What to Expect in the Second Year of a Serious Relationship

I’m now in  the third year of my relationship. Things are going great. We are thinking of how to get things moving forward (when do we get married and buy a house?) and things are starting to pick up. We have pets - a dog and a cat who, by the way, are best friends. We have a shared bank account.

Yes, we’re making big plans together.

I'm sharing this because I want to give an idea - to those that are in their second year in a serious relationship - on what to expect and how to prepare for the future . I know it won’t apply to everyone, but I feel that those who are currently with a "significant other," making things work, will find these worth noting:

1.  You’re taking on the debt

Each of you lead completely different lives before you two came together and one part that you’ll bring together is your debts and knowledge of personal finance.

The first year isn’t so bad because you’re still very independent from your partner. However, when it gets serious (like when you move in together), these financial issues need to become part of your normal routine in communication.

  • What if it gets real serious and you plan to get married?
  • What plans are in place for buying a house? How about retirement?
  • What are the two of you doing as for emergency funds?

My Suggestion: Talk with your partner about finances. Lay it all out.

Talk about any debt and make a plan to pay it back. Find professional help to fix your credit score (it's quite easy to measure/see a positive ROI when it is tied directly to debt). Get these debts out of the way, build up a great credit score, and keep a sound mind about finances. Soon, the two of you will eliminate one of the biggest burdens of relationships: financial stress.

2. There are multiple “next level” choices

We got a dog last year - it was a huge step in our relationship. In many ways, it’s pretty much like having a kid, albeit less stressful. How we manage our time depends on whether or not our dog (and his elder brother, a black cat) will be okay once we step out.

There are many moments when you have to sacrifice:

  • Do you save your money or do you go out to that event you've been wanting to go to?
  • Do you buy the next upgrade (in terms of tech purchases, for instance) or ride out the current version for a few years?
  • Do you splurge on higher quality items or get more from the cheaper stuff?

These choices will hit you every single day and there’s really no bad choice. Sometimes, you simply need to sacrifice and at other times, it’s okay to do as you wish.

My Suggestion: The key to a good relationship, when you’re at this “next level”, is being mature about it all. Try talking things through rather than relying on emotions and making impulsive decisions.

3. Working is (sometimes) a pain

My boyfriend and I actually have the benefit of working from home. 

I know this sounds like a real amazing opportunity, but I don’t think a lot of people think this through when the opportunity arises. If you happen to live with your boyfriend, this means you’re spending every waking moment with the other person which, for some, can become quite stressful.

The longer you’re around each other, the more you’ll want to act out.

There is no such thing as “alone time” anymore because they’re always there. When you start working together, such as working online, it really gets to you. In some ways, you feel like you’re getting cabin fever because it’s easier to stay in together and work rather than go out as you probably did when you were dating and living separately.

My suggestion: Treat each day like you’re hanging out. Make separate plans and figure what would be fun for the both of you.

Be okay with spending some personal time. When you do this, it’ll feel like each day is something new. That way, you will appreciate the time you spend together.

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