There's this theory that we all have of finding a person to spend the rest of our lives with- we think that we want the peanut to our jelly, the Harry to our Sally, the Carmen San Diego to our Waldo. But the reality is that there are many ways to be loved, and none of those complete you. I refrain from talking about "in young love" or "immature love" because those phrases make us immediately put our guards up. But the truth is, this type of budding love where we want someone to help us bury the dead body or to sit next to to us in jail- that is not realistic.
I should probably preface by saying that I'm a hopeless romantic. In fact, I believe in love so much that I will undoubtedly jump in to a relationship that has absolutely no future or tangible benefit for me other than the fact that I get to experience that other person. I also NEVER break up with people. I have hard talks, I reconfigure how the dynamic can work for me, but I don't cut people out.
What I have found to be true is that there are two types of relationships:
There are supporting relationships. These are the ones where the other person (or people) have your back no matter what. These are the friends that drive you to get the abortion, the friends that bring you scotch when you are heartbroken, the dumpster friends that you can completely dispose all of you emotions into with no judgement and no advice given. The bury-the-bodiers, the rob-a-bankers, the sitting-next-to-you-in-jail-after-a-dwi-the-best-attorney-can't-get-you-out-of. Those are VERY valuable. Those make exemplary friends.
Then there are the growing relationships. These are the people who hear your stresses and stay up all night trying to think of a good game plan, then make sure you are following through. These are the friends that take your car keys away so you don't drive home because the drive is unsafe, but the thoughts you have alone in your drunk mind are even more dangerous. This is the person who tells you to get up and go to the gym, to listen to your doctor, to slow down on the shots. These also make exemplary friends.
So when it comes to deciding who to have as a partner- especially if you are wanting a monogamous relationship- make your choices wisely. Who do you want as a long-term spouse? Who will help you live your best life? Help you grow your legacy?
And if you have this person already, don't stop trying to make life better. When you are with someone for a long time, you start to both understand that there is someone who has your back. There is magic in that. In the lifestyle, that type of magic that comes from feeling safe is called ORE (old relationship energy- as opposed to new relationship energy). This priceless piece of safe haven is incredibly valuable because it encourages you to explore new horizons. The same way an overwhelmed 2-year-old will venture away from mother's protection only if she is very close by, we have a hard time taking the second foot off of the diving board if we think it's going to more out from under us.
With the precious value of knowing someone holds you through thick and thin also comes the reality that, more often than not, you will let it get thin. This understanding helps us see our spouses in positive light, to value their feelings and insecurities and to understand that the density of that ice doesn't need the weather to change to make it stronger. Having these open conversations when we can explicitly say what we fear and what we need are the ultimate difference in which of these very important roles our relationship is taking.
What do you think is the most valuable relationship dynamic for you? Do you believe that you can fluctuate in and out of these? What type of spouse do you look for?
If you want to sink in further- try this activity with a friend or a partner:
Spend time each separately writing down 5 things that make you stressed or that you like to vent about (can be as simple as dirty dishes, destructive pets, etc)
Then, switch papers and take time writing down possible solutions to each issue your friend or lover has. For example: You can buy paper plates and never do dishes again, you can hire a live in maid, you can make the dishes a chore for other members of your house, etc.)
You might find that the best solution is what you are doing right now. But the fact that your other was further from the stress meant their suggestions were less emotional and likely more practical than yours. If they don't work, at least there is solace in having had open conversation about these stresses and having been considered important enough to brain storm solutions.