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I’m not here to pretend that I’m a relationship expert, not even close. But at age 30, I have had to navigate my way through a series of not nice boyfriends, some abusive (mentally and physically), drug addicts, mama's boys, commitment phobes, total fuckwits, ghosters, alcoholics, and sex addicts, to name a few, and I’ve managed to wind up in a long term, stable, happy relationship with someone I love more than anything, but in a totally calm and non-obsessive way. Someone I want, but don’t need. Someone that I can share anything and everything with and not be afraid they will leave. Someone that lives with me and puts up with my mess, my quirks, my anxiety and my past…. however present it sometimes likes to be… and someone that I am expecting my first child with, and hopefully…. hint hint Tony… a ring at some point?
Some might say I’m just lucky to have found someone so perfect for me, a relationship so uniquely special, that makes me so happy. My relationship is in no way perfect, no relationship is. Everyone will have ups and downs, everyone will bicker and argue at some point, that is part and parcel of sharing your life with another individual. Living together is hard, co-existing is hard, making life decisions is hard and navigating through life with all its bullshit and politics and social media anxiety attacks at 2am, is REALLY FUCKING HARD.
BUT it is possible, and I have a nice little set of rules for you to follow, to help you not fuck up your life/relationship TOO much.
DO be yourself.
This might seem obvious, but it’s not. When we first meet someone that we fancy, our initial reaction is to try and impress that person. Whether that is by wearing more makeup, by dressing how we think they want us to dress, or by pretending to be into the same shit as them. I did this with my ex, I was very young when I met him and he was a lot older and cooler than me, I felt he was way out of my league and attempted to mould myself into exactly what I thought he wanted. This, ultimately, is not a sustainable way of life because after a while you will grow tired of putting on an act, you will want to sit around with no makeup on in your pjs and watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians whilst spooning peanut butter out of the jar. Trust me.
Obviously it’s nice to make an effort when you first meet, dress up for dates, make your house extra tidy so they don’t think you’re a total pig STRAIGHT away. But be YOU personality wise, be honest if you aren’t into their weird obsession with cult movies from the 80s, be real if you just really like wearing trainers and sweat pants over heels and a dress (who doesn’t).
I might have been a bit TOO myself when I met my partner, I was very open about EVERYTHING from my sex life through to my embarrassing choice of favourite band. Our second date I wore no makeup and asked him to drive me to the hospital afterwards because I had an appointment, the first time we had sex I asked him to put in my butt (TMI?). I had been so sick of pretending for so long with my ex, I just thought you know what? I’m gonna be me from day one and if he stays he stays…. he maintains that I was just SO weird and outrageous he was interested in exactly what I might do next. But hey, it worked!
DON’T force it.
There is nothing more painful than forcing a relationship, you both know it’s not really there, you have no flow to your convo, the sex is ok at best and you don’t really have any sort of mutual interests. You kind of fancy each other and thats whats making it work. DE-PRESS-ING. Cut it loose.
The other "Don’t force it" is from the entirely opposite end of the scale, they’ve tried to end it and you are such an emotional wreck you’ve LITERALLY emotionally blackmailed them in to staying with you. They are not happy (Duh, they tried to end it) YOU are not happy (I mean, you know they don’t want to be with you) but now they are scared to leave because they feel so guilty and you are desperately trying to do anything to make them feel the same way you do. Oh hun, trust me I KNOW how much heartbreak hurts. I have felt the physical, debilitating pain of it, I've laid holding my chest in tears, cried and cried for weeks, months, and even a year on end over someone I was SO SURE was my forever, I was SO SURE I loved them and I would never get over them, I tried everything to make them take me back to MAKE them love me. That first love, that high school love, the one you think you will marry because you just can’t imagine ever feeling like this about ANYONE ever again. LOL. Trust me, you will. If they don’t want you, it’s THEIR loss. Ride that pain and grow through it, I promise you that the best is yet to come.
DO let them do what they want.
Oh my god, I cannot tell you how important this is. Have you ever been told you CAN’T do something? OR that you HAVE to do something you don’t want to do? How frustrating, how annoying, how RUDE?! Most people already have a rules and regulations list for their professional lives, why would they want one at home too? That small amount of pleasure time you get in between working like a dog, to pay for your tiny flat in central London that costs more a week than a 5 star all inclusive holiday in the Maldives.
The point is, life is already hard. Don’t make it harder. As long as they aren’t breaking the law or genuinely doing something to hurt you, let them do it. I don’t understand people that police their partners every move, you obviously don’t trust them, and without trust there is absolutely no point in being together. If something they do upsets you, just calmly discuss it with them, you are an adult now, after all.
For example, sometimes my boyfriend likes to go out with his friends, I prefer to not go just because he needs time with his mates and also I don’t drink so I usually get tired and want to go home. I’d rather just let him go and do his thing. These night outs generally don’t end until around 10am the next day when I will receive text messages expressing regret for the actions of the night before and some sort of self loathing, I do not pity self inflicted hangovers but I will make sure he has some pain killers and water next to the bed and give him a little cuddle before I get up to start my day. I trust him, so I honestly don’t care what he gets up to when he’s out, I just ask that he keeps me informed as the night progresses so I don’t panic that he’s been murdered or fallen in to Regents canal in a drunken stupor.
On the other hand, HE is the most understanding, supportive, and loving human of all time. When we met I was still very much deep in porn land and shooting every single day. Once it was clear that things with us were moving toward potentially being serious, I broached the subject of retiring from performing. He told me to do whatever made ME happy and never to stop because of him, he said he would never ask me to retire and that he wanted me to be happy, he knew it was my job and was ok with that. I did decide to retire in the end, based on many factors, yes he was one. It was the BEST decision I ever made, and that is because he let me make it for myself.
DON’T have an open relationship.
Believe me they don’t work, and what starts as a kinky, cool idea because you guys are just so chill and open about your sexuality and sex is totally just physical (which I do completely agree with) after a while, will wear you down. You can set rules and boundaries, but do you really need to add more bullshit to your relationship? I’ve seen so many of these go wrong, they always start with good intentions and end with someone in tears because the other person has found someone they ultimately like fucking more than you.
It’s like shopping around whilst always having someone to go home to just encase. Just no. Have a threesome, trust me, they are much more fun.
DO be their biggest fan.
Come on, this should be obvious. They are you partner! Wave their flag, go to their shows even if you’re the only person there, tell them what a good job they are doing, how proud you are of them, help them out when they need it, support them if things are going to shit. Be a shoulder to cry on and lift them up in everything they do! Repost their stuff on your social media, let them know YOU THINK THEY ARE GREAT!
DON’T talk shit about them.
Everyone like a little bitch and moan occasionally, that is perfectly normal, especially in a longterm relationship. But know the difference between an endearing moan about them doing something irritating, or asking for advice from a friend if you think there is an issue and genuine detrimental bitching. If you find yourself slagging your other half off to your friends or your family, ask yourself if this is really a good situation for you or for them to be in. I would be MORTIFIED if I found out my boyfriend was saying mean, hurtful things about me to his friends, I know I can be a pain in the ass and I fully accept that, but if he was ever cruel or nasty about me, I would leave. Also be aware that the more shit you talk, the more your friends and family won’t like them, this will make it very hard to properly integrate them into your life.
DO pick your battles.
So important. Have you ever been around one of those couples that argue about EVERYTHING and ANYTHING? It’s so uncomfortable. What a pleasureless experience it must be, to be in a relationship where all you do is fight and make up and fight and make up. It is so exhausting. We rarely argue and when we do it is very quickly sorted out, I refuse to go to sleep on an argument, they stress me out so much and nothing is ever that big of a deal we can’t sort it out. If something is a bigger deal than you think you can sort out between you…. you probably should be rethinking the situation.
When you live with someone and share your life with them BE WARNED, they WILL annoy you at times. That is just life, it’s insane to believe otherwise. You are two separate humans sharing your lives, money. and space with each other; you will disagree, you will bicker, you will annoy each other, but PICK your battles. Are you really about to start world war 3 because he didn’t hang the washing out like you asked or because she left some clothes on the floor in the bedroom? Don’t be an idiot. So many of these issues are very easily resolved without any conflict at all. If something genuinely bothers you, just address it calmly, explain that you are upset or annoyed at a situation, and say what you’d like them to do to resolve it, then let them have their say. 99.9% of the time that is all that needs doing. Be open and honest about how you feel, don’t sit on your emotions, but don’t let them blow out of control. I’m not saying to just ignore gaping issues and pretend they aren’t happening, if something truly needs addressing then you have to address it. Find the issue, address it calmly, nip it in the bud.
DON’T make monumental commitments before you know each other.
Why the hell would you move in with someone you’ve only known for a month? You don’t really know ANYONE after a month. You know you fancy them and that you like sex with them, that’s about it. Enjoy the honeymoon period, enjoy missing each other and the anticipation of seeing each other. Enjoy the build up. Honeymoon periods are the fucking best, and they really don’t last forever, so make the most of every second. Trust me, when you live together you will have a lot less sex and you will see each other at your absolute worst; there's no build up or mystery anymore because you live together and you share everything from a toilet to a tea cup. You know their morning routine and they know what you look like without makeup. I love living with my other half but my god does it end the honeymoon!
In a way I am lucky because we both travel for work, when he’s on tour I do still get the tingle of excitement knowing he’s coming home to see me, which is amazing, but we were dating for almost 2 years before living together and we only initially moved in together because he bought a puppy that he couldn’t have at the house he was living in. So, us moving in together was not romantic in ANY way.
Also, don’t get married before you live together, you do not know a person until you have lived with them for at least a year. Trust me. You do not know that person you are marrying. Live with them first. If you don’t hate each other after a year, then go for it.
And seriously, don’t have a kid to save a failing relationship. What the fuck are you doing?
DO make an effort with their family and friends.
If you want to be with this person, these will become your family and friends too, it is so important to at least try and be nice. Also, if you realise you hate all their friends and their family, you might find that your relationship isn’t going to last very long. These are the people your significant other is closest to, it is a HUGE reflection on them, if you hate them, ask yourself WHY.
And last but not least….
DON’T be afraid to switch it up.
Try new things, in life, in the bedroom, in the kitchen. No matter how much you love each other, routines can go stale, it’s good to keep moving forward, don’t live the same year over and over again and call it a life!