5 Lessons After 5 Years Together

I’ll stop the world and melt with you.

Carson and I are celebrating our five year anniversary and lately I’ve been catching all of the feels! I scream, you scream, we all scream in disbelief that so much time has passed already since we first met. I swear just yesterday we were on our first date, walking to Picnic Point and eating ice cream at the University of Wisconsin Memorial Union Terrace. Little did he know that ice cream is the way to my heart, hence he would be forced to love me forever. If you lick it, you claim it…right?! (lol jk)

Many other twenty-something year olds go along their path of self discovery without this long term of a commitment. It’s not like everyone could relate so often times I wasn’t sure what to expect when navigating a relationship during such a big transitional period in both of our lives. I’m not going to pretend that we have the perfect relationship or that I’m some sort of couples guru but now that Carson and I have made more memories since that first date, we’ve learned so much about each other, ourselves, and our relationship.

To all of you all out there who may be coupled up or maybe even to those wondering how we lasted all this time, here’s five lessons about being in a relationship that I have learned over the last five years:

1 | We, The People: I always used to get so annoyed with girls in relationships that would not shut up about their boyfriends. Be i-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t, do you know what that means?! It really bothered me. Now, I have to actively try not to become one of them. When you have been with someone for so long you have built lots of things together – everything from routines to memories. In general, that’s just A LOT of togetherness and a lot of stories that involve both of you. It is hard to find the balance of knowing when and when not to use the “we” word. You just have to get it under control so that it doesn’t escalate to the point that you have a joint Facebook profile.

2 | Get Down And Dirty: Before we start…get your mind out of the gutter. I’m referring to the realities of being a relationship — when it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I’m talking about when it gets ugly and you aren’t necessarily feeling like your best self. It’s PMS rage. It’s sharing a bathroom. It’s holding back your partner’s hair after what seems to be a bad case of food poisoning and it turns out to be a norovirus, in which case, you’re both puking. Sometimes you just have to get through it and know your better self will eventually emerge.

3 | Future So Bright: I’m going to tell you the truth that no one wants to admit — talking about your future together will always be a little terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited about about what’s in the cards for us! However, when you invest that much of yourself, you’re vulnerable and at risk to be really hurt if all fails. Shocker. If you want your love story to be more like a rom-com rather than a thriller, be open about your feelings early only so that both of your nerves should be more settled when you’re on the cusp of  “the next big step” (if it really is the right move).

4 | Expect The Unexpected: Easier said than done, that’s for sure. Life happens — as cliche as that sounds, it really is true. People get unexpectedly sick, accidents happen, and things don’t always go according to plan. Sometimes these things just knock the wind right out of you. What matters is that you have each other to lean on and support each other, no matter how hard it gets. You have to trust each other enough to pick up the pieces together and move forward.

5 | Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes: It’s said that your personality is affected by the five people you’re around the most. You can only imagine what that means when you spend the majority of your time with the same person for five years in a row. I am not saying I dabble in Fortnite but I have warmed up to the idea of hitting a bucket of balls at a local golf course. Carson may not enjoy a session of watercolor journaling but we have come to the agreement (after a LONG time coming) that cargo shorts are never in style for any occasion. You should never lose your sense of self but rather both of you are evolving and growing together.

To my love, thank you for being you. After all this time, you still amaze me everyday with your kindness, love, and bad dad jokes. I would not be the same person I am today without your support and understanding. Love you bunches and bunches (even if you don’t like cake batter flavored ice cream, you freak) xoxo – M

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