Convention is killing your relationship

Today, my partner and I will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary. We’ve been together since teenagers when he asked me out on Myspace – romantic, I know. I lived in Blackpool at the time, a long hour & half train ride away from him. He’s supported me through my GCSEs, A-Levels, my degree, ill health, grief, friendship breakups and we’re definitely stronger together than apart.

Having said that, we don’t live together, we have no plans of getting married (ever, don’t @ me) and neither of us really know what the future holds.

Whilst we have a close relationship, Ry and I both march to the beat of our own drum. Separately. I rent in the city center, he lives in a small town on the outskirts. I’ll go out during the week to blogger events & meet for coffee with friends, he’ll go out walking with his friends or lose his mind on a Destiny raid. On weekends, we reconvene nattering about the week as if we’d never been apart.

It works for us, but once you’ve reached the 10 year mark people start to wonder what’s going on. Convention dictates that a relationship should have ‘moved on’ by now. That’s the problem though, convention is ruining modern relationships.

Gif that perfectly sums up this paragraph from Nepolion Dynamite.

Meeting expectations
In a world of private DMs and Tinder, once you’ve sifted through all the bad eggs the game seems to be to settle down as quickly as possible. One minute, you’re seeing a few people without really putting any commitment in, living your life flying solo… then BAM! You’ve found ‘the one’ all of a sudden and it’s time to get shacked up.

As someone who shudders to think about modern dating, I’m glad I never had to go through it and I definitely wouldn’t shame anyone for online dating (I mean come on, do I need to remind you about the Myspace thing). That said, I think the level of choice we’re now faced with can be just as anxiety inducing as it is empowering.

It’s as if once two people have found each other among the rubble, they have to fast-track their way through milestones to legitimise their relationship. Perhaps this is out of fear their partner could quickly move on in the fickle world of online dating. After all, we’re more aware than ever just how many other fish their are in the sea.

Everywhere around me I see friends rushing to move in with their new partners. There’s two common scenarios; (1) They’re struggling to afford a small flat together which eventually drives them apart due to cabin fever. (2) They make the very grown-up move of getting a house together after a year of ‘being official’, only to realise they’re now in a legally binding contract with someone they aren’t too sure is the right person.

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, the pressure to meet expectations can ruin a good thing.

Modern relationship toxicity

Once upon a time, people used to compare themselves to the celebrity couples plastered all over magazines. Today we have it even worse, because we’re comparing ourselves to edited reality TV couples, instagram ‘power couples’ and countless weird relationship memes (the curse of #justgirlythings).

We have this weird picture in our head that the perfect relationship is one where you go off travelling together – but wait – you also need to be happy doing the sensible thing by settling down, buying a house and starting a family.

In the perfect relationship, you’re supposed to go on the most romantic dates worthy of a pinterest snapshot – but hang on – you’re also supposedly super comfortable doing nothing but Netflix marathons because that’s a sign of being comfy in each other’s company.

And don’t forget, the modern relationship doesn’t need cheesy labels – but wait a second – if you don’t label it your relationship isn’t real.

It flips from one end of the spectrum to the other. If you’ve not experienced this yourself, you’ve at least had the misfortune of seeing a friend act this out with their significant other. Whilst their relationship hits all the correct social cues deep down they’re not happy at all.

A relationship is never one size fits all

After 10 years are things perfect for me and Ry? Fuck no. But that’s what a relationship is, the ability to face a problem together and get through it as a couple.

And hey! We’re still fighting against the great expectations too. To try and conform, we decided we’d go for a posh meal for our anniversary. You know, one that you can get all dressed up for. We picked the most instagrammable fine dining restaurant and booked weeks in advance… only to be told there was a booking error and we couldn’t have the date.

A blessing in disguise.

‘So what are we doing for our big 10th anniversary?’ I hear you ask! We’re off to our favourite family-run Thai restaurant. It’s the one next to the strip club in Chinatown and you can bring your own beer.

Unconventional, yeah? But it’s us and it works.

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  1. October 24, 2017 / 4:17 pm

    I totally agree with you, people are too assuming that you should meet someone, move in together, get engaged and move through these milestones. I think every couple should just do what’s best for them x

  2. October 24, 2017 / 6:58 pm

    This is such a great post! I am married but I get so much judgement on the kids thing and the fact that we live very separate lives- we just happen to come together at the end of the night (or week). People feel that we should do EVERYTHING together and we get so much judgement for having separate holidays, for me working away all the time, and for having times with the girls.

  3. October 24, 2017 / 7:29 pm

    I love this, you are so right, there is no one size fits all when it comes to a relationship! It’s taken me a while to realise that!

  4. Joanna
    October 24, 2017 / 8:18 pm

    This is so true, people rumoring, taking behind your back and judging you are the ones who end up ruining relationships. I am one of those people who doesn’t live with my bf even if we have been together for 5 years, who doesn’t want to get married or children. And I am happy with my decisions. But I always get asked why and I am always told that it’s not normal. But what is normal?

  5. October 24, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    Agree with this 100%, thank you for putting it so eloquently. I don’t understand he rush to legitimise a relationship if you’re both happy.

  6. October 24, 2017 / 9:55 pm

    I love this post, relationships aren’t all sunshine and roses and they aren’t all going to play out in the same, you have to do what is best for you and your partner whatever that maybe.

  7. Hannah
    October 24, 2017 / 11:28 pm

    I hate convention which is why i am very unconventional. I do remember myspace, whatever happened to it

  8. October 25, 2017 / 12:07 pm

    I think when you are in a relationship with someone you should just let it flow naturally and not pressurise yourself into doing what everyone thinks you should be doing x

  9. October 25, 2017 / 12:39 pm

    I loved reading this post, and If I am honest I think your relationship is amazing. I think that having the space to be your own person yet having that loving connection with someone is fantastic. I genuinely wish I was in this situation!!

  10. October 25, 2017 / 1:49 pm

    Your articles are always on point and raise some really spot on points. You are so right, society pressures people to conform to what is apparently the “norm”. Love the fact that you are doing your own thing 🙂 x

  11. October 25, 2017 / 2:12 pm

    I am unconventional like you as well.I believe that I never want to get married and I am glad that you are sticking to your guns. I see so many couples that lose their individuality so it is great that you and your partner live separate lives. If it works for you then why not?! I like that you have been together such a long time but do not feel the need to live together. And why should you? You both the freedom to make your own choices and it should not be dictated by the bullshit that society wants us to conform to! Go you!

  12. October 25, 2017 / 2:42 pm

    I say as long as you’re happy in your relationship throw the “conventional” rule book out the window. Everyone is different but happiness is the one thing we all want so as long as that’s there I’m with you on just enjoying your relationship how you want. And I need that Thai restaurant in my life, enjoy!

  13. October 25, 2017 / 6:32 pm

    Great post, a total eye-opener. Couples should just take it easy, do their own thing without being influenced by society and should also know that everyone is different in their own way.

  14. October 25, 2017 / 9:54 pm

    Whatever works for you! It sounds like you are really happy in your relationship which is the important thing!

  15. October 25, 2017 / 10:18 pm

    Happy 10th anniversary to you. I was pregnant with our 3rd on ours – still waiting to & celebrate and she’s 6! Whatever works for the individual couple – unconventional suits some, conventional more than suits us!

  16. October 26, 2017 / 3:14 am

    I love this post and I totally agree, way better to make your own road. Congratulations on 10 years.

  17. October 26, 2017 / 5:36 pm

    ‘A relationship is never one size fits all’ – absolutely, different people have different desires and I think that should be celebrated, as should when two people who compliment each other so well find each other 🙂

  18. October 30, 2017 / 10:40 am

    Totally agree, everyones relationship is different and we all know whats right for us in a relationship

  19. October 30, 2017 / 6:41 pm

    I don’t think we will ever get married tbh! I have no desire to throw £10-15k down the drain!

  20. Sam Baily
    May 25, 2018 / 9:56 pm

    Only just read this entry, at this moment of time I can relate.

    • Jess - Actual Philocalist
      May 25, 2018 / 11:18 pm

      Flipping heck it’s just frustrating isn’t it? It gets tiring swerving comments from family and what not, but at the end of the day as long as you’re happy with your relationship it really shouldn’t matter.