Let’s face it: love, especially during the pandemic, is hard to find. However, if you DO find love, you’ll find out that it is MUCH harder to keep it. Left and right, we see couples breaking up (hello, Momo and Heechul!). We hear horror stories of cheating partners and feast on them with a relationship frenzy. Memes about heartbreak and hugot lines are shared more publicly. Due to traumatic relationships, more and more people are opting to drop out of dating altogether. It seems that in our generation, we are keener to dive into love without knowing how to swim altogether.
What happened to the tales of romance we read about in the past? Has true and long-lasting love disappeared from our time, like an old technology lost in innovation? WHERE IS OUR #ROADTOFOREVER??? Well, I’m no love guru, but I certainly do have lessons to share about how to keep love if you finally find it.
Here are some of the things I learned from my seven-year relationship:
*Please note that I said IF and not WHEN because you can obviously live without any romantic relationships. Let’s cancel the culture of looking down on single people, okay?
1.Falling in love is natural, but staying in love is a choice.
If you’re familiar with the words, “It just doesn’t feel the same” or “The sparks and excitement just aren’t there anymore,” then keep this lesson in mind! We don’t choose to fall in love with someone. Falling in love is like swimming in the ocean. If you’re on a boat in the deep parts of the sea and you have no idea how to swim, you wouldn’t choose to jump. But if love hits your safety boat, you fall in the waters. You fall in love.
Get this: you didn’t choose to jump. However, what do you do next? You swim – or at least you try to. You make a conscious decision to swim. You swim in the hope that the waves would break even. Love is natural, but staying in love takes work. It’s a deliberate choice you make every day: to know and love your person better with every passing moment.
2. Honesty is the best policy!
Honesty is the key to maintaining any relationship- not just romantic ones! But in my case, my relationship with Jeff, aka my boyfriend, had many bumps because we really struggled with honesty. We got together when we were 14 years old, so we were really immature.
We hurt each other a lot because we kept things from each other. We felt that we couldn’t be free to do the things we wanted to do. We constricted each other’s activities and time. But as we matured in our relationship, we learned to be honest about each other and with each other.
We discussed our boundaries, the things that work and don’t work for us. Of all the people, you should be 100% authentic with your partner because the best kind of love is the one that’s founded on mutual trust.
3. You talk; they listen. They talk; you listen.
COMMUNICATION! Like a record on repeat, this is the #1 issue when it comes to relationships. Communication: a misunderstanding of it and a lack of it. As the designated “laging may topak and toyo” in the relationship, Jeff is the one who really reminds me to communicate clearly why I get angry at him in the first place. TBH, sometimes, when you explain to your partner why you got mad, you’ll realize that it was for such a shallow reason!
Frequently, we get so lost in our emotions and feelings that we forget to consider our partners’. But we must remember that we forego the ME, ME, ME when we get into a relationship. It’s not WE, WE, WE either. It’s more of a YOU and ME.
It’s YOU and ME being bonded by our love, so it’s an agreement of concern for each other. Compromise pride and learn to be more open to talking about the things we’d want to heal and grow from. Communication is about reciprocity, so speak and be heard, listen and be willing.
4. Be clear about your goals for each other.
I think that many happy couples break up due to the differentiation of relationship goals. Before entering into a relationship with someone, you should both talk about your endgame. What do you want out of this relationship?
Some people go into relationships intent on marrying their partner someday. Others want relationships just for fun. Some people aren’t looking to be committed yet and just want companionship.
The point is, TALK ABOUT YOUR GOALS! You don’t want to stay in a long-term relationship with someone only to find out that they don’t intend on being with you until the end. Chances are, you’ll end up hating them and regretting the time you spent with them.
Luckily for me, Jeff wants the same goals as I do. After we both have established our careers and achieved financial stability, marriage and growing old together is the goal! Not a flex, but heed my advice and discuss your plans with your partner.
Sure, being in a relationship is a lot of work. Still, an actual healthy relationship should feel that the happiness outweighs the work you put into it. When you have a person, you have a home, an adventure, a best friend, a bully (in my case), and a supporter forever. You’ll always have arms to run to and a heart to confide to.
Of course, you can find these things too, not just in lovers, but also among your friends, families, and loved ones! So I guess these lessons can also be applied to them.
For me, I just feel so happy that I have this poging “sakang” baby to love, cherish, and take care of. If I still have to learn many lessons from love, he is the only one I would like to learn them from. I’d like to grow and know it all with him.
There is no secret formula to forever. The truth is, you can follow all of these steps and be the perfect person, and you’ll still get heartbroken. People’s hearts are fickle, and life is always the shipwreck of our plans.
But we must make an effort to sustain love because it is what sustains our lives. So when you find your ocean, swim with all your might.
An aspiring adventurist who aims to travel the world someday. Weird and poetic, a great friend for problematic rants and deep talks about life in general. Hit me up on my socials!