August 8, 2023 marked ten beautiful years with R.
How Ronnie and I started dating is a story we don't generally like talking about. We were young, we were reckless, and oddly enough - already very much in love. We had been best friends since probably 2007, and as we grew up, the closer we got, the energy and almost intense attraction we had for one another was far too real to brush off. It being our 10 year anniversary, you would think we knew absolutely everything about each other, but I am amazed at how much we still talk and peculiarly - get to know each other.
I personally think 10 years is a huge deal. When I think about it, I get a little anxious that I spent a whole decade with the same person and almost worried that our relationship is at a standstill. Are we going anywhere with our relationship? Are we learning anything new? Are we growing as individuals? All questions I frequently asked myself as I reflected on our relationship. But, I realized how much we had grown within the past 10 years and it brought comfort knowing how different we are from when we first started dating. So much has changed, all the good and the bad, and yet - I wouldn't have it any other way.
I didn't want this post to be one sided so I asked Ronnie to help me pull out 10 years worth of advice to share - Hopefully noteworthy enough for those that are also in it for the long run.
1. Year 2-3 will likely be the hardest
After you've gone through the honeymoon year of being together, you start to sink back into reality and talk about your future. Goals you have for yourself that tend to get pushed aside because now you have someone that you want to see all the time, spend all of your time with, and it's almost like you lose a bit of yourself. With that being said, the second - and likely - third year of being together is where it will really test you as an individual.
Word of advice: Continue to list your goals for yourself and one for your relationship.
2. Buying or adopting a dog together is your make it or break it
Let's all be real here. Many couples start to get baby fever but don't necessarily want to commit to that so the best possible alternative is getting a dog (duh!).
Little do we know, dogs stay like toddlers forever. They require the same tender, love, and care. Ron and I started to date a year after I had purchased Wiz with my ex. Whether R was going to be able to take on that role as a loving dog parent was my make it or break it. Although R is allergic to dogs, he loved Putz and Wiz so much that later on in our relationship, he pursuaded me to look at a new litter where we met Enzo.
Word of advice for you dog lovers: Get yourself a partner that will do everything and anything for your pups even if it means taking allergy meds every single day lol.
3. Encourage and support each other even if you don't always agree
Ron and I had our fair share of differences. It took a lot of time and effort to really understand each other and support one another although we didn't always agree. Back in 2017, almost a year living in Calgary, we were confronted by a couple about an opportunity to be financially free. I was so set on it and learned so much within the span of 8 months and to this day I still consider them great mentors. Yes, it was a pyramid scheme. And yes, Ronnie knew that. But he still supported me and came with me to meetings to learn more about it. Ronnie from the start loved the idea of being financially free but by doing something we dreamed and loved to do - not by getting someone else rich first before ourselves, and yet he always supported me and allowed me to ponder on it because he knew I was intrigued and genuinely happy when I would meet new people.
I don't regret getting myself into something like that because it still showed us how to network, it helped us create new friendships, and it definitely taught me how to become a leader. A lot of what I learned during that time is implemented in my career and I consider myself more of a leader then a manager to this day.
When Ronnie decided to go back to school to pursue Fashion - I was skeptical. I didn't learn how to pursue my dreams. I was always taught that "worthy" education was to be a doctor, a nurse, an engineer, or a teacher etc., So it took me a while to get on board and basically unlearn such a toxic mindset. I knew it was something he really wanted to do and when he communicated that to me, it was easier for me to support him all throughout.
Word of advice: Communication is important especially when you don't necessarily agree with your partner. More than likely, you'll understand their reasons behind what they do and that they just need your support while they work through it.
4. Learn what you both love to do (hobbies/interests) and use those to plan your dates
Ron and I love to eat out and we spend most of our money on food. He loves to try new things on the menu even if we've gone to the same restaurant more than once so it feels new every single time. I am in my safe space going to libraries, book stores, or craft stores. So something as simple as that as a date night is all that I need.
Word of advice: Date nights get expensive. After you've been together for more than a year, it's not as easy to make time for date night. So, taking one day every 1-2 weeks to just go out and do something you both love is more than enough.
5. Don't be afraid to explore and try new things to keep your relationship interesting.
How do people keep their spark? (Seriously)
Keeping things interesting doesn't mean having to spend an extremendous amount of money to explore or try new things. Trust me, after being together for 10 years, it's almost as though you've tried everything. But as I said before, the simple things mean the most - At least to me.
Word of advice: Make the effort even if you guys are comfortable just sitting at home because it will help create the spark again between the two of you. The honeymoon phase eventually fades but if you both equally try to do new things, it reminds you why you fell in love with that person in the first place. Order in your food and have a date night at home, go on a hike, check out a new farmers market, check out an event or a play - just make that effort to do it!
6. Give each other space and go out with friends on your own
I recently noticed how much of an impact it is to go out and do things on my own. Going out with my coworkers or friends without Ron has helped our relationship a lot more than I thought it would. R and I can spend all day, everyday, with each other but it's nice to go out for a few hours to spend time with other people. What I find is that I have so much to tell him when I get home. I feel more refreshed and more in tune with myself as an individual.
Word of advice: Just cause you're in a relationship doesn't mean your friends get to be put on hold. Always make time for them.
7. Get to know each others love language --- (let him hug you a little tighter)
I'm not going to lie... I had to search up what type of love languages there were after I had been asked what my love language was when I was talking to a group of girls at a party. I had no idea there was such a thing and when I finally researched it, I realized how important it was that I learned what was each of our love languages. I found that it helped me see the bigger picture of why I may act the way that I do when certain things don't get done or if I'm not getting the attention that I want from him. My love language is acts of service - doing things without being asked; throwing out the garbages, feeding the dogs, mowing the lawn - All very minimal things that I never thought I needed to ask to get done but when I do ask, I feel a bit irritated. When I communicated that with Ronnie and noticed the difference in when he actually made the effort to do these things without the need to ask, my mood changed and I felt tremendously loved.
Word of advice: Learn their love language and just make the effort to understand and communicate that with each other.
8. Have separate bank accounts
At some point in our relationship, we figured it would be easier to view both of our bank accounts and basically my money was his and vice versa. I couldn't have been any more wrong.
I thought that it would help if we saw each others bank statements just to get a handle on our finances but it honestly made things worse because we would get angry at each other for buying unnecessary things and it felt like we had to ask for permission to buy things with our own money. It also made it very difficult for us to buy each other gifts because we'd see it on our statements.
Word of advice: Just get a joint account to put money into to pay for your bills and the rest of yours to spend on whatever you want!
9. You're not the only one going through the hardship. Be kind to each other.
When one of our bestfriends had passed away, I felt like I was the only one going through the grief. I felt so much sadness, despair, resentment, and honestly - It was extremely difficulty for me to get up and just be okay with living life as usual. I resented Ronnie so much for a couple of months because it looked as though he had bounced back so quickly and that our friends death was just - done. But little did I know, he was grieving a different way than I was. When I tried to address how I was feeling with biterness and hurtful words. I already knew that he was only trying to be stronger to compensate my grief and that what I said truly did hurt him.
Word of advice: We all go through difficult times. How we deal with it will always be different from one another. A relationship is never 50/50. Sometimes you have to be 80% while the other is 20% because that's what love is. We compromise, we compensate for each other, and we take care of each other.
10. Love, Flirt, Be Affectionate - Always say I Love You.
One thing that I do love about our relationship is that to this day, our close friends and family still find us gross (cringy) because of the affection we show each other. Even at 10 years, we're still very much in love. We love the crazy and hectic life we made for ourselves, we're still learning new things every day from each other, we fight, we argue, we make up. We spend countless hours on the couch watching TV but we go on dates and we explore. We make mistakes and we're still learning from it. And the most important thing is we never leave the house or go to sleep without saying I love you.
Word of advice: Keep your love alive, people! Just cause you've been with each other for 2,5, heck even 12+ years, doesn't mean you can't flirt with each other. Show your love with acts of compassion and learn to grow together. Live the crazy life, find comfort in each others company, and always - ALWAYS - communicate.
And that's all folks! I really do hope that those of you reading do get some sort of helpful advice from us. I still can't believe I have been with R for a decade but I also can say with complete honesty, as I was reflecting on this post, that it was definitely all worth it and I can't wait to spend another decade with him with even more love, grief, adventure, and even more memories with him.
Happy TEN beautiful years, Ronnie.
Love you always,