I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for nearly 7 years now and he is not only just my best friend, just recently he has also become my fiancé. After knowing the man for 8 years, our relationship is still not always a bed of roses and despite us being very lovey-dovey most of the time, we still have our good and bad days.
I find that young girls these days have very unrealistic expectations and desires for their future boyfriend. I blame it on movies and K-pop stars: They want their boyfriend to pick up their glass slipper, run to the airport before their flight, catch them while they drop from a skyscraper, kiss them while hanging upside-down; and while doing all these, look nearly like a girl with porcelain skin, anime-looking hair falling down their forehead and partially covering an eye.
However, this is reality.
Gorgeous guys with a perfect 10/10 for everything do not grow on trees. The good news is, we don’t need those kind of guys to find love. Here are some lessons I’ve learnt while on my journey to find true love, and while being in a committed relationship (these are written from a female point of view so if you’re a guy, the same points can be applied for the opposite gender).
#1 Know Exactly Who You Want
When I was in high school, I made a list of ‘Characteristics I Want in My Future Boyfriend/Husband’. The list was 2 foolscap pages long. Friends may have laughed at me, but I never regretted it. By making a specific list of characteristics, I could envision exactly what kind of person that I want to date and how I want to be treated. This helped to keep myself away from guys who may not be suitable for me and I believe that it saved myself a lot of pain, effort, time, and even money from dating the wrong person. Of course, that doesn’t make me a robot, I still had crushes and infatuations, but that list kept me grounded till I knew I met Mr. Right.
It’s important to be as specific as you can in your list, without being too demanding and unrealistic. For example, you can write that you want someone good looking (beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all), but you really shouldn’t write that you want someone with Brad Pitt’s nose, Ian Somerhalder’s eyes, Zac Efron’s abs, Robert Downey Jr.’s sex appeal, Chris Hemsworth’s– Oh sorry, was I getting carried away?
If you want more examples of guys you shouldn’t be waiting for your whole life, go here. Yes, YOU’RE WELCOME.
In my list, I wrote all the personality traits that I want in a man, and I told myself to not settle for anyone less. I never wrote ‘rich’, I wrote that I wanted someone who is hard-working; I never wrote ‘handsome’, I wrote that I wanted some average-looking and is compatible to my own looks.
There is a saying that goes, ‘if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything’. Well, if you’re not clear of who you’re looking for, you will fall for anyone as well.
By having realistic and not far-fetched goals, I knew that even if I cannot find someone who is perfect (because no one is, obviously), I can at least find someone who is perfect for me.
#2 So You’ve Found Him, Now What?
Lots of people say never change for your other half, always be yourself and if he doesn’t love you for who you are, then it’s a deal breaker.
IF your other half wants you to change for the better for your own good, then I believe that you SHOULD try to change. I’m not talking about him trying to change your hobbies, job, or every aspect of your lifestyle; I’m talking about him perhaps telling you that you should be more patient, or neater, or that you should stop certain bad habits like smoking.
If your other half does this out of his genuine love and care for you, and he only wants the best for you, then go ahead, try to change. Don’t do it for him, do it for yourself. In the same way, he too should be trying to change for you if your requests are only for his own good.
Basically, it is a two-way relationship and both of you will slowly mould each other to become better people.
#3 Guard Your ‘I Love You’
Those 3 little words that everyone wants to hear are the exact 3 little words that seems to be tossed around too easily these days. Crazy fans scream, “I LOVE YOU!” to their music idols dancing and shaking their booty on stage. Other similarly crazy fans scream those same words to their favourite actors and actresses strutting on the red carpet. When receiving their Oscar or People Choice Awards trophy on stage, celebrities blow a kiss and say, “I love you all!” to their fans.
Seriously, what does that phrase even mean to us?
In my relationship with my (now) fiancé, we waited for months, even after we began dating, to say those words to each other. During that time, it was such a big step, just to say “I love you”. We wanted to be really sure that we meant it when we said it. I think in a way, that kept the purity and significance of that phrase.
When we finally said it, somehow, we just knew that it was meant to be.
#4 Forget The Monthiversary And Just Stick To The Anniversaries
Is it really that much of an achievement to be together with your partner for a month? Is it so difficult that you have to call for a celebration every single month? I mean just think about it, isn’t it kind of emphasizing on the expendable nature of your relationship? As if you can’t quite imagine spending 3, 5 or even 10 years together, so you create shorter goals to celebrate since being together for a full month is already such a huge accomplishment.
What’s next then? Dailiversaries? “Hey honey, happy 105th dailiversary! I hope we continue to be strong and loving till our 106th!”
Anniversaries are to look back on your accomplishments, struggles, breakthroughs, victories, and memories together. It’s a time not just for celebration, but also reflection. A monthiversary is completely unnecessary, if you are both in this relationship for the long run, perhaps it’s good to start thinking of more long-term goals instead of just short-term celebrations.
#5 Forgiveness Is The Key And The Solution To All Problems
If there is a golden rule to any relationship, I believe that this is it. No two people are the same, and in fact the best relationships are made up of two people who compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses, like two puzzle pieces that fit together. Therefore, sometimes there is bound to be a clash of opinion or occurrences of misunderstanding due to differing point of views.
A wise man once told me, “Show me a couple who has dated for years and has never fought before -not even once- and I’d say that they definitely have issues and probably need counselling.” A normal relationship with squabbles here and there doesn’t mean that they are dysfunctional, it just means they have more opportunities to learn more about each other and strengthen their relationship.
At the end of the day, a relationship requires both sides to put in continuous effort to keep the ‘spark’ alive, to discuss (lovingly, I might add) about any misunderstanding or conflict that they have. It isn’t easy at all, and that’s why we need love to be the foundation of the relationship. Because the day any of you stop putting in effort, might just be the very first day of the deterioration of the relationship.
Author’s note: These steps are from the writer’s personal experience, every relationship is unique and these may not work for every single relationship (except perhaps number 5). She also wants to thank her fiancé for loving her unconditionally and she sincerely hopes that everyone will one day find their Mr. and Mrs. Right.