What 10 years of a loving relationship with my boyfriend taught me
There couldn’t have been a more perfect time than now to write this article; I recently celebrated 10 years of being together with my boyfriend. 10 great years. While our love story is as ordinary or extraordinary as any, it gets us a lot of wows because of the sheer number of years we have been together. And that, except two years in between, our relationship has always been long distance.
We weren’t in the same city, or even on the same continent, the day we completed 10 years of togetherness. I sat down to think about “us”, and all the years gone by.
Somewhere in the middle of all that thinking, I realized that everything about the last 10 years with him narrowed down to one single word, one single lesson I’d learnt of sustaining a relationship: commitment.
This may not sound genius. But the reason I’m writing about this is because it feels like a little victory, a milestone, a learning and understanding of sorts which can only grow by sharing. Also a reason I’m writing about this is because I realized the relevance of the word commitment, even more, when someone appreciated us the other day saying, “It takes a lot of character to stay committed.”
I don’t want this to be a ‘5 things to make your relationship work’ because every relationship works differently. How two people involved in the relationship want it to work, cannot be generalized. So what I’m about to say is not relationship advice. It’s me bringing forth certain areas of my relationship which, in hindsight, reinforced commitment for him and me; for us.
- It was not love at first sight. Well, at least not for me (or so I like to believe). But after six months of friendship and getting to know each other, we decided to start dating. All because of his efforts. He was persistent, and pursued me for a long time. When you want to be with someone, and you know fairly well they want to be with you too, you have to commit to doing something about it. Don’t already fear the “commitment” itself, or the consequences, or things you might have to change, or things that might change themselves.
- It’s been a while since we visited McDonald’s together but I know whenever we do do, he’ll order the chilly sauce, instead of the regular ketchup, with my burger. Because that’s how I like my burger. It is this attention to detail in the smallest of things, which shows a certain kind of commitment to make the person feel special. Make that effort.
- No relationship is untouched by difficulties. And ours wasn’t either. Especially since ours has always been a long distance one. All our fears and insecurities kept coming in the way, and we battled them each time by communicating exactly how we are feeling, by trying to meet each other, but most importantly, by trusting. Trust is a show of commitment and character like nothing else is.
- Sacrifice is synonymous to commitment and yet, it has a negative tone to it because that is the feeling our generation associates with the word. I’m not saying sacrifice something you love for the relationship. You don’t have to, and your partner will understand, albeit after a little time. However, do make sacrifices, which are not as important as the relationship is in the larger scheme of things. If no one has told you yet, let me be the one to tell you this: when you commit to a relationship, you commit to (reasonably) sacrificing for it too.
- And finally, no relationship is ever complete without love, which requires 100% of your commitment. Do things, and say words which express love, in the least expected moments and see the joy. We all need reaffirmations, more often than we admit. If you feel it, say it and show it.
When I decided to write this article, the first thing I did was googled the meaning of commitment.
- The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.
- An engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action
Strangely, the first two dictionary meanings of the word were completely contradictory. And while this article goes by the first definition of the word, I realized that for many people it is the (assumed) second meaning that makes them wow our relationship. Frankly, it isn’t so difficult. You have to want to do it. That’s it.