Until very recently, I’ve always been one of those perpetually single types: you know, the kind who has a new crush every week thanks to the dozen different dating apps on her phone. Now, however, I’m in my first long-term relationship (nine months and counting!) — and I have to admit, it’s a super comforting feeling to finally have a partner who I can always count on, instead of just one mediocre fling after another. But aside from all the lovey-dovey stuff, what are long-term relationships really like? I’ve quickly learned that Maroon 5 was right all along: it’s not always rainbows and butterflies, no matter how much you and your partner love each other.
“Long-term relationships will change you — either for better or for worse,” Jianny Adamo, Counselor and Certified Relationship Coach at Fearless Love, tells Bustle. “Love has the power to transform us, so hopefully we have chosen well and picked a partner that can grow with us. [Their] friends and family become our friends and family and vice versa. Their debts or assets will either take or give to our relationship. Their ability to support, listen [to], and cherish us will be wind in our sail, but if they tend to criticize, invalidate and can’t hear you, this will take from you.”
Inevitably, every long-term couple will go through difficult phases in their relationship. The key to making it last? Remembering that, no matter what, you and your partner are on the same team and can tackle anything together — including working through rough patches. If, like me, you’re a late bloomer when it comes to relationships, here are 11 unexpected things you learn in your first long-term relationship.
1. Questioning Your Relationship Is Normal
You might think that once you’re in love and settled down, you’ll know without a doubt that your partner is “The One.” Truthfully, it’s totally normal to have the occasional doubt about your long-term relationship — and you shouldn’t feel guilty when that happens.
“Even if you’re deeply in love with your partner, it’s perfectly normal to occasionally question your relationship,” Jonathan Bennett, Dating/Relationship Coach and Owner of The Popular Man, tells Bustle. “Everyone has doubts from time to time, whether it’s about the future of the relationship or if your partner truly is ‘the one.’ As long as the doubts aren’t lingering and constant, they’re normal and even healthy.”