Next month, I will have known my boyfriend for 10 years. I am turning 29 this year, so it’s safe to say the entire DECADE of my twenties has been spent with him. Granted we were not dating the whole time. We actually didn’t start dating until 23, but we started college together at 18 and have been connected ever since. Now, almost 6 years into dating we are both well on our way in building our careers, we share an adorable 2 bedroom steal of an apartment only a few blocks from the ocean, and we are the beacon of #relationshipgoals to many of our single friends.
And lately I have been looking back at them thinking they have it pretty good. Single-dom. What is it like? I don’t really know. I’ve been in a relationship pretty much my entire twenties, something I swore I would never do.
My boyfriend and I were always the “single ones” of our friends in college. All of his roommates were paired up with my roommates and we were all one, big incestual family. All of those undying relationships we witnessed in college are long gone along with my beer pong skills. And if I’m being completely honest, just like my beer pong skills, I am not sure those relationships had any solid foundations to start with. So when my boyfriend and I got together we promised to not be like them. We promised not to split holidays until we had to. We promised to take it one day at a time. We promised to be honest, loyal, communicative. We promised to be different.
Though we didn’t actually write those down or have a blood-brothers ceremony to lock those vows into eternity, they were definitely mutually understood. It was an unspoken bond we had– we weren’t going to get in a relationship and potentially ruin a solid, badass friendship for a drunken college fling. So when we, ironically enough, had enough liquid courage to admit to ourselves and each other that we actually loved each other, I said, “Okay, but this is for the long haul.” To which he quickly and lovingly agreed, saying, “I know.” And that’s all we needed.
So fast-forward through the normal ups and downs of twenty-something struggles–getting jobs, losing jobs, being long-distance, and those incredible reunions– and we are better than ever. (See #relationshipgoals above). BUT…you knew there was going to be a but eventually…I’m tired.
I’m tired of being the perfect couple. I am tired of pretending that I’m totally cool that we aren’t married as I stand beside friend after friend on her big day marrying a man she’s only known for half the time I’ve been dating my plus one. I am tired of being the “cool” girlfriend. I am tired of taking the high road. I am tired of having a cute, minimalistic apartment. I am tired of planning vacations that I know will never happen. I am tired.
And I want more.
THAT is where my struggle lies. Who am I to want more? I have it ALL! A man who loves the shit out of me. He even likes my naturally psychotic and curly hair. He will eat weird ancient grains for dinner and drink green juice for breakfast with me. He thinks I’m brilliant and sexy and hilarious and beautiful and tells me every day. He listens and supports my feminist roar on the double standards of the world. And he changes the channel when the news becomes too much for me.
But still, I want more.
I want to be able to broken without being judged. I want to be selfish without being shamed. I want to go to happy hour without feeling guilt. I want to get married without being called desperate. I want to get into fights with him without feeling like a disappointment. I want to be in a bad mood with zero fucks given. I want to vent without hearing “you’re never like this!”. I want to not be perfect. I want to be human.
I want freedom.