May 21, 2014

Ugly Truths About Dating the Same Person for a Decade

I just read an article that depressed me on so many levels. It was called "18 Ugly Truths about Modern Dating that you have to deal with." I guess the title should have prepared me, but I was taken aback by just how harsh and ugly these so-called truths are.

Things like how modern dating is all about who cares less, pointless social media confessions, and futile attempts to be someone's top priority. Is this really what it's like in the dating world? I can't relate to that much because even when I wasn't in a relationship, I didn't date.

Oh, I had crushes. And I invited gentlemen to accompany me to various sorority events in college. But I never had a steady boyfriend, until the one I have now. Whom I've been 'dating' for a decade.

This prompted me to think about some other ugly truths that might arise from a situation like ours. So here they are in no particular order... Ugly Truths About Dating the Same Person for a Decade

Editor's Note: I wrote this post before I got engaged. In many ways, these truths are even uglier because it now means (if all goes as planned) I'll be embracing them for the rest of my life. But everything is meant to be in humor...there's plenty of good stuff too. 

1.) Freedom to Share 

Remember when you really liked someone and wanted them to like you back? You would have rather died than had them know anything about your bathroom habits. After a decade of dating, my southern beau feels quite free to describe to me all sorts of things I don't want to know about that may or may not happen while he's in the bathroom. I'll just leave it at that.

On the other hand, having someone who will let you bare your soul without judgement is pretty great. I can tell it like it is and he has to listen. But what's more than that, he usually has some sort of encouraging word. Which makes things instantly better.

2.) Being Asked "When Are You Getting Married?" 

Again, I started writing this post pre-engagement and at that time we had just celebrated our 10 year anniversary....which prompted so many people to ask me that dreaded question. Now that we're finally engaged, the ugly truth is having to hear people say "Finally!" and look oh so relieved on my behalf.

But there's also an upside. The way I see it, some marriages don't even make it to the 10-year mark. So if we've managed to date for a decade, this gives me a lot of hope about the next five decades or so.

3.) Assumptions 

After dating for a long time, people start to assume things. I guess it's only natural. But I can't tell you how many people have assumed my beau and I lived together. One even went so far to assert that we were "common law." I politely explained that no we are not and that this isn't something a good southern belle strives for or would ever brag about.

What I don't mind is when folks assume we're happy, which we are.

4.) Old vs. New  

Remember when you first met a new friend (or potential suitor) and the fun of getting to know each other while sharing all the stories about experiences you've had? After ten years, some of the stories aren't just as entertaining. When you've heard them time and time again, the interest is a bit more forced, the requisite laughter a little canned.

But, as the incredible complex creatures that we humans are, I find there's always something to surprise me about my beau. Whether its his sudden willingness to watch bad tween dramas on the CW or his embracing my idea to incorporate a hashtag into our wedding (#KatePlusPhil in the house!), it keeps me on my toes.

5.) Gloves On, Masks Off 

When someone's been in your life for ten years, it's easy to feel like they aren't going anywhere and take them for granted a little. And this leads to stripping off your sweet 'public' exterior and revealing your own flavor of private ugly that lies underneath.

This sounds worse than it is, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that after a long time of being with someone, you feel much freer to be yourself (which is also sort of like #1 Freedom to Share). And what's better than having freedom to be yourself? I can't think of much.

The bottom line is this: there's ugly truths about all aspects of life. None of us are perfect and we never will be (whew, that takes some pressure off, right?).

Social media has changed our lives in so many ways and according to the article I read, modern dating is worse for it. But then I think of people who meet the love of their life across the virtual space and it gives me hope again.

Nothing is purely's in the middle space, with all the infinite shades of gray, that true beauty abounds. And all our situations look different.

Have you learned any ugly/beautiful truths about relationships or anything else in life? Sometimes it helps to know we aren't alone.