Monday, September 21, 2009

The Long of Long-Term Relationship

At nearly two years with my Beloved, this is my longest relationship ever. Each passing birthday and holiday together, funeral and wedding is a road sign flying by that says I’m farther and farther away from any place I’ve been. I’m surprised by what turns up on the scenic route:

Gaining Weight
When I was single, I danced to top 40s at Mood Lounge on Monday night, salsa at Tongue and Groove on Wednesday, Latin rock at Loca Luna on Friday, and hip hop at Sutra on Saturday. It amounted to about 16 hours of stiletto-stomping, bass-pumping, aerobic writhing and flirting a week. Now, I’m lucky if I log 45 minutes on an elliptical before watching The Daily Show while drinking a beer (because that’s what he stocks) on his couch.

Creating Our Own Linguistics of Love
I’ve had inside jokes and pet names before, but we have, uh, progressed to being able to communicate in a complex system of grunts.

Learning to Love Unconditionally
In the bright beginnings of a relationship, you put everything else aside - like a vacation - to shower acts of kindness on a new love. Then, one or both of you learn that the other isn’t a heaven-sent angel at all, but a human being, a deeply flawed human being at that – which is so not what you signed up for. That’s when most couples break up. To be honest, sometimes I miss the perpetual beginning of a relationship, being seen as so perfect, so beautiful, so charmingly articulate. Now, I’m thick, and I grunt a lot.

My Beloved has witnessed my temper, my grief, my quirks, my myriad failures. We either had to break up or learn to love unconditionally, and obviously we haven’t broken up. (Well, we did once, but does 19 hours really count?) In fact, I often find myself saying “I love him too much to even let this silly thing annoy me.”

Planning the Future with a Capital F
I’ve daringly planned trips months ahead of time with boyfriends before. My Beloved, though, has made me start saving for retirement, and the other night, we decided on our “last song” for our eventual wedding reception.

But I have not reached the point when I am comfortable farting around him. That is so not what I signed up for. Many of you have been in relationships for much much longer. Tell me, what else am I in for?


  1. Ivy,

    Having been in a relationship for almost eight years now, I can tell you that good habits in a long-term relationship need to start here. I'm sure you're savvy enough to know this already, but in case anyone else is wondering - early in a relationship is not a good time to relax your boundaries. By not letting your beloved know up front what you need in order to feel respected and loved, you will have a really hard time getting what you need later - and chances are you're going to need it a lot more later than you do now.

    That said, there comes a point where a long-term relationship becomes more about the commitment than the love - it's a shock when that happens, but it doesn't make it any less significant. The love is still there, it just begins to share the stage with good, old-fashioned stubbornness. I have no delusions in my head that the only reason I'm still married today is because time and time again we each looked at each other and said, "No, this is NOT going to end right now."

    I'm so happy for you, Ivy. It sounds like you got a good one. :)

  2. I think it's intesresting that you posted this on this particular day -- today is the 7th anniversary of the beginning of my relationship with Stephen. In our relationship, we're well beyond the comfortable farting in front of each other part, and I think that's a great thing. It's definitely what I signed up for -- not the farts in particular, of course, but definitely the feeling comfortable.

    All of that fluttery new relationship stuff -- sure, it feels great, but that's smoke and mirrors to me. I don't miss it. What I have (and what you'll likely have, too) is much better. My heart doesn't race when I see my beloved -- it slows down. I don't get butterflies in my stomach when I see him -- the ones that were there, the stress butterflies, all of that crap -- they go away.

    Really, my love has become a sanctuary. I can be exactly who I am with Stephen and he can be the same with me. No filters. We understand each other and want the best for each other. We're a team. And the longer we're together and the more we go through together, the more that grows.

    So, don't resist the farting in front of each other. It's inevitable and a sign of good things. At any rate, in my relationship, if all goes according to plan, one day he'll watch a tiny human being covered in goo come head-first out of my vagina while I scream obscenities, and I don't think I can imagine a more.. uncomfortable.. sight. Though I'm still not comfortable with pooping in front of each other. You've got to leave SOMETHING to the imagination.

    Also, I'm reminded of this article, which I love...

  3. i ran into a friend from college last week, and i laughed when he refered to his girlfriend as his just seemed so impersonal to call someone you love your partner.

    but later i realized it was true. the longer you stay together with a person, you do become partners. it isn't about one or the other. it's about the two of you working together as a cohesive unit to make something beautiful in an often ugly world.

  4. This was an interesting to read, but it is also important to point out that any close relationship is like this, too! Not so much the gaining weight thing, but being able to figure out what's happening from body language, loving unconditionally, and talking about going skydiving in old age.

    Also, fuel for discussion: is there a double-standard for the farting thing? I have no problems farting with the girls but try to hold back in front of whoever I'm dating.



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