers! 🙂