On Keeping the Love Alive

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! 🙂

35 thoughts on “On Keeping the Love Alive

  1. Aww, I so can relate Jhanz!! I’ve been with my boyfriend for seven years (going eight this year too) and I totally agree with your take aways. Trust, communication, individual growth, hardwork and friendship are truly essential in making relationships last. We too, had our fair share of pains and struggles during the first couple of years of being together but thankfully made it through. I guess when you’ve mastered all of it, though life won’t stop testing you, at least you’ve already tested how far can you go as one, and you both know that it won’t be easy to shake and break your foundation. Happy Valentines to you and Mark! <3

  2. I agree in all! <3

    But you know what's funny is that I think KH and I have been maintaining a good relationship now that we are on a LDR. Compared to our almost 8 months of being together in the same country, we fought less and we really make an effort more now than when he was here! Lol! But of course I do not wish for us to stay apart for a very long time but I think for me… I was able to apply these 5 ingredients into our relationship and we both think we've handled our relationship much better now!

    Weee~ I look up on couples who have been together for a long time (esp before marriage). It's so incredible to hear stories like yours. More power to you guys! Happy Valentine's Day to you too! <3

  3. All of these are so true and something I take to heart, honestly. No one can master all these but we can keep practicing them until we get better at them. That’s how relationships are. They are always a work in progress and each side keeps fighting for each other regardless.

  4. I’m on an 11 year relationship before I married my bestfriend. Your Take-Aways are oh so true! We’ve been like that for 11 years and up until forever. <3 Of course, there's additional Take-Aways to consider once you get married like responsibilities, intimacy, etc. But the most important of all, is to know what LOVE is, I always believe that the best description of love can be found in Corinthians 13: 4-7.

    Happy Valentine's Day, Jhanzey! 🙂

    Love lots and happy trails,
    Karen | thehappysnippets.com

  5. Awe.. Both of you are an inspiration! Being able to keep up and still together for 8 long years is really something 🙂 I think my longest relationship lasted for 3 years only. Right now I’m in a long distance relationship and I am happy. I can tell that this is it, he’s the one. It’s really hard, there are times that I wanted to give up but imagining him out of my life hurts a lot. Thank you for such inspiring post. I’ll bookmark this and I’ll let him read this as well. haha. Relationships really is not just being happy. He always told me that he hurts seeing me cry but he needs to understand that it’s part of Loving.. 🙂 Congrats and keep the LOVE burning Jhan 🙂

    xx
    Rica | http://www.sassycebuannachic.com

  6. That’s great that you guys have been together for so long! I think if you have found someone you are happy with, then there’s no reason to break it up just to try something different. I totally agree that you can learn a lot just by being with someone a long time too.

    My husband and I dated for 6 years before we got married, and now we’ve been married for over 4 years. I liked reading all of your takeaways and can relate to them! I think that’s amazing that you guys were long distance for 4 years. That sounds tough and getting through that really shows your trust in each other!

    I especially like takeaway #2. Sometimes people ask why I don’t get my husband into the same hobbies as me, which is weird question. Being with someone doesn’t mean you become one person. It’s ok to have separate interests and do separate things! And I agree that relationships are hard work. Many people think our relationship has always been smooth, but it hasn’t been. There had been times where it almost fell apart, but it’s also getting through those that strengthen the bond.

    My husband is definitely my best friend! I think it’d be weird if there was a couple in a serious relationship who didn’t feel that way towards each other. I always see a significant other as someone who is a friend plus more.

    Even if there were bumps along the way, I’m glad that you’re in a happy relationship! I hope you guys had a great Valentine’s Day!

  7. I think your last point, about being best friends is essential for a relationship. It’s funny how you mention that people always think it’s strange that you’re with someone for that amount of time, or that you should be playing the field etc. I don’t think it’s weird at all. ALL of my friends from school that I grew up with ended up guys they met during high school. They didn’t get married until their late twenties either. That feels so normal to me lol (even though I can’t say the same for myself).

    Sxx
    http://www.daringcoco.com

  8. Super agree talaga ako dito! Sheen and I will have our 8th anniversary October of this year! Hehe. Hardwork talaga ang relationship especially if you want it to last long. During our first three years, we were actually struggling parin because of each other’s preferences. Hehe

  9. Haha, on #1, we still can’t trust each other 100%, maybe just 99.9% hahaha but I’m glad this isn’t a major issue. Kasi mga mababaw lang naman ung hindi namin kaya ipagkatiwala sa isa’t isa haha. Example whenever Gerald wants to borrow my phone because he wants better photos when he’s going out with friends. May tiwala ako sakanya na di nya papakelaman un, pero wala akong tiwala na iingatan nya haha pero pinapahiram ko pa din naman sya haha madali kasi sya makasira ng gadgets hahaha Or kapag bibigyan ko sya ng pera, dapat maliit lang, kasi pag binigyan mo ng 1-week worth of money, two days palang ubos na nya haha same goes with me, he doesn’t want me to go alone anywhere, di dahil pinag-iisipan nya ko ng masama, but because he’s worried something bad might happen. Clumsy kasi ako, at hindi aware sa paligid ko. pero hinahayaan nya pa din ako umalis mag-isa. Haha good thing, we admit to these so we have no problems with trusting each other. And baka okay din na 99.9% lang yung tiwala, para mas maremind namin ang isa’t isa ng mga bagay bagay haha

    #2 – This is something Gerald just learned recently, and we’re both glad he did. Before, he doesn’t want to go out with friends. He’s the clingy type, gusto nya ako lang lagi, gusto nya ako lang kasama nya. But I’ve encouraged him to go out and spend time with friends. He thought I’d be mad, kapag nawala attention nya sakin. And I totally disagree. And now, he’s thankful he has a girlfriend like me. Kasi yung mga officemates nya bilib sakanya, na nakakaalis sya, nakakagala sya with them kahit may girfriend sya. And I’m like “Pag may gf, di na pwede gumala yung lalake?” Hahaha

    #3 – This hit me the most. We’ve had a lot of misunderstandings and challenges, we also went to heartbreaks, but all thanks to them we’ve become stronger!

    #4 We’ve been in LDR for around 4-5 years, I think and I totally agree that communication should be prioritized. But now that we’re near each other, we thought it’s easier to communicate. Pero hindi literal na communicate pala.It’s more than speaking and listening. You should also learn to read beyond words – yung actions, yung feelings nya. That’s important too! 🙂

    #5 – I’ve always wanted to have a guy best friend and I never thought that my boyfriend will become my guy BFF. But now I’m glad! Haha I tell him everything – work, girly stuff, friends. Naiinis na sya minsan sa mga kwento ko, sa kadramahan at kaartehan ko haha but I’m glad I can tell him everything, no secrets and lies, except if I’m giving him a surprise. Haha I even call him “Teh” haha and it makes me feel like BFF ko na talaga sya haha

    Okay, ang daldal ko na hahaha I’m glad you posted something like this because you rarely do, and I understand because it’s a private matter. I also don’t want to share too much about my relationship, but I’m also glad I did here, somehow. Hahaha

    I’m sure others will learn a thing or two in this post, and I wish them a happy lovelife too! 🙂

  10. I agree with all the tips you have shared in here jhanzey
    Before I got married, me and my boyfriend are together for 7 years and i must say that it is not always happy all the time.
    There will come a time when you want to finally let go of each other.
    But there is faith, love and trust to each other that become our foundation.

    We’ve been a lot but heyy we are together now, we’re married and havin’ a baby soon.
    I wish all the best in your relationship.

    The Bandwagon Chic | Instagram | Bloglovin | Snapchat: bandwagonchic

  11. Im happy that you found that one who truly understand you as a person. The list is cool, seems like you are learning and growing as person simply by putting those points up. 🙂 Wishing you the best!

  12. 5/5! Totally agree! You’re both lucky to have each other. 🙂 Happy for you, dear! I can totally relate because I’ve been in a long term relationship too. My fiance and I are turning 9 this year. It ‘s not an easy one but what’s important is you guys stick to each other no matter what. And you know at the end of the day, you have someone, a best friend, that you can count on.

    Happy Hearts day to both of you! x

  13. Niiiice! I learned a lot from this post, Jhanz! Will make sure to keep these in mind if ever I get in a relationship (which is probably in another lifetime!) haha~

  14. So true…i have known my husband now for 11 yeears…..trust is critical. And being friends with pther is most important …that way you can tide over all ups and downs easily

  15. You are absolutely correct. Going through long distance relationship is something. I suspect the batting average for long distance relationships is rather low. What makes it even better is communicating. I think in all aspects of a relationship, it all boils down to communicating – words and acts, of course.

  16. Your first advice is so important: trust! If there is no trust then you can’t have a healthy relationship and without a solid base, it will collapse. I wish you a very happy life ahead together.

  17. All of your advices are very precious , as me being blessed in a very long lasting relationship I would point out the “being best friends” aspect as very essential . Going through many years together means you are going through different stages of “love” , the love becomes a very strong best friends thing when you really work on your relationship . You may call it HARD work , looking back I wouldn’t say it was hard . As long as you never loose trust and RESPECT for eachother , you’re on the right pass . Btw , when I say long term I am talking about 34 lovely exciting years , wishing you and Mark the very best <3 Lovely post , thank you for that

  18. I wish I could apply these wonderful tips of yours but I think I just have to keep them in mind first and apply them when I already have a girlfriend…. ouch LOL.
    But I agree… trust is a very important factor that a couple should have to make their relationship last longer… I also love that treating each other as a friend.. I guess that will make a relationship a lot stronger!

  19. 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.

    —> In all relationships, there should be room to grow individually, to pursue your own dreams so that one day, you can share your achievements with each other 🙂

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