Canonical mistakes for people whose first relationship is in their 20s?
September 26, 2013 6:17 PM   Subscribe

I strongly believe that every human endeavor has a few canonical newbie mistakes. In machine shops it's ignoring the kerf. In many dances it's excessive flourishing. When you first started dating in your twenties, what mistakes did you make? Now that you have had some experience with (preferably stable, happy) relationships, what advice would you like to go back and give yourself? I would much rather learn from your mistakes than make them all myself.

Unfortunately, I also believe that many human endeavors have a few mistakes that every newbie insists on making, no matter how much his elders warn him away from it. But I guess, by definition, you can't help me with those.
posted by d. z. wang to Human Relations (59 answers total) 122 users marked this as a favorite
Assuming that my individual choices and actions on a micro level had a ton to do with the outcome of the relationship. For example, if I was seeing someone for a few weeks or a month and then things petered out, I would obsess over what I could have done differently. When, in reality, either someone likes you or they don't. Early on in a relationship, if it's going south, it likely has nothing to do with you, personally.

Communicate early and often. I'd much rather be broken up with after two months because, while I am very nice and pretty and good at sex and a great all around human being, you are not in love with me, than date you for a year and start feeling very serious and then find out that you never loved me and never thought seriously about our future.
posted by Sara C. at 6:26 PM on September 26, 2013 [20 favorites]

Being really really focused on making the other person like me and not thinking about what I wanted or how I wanted to be treated. For example I would try really hard not to ask for much or be "clingy" and end up with people who were really emotionally distant when I really wanted a much more emotionally close relationship.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 6:31 PM on September 26, 2013 [41 favorites]

Don't ever wait around thinking that the friend you're madly in love with is going to wake up one morning and realize he's in love with you too. This mostly only ever happens in movies. You are wasting your time. Even if you think this person is your soulmate, there are PLENTY of fish in the sea.

(I realize this is not EXACTLY a mistake that happens IN a relationship, but it's the relationship-related thing I most fervently wish I could go back in time and tell Young Me. And it applies to relationships in the sense that the person you love about who you wish would change Huge Problem X is probably never going to wake up one morning and magically be the person you wish they were. )
posted by Countess Sandwich at 6:34 PM on September 26, 2013 [15 favorites]

Staying in a relationship that "looks good on paper."
posted by modernserf at 6:47 PM on September 26, 2013 [11 favorites]

Staying in a relationship because it was wayyyyy too uncomfortable to break up.
posted by floweredfish at 6:49 PM on September 26, 2013 [20 favorites]

Forgetting that the point of the relationship, especially in the beginning, is to find out about the other person, and let them find out about me, and for us to find out together whether we're compatible, rather than trying to be my ideal person, or a perfect person, or the person I think he wants to be with.

You are perfect because you are not. Perfect people are all alike. It's our imperfections and flaws that make us uniquely who we are.

This is not to say that you should take your partner for granted or treat them shabbily. Not at all. In fact, you should be MOST careful with the feelings of the person you're involved with, because you're the safe place for them and any hurt you cause is more painful for that, and because you know their fears and insecurities, so you know better than anyone what could hurt them, and you are around them so much that you have more opportunities to hurt them. And by "hurt" I mean everything, little and big. So many people who would never be late for a business meeting consistently run late when they are meeting their significant other. Or they stop saying thank you. Or please. Or doing little things that make a big difference. But we do those things as us, not as the person we're trying to act like, if that makes sense.
posted by janey47 at 6:52 PM on September 26, 2013 [12 favorites]

Thinking every single relationship (or even crush) was The One, the only emotional fulfillment one could ever want or need, so really a lot of emotional investment very early on that pretty much made things precarious right off the bat.

Thinking that every little offense needs to be thought over carefully, measured and understood, perhaps even fought over.

Thinking that days and days together non-stop without any time for oneself is a great way to live.

Thinking, because this is the one shot ever, that breaking up would be suicidal, and letting things stretch out long past the point it was obvious the relationship wasn't going to work.

Thinking, during the breakup, that things were really black-and-white, and it was necessary to argue about who was morally right and who made all the horrible painful sadistic choices (not me!).

Thinking, after the breakup, that the world had ended, so that if another relationship came up, it would have to be clung to like the only life preserver in all the world.

I am suddenly very glad to not be there anymore.
posted by mittens at 6:57 PM on September 26, 2013 [16 favorites]

If a little voice in your head says, "Gee, maybe this relationship might not be such a good idea," it's because it's not a fucking good idea.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:58 PM on September 26, 2013 [24 favorites]

Staying in a relationship because it was wayyyyy too uncomfortable to break up.

This so much. Especially the first time you reeeaally love someone, but...
posted by jason_steakums at 7:03 PM on September 26, 2013 [9 favorites]

Great, great question and framing.

My opinion? Neediness. Followed by jealousy/suspicion. But mainly neediness. My wife was whole and happy and independent before she met me and if I had met her in my 20's I would absolutely not have been ready to be her partner.
posted by ftm at 7:05 PM on September 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

Thinking drama was normal and proof that we cared for each other.
posted by deadwax at 7:05 PM on September 26, 2013 [16 favorites]

Oh, and deal with problems and worries about the relationship NOW. Even if it's uncomfortable do it NOW because sure as hell now is a lot easier than in eight years time once you've bought a fucking house together.

Do not sweep things under the carpet in your mind. NOW NOW NOW.
posted by deadwax at 7:09 PM on September 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

Failing to communicate. Now, if there's anything that seems like it might possibly be the slightest misunderstanding, I talk about it. If it turns out to be nothing, no worries. It's usually not nothing.
posted by musofire at 7:09 PM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Date around. I tied myself to one guy waaaaaayyyy too long, waayyyyyy too early, cheated on him repeatedly because I couldn't get it through my thick skull to just break it off already, then met my now-husband, all by the age of 20. I wish I had left it broken off with Guy #1 the first time we broke up. Or the second. Or the third. And then dated around more before settling down. I love my husband and I'm glad to be with him, but that mess before I met him? Bad scene, man. Bad scene.
posted by RogueTech at 7:14 PM on September 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

A lot of people shortly after moving out on their own for the first time tend to try to get their SO to take up some weirdly parental roles and it's super awkward to be on the receiving end of that. Not just the stereotypical douchey manboy who thinks girlfriend should do his laundry thing, though that's definitely one big way it manifests, but also stuff like trying to get the other person to make all your decisions for you and guide you through adulthood.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:18 PM on September 26, 2013 [9 favorites]

Ooh also! Thinking that the fact that your SO and your friends don't get along means that you can just keep juggling them and it'll be smooooth sailing.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:25 PM on September 26, 2013 [7 favorites]

Don't look too hard for a life's partner, and don't fuck up a good friendship just because you want to get laid.

That second clause comes in several flavors: a friend who may be a potential sexual partner, or your friend's girlfriend are only two of the obvious variations.

Generically: if you lie down with dogs, you'll get up with fleas, so don't be "the other person."
posted by mule98J at 7:37 PM on September 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

I Can Fix Him/Her With the POWER OF MY LOVE!

(no, no you can;t)
posted by Jacen at 8:14 PM on September 26, 2013 [16 favorites]

Mistakes I made in my twenties:

Confusing "he likes me" with "I like him."

Confusing "he likes me" with "he is a good partner."

Confusing "he's attracted to me" with "he likes me" (and thus with all of the above).

Attributing my relationship failures to my appearance.

Interpreting initial chemistry as a surefire sign that we were perfect for each other.

Taking someone at their word when they listed all the ways in which their exes were horrible.

Not taking someone at their word when they rejected me.

Not going no-contact after a breakup.

Thinking I could convince an ex to get back together with me, or that someone who didn't like me would come around if I just hung around long enough.

Not directly asking for what I wanted, and assuming a partner would anticipate my needs.

Not standing up for myself, because I wanted to be a cool low-maintenance girlfriend and not needy or bitchy. You know, like that horrible ex he keeps complaining about.

Always accepting relationships on the other person's terms, never insisting on my own.

Seeking people who brought out my vices rather than my virtues.

Thinking of a relationship as a state of being, like wearing a hat, instead of an ongoing interaction between two people.

Letting "you're so cute when you're angry" work. (I fucking can't believe I fell for that one.)

Being fooled or distracted by romantic gestures and grand empty promises. I'd be on the verge of breaking up with someone, but then "I bought you a gift" or "I can see myself marrying you one day" or "I'll take you to Paris."

Comparing myself to a partner's ex or an ex's new partner.

Any "weird old trick" type stuff that sounds like it could have been lifted from Cosmo or The Rules. Like "never IM him first" and all that sort of coy indirect crap.

Not examining what I had to offer, or how I could be a better partner; assuming any flaws I had were innate and immutable.

Assuming a relationship would solve all my problems.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:15 PM on September 26, 2013 [83 favorites]

Working together in the same department.

Allowing our sex life to fail miserably and assuming that was normal in a long term relationship.

Trying to always get her to do things my way and always believing that my way was best or even that it mattered.

Isolating from my friends.

Thinking I was ready for the white picket fence dream and going into debt to get it. And thinking that it meant the relationship was successful because we had a "grown up life."
posted by dchrssyr at 8:29 PM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Mistaking kindness and good sex for a real connection. A real connection requires more. You should be inspired by your partner and love communicating with them. If both of these are true, kindness and good sex come naturally anyway.
posted by vecchio at 8:39 PM on September 26, 2013 [11 favorites]

My early-dating thing that I did for an embarrassingly long time was assuming that all of my male friends were potential matches for me, regardless of how much actual romantic interest or physical attraction I actually had. I don't mean I was rampantly flirting with everyone (as far as I can recall), I just kind of assumed if I tried hard enough and didn't completely hate the guy I could start up a relationship that worked. Yeah I have no idea what the fuck.

Mostly when I think about going back and giving any relationship advice to myself between the ages of oh say 15 and 21, it involves yelling and violence :P
posted by agress at 8:54 PM on September 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Trying to act like the person you think your partner wants, rather than who you truly are. Fighting about things that are unimportant in the long run.
posted by three_red_balloons at 8:55 PM on September 26, 2013 [7 favorites]

Keeping my darkest thoughts and secrets from my partner of ten years because I was ashamed. Being ashamed in the first place. And allowing myself to feel further shamed when my dark side revealed itself to the other person's shock and dismay.
posted by dchrssyr at 9:00 PM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Have your own life and be your own person. This means have your own hobbies, interests, goals, friends, job and money. Your relationship will end at some point. It may end in a few weeks or it may end after a few years, or it may end after ten years of marriage, or if you are very lucky, it will end with one of you dying after spending a life together. No matter when and how the end comes, you want to make sure you have your own life to lead once it ends. So cultivate your hobbies and interests and don't stop them once you find a life partner. Don't neglect your friends when you fall in love. Don't put off traveling because you haven't yet met "the one." Don't stop doing your hobbies. Also, a lot of people let their health, weight and appearance go to hell once they meet someone. Don't do that. You owe it to your future self to stay healthy.

I have a fantastic marriage but one of the things I really like about it is that we each have our own lives, so I know my husband would be okay if something happened to me and vice versa. Plus, having different hobbies and friends keeps our relationship interesting. He tells me about woodworking, tennis and computers and I tell him about reading and writing. We both have successful careers, which means we'd both be perfectly capable of supporting ourselves in the event the other person wasn't around.

Also, trust your gut. When I look back on the failed relationships of my twenties, I realized that in each of them there was a little voice going "eh, I don't think he's the right guy for you. That voice is ALWAYS right.
posted by bananafish at 9:02 PM on September 26, 2013 [32 favorites]

Ignoring family and friends who tried to tell me that she and I were making each other crazy.

Thinking closure mattered.

Always blaming myself when things went south and attributing problems to my character instead of taking true responsibility for my actions.

Ignoring conflicts and building up resentment.
posted by dchrssyr at 9:11 PM on September 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Staying in an unhappy relationship out of fear that it was my one and only chance to find love. It wasn't. :)
posted by eseuss at 9:17 PM on September 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

When people say "you're awfully young" and "how long have you been dating?" when you announce that you're engaged, don't just brush that off, think on it for a while. Trust me.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:30 PM on September 26, 2013 [8 favorites]

Not being really truthful about who you are and what you want from the other person. There's this temptation to sell a version of yourself to another person that doesn't really represent who you actually are. Perhaps you do it out of neediness, or out of attachment to getting laid or for attention. The lack of truth will stifle the relationship on some level if only because you won't be able to stand being in it.
posted by diode at 9:52 PM on September 26, 2013 [7 favorites]

Seconding Bananafish so hard. I totally regret letting my own individual personal and work relationships fall away while coupled and once the relationship finally ended, realized everyone had become friends without me. It was detrimental to my career and made it really difficult when I was newly single and alone and I didn't have any friends to call without it being awkward because all of my friends were my ex's friends. I stopped seeing people, going out on my own and playing on teams to just stay in and veg together. Ugh, so much wasted time!
posted by buzzkillington at 11:06 PM on September 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Opposites may attract, but being similar is really great.
posted by superfish at 11:57 PM on September 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Not reading Attached. When you know if you're Anxious, Avoidant or Secure (or a combination thereof), it's easier to see whether someone is going to be a good match for you.
posted by Solomon at 11:59 PM on September 26, 2013 [6 favorites]

Expecting love and romance to be some big, grand, mysterious affair.
You are half of the relationship, so unless you find your own self to be grand and mysterious and glamorous, you're unlikely to be comfortable in or be able to sustain some wild theatrical relationship.
Love and romance sound exciting, and they are, but it's also the most everyday experience imaginable.
posted by Gravel at 12:37 AM on September 27, 2013 [9 favorites]

Thinking that my strong desire to remain child-free would change. He very much wanted a family. I thought I was too young to know for sure. After five years we ended it because, guess what? I still didn't want children. YMMV on the strength of your own convictions. I just didn't believe them 100% and didn't want to pass on a good thing.

Youth is youth. You have to live through it and give yourself a break for making the wrong choices sometimes.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 1:26 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

Not taking someone at their word when they rejected me.

Not going no-contact after a breakup.

Metroid Baby has it right on the money.

Also, you don't have to solve every argument immediately. You can cool off and not call a billion times - the problem will still be there later.
posted by lyssabee at 7:22 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

Expecting a relationship to perfect, problem-free and without compromise. And then figuring out what type of compromises and problems are workable, and which ones aren't.
posted by nanook at 7:50 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

I wish I'd known that finding "the one" is a myth. There is simply not just ONE and ONLY one person out there in the world that we are destined to find and be with always. There are always multiple possibilities for relationships and love. To be fixated on a single person as the be-all, end-all can be problematic and create the anxiety and ill feelings when they don't work out. Especially true since all sorts of things can happen in life. We all die, life circumstances shift, we grow emotionally and intellectually based on experiences.

It's an unusual way to frame what I mean, but in the film Run Lola Run, the main character and her boyfriend lie in bed together musing about their unique relationship when one of them (I haven't seen the film in a while, details are fuzzy) says that the other is "the only one" for them or some such. The other essentially replies, "If we'd have never met, you'd be here in bed saying this to some other person, not me."
posted by kuppajava at 7:58 AM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

If other people are disapproving of the relationship, maybe it's not a sign the world doesn't understand the intensity of your love, and maybe it's not "us against the world." It might just be an obviously bad relationship.

That deal-breakers can be compromised on.

That staying together through the holidays (or whatever) will be better/less painful than breaking up.

That feeling like you can't get the words out because what if it all falls apart isn't a sign that it needs to all fall apart.

That there is one person for everyone.

That you're owed someone's time because you think you love them.

What love looks like, feels like.
posted by RainyJay at 7:59 AM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]

Listen to your gut. You know those fleeting doubts you have (and either reject outright or decide you'll think about that tomorrow) as you're falling asleep at night? Don't ignore them - they're warning flags that can save you from years of heartache.
posted by summerstorm at 8:56 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

Don't try to solve everything.
posted by latkes at 9:19 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

Spending ALL my time with my new boyfriend and losing all my solid friendships progressively over the course of a couple of years.

Guess who you want to turn to when it all goes tits up? That's right - the very friends I no longer had!
posted by JenThePro at 9:30 AM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]

Mistake: thinking it's not a big deal that she couldn't stand my father and that I couldn't stand her mother.
posted by meadowlark lime at 9:34 AM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

Don't try to be everything the other person needs, and don't expect that in return. Treat the other person with respect and kindness and do not take them for granted.

Be excellent to each other.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:08 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

Mistakes I've made and seen my friends make over and over again:

Thinking your relationship is not the exception to the "If he cheats with you, he'll probably cheat on you" rule

Not realizing that no matter how many solutions you can provide to their excuses and put-offs, if someone wants to make time for you they will, and if they don't, they won't--or as someone else put much more succintly above, not taking someone at their word when they reject you

Making potentially life-changing decisions while in the throes of NRE

Having expectations without expressing them

Assuming your definition of the relationship is the same as their definition of the relationship

Assuming you can find out what's going on inside your partner's head by talking to anyone other than your partner

Basically, assuming anything without talking about it. Communicate, people, dang. It's not that hard. Well, it is hard, but it's not harder than all the crazy stuff you put yourself through when you don't!
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:58 AM on September 27, 2013 [8 favorites]

Oh yeah, and the big one:

Trying to be some mythical idea of the perfect partner for so long that you neglect your own needs until you can't any longer and then it's a huge surprise to everyone that you're unhappy. Or, on preview, this SO HARD:

Not standing up for myself, because I wanted to be a cool low-maintenance girlfriend and not needy or bitchy. You know, like that horrible ex he keeps complaining about.
posted by rhiannonstone at 11:01 AM on September 27, 2013 [5 favorites]

Some mistakes I made in my 20s:

* Pre-relationship: asking a friend out with "Would you be offended if I asked you out?" and then not following up with the obvious question when she said "no," with a chuckle. (Yes, I've actually had this happen.)

* Staying in a relationship you can't stand because your self-esteem is so low that you have to dig for it you think you'll never find someone else, and/or that you do not deserve better.

* Tying yourself to a long-term relationship while there are plenty of opportunities.

* Thinking you NEED to be in a relationship in order to be accepted/liked by others.

* Dating someone too different from you.

* Dating someone too similar to you.

* Going back to an ex.

* Thinking that saying no to any of her wishes or desires will make her leave you.

et cetera, but I think those are some of the major ones.
posted by tckma at 12:14 PM on September 27, 2013 [7 favorites]

Nearly all the mistakes I made in past relationships were a direct result of the shitty way my parents treated me while I was growing up. So the ur-mistake, I guess, was not sorting out the mess of issues I had with insecurity, attachment, and healthy boundaries before trying to build a relationship with another adult.
posted by Zozo at 1:32 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

If someone you are dating makes you sad/angry/frustrated regularly or is otherwise kinda mean to you, do not make excuses for their behavior and don't date them anymore.

If several of your friends don't like who you're dating/hooking up with, you probably shouldn't be dating them.

Best advice, yet hardest to follow, only date people who are consistently nice to you and make you consistently happy.
posted by forkisbetter at 1:55 PM on September 27, 2013 [6 favorites]

Thinking that having a lot in common with someone means that they are automatically a good match for you.

Giving a cheater a second (and third) chance after significant acts of infidelity.

Listening too much to someone's words, and not paying enough attention to their actions.
posted by Carmelita Spats at 4:49 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

Don't get into a relationship with a person who has the same, or similar, behaviour or issues as a parent, authority figure, or ex, who traumatized or mistreated you.

This seems like exceptionally obvious advice, but believe me, it can be an insidious trap. You will gravitate towards the treatment that you're accustomed to, even if it's unhealthy or abusive. If you, say, had a parent who was distant and alternated from hot to cold with their affections, you are substantially more likely to be attracted to people who display the same behaviour.

Don't let the cycle repeat. If someone seems to remind you of your father/mother/boss/ex, and that person was abusive, run. Even if you can't pinpoint the exact similarity, trust your body's ability to pattern recognize. Trust your gut.
posted by Shouraku at 4:59 PM on September 27, 2013 [7 favorites]

Don't be super clingy. Let them have their own life, hobbies, and interests. Do not stalk anyone, do not follow them around, do not whine if they want to go out with the boys or girls and leave you home at times.

You do not have to be friends with exes. If you don't feel about them the way you would a platonic friend, then you probably shouldn't be. Some people really never can be friends with exes, and that's okay, that's you and don't do shit that you know will mess you up.

If you're already thinking, "Should we break up?", the answer is almost always gonna be yes when you post it to Ask Metafilter. I can count on one hand (literally, one finger) the only time I've ever seen that question asked and the answer was no, and that was a Dear Sugar letter when the woman's options were to break up or end up in a shitty nursing home.

Do not start seriously pondering marriage before you've known them one year. After two years, you probably know enough about that person as to whether or not you'd want to marry them. If you've been dating seven years and you're still on the don't want to.

Whether or not to have a kid is the ultimate no-compromise dealbreaker. If you can't enthusiastically say yes to one of the options that is the same one that your partner wants, then you can't be together. Period. This goes double for all women because you will end up doing the work and using your body and having your career be affected, so you'd better want a kid more than life itself.

If all your friends and family hate your SO, LISTEN TO THEM about why.

Do not drag out relationships with women that you don't want to marry when you know they want to get married and have kids. That's just cruelty. (Also, do not demand sandwiches as the price of getting a ring.)

Marry someone who can pull their own weight.

Read the signs of abusive relationships.. If yours is going along these lines...start working on leaving.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:59 PM on September 27, 2013 [8 favorites]

-thinking that if I was just sweet enough, giving enough, kind enough, the Beast would in fact turn into the handsome prince;

-not taking the guy at his word when he said "you know I am kind of an asshole," and instead, making him prove it (ARGH);

- not following the same rule I have for business relationships, friendships etc., which is that if someone is not at least kind, polite, and respectful, they are not worth my energy in any form, be it money, time, or affection;

-thinking that there must be something wrong with a kind, polite, and respectful guy who didn't play games about wanting to be with me (thank God I got over this one finally).
posted by rpfields at 9:18 PM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]

Doing the typical girly thing and dating a guy because I was pleased he liked me, rather than being in touch at all with whether I really liked him. I thought only about whether I was desired and not about my making a decision myself about who was interesting or attractive to me, and actually pursuing that, rather merely being pursued. However, I think there were so many reasons that I thought that way for years and I can't imagine I could have been different at the time. It was how I was taught to be both by my family and society.
posted by Blitz at 9:54 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

Submerging myself in the other person.

Not listening to little voices.
posted by ead at 9:20 AM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Don't date anyone because everyone else thinks tbat person is a great catch or really good looking or for some reason considered a topshelf dating prospect. Don't date because you are "supposed" to or because you have lonely friends who think dating is a big deal.

If you meet someone of the opposite number, and you are interested in getting to know them on a romantic level, and they are similarly inclined, then go for it. Otherwise, be single and be friends.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:26 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Don't shy from conflict or confrontation. It doesn't have to be ugly and isn't, if dealt with early and maturely.
posted by blizkreeg at 1:38 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Taking rejection personally, not objectively.

Not giving myself adequate time to learn how to be confident, happy and SINGLE on my own terms before rushing off to find a boyfriend to validate me.

Checklisting and/or pigeonholing.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:33 PM on October 1, 2013

Some say human monogamous relationships are supposed to last about 5 years: long enough for a couple to conceive and wean a child or two (and long enough to prevent infanticide). Whether this is accurate is conjecture I think it's useful to consider as a biological imperative we must follow or overcome. One could choose the wisest of the rules listed above to find the best partner and then treat them in the best possible way. Nevertheless, after a few years, both of you and the world will have altered. When that happens it is time to change gear or split. Find, if you can, that rare couple who are still happily married as they approach a diamond anniversary. I suspect, if you talk to them, they will identify several serious crises they survived only by changing more than they ever thought they would have to.

If you truly wish your relationship to survive "till death us do part" then you must wish for a short life, a tolerance for living together miserably or a joint talent for tearing up the rule book.
posted by rongorongo at 6:03 AM on October 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

You asked about stable & happy relationships.

I used to think that love = burning hot passion=drama & jealousy & you can't live without each other & things like you see in intense movies like Twilight.

As I have grown up & older I have found the opposite to be true for me. There is passion but for me it is not surrounded in negative drama. I did a lot of work on myself and my self esteem before I met my husband. Our relationship is happy and drama free. I think you will attract what you are.
posted by heatherly at 12:43 PM on October 25, 2013

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