So… what are we, like, right now?

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Today I officially get to say I have reached the six-and-a-half year milestone with my longtime boyfriend, Eagle.

Sometimes, it feels mushy to say that we’ve been together since middle school… because mostly anything related to middle school is cringy. I find myself still trying to get used to telling others this fact about us.

We’ve come a long way since middle school as we are now 19/20 years old. We often joke about cringe-worthy memories from our time spent together in middle school and the early stages of awkward dating as we moved onward to high school. As I’ve said, we’ve grown a lot since then.

We’ve learned to openly express our emotions in our most vulnerable hours, and can depend on one another. We’ve recently delved into casual farts…. which by the way is so relieving to me because now I don’t have to hold them in anymore. PHEW!! I can also proudly tell him his breath stinks and can tell whether or not he had the time to brush his teeth when I urgently need him to stop by and run some errands for me. (Embarrassing as it is to say, you know just as well that we all have some of those days.)

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Needless to say our relationship has been great the last few months… or years. However, we both have those days where we question what we call this plateau in our relationship. What I mean by this is we aren’t in the beginning of a puppy-love-honeymoon-esque stage that most others are at the start of a relationship, and we are nowhere close to being fiance/ee.

We’re what we would call… the in-between. (I’d definitely like to hear from others if you and your partner are experiencing the in-between as well.)

A few examples for an in-between relationship date, from our experiences, would have to be unnecessary trips to the store, like Target or Walmart, to browse the clearance racks, or running odd errands and picking one another up because it’s “along the way.” Or, going out to watch a movie or bowling or other leisure activities, but rather dragging along the kids who aren’t even your own kids. In addition, watching other people’s kids are what I call a scare-tactic form of birth control. If you get what I mean by this… because sometimes watching other people’s kids can really change your mind about ever having your own.

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Jokes aside, babysitting “not our kids” is always a splendid time. Like in the bigger picture, it has allowed me to realize he is actually pretty awesome and patient with children whereas I am on the other end of the spectrum and will turn into an angry ogre should they get on my nerves. It has also let us joke that should we have our own kids in the future, to make sure not to do this or that with them. It’s kind of like a free-trial sort of thing.

In the last 6.5 years I have also learned that we define romance or romantic gestures differently. For him, romantic is just getting to spend time with one another and enjoying each other’s company. Whereas for me….. romantic is over the top, tears of joy, bushels of flowers, showered with presents, public proclamations of love, straight out of a movie. This was kind of hard for me to get over for a couple of years, but I can’t not say I don’t secretly wish for some romantically obnoxious thing to happen to me.

Recently, however, romantic for me has been just laying in bed and taking a quick nap together because we’re too exhausted to go anywhere, or tasting his trial and error foods and recipes, looking at home decor and organization, raving and critiquing restaurants, accompanying me to my lectures on campus and study days in the library, or chilling with our cat. (Occasional back massages are also nice too. @ my bf if you’re reading this) I know it sounds obscure as to how it is romantic to me, but it’s comforting. Romance to me is comforting.

In the last few months, I have also learned to pick my partner up when he can find no other way how. Although this is quite a personal look into our relationship, I will briefly tell it anyway. Eagle and I have had the same argument for the last two years about him and what he was going to do with his life. For me, it seemed like I was always five steps ahead of him and if were a team of two we needed to be on the same page. I’d constantly get angry at him for never following through with my advice and what he should do with his life, and eventually I’d tell him that it was his damn life and it wasn’t my problem what he did with it. I’m not sure what in me changed, but I came to a realization that for all of the times he was there for me as a toilet to literally dump my shit in and forget about it, I wasn’t there for him when he needed me in return. I helped him clean up his act and I am more than ever proud to say he’s getting back on track. Sometimes you gotta realize how difficult it is to get yourself out of a ditch without help. I know that it sounds stupid, but unless you’ve been in the ditch, you really need a helping hand to pull you out of it.

Though there are some days where I wish I could hit the fast forward button on my life, I don’t think I would ever give that up for this stage that we are in. The in-between has tested me on many qualities I didn’t even know I had. I’ve grasped the idea of enjoying even the simplest moments together as the time passes us by and to appreciate every single second, even the ones that in the moment I wish never occurred.

And to my boyfriend, I owe him so many thank yous for having the most patient heart when it comes to my hot temper and my anxiousness, etc. I’m so thankful for being there for me at my beck and call. It’s crazy-silly to think about how far we have come and reflect on our experiences. But it’s even more crazy-silly to wonder what the future holds for us.

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