About three weeks ago, I was lying in bed with my boyfriend, mindlessly watching whatever Netflix show we hadn't already watched four times. I turned to him, slipped my hand into his and whispered, “Dating sucks.”
“Yeah, it does,” he agreed.
The fact that dating is difficult is something we all have to accept. I mean, there are two outcomes of dating: stay together forever and live happily ever after, or watch the relationship implode before your very eyes and try to erase the person's existence from all your social media accounts. That's a high-pressure situation.
Learning to share your life with another human being is hard, whether your boyfriend is Prince Charming or not. (Let's face it: Even Prince Charming probably accidentally leaves his nose hair trimmings on the sink once in a while.)
And that's the point of it all. Just because a girl has her flaws doesn't mean she's not your fairest of them all. Just because he can't read your mind doesn't mean he's not the prince you've been looking for.
Somewhere in our generation's translation of love, we lost the most important puzzle piece: patience. With patience comes understanding, kindness and empathy. This is the very foundation of a happy and healthy relationship, and we're too busy checking who has viewed our SnapStory to realize it. Patience is a virtue on the verge of extinction, and it's really what we all need to have more of.
Here are the reasons why:
1. No one is perfect.
No one is going to get everything right 100 percent of the time. It's just not realistic. Something being “right” is way too relative, anyway.
Our Millennial ways are set in stone way too early. I mean, how do we know what's right, anyway? So many things are going to rub you the wrong way. But, the difference is having the patience to be openminded, to see another perspective and to begin to see the silver lining in every situation.
Sure, I wish my boyfriend would stop screwing up my radio presets so I can get my Taylor Swift on at the touch of a button, but it's not the end of the world. The truth is, those little things are the things that set us apart from the Stepfords. I've even grown curiously fond of listening to the Mets play on the staticky AM radio.
2. Your trials make you stronger.
Fighting all the time is definitely a red flag of an unhealthy relationship, but some conflict is totally normal. Instead of being impulsive, take a deep breath. Ask yourself, “What am I really fighting for here?” If it's not important, don't stand behind it just for the sake of pride. If it's something important, be patient with each other.
Sometimes we need to take a step back and cool down to see the other person's point of view. Then, you can just sit down and work it the fudge out. Catering to patience above the instant gratification of having your opinion heard can do wonders.
If you learn how to communicate with each other even when emotions run high, it ultimately makes the relationship stronger. There's no need to go Mr. and Mrs. Smith on each other's asses over the Tuesday night couch lineup, you know?
3. It's easy to support someone when things are good.
Personally, I've reached a level of nirvana with my #RelationshipGoals, so I kind of like it when we fight. Don't take that the wrong way; it just makes my relationship feel more normal. It lets me know we're both serious enough to have our opinions and voice them.
I love that we can both stand by our own beliefs, virtues and opinions, and still come together at the end of the day. Having those occasional disagreements means we have enough patience and understanding with each other to stick around when the going gets tough. That is far more comforting than living in a false fairytale.
4. Being right is not the most important thing.
I'm guilty of this, and I don't think I'm the only one. I've been so deep in an argument that I felt like I had to stand my ground no matter what. But, here's the biggest secret of them all: You're not committing to a stupid argument. You're committing to another human being.
This person is probably just as good at being stubborn as you are, but you two shouldn't try to find out. So, when you're on the other side of it, cut the person some slack. If you're 100 percent sure of something, but your partner is insistent otherwise, who cares? Just let it go.
It took me nine years of dating to realize this single most important piece of advice: It's OK to be wrong, and it's OK to say you're wrong when you're not. After being on both sides, I can say the best thing is waking up in each other's arms and knowing nothing else really matters.
I'm not saying any of us should stay in a relationship that's bad or wrong for us. I think sometimes we're too quick to judge and cast people aside instead of working through the issues. Mature relationships allow people to grow, but they also acknowledge we're all shaky works in progress.
Being patient with your partner is not always easy, but it will separate true love from true-enough-for-now love. It's a trial in and of itself to be slow to judge and kind with your words, when what you really want to do is use those moves you learned in your cardio kickboxing class.
The bottom line is, there are certain qualities worth holding on to, worth being patient for and worth more than the emotional impulse of a single situation. Look for kind hearts, good intentions, admirable priorities and easy laughs, and I can almost guarantee your relationship will last.