It isn't always the case, but for many couples who go on to become married partners, there was a moment when it became clear and obvious that the other was their soulmate.
Like a lightning bolt out of a clear sky, the realization strikes and the truth feels inarguable: that person is who you want to spend your life with.
And while the epiphany is common, the specific circumstances around it are as various as the many couples who experience it.
Some Redditors shared their versions of that story.
For some people, the moment came when they observed their partner demonstrate an act of service.
There was something about the way they couldn't help but act, that their whole essence seemed to become obvious--and something their partner never wanted to let go of.
A Gentle Soul
"We were out swimming at the lake, and there was a ladybug in the water. He carefully picked it up and let it sit on his shoulder until it was dry enough to fly away."
"I've never met anyone who was so gentle with animals - his dog, my parents' diabetic cat who needed shots, friends' cats and dogs."
"We had fish at a restaurant for dinner. Didn't sit well with me and by the time we were back at his apartment my stomach and bowels were raging."
"I was so embarrassed that I was spending half the evening in his bathroom so he told me about the time he accidentally sh** himself at a 7-11. Keeper."
"My then-boyfriend and I had taken my wheelchair bound brother to dinner and a movie. When we got home I went to use the bathroom before going through the routine of getting my brother changed, meds, and into bed."
"I came out of the bathroom to him getting my brother out of the chair and onto the bed to change, all the while hilarious 'messing up' to make my brother laugh hysterically. I came right in to help but boyfriend shooed me away to do it all himself."
"It took triple the time but they were both in stitches, turning a usually admittedly mundane routine into a ton of fun. We'll have been married eleven years on the 22nd of this month."
Just a Look
"I had appendicitis. I had just come round from surgery and my mum, dad and now husband were there. We had been friends for years and had just started seeing each other. Both still very worried in case it went wrong."
"Well I was still groggy from the anaesthetic, but it was a womens only ward so they couldn't stay. But I didn't want him to leave. I was so afraid. No idea why, maybe the drugs idk. The look on his face as they led him out broke my heart."
"That's when I knew that man would always be there for me. I mouthed 'I love you' for the first time as he walked away. Been together 7 years now and married for 4. I love that man."
Other people experienced the epiphany when an interpersonal interaction took on a whole new weight, and they realized this was the person they wanted to always be with.
Time Passing Invisibly
"When our first phone call lasted over 8 hours. We both had so much to share with one another."
"I flew out to see him within a month. I quit my job of 11 years and moved to his city the following month. We have been together almost 9 years now, and he's still my favorite person to talk to."
When Even the Bad is Good
"We were at a low moment. Lots of bickering and stupid fights. I was still making her lunch every morning before she went to grad school, but it was a rough time in our relationship."
"And then I realized I never wanted to be fighting with anyone else. I wanted to work through our problems and spend my life with her. So we did, we've got two kids, and life is really good."
"All relationships have crisis moments. Find someone worth getting through those moments."
Another Side of Her
"My wife is a 'strong independent woman who don't need no man' Which I personally love how she wants to do and think for herself. But this also means she has lots of walls and won't let anyone in and always has to be a badass at all times."
"But in private I can make her blush and smile at will. It's a side of her nobody knows about but me, and I love it."
The Only Place
"My then-girlfriend and I were sitting on the couch one evening just talking. I don't even remember what we were talking about, probably something stupid, but I was struck by the sudden realization that there was no place I'd rather be."
"Just being with her, talking about serious topics or nothing at all, is perfect, and there's no place I'd rather be than with her."
Others, however, pushed back on the prompt.
They explained that, for them, there was no single moment. Rather, there was a slow build until they knew they were with the perfect person.
"I realized I had found my person when I started noticing changes in myself. I was more confident, happy, relaxed, and so on." -- Mamacourtney
"My boyfriend has chronic health problems and thus has a lot of bad mood moments in relation. But other than that? He's constantly happy, smiling, confident, and it makes me happy knowing that I've given him an environment that keeps his constant emotion happiness, with his health sprinkling in the rain cloud moods." -- Tomoyo_in_Transwise
A Partner, In Every Sense of the Word
"I hear this question a lot, and I never have an answer. Because I think one day you just come to the realization that living any part of your life without them would be awful."
"I got married not because I was madly in love but because I wanted her to experience all of life's highs and lows with me. I wanted to watch her succeed and grow as a person. I don't believe in soul mates, but I do believe in making a relationship work because it brings you joy."
For all you single people hankering for this feeling, trust that one day it will come your way. And for all those who have such a moment in their own biography, maybe today's a good day to reminisce about it with your partner.
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I love a good love story. I love an epic love story even more. And epic love stories are more common than we think. Often epicness happens in the details, the small moments and over a short period of time. I firmly believe that when you know... you know. Deep down you can feel it when it's happening. But we've all become so jaded by life and the crashing of so many dysfunctional relationships, we already knew were a disaster, we tend to be apprehensive about falling in love ourselves, especially when deemed "too quickly." But who can define "too quickly?"
Redditor u/1_1_0_0 wanted to hear all about the times that love lead and everyone just knew by asking... Married people of reddit , How long after you started dating, did you realize you were going to marry this person ?
I've been in love a handful of times. And each time I fell, I fell fast and hard. And after each fallout I swore... SWORE... that next time, I'd take it slow and have a checklist to go through before an "I Love You." Cut to me falling faster each time that follows. Oh well. My heart is a mess. But, love has worked out for plenty of other people.
The IrritatedCome On Reaction GIFGiphy
I first met my wife when we were dating other people roughly, 11 years ago. She found me annoying. I knew it was meant to be when she confessed this a few years later.
Met my wife the first day of orientation week in college. Both of us were in long-term (multi-year) relationships already.
Less than 3 hours later, I went back to my dorm room and told my roommate, "That's the girl I'm going to marry."
Took over a year to start dating, but we've been together ever since (nearly a quarter century later).
She's the other half of me I didn't realize was missing until we met.
DAMN I love that woman...
I'm going to call her now to tell her!
I know this sounds early, but like, a week. I feel exactly the same now as I did about her then. I knew it then and obviously I was right.
Husband and I stopped dating on date 3. It was too much effort and we were far too comfortable with each other.
A Quick 6...married single ladies GIFGiphy
We dated for about 6 months before I started thinking about proposing, but we were together for almost a year before I finally popped the question. We were juniors in college and got married before we graduated. We've been married for 40 years.
My (now) wife and started talking about marriage pretty early on. I don't have a specific timeframe, but I'd say within the first few months. At that point it wasn't super serious and nothing planned out. Just like, "oh, when we get married I want to have XYZ at the wedding", or "when we have kids let's do XYZ". That kinda thing.
We knew it was going to be a while before that happened, though. She was in her final year of college when we started dating, and I was only just starting my career. We both had things we wanted to do before marriage.
Mostly she wanted to live in a place on her own, without roommates or anyone else supporting her, for a year just to prove to herself she was actually able to fully support herself. I wanted us to live together, just the two of us, for a year just to know that we were really able to cohabitate well.
So I didn't propose until about 4 years after we started dating, but we pretty much knew at the start.
See that? Love is like a venomous snake that strikes silently and without warning. Once the poison is in you, it's over. So all you can do is succumb. Oh, that's a gloomy analogy. Whatever, y'all know what I mean. And so do a long list of lovers with a movie worthy tale to tell. Read on...
Happy New Year!!
20 years ago we met in December for lunch after being set up by friends. Talked on the phone for a couple of weeks, went out for New Years. We moved in together a couple of weeks later, middle of January. Married on February 24th, 10 weeks after meeting. Somewhere in the first couple of weeks we just kind of decided to get married.
Best casual decision I've ever made.
After dating for like three months he asked me what kind of engagement ring I wanted and proceeded to show me his favorites. It was so sweet and I realized there's no way in hell I could marry another man.
with the seasons...just married love GIFGiphy
We met in June, were in engaged by October, and married by the following July. That was 17 years ago.
I learned that he can defuse my dad's political rants without my dad catching on to what he's doing. It's very sly. Forget romance, that's a necessary survival skill and I needed him on my team.
Edit: diffuse vs. defuse...
Also it was one of many reasons, but my dad is legendary among my family as the man you don't want to introduce your SO to before they're nailed down. He's a wonderful person and dad but he is kind of a crap-head. My husband gets along with him effortlessly. When you marry someone, you also marry their family. It's important that you're able to maintain peace.
Smells like Love
A week or two after we started dating she met my parents and farted in front of them.
I Know You
I had known this person by acquaintance since 2014. Asked me out in March 2017 - said no for 4 months. In September 2017 dated. In December 2017 he proposed, and in January 2018 I said yes.
TLDR - 4 months after 1st date, but knew him for a few years before dating.
Listen to your heart, that's not just a great song from the 80s/90s rock band Roxette. (Love them) It's also a mantra we should all embrace more. Just try to embrace it with your brain attached. Pay attention to red flags but don't ignore Cupid's arrow when you feel the sting. Life is too short. But take your time before you share you're bank account information.
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Why even bother being in a relationship? Seriously, if you're cheating something is wrong. So why not confront it and fix it or move on? Why do people choose to be cruel? And if cheating just "happens," then why not own up to it? If you run astray of your relationship, you're obviously not happy. Why be a sociopath by continuing to harm the people you profess to love? This isn't bitterness asking just curiosity.
Redditor u/santino_musi1 wanted to hear some confessions about straying by asking... People who cheated on their bf/gf/partner, what was going through your mind while doing it?
I've seen so many relationships go up in flames because of philandering. And the saddest part is, it all could've been avoided. Everyone else can see when it's not working, why are we so blind when we're the willing participants? I will admit, I have cheated more than once and I finally had to realize that I was never being fulfilled personally. And that was on me to fix. Some of the people on this chain feel that pain.
immediate regret. Issues with commitment, self esteem issues, etc. (They're probably cheating too, what if we break up and never find anyone, what if this persons actually "the one")
Obviously, load of horsecrap looking back at it, and I hurt a few people. Terrible terrible decision.
I get so Emotional...
I'd say I emotionally cheated on my ex. Mostly what was going through my mind was "Crap, I think I'm falling in love with someone else. Crap. What do I do? Crap."
You're not required to stay in love, just to treat your partner with respect while you're in a relationship (and, ideally, after as well).
The problem is when you're in love with one person, and infatuated with another. That is rough, because obviously you still love the first person... But infatuation is the new-car-smell part of a relationship, and even when you know it's short-lived, it's still very seductive.
The Home Wrecker
I was in one of the best relationships with a childhood friend, if you know, those are the best ones. We were both in our mid twenties and my brother was murdered, in front of me. It was insanely traumatic and it messed me up.
I fell into a deep pit where I would do anything to feel.. anything. My ex reached out to me and wanted to have sex, she is a straight up home wrecker and gets off on it.
I fell for it and didn't even question the decision. It didn't even feel like a decision, I was so messed up I was like a jellyfish in the waves just getting taken anywhere. But now I know it was a decision, and the worst one I've ever made.
WTF?!!?!!Despicable Me Reaction GIFGiphy
I didn't cheat but my ex gf did. She preferred my brother rather than me because he was good-looking. They're married now. I know it cuz my brother invited me to his wedding to be his best man. Forget that!!
"This person desires me."
I thought "This person desires me."
I think it's honestly that simple for most people who cheat. Sure many people cheat just because they want to have sex, but I think the core reason for most people cheating is they simply don't feel desired by their significant other.
Like the start of any relationship people become interested in each other and the key feeling people experience is that wonderful feeling of being desired by another person. It makes you feel good looking, smart, strong. Knowing that this person wants to be with me is one of the best feelings in the world.
After a while that wears off in many cases. Eventually you take the other person for granted and they take you for granted. When that happens and your SO stops making you feel desired, you might start looking for that elsewhere. So even though you are in love with your SO and have a great relationship, they probably don't act like they want to be with you like they did in the beginning. Life becomes the same old same old.
Then someone else notices you and starts paying attention to you, giving you that sense of being desired again. You start seeing what you have been missing in the eyes of someone else.
I know that's what it was like for me many many years ago. I stopped feeling desired and when someone else showed that desire towards me, I foolishly followed it.
I have been happily married and 100% faithful for a long time to an amazing woman. I never fail to make sure she knows how much I desire her. Not because I don't want her to cheat, I trust her. I do it because I don't want her to ever feel like she isn't desired, that I take her for granted. And she makes me feel the same, every day.
Oof, that is a whole bunch of mess to process and fix. First... clearly some humans are just trash and beyond repair. I pray that a lot of you realize that in the end, they did you a favor and you dodged a bullet. Heck, a hailstorm of bullets. Next time, just go in with your eyes wide open. Maybe some other people fared better...
I cheated because I was insecure and liked the validation that I got. It was a terrible ego-based decision that ended up hurting my partner terribly and making me feel even worse about myself. I have since quit drinking and worked on building self-esteem that is not dependent on my sexual attractiveness to the opposite sex.
When in HS
I was just out of high school and learning about relationships and sex. I went on a vacation and had an opportunity to have sex for the third time in my life with no way of my gf finding out, so I did it. I felt bad the whole time. When I came back, I broke up with her the next time I saw her. Cheating is certainly something I'll only do once. Still wish I'd never done it.
HindsightOh I Get It Britney Spears GIFGiphy
Guilt, disgust and self loathing. Looking back I know I was in a toxic relationship and should have left him but cheating on him felt like a chunk of my soul was ripped out. Not worth it and will never do again.
Leave the Poison...
A friend of mine cheated because he was being physically and mentally abused by his girlfriend. He found someone who was patient, kind, and gentle with him that he just fell deep and cheated. Said he never knew someone could be this way with him. He did his ex a service and admitted everything and broke up with her, even though she already knew some way or another. Lots of fights, but he never touched her. He came out with a bloody lip and a black eye. He is now with the new girl and they've been together for 5 years, happy and planning on marrying.
She is Trash...girl bye no GIFGiphy
A friend of mine cheated on her long distance boyfriend for months, with a super attractive guy at our university. When the bf finally came to visit, everyone had to pretend they didn't know about the cheating, but we ALL did.
The bf found out eventually, of course. He texted me "is she cheating on me with this dude?" And I said "no comment" which was enough.
The crazy thing is that she TRULY believed she did nothing wrong. She told everyone that it didn't count because her boyfriend was her first love and that would never change, blah blah. Horrible to not have a shred of remorse.
Combine low self esteem with an alcohol problem, and an honest belief that everyone would cheat given opportunity. I thought cheating was just a way to prove "you can't hurt me." I'm ashamed of the people I've hurt in my life. I still haven't figured it all out yet, but I'm working with my therapist to become a better person.
At 18 (f) I started working in an industry dominated by men and the number of guys that tried to pick me up was astronomical.
Didn't seem to matter if they were married or not, or old enough to be my father. It really screwed with my trust in people, especially men. I honestly believed that everyone would cheat and some people were just sneakier. So if my partner was going to cheat I might as well too. I realized way too late that if everyone I hung around with was willing to cheat it meant I was hanging around the wrong people.
Stay CalmPray Good Vibes GIF by Ryn DeanGiphy
My ex and i had troubles regarding my usage of a certain substance to calm your mind. at one point i was in a club with my then best friend (who also had a gf) and we both started dancing with these chicks.
the one i was dancing with took my hand and took me to the toilet to do whatever. i refused to even kiss her in that stall and left. i didn't tell her but it was on my mind all the time. i cheated on my ex 1 week later with 3 different girls when i was drunk and thought it'd be over anyways. when i woke up the next morning i remembered and it felt like a movie to me. had to break the news to her. never again.
Nothing. Maybe a sociopath answer but legitimately nothing. It wasn't this over arching fear like oooh I better stop or else, it was legitimately not thinking of anyone or anything else just, "I want to enjoy the moment" I mean as far as sex. Emotionally becoming invested in someone is a slow burn with a quick pop.
You don't realize how far you've strayed until it's too late. You're having fun, you're just enjoying conversations and talking and then the next thing you know you realize it's not with your significant other but with this other person.
The self realization is the killer.
Tit for Tat
I cheated on him because he cheated on me first. We had not broken up yet, but as far as i was concerned it was over. I wanted to cheat just to show him that he was vulnerable to being cheated on, regardless of how big his ego was. He thought he could do what he want while no one would ever dare do the same to him.
My soon to be ex cheated on me with the next door neighbor and subsequently ran off with him. She threw me away like a piece of trash (16 yrs together and 2 kids). I'm not angry (sarcasm). Anyway, I asked her "I understand the emotional feelings snuck up on you, but the first time you had physical contact, why didn't you stop and say, hey, this is not right?"
Her answer: "because it was fun."
And that, boys and girls, is why she's my soon-to-be-ex.
On a side note, I was thinking today that I feel sorry for her. Once a cheater always a cheater. They can never have a 100% trusting relationship because they both know that if things get tough the other person is perfectly capable of cheating on them. There will always be that tiny doubt in the back of their minds. Not a good foundation to build a relationship.
Excusesno excuses GIF by Meghan TrainorGiphy
Alcohol and horniness also i was and probably still am a bad person
Oh and opportunity.
My best friend cheated on his fiancee and when I asked him this same question, he told me that he was unhappy. He still didn't leave her and I know there's a lot of guilt there but, 2 years later, they are still together, not married, and have a kid.
I thought we had a "don't ask, don't tell" policy because we hadn't had sex with each other in years.
Turns out I was the only one who thought that.
The words seem absurd as I type them now. Who would have that deal without discussing it?
(Now I am in an open relationship, which is much more my style).
It was the least bad thing I could do.
My wife was completely dependent on me, but she was also a completely neglectful spouse. I tried all of the right ways to address the situation: books, therapist, good communication. I tried for years and years. She just had zero interest in my sexual needs but was utterly incapable of sustaining herself in any way if I left her and had no interest in changing that.
So I reached out for some physical comfort, knowing full well how wrong and bad it was. I never tried to justify it and say it was a good thing. I know I'm a crap human being and I don't know if I can live with myself if she found out because of the pain it would cause.
i know this isn't even the question but my ex literally cheated on me with my best friend and ironically he got cheated on with his best friend before so that was something.
Love can be a poison. So we need to be drinking more water. Moral of the story: If you're going to cheat... be decent and tell your partner it's not working. And that it's YOU, not them.
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When we are on the outside looking in, it can feel so obvious that a relationship is doomed.
When we offer advice to friends, family, or people oversharing at a party, the correct next move often seems wildly obvious: get out of that relationship.
But it's much different when you are the one in the relationship. Time already invested, love once shared, and logistical factors all contribute to a kind of cloud that sways our judgment of the situation.
And yet, if and when the relationship does end, we look back and feel the same clarity that all of our friends once advised from. We can see that we stayed far longer than we should have.
Ideally, witnessing the dynamics helps us practice more clarity in the future. But to be honest, we always hope no more of our relationships will wither again.
Some Redditors offered their own experiences.
mrwednesday33 asked, "People who have stayed with someone they no longer love, what's your story?"
A handful of Redditors had nothing to regret. A dangerous or concerning situation forced their hand. The safety of themselves and others was the driving force behind the decision to stay.
Although it was upsetting to stick around, it would be difficult to imagine handling the situation any other way.
Enough Was Enough
"He was mentally ill, possibly with Paranoid Personality Disorder, definitely delusional, maybe schizophrenic. I was accused of all types of things, affairs, being part of plots to 'get' him, even urinating on his toothbrush."
"I stayed for 3 years after I knew I no longer loved him because I knew he would spiral without someone to look after him. He had destroyed every relationship with his friends and family because they were all also out to 'get' him."
"I finally told him I would only stay if he got help, which he refused. So I left."
"I was right about him spiralling. He went from sharehouse to sharehouse as all the other tenants were 'out to get him'. He eventually ended up homeless for a while is now facing 18 different charges so will probably end up in jail."
An Unfortunately Common Response to Fading Love
"She threatened to kill herself and even though I wanted out of the relationship, i didnt want her to be hurt or die. I remember us arguing about something very trivial but she was getting very upset. She walked out mid conversation and came back with cuts all over her legs and thighs."
"I tried getting help from parents, school counselors, doctors. None helped. So i just tried to manage as much as I can. Eventually she joined the military & moved away and that was the moment I was finally free."
"Years wasted though."
A Bare Bones Story
"Short version: domestic violence."
"Long version: I was afraid to leave because I believed he would find me and kill me."
"Conclusion: He pushed me too far and I ran."
Tipping Over the Edge
"He was a violent drug addict and I was scared of what he may do if I left. I never truly loved him but our relationship became very codependent very quickly."
"He cheated on me, took advantage of the fact that I had a car and money, but I still stayed because he was always threatening to kill himself or to kill my cats."
"Then one night he literally backed me into a corner and tried to punch me in the head so that finally made me open my eyes and realize I had to get out."
For others, the pull to stay in the relationship felt just as intense, but not nearly as physical.
In these cases, a social dynamic or deep emotional complication was at the heart of the choice to remain in a relationship that was doomed to fail.
"She's terminally ill, and dying of Cancer, even though she is abusive now, and was before, I can't really leave, the social pressure to be a *good man* plus the cost of divorce and everything else is just too much, at this point it's just easier to wait it out."
"Plus I really like her family, and if I left her when she was sick...it would pretty much kill that relationship."
"I proposed to my ex in august 2020. A month later everything started to become pretty awful. A lot of mental abuse and fights, that would make everything chaotic, if we stayed together."
"She and her family think they're something special, while everyone knew they're nothing. She tried to convince me to stay together, but I told her, that it was either now or in 1-5-10 years, where kids etc. Are involved. Big no go."
"Here almost three months later I feel way better and don't have as many headaches as earlier."
"This isn't mine but my friends mom stayed with her husband because he has MS and no one else to care for him."
"He got diagnosed right before she was going to leave him but after finding out she stayed."
Avoiding Something Worse
"Bad situation at home. Stayed with a BF I wasn't in love with for 2.5 years just so I had a safe place to live. Stopped having sex many times, the last time it was 6 months."
"He let me stay with him because he didn't want to sent me back to my home life. I finally left him last month and just dealing with my home life anyway."
Always a Reason to Stay
"We were living together at 16, she cheated on me and I told her I wanted her to leave, she begged me not to send her back to her moms house because they have like 8 people in a 2 bedroom house and because she would've had nowhere else to go."
"I was 16 I didn't know how to handle a girl literally begging me so I let her stay against my better judgement and it created a hurtful cycle of falling in and out of love."
"Feeling like things could get better and then having my world come crashing down every time I look at her because I think of reading the message of the guy saying he loved watching her get on top of him."
"A couple of years go by and we're not in love, just tolerating each other at this point and then we got pregnant, stayed together through the pregnancy but the stress was too much for both of us and caused fighting, sleeping apart, more cheating."
"When the baby was born she had finally turned 18 and we moved away our relationship got much better with each other, we're best friends now and are just trying our best to raise our daughter to be healthy and happy and know she's loved."
"Neither of us had good childhoods."
For the In-Laws
"I lived with a man I never loved. His mum was also living with us and I loved her more than my own biological mum."
"She was the nicest, kindest and the most caring soul I have ever met in my life. I left that man when he told me that he knew I was only with him because of his mum. That was 20 years ago but I still miss her every single day."
And some people stayed because it was the simplest thing to do. They swallowed a lack of passionate love in exchange for the daily comforts of a well-kept home with a familiar person.
That is, until playing house became unsustainable.
A Sudden Shift
"I was with my wife for 14 years. For at least half of that, I wasn't happy with the relationship. But I had decided I was ok with it because everything about our life together was acceptable, for lack of a better word."
"We owned a house, made good money, got along well, shared hobbies, etc. We were basically roommates/best friends who just didn't love each other the way you would normally expect from a married couple."
"When the pandemic hit, and we were forced to stay home more and spend time with each other EVERY DAY, we started to get a better sense of how well we actually tolerated each other. It didn't go well."
"She ended up getting really into online gaming and met some other guys and basically cheated on me. In retrospect, it was obvious it would reach that point."
"But I was content to stay there as long as I could because it was a comfortable life with very little stress and obligation."
"I was no longer as 'in love' with her. But I still loved her. After years together it could become tricky to figure out exactly what It's just a lull and what is it really going away."
"I was still living with my best friend. But ended it because once we really realized that I wasn't feeling the same way anymore. I was just hurting her for me to stay since she was still in love."
"Dated an ex for ~3.5 years, the last couple of months I stayed with her because I was comfortable and the sex was great. I think a big reason why people stay with ex's is because of comfort as starting new relationships isn't exactly easy. I found her to be very dishonest, unreliable, and extremely selfish."
"I caught her texting another guy and I caught her lying to me while hanging out with another guy. I would have left her right then and there but we had a non refundable cruise booked so I stuck around."
"Knowing that I was leaving her was a big weight off of my shoulders and I met someone else that I started talking to."
Just Humming Along
"Kid, career, looking up one day and realizing that there are parts to your life you recognize, but most of it doesn't. Then you begin to realize what you've accepted in place of facing the truth."
"One compromise becomes always compromising, and you realize your the doormat. Double standards you 'overlooked' to keep the peace are now the foundation of your relationship. All the small foibles you forgave because 'it's not worth getting into it over' now crowd you out."
"It's the stark realization that all the times you bit your tongue has led to a situation where you're just not happy, and you know the next step is just going to suck."
"Or as I call it, Monday."
Wise, But a Little Sad
"We have good chemistry and built a life together. After a lot of years, love comes and goes. It is like the seasons."
"As cold as it can be in the winter, if you put the effort in, the spring will always come back."
"Fear. I realised three months into my first real relationship that not only was this a bad idea, I was probably asexual."
"But I was already too afraid to leave, and stayed for four years, until I managed to leave him by moving a long way away where he couldn't find me."
Here's hoping that the relationships of all reading this are full of passionate intensity and presence of mind. But we know that's not true.
Somewhere, love is dying in a relationship. In which case, hopefully, both partners carry the strength to move on as soon as the time is right.
As a married woman, I learn more and more every day what it means to be in a romantic relationship. It is a constant learning experience, and even now, four years into being together, we still are learning more and more about each other.
This isn't just our relationship. In fact, this is a universal trend in all relationships. Most mistakes that we worry are specific to our relationship are actually common to every marriage or partnership. We've all been through it, man!
Here are a few examples, courtesy of Reddit.
Some things may seem ridiculously obvious to a single person, but once you’re in the thick of it, it becomes a little harder to catch.
Disagreements happen. It’s better to face them head-on.
Trying too hard to avoid potential arguments to avoid conflict rather than hashing it out before the issue becomes too big to handle.
We both learned that love is love no matter what and any disagreements we can talk about and we may feel sad or hurt or upset but we never yell at each other, we simply talk it through and if it's something we both disagree on, we compromise. We have both had our small moody feelings but we always talk things through and so long as we stay true to each other I believe it will last forever.
I learned that when two people love each other so much, they will work together and be devoted to each other no matter what. And we have a strong relationship that I believe will last forever.
Never ignore your problems!GIF by In The Heights MovieGiphy
The most common mistakes that couples make are not actively listening to one another, taking their partner for granted, and pushing aside problems because they don't want to cause an argument.
You got to work together to solve issues that come up, you can't just ignore them. That's how people end up leaving or cheating.
Communication is key!
Not being able to communicate. You need to be able to voice when you are hurt without them taking it as an attack. You need to be able to hear your partner.
Should you waste your life with a partner who has no interest in self development and learning to communicate? Probably not. Should you discuss this with your SO who has poor communication skills and create a plan to work together and improve communication? Yes!
People go into relationships thinking love is a certain way. But almost always, it’s the exact opposite of what you expect. It’s not like the movies, babies.
Married life in a nutshell.
That love is a feeling. You can "fall" in love with someone but it's more of a choice to be deeply connected with this one person. Over time you constantly choose to love them through the good and the bad. If you base your entire relationship on how love is a feeling, you're most likely going to "fall out of love" with them.
DON’T do this.will ferrell elf GIFGiphy
Labeling your partner the source of all your happiness and joy.
100% this. I know the phrase "how can you be happy with someone else if you're not happy alone" has become hated because some people feel like it's saying "people with depression should never be in a relationship" but it's not really about that. As someone who has been put in the position of "someone's entire happiness and joy" it is extremely stressful. Because the flipside ends up being "I'm unhappy - how can my partner fix it??" even if it's not a conscious or intentional thing.
All of this.
Getting into a relationship too fast and not getting out of the relationship fast enough (especially prior to marriage).
When you're not in an official relationship with someone yet, it's pretty easy to walk away if you see problems. But once you're officially in a relationship with someone, you're more invested in them, and you're less likely to walk away when you see problems. So it's important to spend significant time getting to know someone before you start doing things that make you feel more reluctant to walk away (whether that be kissing them, calling them your boyfriend or girlfriend, or whatever), so that you will filter out more of the bad potential partners before they become actual partners and waste more of your time causing you more pain.
Once you're already in the relationship, it's important to communicate - to express your needs clearly and assess your partner's needs with empathy and care. And if you've expressed your needs clearly but your partner still does not meet them, then it's important to end the relationship. Hanging around hoping something will suddenly change somehow is wasting your time and also wasting your partner's time. It's a kindness to both of you if you just explain that since your needs still have not been met, you're leaving now.
There are at least three basic stages of a relationship. The first stage is when it's not officially a relationship yet. Use this stage to filter out as many bad partners as you can before you get too invested. Think of as many relationship pitfalls as you can, and ask questions to try to determine in advance whether each potential partner is likely to be able to overcome them with you or not.
The second stage is when you're boyfriends/girlfriends/etc. but not married yet. At this point you've progressed from asking questions and getting to know one another to actually trying to be one another's primary supports in meeting the daily challenges of everyday life together.
The biggest question to keep in mind at this point is, "Does this person make my life better, and do I make theirs better?" Does this person help you solve problems, relieve some of your burdens, introduce you to new and interesting ideas, listen and make you feel understood, relate and make you feel less alone - and do you do the same for them? Are you happier when they're around, or does being around them exhaust you - and do you think they're happier or more exhausted when you're around? If you were suddenly sick or injured in some new way and you needed help, could you rely on them to take care of you to about the same degree that you would take care of them? When you need something from them or they need something from you, can you each typically get what you need from each other, or does the conversation become strained or awkward because one of you is less able or less willing to meet the other's needs?
In this stage, the possibility should never be far from your mind that maybe this person might turn out to just not be the right person for you to be with at all - because if you find that you're not making each other's lives better, and some conversations about how to try to fix that don't seem to be actually fixing it, then the best thing for both of you is to end the relationship as soon as possible so you can both avoid wasting any more of your time with each other.
The third stage is when you're married. At this point you should already have become very confident that you're both basically reasonable people because you should already have demonstrated considerable ability to get along well and help one another surmount problems in the past. '
So, when life continues to present new challenges, you should have some confidence that even if those challenges do lead to some arguments, those arguments are not reason to doubt whether your spouse is a basically reasonable person or not. You should already be convinced that they are a basically reasonable person. You should already have a substantial history with them that proves you are compatible in a wide variety of ways. So even if the two of you change over time in ways that alter your compatibility somewhat, there should still be enough common ground left that it generally behooves you to work through the problems.
During this stage, even if interacting with your spouse does currently make you feel more exhausted and less happy, your spouse still deserves credit for having made you happier and less exhausted in previous years. As long as your spouse isn't physically, verbally, or financially abusing you they should be allowed plenty of leeway to borrow against that credit. People with a history of being really good for you have a right to go through hard times and be depressed and need your support. They supported you, so you should support them too.
And if you're both going through separate hard times at the same time, so you need their support but you're not getting it? Try to be as forgiving as you can, because hopefully you wouldn't have married them if they weren't a basically good person who has proven that they can and do support you quite a lot most of the time. Maybe they just need space to fail for a little while, and then they can get back on track. But also, do express your own needs - gently but clearly - so they know what's going on with you and can make the best effort they can at the moment. Don't expect them to read your mind.
Assuming your partner should know what you want if they love you. I struggled early in our marriage because the women in my wife's family are big on this. We worked on it and it took a bit, but we got to the point where we would only hold each other accountable to expressed words and thoughts. It has made all the difference in the world and 27 years of marriage have been mostly happy. Also, comparisons. Never say "Well my last SO did this" or " My family always did it another way". Good way to alienate a partner.
For the love of God, never be petty in your relationship. The two (or more) of you are stronger than that, so just don’t do it!
It will NEVER be even.Shade Reaction GIF by BounceGiphy
"I did the dishes three times two weeks ago, you only did them once last week."
"You got a new video game this month, why didn't I get something?"
It's never going to be completely even, things ebb and flow. Both side should feel like they're getting a fair shake overall but if you keep track of every little thing (even if it's just in your head, I don't necessarily mean like an actual list) it's just going to guarantee that somebody is always "losing". It's not a competition.
Love’s not a game.
Treating dating as a game you're supposed to win instead of playing just for fun of it.
Or even worse, treating any communication as something you're supposed to win, instead of using it to find a solution to a problem.
Such good advice.
I've always heard "Don't go to bed angry". Don't take that advice. Most times, you're both tired and it's late. Sleep on it and continue the conversation the next day.
Don't keep score.
Accept/admit when you've screwed up and move on.
As a married woman, all of the advice presented in this thread are gold. My own advice would be to never suppress feelings for the sake of your partner. Being 100% honest with your partner will encourage them to be open with you as well, and you'll be able to resolve arguments way easier.
That's relationships for you. This isn't a Disney movie--this is real life. And snags are going to happen from time to time. But the way you and your partner(s) handle it is entirely indicative of how your relationship operates