Before we got hitched, El Hub and I were, to quote my mum, “serious” (“Are you two serious?”) for almost five years, so, technically, we’ve been together for a decade.
That’s a pretty good chunk of time to get to know someone, and while our relationship isn’t perfect, I haven’t wanted to kill him in his sleep (yet), and he’s remarkably tolerant of my PMS-fueled mood swings, so I think we’re doing all right, all things considered.
Seriously, though, we’ve been together for a while, and I think we’re still pretty darn happy. Looking back, there have been a few important moments over that time and one or two valuable lessons, like…
1. Get the sleep situation under control
Oh, man. I don’t even know where to start, but to make a long story short, the sooner you can work out any sleep problems, the better you’ll both feel.
Years before I met him, El Hub worked nights, and it permanently disrupted his sleep cycle. He tosses and turns all night long (always spinning counterclockwise, which is so weird!), and on top of that snores like a small bear. I, on the other hand, sleep soundly, but I need complete silence, and for everything to be still.
Our first couple of beds weren’t doing us any favors. One, a hand-me-down full-size bed from a family member, had weak springs and a soft mattress with a dip in the middle like a “V” that would draw us both toward the center of it like a sleep-sucking black hole.
With El Hub sleeping on the left side of the dip, his propensity to roll counterclockwise would usually keep him out of the middle, but I was rarely so lucky. I’d end up in the dip, wide awake, with my shoulders bunched up against my ears and El Hub spinning and snoring like a haunted carnival ride beside me.
One night, I got so angry that I woke him up every single time he moved or snored. Weeks of sleep deprivation had brought out my inner crazy, and I decided that if I wasn’t going to get my REM on, neither was he. So childish, I know, but wouldn’t ya know it? — the next day we decided to get a new bed.
The moral of this story: if you think this guy/gal is the one, save yourself the heartache, and get the sleeping situation worked out as soon as possible.
2. You know you’re in it for the long haul when you have the “No. 2 conversation”
Like the book says, everybody poops.
It’s weird, but some things seem to matter more the older you get. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine and I were talking about her mom and dad. Her father had recently passed, and toward the end of his life, he became dependent on my friend’s mom for everything. She fed him, bathed him, and even helped him use the bathroom when his body had given up on him, and he was no longer able to do it himself.
Later that night, I talked to El Hub about it. Would he still be there if I couldn’t take care of myself? I wondered. In his charming, half-joking but entirely serious way, he said, “Of course, babe. I’ve always got your back.”
He even agreed to get the ultra soft, three-ply quilted toilet paper that I like, and not the cheapie, one-ply stuff that feels like sandpaper.
3. You gotta have jokes
Getting older isn’t easy and it’s not for wimps, but it really helps to have a partner you can laugh with. I’m talking about the gut-busting, gasping-for-air, side-cramp kind of laughter that makes tears stream down the side of your face. Truthfully, if we didn’t have this part of our relationship, I don’t know if El Hub and I would have lasted this long.
What about you? Have you learned any lessons from your long-term relationships?
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,