You are going to find someone reliable, someone faithful, someone mature, someone willing to put effort into your relationship — but you aren’t going to find someone who has their shit together. You aren’t going to have your shit together either. You are going to fumble through the relationship, even if you have been in a million other relationships before. You are going to learn together. You are going to grow together.
When you love someone, you figure out your future together, piece by piece. You aren’t going to wake up one day when you turn twenty-five or thirty or forty and suddenly know how to adult. There is an endless learning curve.
When you love someone, you figure out how to navigate the world together. You figure out how to separate your chores in a way where you’re both happy (or, at least, not swamped and miserable). You figure out how to divide your finances. You figure out where to shop for groceries and how long the two of you can make them last. You figure out boring grownup stuff that has a direct impact on your relationship.
When you love someone, you figure out how to live together. You figure out how to support each other. You figure out how to talk to each other. You figure out how to handle big problems and small, mundane problems like taking out the trash.
When you love someone, you lean on each other in times of crisis. You bounce opinions off each other when you come to a crossroads. You involve each other in big decisions. You admit when there is a problem and work it out together.
You can’t predict what the future will throw at you. If someone loses a job, you figure it out. If someone gets sick, you figure it out. If someone makes a mistake, you figure it out.
Of course, there are certain things you can predict early on. You can talk about whether you want ten kids or ten dogs, whether you want to live in the city or the countryside, whether you want to get married or live without a ring. If you are on two completely different pages with no room for negotiation, then you should go your separate ways. You shouldn’t cling onto a relationship destined to fail.
But if you want the same things, and if you’re serious about making the relationship last, you will figure out the smaller details of your future as a team. You will decorate your apartment as a team. You will plan vacations as a team. You will look at house listings as a team. Most importantly, you will figure out what it means to be a team. Maybe that means you splitting every task 50/50 or maybe it means handing off certain tasks to a certain person.
When you love someone, you make mistakes together. You take steps backward together. You recover together. You fumble through the world together, because no matter how long you have been together, there are always going to be new things to learn.