Being In A Relationship Since The Age Of 16 And What I’ve Learnt

photo via Desenio*

If you had told 16 year old me I would be in a relationship with the same boy for 8 years I probably would have scoffed and thought yeah right. I think most people would think the same if they were a 16 year old girl. After all we were all watching the likes of gossip girl and 90210 and the girls have plenty of hot steamy relationships that end in heartbreak and messes that really it seems like the norm. After all are late teens and twenties are known as the fundamental years of our lives, they are the years we change and learn the most about ourselves. It’s the years we make big educational and career goals, meet our ‘adult friends’ and form new friendships and new social situations. There is big grown up changes and learning how to be you I guess, not living under the thumb of your parents and being handed everything but learning how to be you and just you. It can be a crazy time in our lives. It can also be the time where we learn about ourselves sexually, what we do and don’t find attractive, what we do and don’t want in relationships and that’s when the goodbyes to boyfriends from our early years tend to happen. But for Sam and I it’s been different, yes we have grown, but somehow the growth has worked together.

Being in a relationship really isn’t as easy as it’s made out to be its fricken’ complicated. Like Chloe Plumsted said it’s all scientific how relationships work and how we bond with our significant other and it’s pretty darn interesting to sit down and really think about. What is it that really has kept Sam and I together? What is it that makes us bond.

But let’s start from the beginning, the love story of me and Sam. It was in year 2 we met, when we were just 6-7 years old. We moved to Junior school and that was it, we were known as boyfriend and girlfriend throughout our Junior school years, none of this your my boyfriend and two days later someone else was my boyfriend. We stayed together going to each others birthday parties and leaving valentines and birthday presents in each others drawer at school. But then Secondary School came and as that happens boys decide they are too cool for girls and Sam decided he didn’t want to be together anymore. Now in this time I had the odd Secondary school relationship, nothing serious, I had my first kiss and all the while I knew in the back of my mind throughout years 7, 8, 9 I still liked Sam. During our year 9 stage Sam and I began talking a little more, our group of friends all merged together and we would spend evenings webcaming on MSN (yep, I am that old). During this time I had a thing going on with another boy and I would spend my evenings asking Sam for advice on what I should do (little did I know he had a thing for me and admitted later on that the only reason he gave me advice is because he wanted me to be happy but was upset I didn’t notice he liked me) This thing with the boy fizzled out and I became interested in Sam again. The webcam sessions became more, to the point we would fall asleep while on webcam because we used to stay up late talking and this went on throughout year 10, we liked each other but never made it ‘official’. Then in year 11 on New Years Eve, just after midnight Sam asked me out and that was the end of it. We have been together ever since.

Now Sam and I moved quite slowly, I remember one drunken night at a friends house party I sauntered up and planted a pretty heavy (maybe too heavy) kiss right on him and that was our first kiss in front of all our friends because I just couldn’t hold back any longer. But it wasn’t until 2 years into our relationship at the ripe old age of 18 that I finally lost my V. I have no shame in that what so ever, it wasn’t planned we never discussed having sex. We were just happy being us and then one night it just felt right and so it happened. I remember actually one time because Sam had actually stayed round over night many times (thanks parents for being so allowing of that) That I was having a conversation with my parents and my dad said, well we know Beth has definitely had sex and I actually hadn’t at the point and my parents just didn’t believe me as Sam and I had shared a bed often. It was nice just being with him, in my teens it was enough.

But as we grew, we changed and we definitely had a year in our relationship where I remember being at my absolute lowest point I remember spending months crying, having absolute melt downs, being so unsure whether I wanted to be with him anymore, my friends telling me that if I wasn’t happy maybe it’s for the best. But throughout this we fought through it we argued, we cried, it was an awful awful year. But I think things like this only show that we can work. It taught us what to do when one or both of us felt great pain and how we could work through it. It taught us that all the problem never really got solved we were able to work through it together and not just give up because that would have been the easy option. (just a quick note it was nothing to do with cheating, just two people growing up I guess)

But now look at us I would say we are probably the strongest we have ever been. Finally in my early twenties, I have found myself and know what I want and so I’ve learnt how to really communicate with him what I want in my relationship, and in turn he has managed to communicate the same, because guys communication is key! As well as having your own interest and time apart of course.

But what has my relationship taught me in 8 whole years together? It has taught me how to be there for someone else, but also how to still be you as a person. I will admit we were (near the beginning of our relationship) together all the time and in a sense forgot about our friends, we would choose to see each other rather than see our friends and even at house parties you would find us together (although early on we spoke about how house parties were time with friends because we knew we would end the night together) But even honestly half way through last year we began to be more us, we merged back with friends and started hanging out with friends a lot more and see each other in the evenings when we get home or hang out with friends together and I can see how much happier we both are with that – arguably we go through phases where we spend time just us too a bit more but I think that’s just what happens in relationships, of course you are going to see your B more because well you love them.

The security Sam gives me. I couldn’t be more thankfully to have a man in my life and not have to go through the awful tinder era of meeting creeps and having those awkward first dates. I mean even at University when the friends I made were dipping their toes in the water and experimenting with boys – although my university was actually 90% girls 10% boys and I promise that was the university as a whole not just my course (imagine the girl hormones, ahh! but that’s for another post) I never felt I was missing out I would just anticipate Sam coming up so I could get my fill and it was exciting, the anticipation was more than enough for me. But also now in this time, knowing that I have someone around who doesn’t judge me, who I can say or do whatever and knowing that he would be there for me is the most amazing feeling ever. I have my own personal cheerleader in the corner behind everything I do.

It’s also really taught me to listen to myself and my heart, knowing that I can try anything I want to knowing I have the security it allows me to feel ok with being more honest with everyone, I don’t have anyone I’m trying to be the ‘cool’ girl for because let’s be honest dumping my thoughts on the internet is probably nothing compared to what Sam has actually seen.

And more so recently, because let’s be honest we still learn things about ourselves in a relationship whether we have been together a year, 8 years, 20 years, 50 years. As we change so does our relationship needs and most recently. I am learning to be my own confident self, I’m doing more of what makes me happy, whether that’s taking risks to get further to future goals, asking for more in the relationship (with no filters) being more confident in me, whether that’s style wise or mind wise.. I know I cannot say that’s all down to Sam because it’s definitely not, confidence comes from you, but knowing that Sam is there, it gives me the confidence to try new things and do new things, knowing I have the support and someone to full back on.

I may have not had those years where you essentially ‘learn’ about yourself as a solo person, but I think it’s just as good and great ‘learning’ about yourself with someone right along beside you, I’ve learnt not only about me, but also how to care, grow and work along side someone else.

 

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2 responses to “Being In A Relationship Since The Age Of 16 And What I’ve Learnt”

  1. Lucy Cole says:

    Love this Beth! I’ve been with my boyf since I was 17, and it’ll be 5 years this year. I’ve definitely found I’ve learnt a lot about myself and grown while being with him, just as any single person would in these years. It’s nice being able to share that growth together!

    Lucy | http://www.lucy-cole.co.uk

  2. pagesfrombeth says:

    I couldn’t agree more you can still learn a lot about yourself even if you have been with someone from a young age

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