Is There Life After A Relationship Begins?

BlogHer Original Post

Editor's Note: I am often asked about life after relationships begin and what advice I can give to help couples stay focused, work through issues, and avoid letting their relationships turn stale. The key, in my opinion, is understanding that the life you've known thus far doesn't suddenly end when "I" and "You" become "We". In fact, an entirely new life begins and "we" should focus on experiencing life together and building bridges that connect the separate lives we had that shaped who we are now. Each situation is unique and finding someone who shares your relationship values makes it all worth it.

Around Christmas time a few months back, my son requested, for the fourth year in a row, a new train set. Every year he ends up losing quite a few pieces or breaking them in half somehow with his weird toddler strength. The idea of shopping makes me anxious, with the crowds, the long lines, and the all encompassing waves of consumerism are enough to make me burst into hives. My boyfriend is well aware of this fact and when I come home from work one day, I saw a brand new train set on the table waiting to be wrapped. This is just one example of the many reasons why I love him.

If you had asked me two years ago about my plans when it came to love and relationships, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined it would be along the lines of maintaining a long term connection that included living together in a blended family dynamic. I am polyamorous and I did wish for the polyamorous aspect of myself to remain. It’s rare when you find someone legitimately on a similar wavelength, even though we really don’t indulge much. I use the example of my son and the train set to say that when one finds oneself with a genuine interest or passion in something; it’s difficult to desire an alternative.

My current boyfriend and I were friends for two years prior to any romantic engagement. When intimacy was eventually introduced, we already knew we would be well suited. There are, however, some things we strongly disagree on. I don’t always agree with some of his parenting approaches and it's difficult to deal when he gets extremely frustrated with my passivity. Nevertheless, like most things in life, we just work through it.

Once you enter into a relationship with another person, the pursuit really isn't over. You might be dating exclusively and wildly in love but, despite having spent a large amount of time with a person, you don’t actually know everything about this other person and to be fair, you don’t entirely know yourself yet. Life is a journey, you keep growing and changing with every new interaction, situation, and crisis you take on and live through. These experiences also teach you the things you need for a more harmonious relationship and sometimes, that means breaking up in search of a more successful pairing. While I’m not advocating the “grass is greener” theory, you don't always know what you like until you have something to compare it to.

 

As a sexually liberated universal traveler, I knew, from comparing my previous adventures, that I'd found an amazing relationship with my fellow. It's too amazing to give up, even though we’re currently in our own little cloud of strife, being temporarily in a long distance relationship. I wake up every morning and try, for him, because I love him so much and he loves me. When you’re willing to try for a connection that truly works for you, you'll push your limits and the capacity of your heart to see where that long, sometimes bumpy road ends, if it ends at all.

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