Because we put in the fucking work.
We don’t fight. We don’t nag. We don’t whine. We don’t get caught up in nonsense because we have shit to build together. Read that again.
This is what I’ve learned about unconditional love, healthy relationships, and mutual growth throughout nearly 7 crazy years with the love of my life.
We’re both overachievers by nature. We’re driven by an inexhaustible reserve of passion that we inject into everything we do. Goals. Careers. Relationship. It’s either full-force or not at all.
This passion created the foundation for our vision.
It’s what pulled us together like magnets the very first day we met. No small talk. The conversation was laser-focused on all the pieces of the greater puzzle.
Individually, each one of us had been building their vision from a young age. The similarities were uncanny in terms of approach, values, and determination. They still are.
Our differences were never disadvantages but rather learning opportunities. They still are.
The fact that we shared the same mindset from day 1 made the subsequent development of a common vision natural. Everything fell into place intuitively, in harmony and complementarity alike.
Then, we built upon it brick by brick, and we continue to build with each passing day.
We’re both workaholics by nature. Our individual crafts and the projects, commitments, and objectives that come with them are high-priority.
We’re not afraid to put in the work. And that ethic transfers into our relationship.
This means that we spend a good chunk of our time working. At home, at the office, well after what many perceive as “normal” hours.
Granted, we’re highly passionate about what we do, but it’s working all the same.
I often spend full nights writing until sunrise. He often spends full nights sketching or at the office on a tight deadline.
We’re okay with that. Because we understand how important the work is.
We also understand when the other needs a break. When they’re not in the mood to make dinner that night. When they want to blow off steam and play a stupid videogame. Even when one can’t fully understand something, we meet each other halfway.
Less ego, more empathy.
We’re both jealous by nature. Oh boy, were we jealous at the beginning. Let’s be real, I think we all were at one point or another. We project fears, insecurities, and the ghosts of past mistakes.
As for us, we had both been on the giving and receiving ends of toxic behavior in relationships. But if we were going to be in this for the long run, jealousy, possessiveness, and paranoia had to be left at the door. No time for bullshit.
It took us a minute to get there, not gonna lie, but we’ve reached the emotional maturity required for trust. Real trust. Not “trust” with passive-aggressive tantrums, behind-the-back phone checking or obsessive interrogation.
It didn’t happen overnight, but it’s an invaluable lesson that we learned together.
We know what we have at home. We know how to take care of each other so our needs are met.
And if some obstacle pops up along the way, we’re prepared to talk it out like two grown-ass adults.
We’re both attentive by nature. You can see it in our work. Details are everything. But the same work, or social media, or other sources of distraction also affect the ability to pay attention sometimes.
I learned this lesson the hard way — by being called out on my bullshit, and rightfully so. In the past, I’d get distracted during times in which I didn’t realize how much he needed to talk to me.
But he communicated that to me and I set off to work on self-awareness in this area.
Attention means communication. It means listening and caring about what the other person says. It means tastefully changing the subject when talking is hard. It means putting everything on pause (deadlines and all) when they walk through the door in the evening and asking them about their day and their soul.
It’s also in the little things. A thoughtful post-it on the mirror. Buying their favorite snack. A random “I love you” text in the middle of the day, for no reason at all.
These details, no matter how insignificant they may seem, have enriched our relationship beyond measure.
We’re both affectionate by nature. One of us more visibly (hint hint), the other with discretion.
You won’t see excessive PDA in our social media posts. But best believe that, on the other side of the screen, we kiss and cuddle like 15-year-olds every chance we get.
We haven’t forgotten about the younger versions of ourselves who fell madly in love with each other all those years ago.
We still fall asleep in each other’s arms, fingers intertwined, every night. We still smother our cat with kisses in ridiculous cuddling sessions. We haven’t gotten bored of telling each other “I love you” a gazillion times a day — and meaning it each time.
Problems come and go (I’ll get to that soon), but tight hugs, long kisses, and loving gazes have a knack for making even the scariest times a little better.
No matter how much work, stress, or drama try to fuck up our lives, nothing can take away our instinct to express love, reassurance, and unconditional care.
We’re both passionate by nature. You already know that. You can imagine how this translates into intimacy. The sex is incredible. Because we make it incredible.
When you reach a certain level of power play, foreplay, and equal desire to give and get, you’ll know what I mean.
Switch shit up. Have fun. Try new things. Act on fantasies. Slow down when you want to speed up. You and bae know what you need to do.
I’m going to spare you the “sex isn’t important” crap. It is. Very.
But just like any other part of the relationship, it’s something you build together. Instead of fading into blah-ness after the first year, sex can become more and more amazing as you continue to discover and understand the other person.
Just pay attention.
We’re both resilient motherfuckers by nature. We’ve been through so much traumatic shit from childhood to present day that we can now handle anything life throws at us. Believe me when I say anything.
After years in and out of hospitals, depression cycles, anxiety attacks, and family problems, we’ve realized that nothing is really worth an argument.
Not a double-tap on Instagram, not forgetting to buy milk, not glancing at another person in the subway or other nothings that couples tend to have ridiculous fights over.
We had a handful of fights in the first year or two. One of them almost cost us our relationship. But we’ve learned from them and grown from them.
Now, if there’s ever concern on either side, anything can be discussed. Not yelled about. Communicated.
And when shit hits the fan with huge real-world problems, that’s when we’re more united than ever.
We’re both adrenaline seekers by nature. We do stupid, often borderline irresponsible stuff together.
We’ll spend an entire night walking through the city and drinking from masked bottles. We’ve taken the last train to another city and spent the whole night doing stupid shit there. We one-up each other on our birthdays with spontaneous adventures and crazy surprises.
We have fun.
It doesn’t even have to be extreme. Creative brainstorming. Board games. Heck, even a drinking game at home. Anything that involves spending time together and smiling more.
On this note, we’re also goofy-ass dipshits who exchange terrible jokes. And yes, every time I see him alone in the kitchen, minding his own business, washing the dishes or cooking, I will run up behind him and slap his ass.
No amount of stress, problems or work will ever take that away.
He is a calm person by nature. Veeery calm. I had to learn this skill from scratch, with his help.
In turn, he learned how to tolerate, accept, and love someone as mentally and emotionally unstable as me.
This is growing and learning from each other.
Together, we learned about patience. In the true sense of the word. The patience needed to build something sustainable, meaningful, and worthwhile, whether a project, business or relationship.
Patience also ties into empathy. We’re both going to be a pain in the ass at times for various reasons, but that patience will help prevent any useless conflict.
We give ourselves space to grow. Even if a project takes dozens of sleepless nights to finish, when it’s complete, the other will be there.
We’re each other’s biggest supporter throughout the process, regardless of how long it takes.
In the end, none of this would have been possible if we didn’t have this unbreakable connection.
You know, the magnet thing I was talking about. The shared vision. The work that neither of us is afraid to put in. That connection.
You’ll know it when you feel it, and it will come when the time is right. From that point, it’s all about taking care of this priceless connection you share.
Oh, and if you re-read this whole post, you’ll see that “we” and “us” came up a lot more than “I” or “me”.
Because we have shit to do together.
And that’s why, after almost 7 years, we’re stronger, smarter, and more in love than we’ve ever been.
Gold Nuggets is a series with life lessons that I’ve learned the hard way.