Did you ever ask yourself why most romantic movies end when the protagonists get married? I’ll tell you, because what comes next isn’t Hollywood material.
Let me start with an obvious fact; I’ve been happily married for the last six years. I’ve been with my wife for 15 years. Ana is the best thing that ever happened to me.
One of the reasons why it’s so cool being with Ana is that she’s as honest as I am about relationships. We talk extensively about the current state of our relationship. If it needs work, we put in the work. If it’s great, we relax and enjoy.
I’ve realized how hard it is for other people to understand what being with someone for so long means. Most people desperately look for what we have. They idealize it, they obsess over it, they build all these expectations about being in love forever.
Let me be clear; that’s bullshit. Being with someone for so long is a lot of work for both parties. When looking back, there are three specific scenarios that have been very challenging for us.
Give it enough time, and it will break you apart.
The first one is long distance relationships. Our experience has been that it just doesn’t work. Do you want to kill your relationship? Move away. There is no mystery behind it. We are social creatures. We’re meant to be together, not apart. If you separate us, we will connect with other people that are closer. It is a matter of time, despite what anyone says. Give it enough time, and it will break you apart.
How do I know? Because we’ve been there. It was the first time we felt our relationship was on the brink of disaster. We talked it out. We cried, we healed, we became stronger.
The more used you become, the less perceived value it has for you.
The second one was long-term boredom. When you’re with someone for so long, you tend to fall into known patterns. You don’t take care of yourself anymore; you do the same things every weekend. Work happens. Growing your career happens. Endless working hours happen. In one word, life.
You’re so used to seeing your partner; you just don’t value what you have. It’s the curse of our race, the more times you see something, the more used you become. The more used you become to each other, the less perceived value it has for you.
Life doesn’t stop when you get married. It just starts.
Let me tell you, it’s been hard to break out of that one. It’s so easy to take things for granted. But they’re not. You need to keep watering the relationship. Life doesn’t stop when you get married. It just starts. The hard way lies ahead. That’s the real measure of your commitment.
The third one is currently unfolding as I type these words. Children. Having children is one of the most beautiful experiences a human being can have. I would never in my life regret having my babies. That said, it’s been one of the hardest tests for our relationship.
What I’ve realized is that most couples focus on the wrong problems. It’s not about taking care of the baby (or babies in our case). That’s hard, it’s nerve wrecking, but you survive.
If you take care of the kids, you don’t take care of your partner.
The real issue happens as a by-product of focusing all your energy on your children. The experience can be so demanding, so draining that suddenly, only the kids exist. Herein lies the trap. If you take care of the kids, you don’t take care of your partner.
No one talks about this. Everyone talks about the lack or infrequent sex, about being exhausted or on the verge of a nervous attack. Few people will honestly recognize that they’re neglecting their partners as a consequence.
It’s about that kiss you just were too tired to give
It’s taken us some time to talk about this issue. Let me be precise. It’s not about not having sex (we do), it’s about ignoring the most basic and core principles of love.
It’s about that kiss you just were too tired to give. It’s about that hug that you didn’t want to give because you were too busy. It’s about saying thank you. It’s about saying “hello, I missed you.” It’s about all those tiny details that make the magic work.
I’m writing these words because I want to share this experience with other couples. We’re so busy with our daily lives that we neglect the one thing that makes living worth it, sharing it with someone you care.
Trust me, don’t wait. Work on it now. Talk it. Confront it. Fix it. Happiness isn’t a destination, it’s the path, and the path needs to be walked.
I sincerely hope these words resonate with many couples out there. I hope some of you will recognize yourselves. I hope some of you will make it through.