3 Unexpected Lessons You’ll Learn As You Grow Up With Your Significant Other

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We met in the first week of college.
I met my boyfriend after returning from an incredible summer in Israel. Four years of college in the suburb of a small Rust Belt city were staring me in the face and I recall woefully joking far too often with family and friends about my missed opportunity to steal myself a nice Jewish boy while in Israel.

But that’s when it happened.

Completely unexpectedly, in exactly the same way my mom predicted it would pan out, I met my boyfriend when I least expected it. I made a spur of the moment decision to attend a Hillel Barbecue (to please my Jewish mother) and I had virtually no idea that this decision would be the one that would change my life.

I wasn’t quite sure how, but when my boyfriend and I locked eyes for the first time I just knew he’d be an important person in my life.

And I wasn’t wrong.

We started dating shortly after that barbecue in 2011 and we’ve been together ever since. It wasn’t the start of a fairytale, but it was close.

We’ve spent the last five years growing up together, morphing our kid-selves into young adults (or at least trying). It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s mostly been fun. Tons of laughs, some tears, but mostly good times and lots of lessons learned. Here are the three “biggies”.


 

1. Love is Infinite. It won’t just “click” but it won’t run out, either.

I don’t really believe in love at first sight. Well, I do. But that’s not how it happened for me. I used to think that love would just “click”, that I’d see someone and just “know”. Maybe that’s true for some but my experience with love wasn’t quite like the movies.

The love I have for my boyfriend and the love that he has for me is the culmination of simple moments strung between the day-to-day chaos of our daily lives. It wasn’t the fancy date nights that cemented the foundation of our life together; rather, it was all the silly moments in between. It was when we cuddled each other at night, or went out of our way to greet each other mid-day during wild college schedules just to say hello. It was when we met for a quick bite to eat, or eased into a night’s sleep as we topped off our day with a “good night” phone call. It was when we argued and then made up. It was when we randomly locked eyes across a room and immediately felt the butterflies dance throughout our stomachs.

It was in the dozens of blissful moments that we knew we were in exactly the right place at exactly the right time with exactly the right person.

It’s like a faucet that keeps running into a cup that keeps filling. I keep waiting for the cup to topple over, spilling its overflowing contents… but it doesn’t. I have an infinite capacity to love. It ebbs and flows, sure, but it constantly expands with every seemingly meaningless moment, with every flicker of a smile and with every warm embrace. I can’t stop it from filling, but I won’t soon try.

 

2. Relationships will never get easier – but you will always get better.

When I first started CrossFit about a year ago (hey – we all have our “guilty pleasures”, right?) someone told me this: It will not get easier, but you will get better.

After one week at the gym, I was in a state of constant pain I’ve never endured before. My arms were permanently (well, seemingly so at the time) bent at a 45’ angle and I only felt relief when at the gym where the weights in hand pulled my arms out of their T-Rex positioning.

But it got better because I kept going. A month in, two months in, 6 months in… it’s still the most incredibly challenging physical and mental exercise program I’ve ever followed, but I keep getting better. The pain never fades, but I grow stronger with every workout.

I won’t suggest that my relationship is like CrossFit. But I will say that, much like CrossFit, our relationship never gets easier. I learned that the hard way.

We fought like hell and we still do. We’re human. We have opinions. Fighting is only natural. But with every fight, we fight better. We learn to rebound from arguments quicker. We argue clean, and fair. We never name call. We always hug it out at the end. And, most importantly, we always (ALWAYS) apologize even when our pride is on the line.

 

3. Relationships happen for you, not to you.

Growing up with my boyfriend has been fascinating, fun, exciting – all those awesome words rolled into one superbly positive adjective that I can’t quite conjure up. But not everyone’s been so keen on the long-term serious relationship idea at our age.

There are people that believe I’m wasting the best years of my life locked in the relationship of a 30-year-old woman. But I don’t really feel like I’m missing anything. My boyfriend, a strong willed boy turned man, taught me to never apologize. For every two people, there are three opinions and I’d rather spend my time enjoying my relationship than worrying about what shade of green the grass is on the other side.

We’re unapologetically together because we’re happy. Because we love each other. Because we’re so much apart of one another that the mere thought of separating is completely unbearable. But, most importantly, we’re together because we WANT to be together.

I really believe that my relationship happened for us, not to us. It’s not the plague, it’s not some terrible thing that’s tying me down and preventing me from living my youth in peace. It’s none of those things.

My relationship is freeing not restricting. My boyfriend makes me feel like anything is possible. He enables me to be a better person and inspires me to work harder for my goals than I ever thought possible. I’m not missing the greatest years of my life locked down. I’m living the greatest years of my life because of my relationship.

Sure, we have some growing up to do… but who doesn’t. We’re just doing the “growing up” part together and I wouldn’t change a thing. I have someone by my side that makes me smile more than frown and laugh more than cry. It’s uniquely special, and I really wouldn’t change a thing.

Eden Fried

Eden Fried is a book nerd, an exercise junkie and a freelance writer. She recently quit her day job and bailed on law school to pursue her own dreams. She's now earning a full time salary completely online while she travels the world and works from her laptop. Follow her journeys at EdenFried.com!

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