Monday, 26 March 2012

There Is No 'Relationship Rule Book'

It is time to get serious. This year, the year of the Olympics, my new job and mine and Lee's fourth year together, I vowed to be the Best Girlfriend 2012. So far, so good. I sent Lee series one of Mad Men as a surprise and even made him toast for breakfast once. However, to get this good at being a girlfriend I had to face some cold hard facts about relationships and myself. I had never had a boyfriend before Lee, and as we lived down the corridor from each other we've had a rather unusual relationship which didn't involve dating and circumstances meant we were living together throughout university. We've both said we have a small amount of regret surrounding our lack of dating, but there are plenty of date nights stretched ahead of us to more than make up for it. Since we've graduated we have been dealing with the added pressure of long distance, and although in reality he is a couple of hours away on the train, the money and time doesn't make it particularly easy. Now, as I'm going to have to readjust to living with Lee, I thought it was high time I passed some wisdom on.

As a perpetual overthinker, I have spent much of my relationship analysing every move I've made, every mistake and every future scenario that could play out between us. In order to become Best Girlfriend 2012 I had to put my overthinking to the side and try my hardest to not worry and dwell. This wasn't easy, but I never expected it to be, I don't think I will ever be free of it but I can definitely reduce the impact it has on me and my relationship. Luckily Lee is nothing short of a hero, he doesn't really worry and is always there to talk out my worries whether it takes ten minutes of hugging or an hour of chatting through 50 impossible scenarios. The greatest conclusion I have arrived at is there is no 'relationship rule book'. I tell myself this all the time and it has helped beyond belief, not only because I got there myself but because it is bloody true. To progress and enjoy my relationship I need to stop comparing myself to every woman character in chic lit, in rom coms and on television. Relationships are glamorised in popular culture, the sex looks amazing, women never poop, period pains never rear their ugly head and there will almost inevitably be a prince charming. In reality, 'a couple' is exactly that - two different people coming together. The idea that you will be instantly compatible is ridiculous, even if it boils down to one of you liking ketchup and the other mayo on your chips. You will have to adapt, to struggle your way through the tough times and learn to accommodate your partner into your life, and they'll have to do the same. You can't predict what will happen, nor can you predict how you will both act in the face any issues life throws at you. Living your life through what you have read or seen is not going to work, nor is worrying that people will judge your relationship based on these examples. I am guilty of worrying what people make of me and Lee, I feel pressure to 'prove' our relationship to the world despite knowing in my heart of hearts, I should give a damn

This year has seen me learn a lot of things about who I am already, and this is the one I am most proud of. It has helped my relationship and made me far more comfortable in myself. In realising that being a couple involves two different people and a steep learning curve, I have come to terms with the fact that I will inevitably make mistakes, Lee and I are only young and this is our first shot at a relationship. We've made it to almost three and a half years and we both have the same aim in making this relationship a long lasting one and our feelings for each other are stronger than in our first year. 

Sorry for the ramble, but I honestly do want to share this advice with you. Please let me know what you think. 

Becca x

19 comments:

  1. I think that the mere fact you have stayed together for 3 and a half years proves your relationship to the world so I wouldn't worry about that! Good luck with moving in and that steep learning curve :)

    Alex x

    http://makeyourdreamselectrify.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. thank you Alex! That is so kind. I think it will be a steep one indeed haha! xxx

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  2. Grown up relationships are so difficult!!! I've been with my boyfriend for 3.5 years and it has been so difficult. At times I really don't like him and I know he thinks the same, but at the end of the day, the love is there and we have fun but also there is some seriousness in there as well... Unfortunately its not as easy as being a child and going up to someone and saying 'youre my boyfriend now cos I love you, we are going to get married and have 100 babies'.

    Well done for getting that far. It honestly doesnt sound like you have been or are a bad girlfriend. In fact you sound a lot better than most girls I know!!!

    Lotsa love xxx

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    1. No it definitely isn't easy, you're right there! I think it is all about getting the balance right, you can't have all fun or all seriousness, you've just got to tackle things when they happen xxxxx

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  3. This is such a lovely, inspiring post! You couldn't be more right, there definitely is no such thing as a 'relationship rule book'! I'm a fully fledged singleton, however wrote a post yesterday that kind of noted my realisation that I don't have to live my life in the same way as the characters in the books I know and love. We don't need to compare ourselves to fiction, we just have to live our own stories and see what happens.

    Also, judging by the fact you have made your boyfriend a slice of toast this year, I can confirm that the 'best girlfriend' crown is entirely yours. The only thing I ever made my ex boyfriend do was cry. Woops.

    Xx

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    1. Well the toast did really impress, I also put marmite on it (which I can't stand) for extra points. I will check your post out now xxx

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  4. Such a sweet post..
    It's true, there is no relationship rule book.. all you can do is love and laugh, be compassionate and understanding.. be open and talk.

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you agree :) xxx

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  5. This is a lovely and funny post too. Your right there is no relationship handbook, what works for one couple doesn't work for another. And as much as I love chick lit and rom coms life just isn't that perfect so it's something you have to deal with. I've been with my boyfriend just over 4 years and especially since living with him at uni I've learnt it's all about compromise and adapting to each others ways! xx

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    1. I bet that takes a lot of adapting, moving in together is never easy! 4 years is very impressive and you both seem so happy still :) xxx

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  6. Awhh that was some lovely advice :) Ryan was my first boyfriend (and I was his first girlfriend), and we'll have been going out for 4 years this year too; on June 13th- he asked me out on Friday the 13th! See we are obvs relationship twins :P I know how the long distance relationship thing feels, I'm at uni in Birmingham and he's in Lancaster :/ but uni is almost over hooray! We do have similar interests but I think shared life values make a couple more compatible (although we do both like mayo on our chips haha). I know how it feels when somebody makes you feel like you should prove your relationship to them but I cut them out of my life and it was the best thing I ever did! You don't need to prove your relationship to anyone :) Sorry for the long comment x) xoxo

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    1. Eeep thank you Lauren! It is true, especially with the long distance as well, we need to have a good ol' gossip about it! I'm glad you both like mayo on your chips, it is far better than ketchup. I am hoping when I move then I won't feel that pressure any more, will see Lee far more (well everyday) xxxx

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  7. This was such a lovely post to read! Cracking advice, I'm another singleton I'm afraid but I bumble along fairly happily! I've never really had a proper grown-up relationship but I think that you're totally right, in that comparing your relationship to others' is futile and the best thing you can do is talk, be patient, and occasionally try and remember how many sugars they take in their tea... Mona x

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    1. Thank you Mona! I am so lucky Lee doesn't have sugar in his tea, it always gets me when my friends do. xxx

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  8. Great advice Becca!

    I am guilty of comparing relationships to chick lit/movies and wishing they could be more 'perfect' but as I've grown up (a bit hehe) I've realised more and more that real life relationships just aren't idealised like that and they have difficulties - it's not all sunshine and bouquets of flowers!

    I think as long as you're the best person/girlfriend you can be (and you definitely are with Mad Men!) and you stay true to yourself then that's all that matters and sod anyone who wants you to prove yourself or your relationship to them. :-)

    Em
    x

    http://emberdrake.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you Em! This is such sweet advice, I need to realise that I'm a pretty nice girlfriend, like you say Mad Men is pretty much proof... I do need to stop worrying, it isn't getting me anywhere xxxx

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  9. Like so many others here in your comments section I have to say: you're right! There is no relationship handbook. I guess the most important part is to keep loving eachother and being honest with eachother but hey, that's only my point of view too and who says I'm right?

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  10. I know I'm a bit late with this post but have just found your blog! Its really reassuring (thankyou!) to know someone has gone through the long distance thing. Me & my boyfriend met long distance and have been long distance since. Its very difficult at times, and i also think way too much! Its a relief to know someone else thinks like me and compares themselves to everything - great advice!

    Lisa xx

    http://lisaseaside.blogspot.co.uk

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  11. I really enjoyed reading this article...to echo the comments of others there really is no relationship advice you can follow. I've just turned twenty but I feel like my life is a perpetual cycle of doomed romances and Bridget Jones catastrophes. The mind games involved in texting is one of the things I hate most about dating.
    My sister met her boyfriend in her first year at uni too; three and a half years on and they're still together too. There's definitely something to be said about finding people that you connect with once you go to uni; friends or otherwise.
    I really hope yours works out for you. Great blog :) I'd love if you took a glance at mine too; I ramble about my relationship disasters in my latest post.
    Christobel x

    http://calico-casa.blogspot.co.uk/

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