There have been times when I look at my boyfriend of eight months and think, “How long before you get fed up with me and it's over?”
If there were a way to sneak a peek into the future and investigate what happens to us in the future, I'd probably do it. But, all I really have are my own assumptions, I've realized mean pretty much nothing.
During our fragile 20s, we're changing and figuring ourselves out. Some relationships just aren't strong enough to handle transitions. All good things come to an end, right?
In the first, summery weeks of my relationship I thought, “I could see this lasting until winter.” No matter how good things were, I convinced myself it would eventually end and began emotionally preparing myself to lose someone I liked.
I thought I was being smart and realistic. I was protecting myself. A few months in, I expressed this idea to my boyfriend and, in amazing SO fashion, he called me out on my bullsh*t.
We were discussing the future of our relationship in hypotheticals, a scary but fun hobby I have. I asked him questions like, “What happens if I move to Colorado to be a ski bum? What would we do?”
He played along, but pointed out that debating the possible ways a relationship could end wouldn't do either of us any good.
The relationship I'm currently in is easily the best I've ever had, so stressing about the end is pointless. It's more important to live in the moment and not worry about how long it will last. This seems like something I should have known, but as a big-picture-thinking, future-obsessed person, it doesn't come easily.
By putting an expiration date on the relationship, I was waiting for us to fail. It's like the first rule of snowboarding: If you're looking at the ground, that's where you're going to end up. It's better to keep your eyes up, facing in the direction you want to head.
Believing my relationship could possibly go on forever makes me feel like a 13-year-old who thinks she'll actually marry Justin Bieber. It's naive, but adorable. Either way, staying positive will ensure that we keep the good thing we have going strong.
Justifying the expiration date by saying it's “realistic” was a cover for something much deeper. I didn't believe I could sustain a relationship this good -- like, smiling-so-much-my-face-hurts good.
I attribute that belief to being hurt in the past. Rejection can really take a toll on how you view yourself and what you deserve. So far, he's accepted that I'm a blanket-stealing Instagram addict who has never seen all the Star Wars movies. He still likes me.
Why wouldn't I deserve a healthy relationship that lasts? It's better to accept that obstacles are inevitable. When my boyfriend and I hit roadblocks I'm confident that we'll be able to overcome them. Instead of planning for them, we'll figure it out when we get there.
I have a handful of ex-boyfriends and have been through different kinds of breakups. Think scream-crying fights in dorm stairwells and getting dumped in a Starbucks.
In high school, I dated someone who left the state for college a year before me. We planned for months about how we'd handle the distance, ignoring everyone's advice. Even though we knew we'd eventually split, it was still painful. I wish we hadn't wasted so much time and energy discussing it when we were together, and had just enjoyed our time instead.
Looking back, I put expiration dates on these relationships and it never saved me from heartbreak. Being prepared for the worst didn't soften the blow at all, it just proved me right. Sometimes that's not a good feeling.
Putting an expiration date on a relationship is like driving a car with one leg in and one leg out; it's just not a smart move. It's always better to be all in.
At first, thinking my relationship could just keep going was terrifying to me. But, having a partner who feels the same way eradicated that fear. My boyfriend put it really well, saying we'll be together as long as it makes sense and as long as we make each other happy. I'm blessed to be dating such an intelligent person.
The relationship I'm in could end in the next year, the next five years, or maybe never. But that's not relevant. Now, when I look at my boyfriend I'm just happy he's in my life at this moment. I'm not worried about the future.