I was thinking back the other day to when a high school teacher who was a new parent told me that Year 5 in a relationship is the hardest. He said it’s usually because Year 5 is when you’ve probably added a kid into the relationship and you are finally seeing a side of your partner that you’ve never seen before. I took it with a grain of salt, because as a know-it-all teenager, I clearly knew everything and I knew that MY relationship wasn’t hard. Oh sure, some things were hard like the distance, but loving someone is easy. Looking back, he was clearly trying to tell me that HIS relationship was hardest during Year 5 because he’d brought a kid into this world and it wasn’t quite what he expected.
If you have been in a long term relationship, you know there are “good” years and “bad” years. Personally, I think you have good years when both people are in a comfortable stage in their personal lives, and bad years happen when one or both parties are unhappy or pulled in too many directions.
But let’s look a bit further into those good and bad years. I think every relationship has three types of years:
What It Looks Like:
1. You’re both happy with friends, family and your career.
2. You’re discovering new and exciting things about each other.
3. You spend LOTS of money just doing things together because you want to be around them 24/7.
When This Normally Happens: These are usually the first couple of years together.
Things to Watch Out For: You don’t get wrapped up in just ‘the two of you’.
What it Looks Like:
1. You are experiencing every emotion. Sometimes at your spouse, sometimes it’s just life in general.
2. Life isn’t always peachy. Maybe work sucks, maybe family sucks but it just plain sucks.
3. Tension brews quickly and you probably are fighting or nitpicking more.
4. You never feel like you have enough time in the day. Especially for your relationship.
When This Normally Happens: Seems to always follow the stable years.
Things to Watch Out For: When you feel like 1000 things are pulling you in different directions and you’re unsatisfied with everyday life, drawing closer together instead of apart is the key to weathering this difficult time.
What it Looks Like:
1. Work and family is going well. You’re drawing closer together instead of apart.
2. You have a clear vision of how you want your life to go.
3. You’re sharing in your success with each other at work and with family.
When This Normally Happens: Usually after the Tumultuous Years but it can happen anytime something life-changing occurs.
Things to Watch Out For: Make sure to spend time together. Work and family can pull you apart but relishing in each others successes will keep you both happy.
So, now that I’ve told you what I think are the 3 stages of relationships, I should probably delve into when they happened for The Mister and I. After 14 years together, we’ve had LOTS of good times but we’ve also had our share of bad times.
Year 1: Stable Year – Budding Romance
Year 2 to 4: Tumultuous Years – EVERY emotion was experienced thanks to being long distance.
Year 5 to 9: Restoration Years – We rediscovered each other.
Year 10: Tumultuous Years – I was disastisifed with work and I felt like our relationship wasn’t growing because we didn’t have any definite plans of marriage.
Year 11 to 14: Stable Years – We got engaged and then married. We are feeling more fulfilled in our chosen careers and it’s nice to see the fruit of our labours coming together. We have definite plans of our future and it’s exciting to see our plans come together.
Every relationship is different. You know you better than anyone else and you know your spouse better than their own family. My gramma put everything in perspective for me about relationships when we were in engaged. She said, ” When love is easy, remember why you love them. When love is hard, remember why you love them.”
So, now that I’ve told you about the ups and downs of our relationship, tell me about yours! I’d love to hear the good, the bad and the ugly!