If you’re one of my loyal social media followers, then you’ll have clocked that over the weekend Jonathan and I celebrated 2 years together – and when I say celebrated I mean very lightly acknowledged and gave the minimum levels of fuss readily available. See, whilst we’ve obviously enjoyed the last 24 months together (well, as far as I’m concerned we have) our situation over the last couple of months has meant that spending some uninterrupted time together was more than good enough as a celebration.
See, the last year has been a year. Do you get me?
We’ve had health scares, family bereavements, job changes, house moves, unemployment, arguments and basically no money for a big chunk of the last 6 months. We’ve made some great choices and some poorer ones, we’ve broken promises and felt a little bit vengeful and fallen out with the world and one another.
It turns out that jumping out of the honeymoon period of a relationship whilst simultaneously jumping into proper adulting is f**king tough on your relationship. Obviously, in hindsight, I can see that deciding to move out when your routines are completely out of sync wasn’t the most practical option, but over the last 5 months, we’re just about holding things together.
So on Sunday, when I was considering how quickly years can fly by, I also noticed that despite me being a bit grumpy about it all, I’ve learnt quite a lot in and out of my relationship over this period. Due to my love of sharing here on BKY, I thought it only right that I share these few lessons with you. They’re things that being in a relationship has really brought home to me – and things that I knew I was going to have to learn at some point, so why not now…
Other people are delicate too
I know, I’m that bitch who thinks the world revolves around her. I’ve been that person who doesn’t realise that other people have felt hurt, betrayed or disappointed. I’ve felt as if the world was there to serve me and everyone in my life was just a pawn in my big game. Honestly, I think most (slightly spoiled) teenagers/young adults have felt this way at some point, and trust me when I say the bump back to reality can be painful.
Since being in a serious relationship, I can say that about 50% of all disputes and arguments have stemmed from me not realising that I’m not the only sensitive soul on earth. It’s easier to understand why people lash out or mislead you when you see that they’re a flawed being, too. They’ve made mistakes, they’re making mistakes and the best course of action for someone you care about would be to treat them like you’d want to be treated – with understanding and forgiveness and empathy (that’s not even fake because you’ve literally been there too).
Yes, it can be scary to accept that most of us are equals in the game of emotion – no one is immune to sadness or despair, and sometimes someone can’t be there for you, no matter how much they want to be, or how much you need them to be.
This is why talking about mental health on the daily is so important too. Without conversation and understanding then the wrong end of the stick is always grabbed, or bridges are burnt out of shame or embarrassment. Other people are delicate too, whether we like it or not, and it’ll go a long way to remember this.
You can live with less than you think
Naturally, when we moved out in June, I very quickly mentally kitted the place out with La Redoute rugs and IKEA classics (maybe with some Anthropologie magic mixed in if we won the lottery that weekend) – naturally, none of this really ever left my mind. This isn’t to say that we don’t have some nice pieces because we do, but are they the pieces I dream about or have pinned on Pinterest a million times? No.
The same goes with my wardrobe, which, although practically empty (hence why you don’t see me doing fashion posts anytime soon), manages to clothe me, despite my moans and groans about feeling like a frumpy blob in ill-fitting jeans.
See, whilst I’m not content with my homeware or my wardrobe, I’ve managed to do some great things these last few months despite them. It doesn’t matter now if some things would have gone better with shinier shoes, or a more colourful rug because I’ve managed to get by and do a handful of things on my lists in what I’ve already got.
The lesson is that if you think not having something is going to hold you back from doing something or achieving something, then you probably won’t even try in the first place. When having that thing just isn’t an option anymore (because of space, or budget or change of priorities) then you’ll probably get on and do whatever it was anyway. It might not be perfect, but in most cases, finished is better than perfect… and probably a whole lot more motivating.
Dreams are allowed to change (or not exist)
When I was younger, I assumed that everyone had a big dream. To go on The X Factor, to build their own home, to run their own business or to have a beautiful family… it could be anything in the world, but I was sure that everyone was so sure that they wanted something. As I grew up, it became more and more obvious that some people don’t have set-in-stone dreams, and sometimes they don’t have dreams at all.
It’s only in the last few years that I’ve learnt that this is okay. Mostly because my own dreams have changed and evaporated into almost nothingness, but also because when you’re taking on the world with someone else, you tend to want to know what their own ‘life-plan’ is, including any dreams or goals, and when they’re not there, you learn to carry on anyway.
Yes, having a dream is great. If you’ve got something you’re working towards then you go for it! But if not, just support one another in everyday life, encourage new habits and hobbies and remember that being flexible is sometimes pretty great.
Love is hard when you hate yourself
Contrary to the popular saying, I believe that you can love without loving yourself – mostly because loving ourselves is a lifelong journey and few of us will feel true and pure love for ourselves outside of a fleeting moment. However, whilst loving whilst you like yourself is all well and good, trying to love when you hate yourself is the road to self-destruction.
This has been a painful lesson over the last few months, but in the name of honesty, I feel I have to share it. After digging myself into a mental and physical hole over the summer, it’s taken me a long time to reach the point of selfishness for survival. I’ve had to participate less fully in my relationship, to give me the headspace for myself and also to not run us both into the ground.
Every good day is a step toward a stronger, healthier relationship, whilst every bad day is a time for space and reflection. No, things aren’t perfect (are they ever?) but I’ve learnt that doing what you can to survive is better than regret.