There has been much speculation about individuals who enter in to relationships that then become long term. They put on weight, they become just like their partner, their interests become one and they're ultimately zombie corpses for the rest of eternity.
My fiancée and I have been together for nearly three years, and while we may in fact be the same person, we are also different in many aspects (aside from food tastes and bedtimes).
It's always been important to us to have our own identity and our own sets of friends. I am not afraid to hang out on my own with my buds, as I won't worry about what my fiancée is doing or thinking. She's not tracking me or blowing up my phone with incessant overtures guilting me into returning home.
The situation is the same when she hangs out with her friends. It's important to have "me" time with your own friends and have mutual respect for your significant other.
As you grow in a long-term relationship, your priorities also change. You're not focused on going out to the bar every night and getting hammered, but that doesn't mean you don't let loose once in a while either. My brunch game is strong, and I know my fiancée respects my decisions, no matter how annoying I may get on my mimosa high.
Life continues on in a long-term relationship. We find things to do together that are still fun for the both of us, but we also don't veto each other's ideas just to be petty.
Our social lives continuously revolve around whether or not we want to make the effort. As time passes and our friends find themselves at various stages in their lives, we evaluate the relationships we have. Then, it's up to us to determine whether it's one worth continuing.
I have never once felt "whipped" in my relationship, nor has my fiancée felt like she was being controlled. Our relationship is based on mutual trust and respect. It's a little bit of give and take. If that doesn't exist in the relationship, then it's definitely not a healthy marker of success.
One of the many misconceptions I hear about people in long-term relationships is that their lives are pretty much over. My fiancée and I just turned 25, and we feel more alive than we ever have. It's about appreciating all that we have, the opportunities presented to us and how to take advantage of them. Every decision we make is together as one, in our interest as a couple.
We are in the prime of our life, and it's important that we continue to push ourselves and surround ourselves with people who want us to succeed. People who discredit happy couples are sometimes envious of all that they don't have and don't understand.
Don't get me wrong; compromise can be hard, but that's what two individuals have to do to move forward in a relationship.
Instead of writing off a happy couple as "dead" or "compromised beyond belief," ask them about their life. You might be surprised by the answer.