6 Lessons From a 6-Years Relationship

Hint: always take care of your plant

Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash

Almost six years ago I started dating this incredible human being. Together, we embarked on one of the craziest rides of our lives. We’ve gone through a lot together, really bad things included, but we kept taking chances and learning from all the experiences.

We’ve grown so much together, that I can’t imagine life without him. We became each other’s lover, cheerleader, best friend, and partner in crime. And we achieved this amazing relationship as soon as we put our egos aside and started working as a team. These are the highlights:

1. Relationships Are Like Plants

An odd analogy, I know. But it’s the best I have.

Plants need a safe, suitable, and nurturing surrounding to grow nice and strong. So do relationships.

From the moment you plant the seed, it’s up to you and your partner to take care of it, and this needs to be a balanced and constant process. Treat your relationship with kindness, and accept its evolving nature.

Just like you would do with a plant, give it joyful moments of sunlight. Embrace the shiny moments and let it be. Have fun, make noise, feel confident with your partner under the sun, as these brilliant moments will boost up your chemistry and trust.

However, make sure to also give your relationship fresh moments away from sunlight. If you force your plant under the sun, it’ll get exhausted. Even roses need moonlight to thrive. We all need those calm moments to rest, and so do relationships. Spend quiet time with your partner, make each other company on the stillness of life.

Plants could easily live forever if they receive sufficient nutrients for it. They grow, react, and evolve. Your relationship’s kind of the same. Embrace it.

2. Love Has No Room for Stereotypes

When we started, our main issues were all misunderstandings.

Here’s the thing: he expected me to fill the stereotype of ‘jealous and bossy girlfriend’, and I expected him to be the same kind of boyfriend. Just because. Therefore, whenever he or I reacted to the situation in our hands, the other would kind of snap and get defensive, assuming the other one had got mad. We were 19.

It took us many long talks to realize that none of us was up for that stuff. So here’s my advice:

Stop buying stereotypes of how perfect or toxic relationships should be. That’s the whole issue! We are told that happy relationships are always sunshine, and unhappy ones are always shadows. That’s wrong. Relationships are a bit of everything, as where there’s light there’s dark. That’s the duality of life and love.

Now, we are all different, and most importantly human. We have feelings, our thoughts run deep every second; remember that. Your partner wants to be understood as much as you do.

Let your partner react to your actions and don’t pin them as ‘toxic’ just because they show emotions. Let your partner disagree and don’t call them ‘crazy’ because they too have a different perspective on life. Let them live freely by your side.

If you want your relationship to grow smoothly, talk with your partner, and get to know them well. You’re in a relationship with another human being, not with a puppet.

3. Time and Space

I can’t highlight this enough. You need time and space, and so does your partner. You might want this time to recharge batteries, hang around by yourself, meditate, or balance once again. It’s okay.

You don’t need to be glued together all the time to know you love each other.

You don’t need to go with them to every single party, meeting, or appointment so they know you care.

You don’t need to know every single detail of their lives so you can trust them.

And they don’t need to do any of those things either.

I’m sure you love having some privacy, and that you enjoy going out and hang around with your friends every now and then. Well, your partner does too.

Communicate and be honest with each other. If you want to go and have dinner with your friends, do it, and tell your partner you’d like to go alone. Give your partner the comfort of doing this too.

You don’t own each other, feel free to be yourself, and give your partner the freedom to be it so.

4. Learn Each Other’s Language

I’m not talking about spoken languages — it’d be nice, though.

There are lots of things that are said through our bodies and gestures. It can be whether we are tense, comfortable, sad, angry, happy, shy… learning to identify these from your partner can save you lots of wondering.

When our words fail, our body doesn’t.

Observe your partner and understand their body language.

When learning this subtle side of them, you can prepare yourself in case they’re angry or just not in the mood. That way, you can expect some reactions and mediate the situation by not engaging in that bad mood.

Remember they have bad days just like you, be wise and let them go through their emotions. Of course, always respecting each other.

I just gave you examples of tense situations, however, you can also learn to read when your partner is happy, playful, or excited. And this can incredibly boost up your mood too.

You can find these signs of joy in the tone of their voice, the way they move, and even in the spark of their eyes. If you’re feeling happy too, then those are green lights to goof around together; if not, well, it’s always comforting to see them smile.

5. It’s You Both Against the Issues

The common thing we see — and therefore, learn — is to fight each other hoping we can get some sense into the other’s head. We can spend long hours arguing, trying to explain how and why a certain thing is hurting us; at the same time, our partner’s trying to do the same. However, there’s no communication because we are suddenly sided on different teams.

Stop doing that.

Whenever an issue comes your way, remember it’s not going to be solved by fighting each other. The solution comes when you team-up against the issue.

Take jealousy as an example. Whoever struggles with it in your relationship, remember it’s not about the person but the intrusive feeling. Jealousy is the issue, not you and not your partner. When you both are open to perceiving issues as an adjunct to one’s personality — and not as the core — , then you can work together to change the negative.

Issues can present themselves in various forms, whether small or big, subtle or evident. The key is to stay observant of how things flow.

Remember my analogy about the plant? Well, think of issues as plagues. You’re not going to simply kill your plant because it has some whiteflies plaguing it, right? You’re going to look up for remedies that cure your plant of the damage and keep the plague away.

That’s what you do with relationships, you heal them and protect them.

Standing-up against the issues is a rather arduous journey based on honesty, humbleness, healing, and communication. It’s up to you both to get the job done and grow as individuals, and as a team.

6. It’s About Holding Hands

Life’s a roller-coaster. The unknown is haunting us every single day. So, having someone to trust and hold during those uncertain times is invaluable.

Whatever life throws at you, the trick is to hold hands — literally or metaphorically — and team-up.

Remember that, even though you’ll always cherish your individuality, working and being together is an incredible journey that happens to be its own reward.

Care, respect, love, and protection.

Listen, observe, and cherish.

That human being by your side is as beautiful as you are, be there just as they’re here for you.

Life’s a roller-coaster, and we all know it’s more fun when riding it together.

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