When CBG and I were a long-distance couple, it was easy to blame all of the problems that we encountered because of the distance.
“I’m cranky because I can’t get a hug from my man and if only I could then today would be so much better.”
“Finances are difficult because I’m not only running a household alone, but I’m juggling travel back and forth between our two cities.”
“He snapped at me because he couldn’t read my tone via text and just took it the wrong way.”
“Yo, this single parent gig is so hard. It would be so much easier if he were here to help me.”
“Everything would be perfect if only we were together.”
We’ve been living together for almost a year now. And guess what?
It’s not perfect.
Sure, he’s there for a hug at the end of a long, rough day. Our financial situation is eased a bit, with two homes becoming one. I’ve also got a partner to help me with housework and parenting. In all of these ways, the previous burdens that weighed down our relationship just aren’t there anymore.
But here’s the thing: there are new ones. New challenges created by living together and seeing each other every day. Irritation at seeing him use the living room lamp as a hat rack. Tension over finances. Nagging about getting things done around the house. Less personal space to be had. More needing to work together, more compromises required.
Are things any easier? Well, with the exception of those obstacles and stumbling blocks that were unique to being a long-distance couple, I would have to say no, they’re not. But here’s the thing — life certainly isn’t any more difficult either; it’s simply different.
That’s the thing about relationships. They’ve all got their own unique set of challenges. The key to happiness isn’t searching for a relationship without conflict or challenges or difficulties; it’s about finding someone who is equally willing to work with you to overcome those inevitable challenges and find a middle ground. Because you will encounter them.
Relationships — all relationships — are work. Work! Rewarding work, yes, but work nonetheless. Both partners need to put in time and effort to build it, sustain it, and help it grow. The minute that one or both of you stop doing that, is when the relationship starts to die.
Find yourself a partner willing to put in the same amount of time and effort as you, and you’ve got a winning recipe for a long and happy relationship. No matter what challenges you face.
So sure, I’ve got a wonderful husband now that I can curl up next to at the end of a long, difficult day at work, even if I am irritated at him for slinging his hat, yet again, on top of my living room lamp. He’ll get the hint eventually.