“No relationship is all sunshine, but two people can share one umbrella and survive the storm together.” ~Unknown
In a world duped by wild expectations and soaked Ryan Gosslings, my recent engagement to my partner Rob got me thinking: No one writes a letter every day for a year and talks about it in the rain.
So, to anyone out there ready for love, these are the lessons I have to share.
1. You may find love where you least expect it.
We met in a bathroom. At a gay bar. I’m not saying people don’t find love when they’re looking for it, or that it’s never magical, but you’re probably not going to meet when and where you think.
2. Technology is tricky.
Once you’re in a committed relationship, I think everyone would agree it’s time to delete the dating apps. The rest is totally subjective.
For example, you may not see the harm in liking a picture of your ex on Facebook, but your partner might. Either way, it’s definitely worth having a conversation on what you both agree is socially kosher online.
3. Jealousy can be healthy (in moderation).
Like booze, too much is bad for you, but a little here and there can actually be good. Rob once said, “You should be glad I’m jealous. Otherwise, it would mean I didn’t care.”
I know it sounds sort of twisted, but as long as there is trust, a little jealousy acknowledges you have something other people might want, and your partner knows it. Take it as a compliment.
4. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, or anything in between.
A relationship is a relationship. That’s that.
5. It’s like the movies, but not at all.
My improv teacher once said, “Every scene should be like the movies. Today is the day.”
Aliens are invading, a meteor needs to get blown up, your best friend is getting married—whatever it is, it’s going down, and it’s going to be super dramatic, hilarious, or terrifying.
Unfortunately, this intensity is not sustainable. Life has a lot of uneventful moments, and your relationship will too. No one wants to see a movie about two people spending an entire day on the couch. And that’s perfectly okay.
6. Seriously, everybody fights.
There are a lot of things you can do to prevent most fights, like communicate more and drink less. But when it does come to blows, remember that you can still get your point across without being mean about it.
7. Sex is easy. Working together is hard.
Some things come naturally, but packing up your entire apartment and filling a 17’ U-Haul isn’t one of them.
The cool thing is, the more you work together, the more you come to understand each other’s strengths, and for better or worse, weaknesses. Ultimately, it’s not just about you anymore. You’re a team. And as cheesy as that sounds, it’s the truth, Ruth.
8. Breaking up can actually be just a break.
About a year into our relationship, I took a job in Denver. Rob and I subsequently broke up. It was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but also one of the best.
Six months later, I moved back to Chicago with a renewed appreciation for the city, my friends, my family, and most of all, Rob, who (lucky for me) was still there. But there’s no denying breaking up is risky stuff.
9. It’s a package deal.
So that means antique shopping with your future mother-in-law, introducing yourself to that one friend for the fifth time, or discovering a close friend is actually an old flame.
10. Companionship is conscious.
We choose to be in a relationship. It’s a choice you will make every day for as long as you want.
I know I’ve got someone very special. And I know it took a lot of learning and growing to realize it.
So here’s to real life, sharing what you know, and the absolute “yes.”
Movie romance image via Shutterstock