So today we’re getting personal with our relationships theme this week. As a young adult, navigating the rocky world of relationships amongst a sea of Tinders, hookups, ghosting, and dating...it can seem like a daunting task to find someone who at the very least is going to be able to hold a semi-interesting conversation.
I am one of the lucky ones, having somehow managed to maintain a 6.5 year-long relationship with my high school sweetheart, Tomas. You’ll get to meet him more in our relationships podcast this week, as he’s one of our guest stars.
We met in middle school and started dating at the end of our freshman year of high school. Then proceeded awkward teenage dates at the local park, years of prom photos, experiencing a world of firsts together, and ending our senior year as prom king and queen. We were named “Most Likely to Get Married” in our senior superlatives, though that one is pending on our end. Currently, Tomas is finishing up school at Montana State University, while I have graduated from CU Boulder and moved on to a full-time job. That means 9 months of the year, we’re long-distance, and we have been for the last 3 years.
I can honestly say I fell in love with my best friend. Someone who knows me completely, down to what I’m thinking based on a facial expression. Someone who can put up with my anxiety, my constant need for perfection and achievement, and my overly emotional side that makes me cry at puppy videos. Someone who accepts my incredibly silly side and is willing to be as weird as I am in everyday situations.
In high school, we ran in the same friend circles. Both of us were heavily involved in theater, journalism, and TV production. But that’s where the similarities end. He’s hilarious, crazy, patient, adaptable, and has the most positive and wonderful outlook on life. With a big heart and even bigger dreams, he challenges me to be my best, amplifying my strengths and filling in when my weaknesses appear. He balances me out truly and completely, and there’s no one else I’d want to go through life with.
It hasn’t always been easy; in fact, it’s been incredibly difficult. People assume that we must be happy and hopelessly in-love all the time. That’s not the case. A long-term relationship takes an incredible amount of work, patience, and constant communication. It’s like a fire that you have to nurture, because flames will go out unless carefully tended.
We actually broke up in high school for a week, and in college for 6 months when we first began the chapter of our college careers. When you throw long-distance into the mix, it makes it all the harder because you have to put that much more effort into communication and affection in ways that aren’t physical.
However, I am incredibly grateful for those hard times because I truly believe that you can’t really tell if you love someone until you face hardship, trials, and adversity. The disagreements and the uncomfortable parts of the relationship are what helped us to dive deeper, to the underlying strong connection that allowed us to fall in love in the first place. The time apart allows us to be able to grow as individuals and develop into adults who could independently lead their own lives, and take value in our own individual happiness. The hard times allowed us to love ourselves so that we could love each other fully and completely, flaws and all.
I’m going to be honest, there is no one correct answer in leading a successful relationship. It depends on the person you’re with, where you are at in life, and what values you hold close to you. As a young adult, I never thought that I would have been so fortunate to have found who I believe to be my person so early on in my life. Everyone should know that that’s not normal and that your person is still out there, even if it may take another 20 years to find them.
When you do find that person, understand that a long-term relationship takes constant communication, sacrifice, quality time, and time apart. Be sure of who you are, and what you need. Value your time alone, and make sure that your time together will remain special even after you’ve been with that person for years. Be willing to give as much as you take, balancing the sacrifices and successes in your relationship. Most importantly, the key to a successful relationship is communication. Let them in. If you can’t be 100% vulnerable with each other, and constantly communicate on where you’re at in life, the relationship will fail.
When it comes to long-distance relationships, the answer remains the same. Put extra effort into that time you are together, even if it’s the little things you do...they make a great difference. Place care and passion at the forefront of every interaction with your significant other, and you will be just fine.
I want all of you to know that you will find your person. That the heartache, turmoil, and missed matches will pay off in the end. Eventually, it will all be worth it, and until then, value the life you’re living now and practice being your best self. Love follows light, so bring that into your life and exude passion into all that you do.
Good luck to all you single Ramblers out there, and to all of you in relationships, I hope our story was helpful. If you’d like to know more, feel free to follow either Tomas or me on our social platforms.