If you’ve spent enough time in a real, healthy relationship, you know that they are nothing like the movies would have you believe. But if you’re yet to commit to another person for the long run, then you’re in for a few surprises! Being in a partnership with someone else is fantastic and exciting and horrifying and stressful, all at the same time.
Whether the relationship lasts forever or not, it will have a pretty big impact on your life and teach you quite a few things. In the process of seriously loving someone else, you’ll acquire a new set of skills and a newfound confidence. You’ll also encounter challenges that will reduce you to tears and make you question how anyone makes these damn things work. Not all of it will be good, but some parts will be better than you ever imagined they could be.
Here are the relationship secrets that have been kept hidden:
15. They Won’t Be Perfect
A common misconception about relationships is that it’s only okay to commit when you’ve found somebody who’s perfect. We don’t condone settling down for the sake of it with somebody you’re not feeling at all, but we also don’t think it’s very smart to wait for somebody who ticks every single box. It is okay to have standards, but nobody is perfect. Even somebody who does tick all your boxes will have characteristics that are less than appealing, and they’ll probably inspire new boxes on your list (which they definitely don’t tick!). You won’t find somebody who is flawless, but you should hold on tight when you find somebody whom you love in spite of their flaws. That’s when you know you’ve found a total keeper! Being with somebody who’s perfect would probably result in anxiety anyway, since you’d always be comparing their non-existent flaws with your very existent ones.
14. Opening Up Is Scary AF
There is a lot involved in being in a relationship that is scary, but the part that many crave is often the scariest of all. Lots of people face their fears and hop into the world of dating with the end goal of finding someone they can open up to. But they often don’t realize until they get there that allowing yourself to be emotionally exposed and vulnerable is frightening, even if it feels good. Telling someone your secrets and taking on theirs, admitting to them how you really feel about them when you’ve always kept those feelings hidden, and placing your heart in their hands are all things people dream about. However, when they actually happen, they can make you feel like crying, or throwing up, or both. This is especially true if you’re used to someone who was never open with you. There is a lot at risk when you open up, but it’s worth it!
13. It Won’t Complete You
This is a message that’s coming through more and more in our society. After centuries of the notion that happiness can only be found through marriage, people are embracing the idea that you can be happy and single! But even though you’ve probably heard people say that a partner won’t complete you and you have to be enough by yourself first, it’s hard to truly understand it until you have a partner, and you see it for yourself. The right partner will enhance your happiness and make your day a little sunnier. But they won’t fix your problems. If you don’t love yourself alone, you won’t love yourself with someone else. It’s common to enter a relationship hoping to have your emptiness filled, only to find that you end up feeling lonelier than you did on your own. It is possible to feel complete and fulfilled, but if you can’t do it on your own, you won’t be able to feel that way with a partner!
12. Some Parts Will Be Gross
Two words: bodily functions! One thing that is often left out of the romances we see on TV is the not-so-pretty side of intimacy, where growing closer to a person will also bring you into each other’s very personal circles. There are only so many months you can go without using the restroom at your partner’s house, after all! Falling asleep spooning the right person will always feel amazing, but those dreamy posts on Instagram tend to leave out the weird smells, ultra-loud stomach grumbles, and strange noises that come from having blocked sinuses. It’s up to you how intimate you want to get with your partner, but the more time that you spend together, the more you’re going to see and expose. It might freak you out now, but many partners use the bathroom in front of each other and pick at each other’s pimples, among other gross things.
11. Social Media VS Reality
Most of us have a feeling that what we’re seeing on social media isn’t the real deal. But when it comes to relationship posts, you probably won’t realize how much people stage and plan their photos until you are in that situation yourself. As a single person, you might look at couples who are mid-laugh together in a field or on a beach and think that they have the happiest relationship of all time. However, once you get close enough to someone you love and take your own mid-laugh “candid” photos, you’ll see that no relationship is the happiest of all time. Contrary to what couples on Facebook and Instagram would have you believe, relationships aren’t all about laughing together in good lighting and feeling so blessed because you’ve found someone who fits the #couplegoals title. Sometimes they’re about that, but they also involve work, stress, bad days, and emotions, and that’s perfectly okay!
10. Finding Time For Each Other Will Be Hard
Finding time for another person is all about priorities, so if you’re one of those people who plan on throwing away every other part of your life when you get into the perfect relationship, you shouldn’t have a problem finding time for your partner. But we must say that we don’t recommend that sort of approach! The world doesn’t magically stop when you fall in love, though it can feel like it. You’ll still have your job or your studies, your friends, your family, your health, and any hobbies to think about. Managing all of that plus a partner is very tricky, but it can be done! It comes down to organization and effort. Unless you live across the hall from each other (which you probably don’t unless you’re Monica and Chandler), it might be a pain to travel long distances to see your partner, but that’s the type of sacrifice you have to make.
9. If You Want Time for Yourself, You Must Set It Aside
Millions of people are able to make relationships work without neglecting themselves, so it can be done! But as we’ve mentioned, the juggle can get tough. While you’re trying to see everybody else in your life, cater to your career needs, and see this amazing new person you love spending time with, your own well-being often falls down to the bottom of the list. It’s easy to neglect taking care of yourself physically through things like exercise, and mentally through stress management and good sleeping patterns, when you’ve got a zillion other things going on. So once you get into a relationship, you have to make an effort to take time out for yourself. It won’t just happen naturally like it used to! Ironically, though many of us think self-care is unimportant, it should be at the top of our lists. None of the rest will work if you’re cracking from the inside!
8. You Will Fight About The Little Things
Healthy couples fight, which is another element that is usually left out of the typical relationship narrative. It may come as a surprise that the little things often cause problems that can be just as challenging as the big things. Not every fight has to be about hardcore issues like infidelity or family drama. Sometimes you’ll get seriously worked up over a small issue that’s continued for months. Other times, a lot of little things can end up causing one huge thing. And even if the fights aren’t significant or long-lasting, know that it’s pretty normal to bicker. Some say that if you want to be happy in a relationship, never say that you’re right; the person who has to come out on top of every argument is the person who will receive resentment and glaring stares for days afterwards. We wouldn’t say be a doormat, but sometimes, it’s easier to take the high road!
7. You Will Master Negotiation
It would be nice if they taught us life skills like negotiation in as much detail as they taught a few other subjects in school! Communication in a relationship is crucial, because it can stop the little things from turning into big, break up-worthy things. When you don’t say what’s on your mind, you end up building resentment, which more often than not leads to a meltdown. And if your partner is the one being secretive, it can become exhausting to take on the role of mind reader every time you see them! If you’re not a good negotiator now, don’t worry—a good relationship will teach you exactly how to be one. Relationships that last require you to strike a balance between considering the feelings and needs of your partner, and also doing what’s right for you, so with all of those intentions coming out of both of you, you’ll have no choice but to compromise.
6. You Will Influence Each Other
Once you start spending enough time together, you and your partner will influence each other. Not only will you notice that you’re using words you picked up from them, or taking an interest in the things they like, but you might also learn some positive habits, which is one of the best relationship bonuses! If you’re accustomed to drinking and partying all night, eating nothing but pizza and sleeping in until 2:00pm every weekend, you might find your life improving drastically once you fall in love with someone who’s health-conscious. That sounds annoying, but you won’t think so when you’re loved up! However, the opposite is also true, which sucks if you fall in love with someone who has negative habits. That’s not to say you will transform into a pizza maniac if you’re dating one, but it can and does happen. Whether the influences are good or bad, you will eventually notice them!
5. It Will Get Expensive
If you’re feeling blue because all your friends are with their partners and you’re alone, cheer yourself up with the thought of how much being in a serious relationship is costing them! Sure, things can get pretty expensive for singletons too, so we don’t want to open up that can of worms, but relationships are costly. If you’re dating someone, all those dinners, desserts, brunches, movie tickets, and romantic weekends away add up. Sure, you can find things to do that don’t cost a dime, but are you never going to treat yourselves to a night out? The dates themselves come at a cost, but then there’s also the gifts—Valentine’s Day, birthdays, Christmas, and anniversaries. Yes, you’ll get a gift back, but it’s still a dent in your bank account! And let’s not forget the outfits. Your dates, as well as all your joined family and friend events are going to require a few different dresses.
4. Others Might Treat You Differently
Society tends to view single people and couples in quite a different light, so if you’re just getting into a new relationship, be prepared for others to react differently to you. You might find that some people are more accepting of you now that you’re part of a duo, but we’d advise giving them the flick if they made you feel left out while you were by yourself! Though your friends and family should be happy if you are happy, you might be met with feelings of envy. Even if everyone you know is already in a relationship, they might have put you in their “eternally single” file, and weirdly, they might perceive you settling down with someone as a threat to your friendship. And of course, there are bound to be a few issues if the people in your life don’t actually approve of your new partner, but that’s an article in itself!
3. People Will Give You Advice
Once you announce that you’re in a new relationship, people will feel the need to give you advice… but most of the time, you’re going to feel like they’re forcing their opinions on you. Most of the time, they have good intentions, and are just trying to stop you from making the same mistakes that they did. But that doesn’t mean the advice will be good! In fact, you’ll probably find that most of it is terrible. You might also feel like it’s all stuff that you knew already, and could have worked out with your eyes closed. Every now and then, though, someone will give you some truly amazing advice that will make all the difference. So even though you don’t feel like listening to what everybody has to say, it can be worth it to politely nod and keep an ear out for anything worthwhile!
2. It Won’t All Be About You
Many of us dream of finding that person who shoves everything to the side for us, meets all of our needs, and puts us above all else. That does sound nice, but relationships don’t always happen like that, so you shouldn’t expect it! In all seriousness, it’s not really a reasonable request. We wouldn’t like to be with someone who expected us to forget our dreams and goals and cater to their every need, so we can’t set that as a prerequisite ourselves! This might sound like a given and well-known element to relationships, but lots don’t realize that it’s actually about the happiness of two people, and not one. If you go into a relationship with the intention of being served, you’ll probably make the other person feel terrible, and send them running in the other direction! By the same token, don’t settle for a relationship that’s all about them. Neither option works!
1. You’ll Be Taken Out of Your Comfort Zone
Relationships are fun and exciting, but they also take you right out of your comfort zone. We are big fans of leaving our comfort zones behind and experiencing new things, so we think this is a positive thing! But no matter how confident and brave you are, leaving behind the known for the unknown is always going to be scary, and you probably won’t realize the benefits of it until afterward when the fear has settled down! Being in a relationship itself might be the thing that pushes you out of your comfort zone, but even if you’ve been in one before, you will probably still find yourself doing things that make you a little uncomfortable. While spending time together you might try new foods, or new activities you’d never dreamed you would try. Obviously, it’s still important to follow your instincts and not stay in a relationship that terrifies you in a bad way!