A Long Term Committed Relationship Shouldn't Mean Shackles and Curfews

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Find someone who marvels at his 10 out of 10 girlfriend’s newest Instagram post, always showing his loyalty with the world’s quickest like.

Words by Eleana Davidson

I have become fairly accustomed to the almost audible gasp of shock and confusion when I explain how my boyfriend and I have been together for going on six years now. The following question has pretty much married itself to my relationship status disclosure, “how old are you again?”. I know what they’re thinking, you can’t possibly be old enough to have a relationship that is beyond the wood anniversary milestone (I was gifted a bonsai tree for the occasion, it succumbed to its death shortly after. At least I’m better at my relationships than I am with my green fingers).  I guess to some extent, I don’t blame them for their confusion. When I sit back and think about how young I was when I first met my boyfriend, and how much growing as people we’ve both done in the meantime, it’s crazy and does warrant some disbelief.

However. The big however. I can’t help but think it is because we now live in a culture where the policing of Facebook friends and Instagram posts have become somewhat standardised as expected boyfriend practice and a partner can simply veto any given crop top and skirt combination when deciding what to wear at the monthly Girl’s Night Out, just like that. Too much leg, too much stomach or “you can’t wear that darling, it’s just too tight” are obvious observations of a loving spouse. Controlling or possessive aren’t even close to the relevant vocabulary pool here. Right? “It’s not that I don’t trust you baby, it’s that I don’t trust the guys in the club, that’s all. They won’t be able to help themselves in that outfit.” (The echoes of that frequently used line makes me shiver just thinking about it, but I’ll have to leave that topic for another day.)

I know what they’re thinking, you can’t possibly be old enough to have a relationship that is beyond the wood anniversary milestone (I was gifted a bonsai tree for the occasion, it succumbed to its death shortly after. At least I’m better at my relationships than I am with my green fingers).

In a society plagued with reality television programmes and tabloid stories showcasing the normality of toxic relationships; isolating yourself from your friends and social life, losing yourself, your hobbies and your precious alone time in a midst of trying to keep someone else happy, it’s no wonder people’s eyes widened when you admit to your six year’s matured girlfriend title.

“How old are you again?” They don’t want you to answer that with a number, that’s not really the question they’ve asked. What they really want to know is the decision you made and how you made it between having a long term boyfriend and having a life as a teen/twenty something year old. Imagine if I turned around and explained to them how I didn’t need to choose either. I can and do very happily have both.

The key to balance is who you choose to spend your life with and the significant word here is choose. With 7 odd billion humans in the world, find someone who appreciates the importance of a good gossip with your best friend on a Tuesday evening Facetime session. Find someone who marvels at his 10 out of 10 girlfriend’s newest Instagram post, always showing his loyalty with the world’s quickest like. Pick someone who is confident enough in themselves to not overthink an absent text message or an unexpected Facebook request from your old male school mate. Find someone who celebrates with you when you put on a new kickass dress that flaunts those incredible pins of yours. Choose someone who respects the alone time at the gym you absolutely need after a long day at work. You have to invest in someone who is willing to trust and invest in you.

So girls, leave behind the guys who look over your shoulder when you’re texting your girlfriend’s about the latest Love Island ep. Close the door on a person that checks the clock when you’re on a work’s night out and monitors your alcohol consumption with hourly phone calls, and damn straight ignore the ones who make you feel guilty for being the queen that you so definitely are just because of their insecurities. Find someone who celebrates your independence, encourages your freedom and honours the person that you are without changing even a single hair on your head, and trust me, six years will absolutely fly by and you won’t have to sacrifice a damn thing.