reflecting on my relationship: 8 months vs 26 months

picture from our first date at leila’s house in east london. it’s crazy because i can remember how ecstatic i felt. i was bursting with excitement as i realised that it felt exactly like the movies (all these years i thought they were exaggerated). this was definitely the first time i had been in love; nothing else ever came close.

8 months after i wrote:

i have been with my partner for a little over 8 months now and although 8 months only seems like the beginning for two people that want to spend their entire lives together, i can already feel myself changing. below, ive dotted some brief points to illustrate this shift and which im excited to read back in a few years time.

im reading more non-fiction

i have always been a fan of fiction. by this i dont necessarily mean a fantasy world where dragons and elves exists; i could never wrap my head around epics. i mean, i really like fiction that explores the banal, everyday life of the average city-dweller. theres something intriguing in understanding how others live. a different class, a different region or a different linguistic group means different experiences to my own and i find that – enriching. usually, i’m on the hunt for patterns and so classifying experiences gives me some idea on how the world works. of course there are other ways of making sense of the world, for instance, through philosophical works. although i have not yet replaced my toni morrison for nietzsche, pascal or sartre, i have started to read more non-fiction and specifically, sociology books. a little bourdieu never hurts.

my eating habits have changed

my partner is adamant that a plate should be ‘full’. he chooses to fill every meal with bread and cheese, as well as protein and veg. again, ive met somewhat in the middle, making sure that i eat a full meal at set times of the day. before my eating habits were sporadic and more chaotic. sometimes a meal could comprise of just a crisp packet or a glass of wine with its concomitant cigarette. but now i understand that the quality of a meal matters and should be paid careful attention.

to be early is to be on time

im quite an optimistic person, and this optimism extends to the realm of time. since meeting my partner, i’ve learnt that sometimes overestimating how long things will take, can actually give you more free time. lately, i’ve been rushing less and by slowing down the pace of the day, i enjoy my schedule more.

communication can help to avoid issues in the future

and to be effective, honesty is important. ive realised that personal values are important and so with the people we care about, we should define our communal values as well as our deep and personal thoughts. a friend is someone that you can get emotionally “naked” in front of. im used to keeping my feelings subdued, i find it even more difficult to cry in front of people. ive learnt that having emotions does not make you weak. and if your friend or partner truly loves you, they will never hold your weaknesses against you.

most importantly, my idea of love has changed.

i didn’t really believe in love before meeting my partner. i had definitely loved before but it did not, in under any circumstance, feel like this.

how my partner has changed me: after our two year milestone

so i came across my old post about how i had changed from my relationship and now, at my two year milestone, i actually have different things to say. i guess that’s a good sign??? it means that the relationship is evolving and we’re changing together. i might continue this odd tradition because im curious to what i will write at the three year mark.

patience

part of growing up is learning patience and how to cope with it. i mean, this time last year, i thought patience was not getting angry when someone was late (which barely scratches the surface), and in reality i always have a book on me, which means i havent even successfully practised a modicum of patience. this year, all of that has changed and my partner has helped me to handle this difficult period with equanimity.

to be careful with my words

it’s really easy to hurt the other person in a relationship. it’s alot of power to be walking around with and sometimes when i’m overwhelmed with anger, it’s easy to snap and let the other person feel it. i’ve done that on numerous occasions and i’ve always instantly regretted it. this year i am learning to channel my anger in an outlet and to release fustration in a more healthier and sustainable way. i think this also links to my realisation that love is not red but actually blue (well it wasn’t my epiphany but i heard jada pinkett smith say it). it’s easy to mistake the vagaries of someone’s behaviour for intensity and passion but 9/10 times, it’s probably just toxic and problematic. contrarily, signs of blue love are healthier such as feelings of awe in my partner’s kindness or reassurance when i am the most vulnerable.

listen to a wider range of music

particularly, ive started to pay more attention to the instruments in a song and how it has been put together. there’s not much more to say; it’s just nice to be exposed to more genres!

how to improvise

i’m a planner. i relish in organisation, especially when i’m travelling. improvisation and organisation shouldn’t be on the opposite ends of the spectrum, but they are for me. perhaps because i enjoy planning, i’m not faced with situations that i need to improvise in but i’ve realised that i can’t always be in control of a situation and sometimes i just need to adapt. i haven’t in any way mastered this skill, right now, i’m just learning to be comfortable with the idea.

be clear with your feelings, especially with friends

i held this assumption that confrontation was a negative experience and that i absolutely hated it. now i understand that it is important to be clear about your feelings. this is risky. your interlocutor could end up hating you, but that’s not as bad as acting under a false pretense.your choice of words need to mean something or else they risk not meaning anything and as long as it comes from a place of love and most importantly, respect. i realised that i can’t expect someone to change their opinion either, in fact they probably will not but i can feel proud that i was honest.

hold your standards high

it might be related to my immigrant background or perhaps it could be a sign of immaturity and accorded to youth but i’m guilty of saying yes to more than i can handle. on the other hand, my partner says no if he means no, he doesn’t take an offer he doesn’t want to take and he believes in himself when he knows he deserves better. he’s astute and confident and i could do with more of that.

a hug can fix a fight

sometimes it can be hard for me to talk it out, especially because i feel confused to what i’m actually feeling or what i’ve said. i know i want to reconcile but i don’t actually have the right words to do that. what’s easier and almost visceral, is just reaching over and pulling someone close to you, despite if it was their fault or your fault. frankly, it doesn’t matter. the argument has already escalated further than you intended it to. you want to take back everything back and that’s everything a hug can fix.

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