29tolife

Just another WordPress.com site

Archive for the tag “long-term relationships”

Why Long-Term Relationship Weddings are So Sweet

I don’t take being invited to a wedding lightly. Especially ones that are small, intimate or even outside of the country.

Weddings, large or small, courthouse to cathedral are special.

It’s two people deciding to choose each other everyday, and while it seems like relationships are always under attack, its honestly refreshing to see people who truly love each other and have gone through the fire, unite.

Recently, my latest rash of friends who have been tying the knot and are about to tie the knot have something in common.

They were together at a minimum of 5 or 6 years and a maximum of 15, and each had an engagement that was probably less than a year before their wedding.

While many folks started the marriage talk once these couples passed the two or three-year mark (except the high school sweethearts clocking in at 15 years), these couples blocked out the noise and ran their own race at their own pace.

Hence, these weddings felt the most emotional, because as friends looking on over the years, you truly got a feel for their ups and downs, their patience with each other, the acceptance of flaws and the universal understanding that these folks weren’t going to leave each other. They were going to stick together, no matter what.

And while the length of their relationship and delay in “making it official” is often the source of jokes and even criticism, these couples played by their own rules. Isn’t that what marriage is? Learning what works for you and your partner and doing just that? Maybe these friends in very long-term relationships decided they wanted to master that.

And let’s face it. The more time you invest in someone, the more you don’t want to let them down or vice versa. It realistically takes time to work through that. Experts say, we come down off of the high of love at the 2 year mark. That’s when the decision to love someone really kicks in after your endorphins and hormones have slowed down and you’ve gotten used to the person. So for the folks who stick and stay, after the fuzzies have subsided, you’ve got something.

I’m not knocking any people who found love in 6 months and locked it down, and are making it work. But it seems like society gives folks taking it slow a much harder time. So this is why I do want to take the time to shout out people who took their time and got hitched at their own time table, even if within the couple, there was disagreement about the pace at which they were getting to the altar.

Or there’s fear. There’s money and feeling established, which seems to be harder and harder to do these days. The economy, student loan debt, high rent and mortgages are impeding the progress of our generation, it’s slowing our ability to get ahead and stabilize. It hinders our confidence in taking on another person.

We live in a society of instant gratification, and we often try to place that on relationships because, we like love, we like weddings and hey, if people like each other or get along in a year or two years, we believe it’s a miracle and folks should snap that person up right away.

But the prospect of marriage is a sobering experience, when you take away the fantasy of the big celebration and finding the love of your life. It’s one of the biggest choices a person can make, and most of us hope to only make it once.

It makes you take a hard look at yourself. It humbles you that someone has seen you for who you are and wants you anyway. They want to tell the world that you are theirs, they want to wake up with you everyday.

So cheers to my friends who took their sweet time. Their ceremonies were filled with so much love and it felt like a victory lap and a fresh beginning all at once. It’s a true celebration of an honest love that took so much time to nurture and build and is admittedly still a work in progress, with room to grow and improve.

Advertisements

In a New Relationship, Negotiate. In An Old Relationship, Renegotiate.

Me and a very good friend had a discussion last night about people who have been in really long relationships, where there may have been cheating involved and numerous make ups and break ups.

The unfortunate thing for the girl involved is that she fell in love with this guy in high school and knew nothing else.

She had not yet developed the skills to negotiate her romantic relationships. And it’s cost her. Dearly.

Yes, I said it.

Whether you think so or not, when you enter into a relationship with someone the tone of that relationship is set by what you demand, ask for or don’t ask for. Together, whether you spell it out or not, you have set up and agreed to the terms of your relationship.

I’ve been thinking about the demands I’ve given said and unsaid, and I’ve thought about terms I’ve accepted in the past.

The negotiation factor is so important, because as I pointed out to my friend, even if the couple I mentioned do get married, something very dangerous can happen.

Nothing is going to change and the same dysfunctional shit that dictated the relationship will still guide it.

Worst of all, the woman, will think because she’s his wife, NOW she can make demands that she wanted before and was afraid to ask for, feel she has every right to express it, and it’s his duty to do it. Period.

The man, he’ll be shocked because he thought by finally marrying her, he finally gave her what she wanted, so why is she still trippin? Why is she worse?

This is the metaphor I gave to my friend about the poor young lady being in this relationship for so long, and not really having the ability to get out there, get experience and learn the game.

Say you’ve been working at McDonald’s for twenty years. Say you started out at 15 making minimum wage.

Let’s say, you have been promoted several times and now you are a manager. And instead of making $4.00 an hour, you were told, hey managers make $10 an hour that’s what they make.

You accept those terms because you like being called a manager. You don’t go to salary.com. You have a suspicion that you may be underpaid, but no, you trust the company you’ve been working for. You’ve been loyal. You are there early and you stay late.

You trust they are giving you a fair shake because you’ve done everything right and you’ve been with them for so long.

Then you hear the loud new girl on fries got a raise and she makes $12 an hour. She comes in late. She’s rude to the customers. She never volunteers to stay late. She leaves early.

You mumble and grumble, how is this possible? She even hooks the homies up with free food.

Then you find out, when she took the job– a job that doesn’t even require the same amount of responsibility– she wasn’t going to take it, unless she got $12 an hour.

And they agreed.

You are salty because you realize you never asked for what you wanted, or made people think twice that maybe they’d have to live without you and your services one day. You never demanded anything, so in return, they gave you what they thought you should have. You played no role in it whatsoever.

And once people start deciding what they think you should have, without you setting boundaries, even when they give you less, in their mind they think it’s more than fair. What’s the difference to you anyway? You never established your value.

Now I’m not saying in relationships women need to throw around ultimatums, or threaten to leave. You can’t play that card willy nilly at work, and you can’t do it in relationships. But we tend to get mad when we see young women, playing by different rules looking like they are winning, looking like they got what they want.

“Good girls,” who don’t ask for anything at all, waiting for that man to finally “see” them, and see how loyal and loving and supportive they are, need to learn a thing or two in negotiation from the “Bad girls” that these men tend to cheat on them with.

I’ve been the girl, in college who tried very hard to get men who only wanted to have sex with me to see me for the smart, talented, pretty, funny young lady I felt I was.

I think they did think I was all of those things. It wasn’t personal, they just wanted sex. And because I wanted them to “see” me, I was available at 2 a.m. I’d answer my phone, I’d open the door, I’d open my legs. I’d drive out in the rain in the middle of the night to give them what they wanted.

How can they not see how great I am? Surely, they’d want to date me, exclusively.

And even if they slept with other women that I knew and took classes with, or lived down the hall from, I still thought, I had the magic lady parts and the heart to win him over.

I wondered about the people in the relationship that started the whole convo. They’d been together on an off for more than a decade. The man, no closer to marriage, because of his own struggles with settling down; the girl, hoping that after all of her years of service aching for the title of wife, not realizing, if she gets it, her benefits and raise may be way below average, because she didn’t negotiate from the start.

As for people already in relationships, you are going to change. You are going to grow.

You better sit down from time to time and review your situation.

You need to find out what that person needs and wants from you, and you need to express your needs and wants. You should praise them for the great things they do, and respectfully explain the not so nice things you don’t like, and let that person do the same.

And if things are changing, say so. If things are going in a weird direction you don’t like, say so.

There should be no fear in speaking your mind respectfully in your relationship. You want that person to be happy and they should want you to be happy. Everyone needs updated information to do their jobs properly.

If your man or woman is putting in that work, give em a raise. Give em a bonus. Go out of your way to show your gratitude.

If they are slacking on the job, you can’t keep quiet then fire them with no warning.

Give people chances to improve. Be clear on your expectations and don’t back down.

You don’t want to be that disgruntled “manager.”

 

 

Post Navigation