LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS FOR LONERS

I have never been a social butterfly except when I’m around the few friends and family I have. When it comes to meeting new people and going out, I usually need to give myself a bit of a push or have a friend with me as a buffer. That is why being in a long-term relationship has been a very tumultuous rollercoaster ride with regards to both good and bad experiences. Most of those had to do with the fact that my current relationship is my first and only relationship and the idea of spending a lot of time with someone and becoming close to them was never an easy thing for me before my boyfriend and I started dating. Now as we’re nearing our 4th anniversary and are still getting used to living with each other, there are a few things I’ve noticed are important to keep in mind when in a relationship for a few years, especially if you’re like me and easily get exhausted around too much social interaction.

IT’S OKAY TO DO SEPARATE THINGS

The idea of doing separate things was always an easy habit for me to fall into in the beginning of my relationship because most of my enjoyment came from doing my own thing. Very quickly I learned that many people in relationships feel that most activities should be done with your partner. I am here to say that this mentality is detrimental for those of us that enjoy our own space. Sure, it’s great to be with your significant other more than with anyone else, but you don’t always have to go to their friend’s social events just because you two are dating. You aren’t an obligated plus 1 and it’s okay to say no.

This is also vital to remember when it comes to sharing a living space. As much as I love spending time with my boyfriend after a long, stressful day, sometimes I need to take some time to be in complete silence. Having a bit of divided space in an apartment is important so as to establish a bit of a boundary when you need your time to recuperate and relax.

It’s also important to note that just because you are in the same room with your partner does not mean you need to do what they are doing. Often times my boyfriend will be watching football on one side of the couch while I sit on the other with my headphones one, writing or watching my own show. There are only so many hours in a day and you should be able to spend them doing what you want while also being in the company of your significant other.

COMPROMISE ON DÉCOR

This has been a bit of a tough one for me because of how picky I can be. There is a certain look and aesthetic I try to achieve in my life and my boyfriend does not always agree with it because it can mean that our apartment is too cluttered or too girly for his liking. The last thing I would want to do is impose a lifestyle onto him that he doesn’t want so I’ve learned that it’s important to make compromises on your living space. Your place should be a reflection of both your tastes, combining to reflect who you both are and your relationship. Whereas I like very bright rooms and light décor, he likes things to be a bit darker, so we’ve made the compromise that our furniture is light in colour and our walls remain a darker grey, the colour they were when we moved in. It gives us a comfortable balance.

What would you do in a long-term relationship?

ThoughtsKaterina Eleftheriou