On August 15th, Thomas and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary! What an adventure it has been. We learned a lot from each other and grew older together and individually. Thomas and I are no relationship experts, but we did learn a thing or two along the journey.
Before we dive into our tips, I am feeling mushy and want to share some background on our relationship:
Thomas and I became friends when we were 15 years old. We were placed in the same English class. To paint a picture: Thomas was tall, had long shaggy blonde hair, wore flannels and skinny pants, and was shy. I had long brown hair, rocked my band tees and vans, and I was just starting to come out of my shell. Freshman year was rough for me, but sophomore year I started to grow into myself. Let’s just say I did most of the talking… and annoying. We had a fun year as friends. As high school happened, we kept in touch but did not see each other much after this year.
Fast forward to senior prom: I had no idea who I would go with. High school was a busy time for me between cheerleading for the school and a competitive team, doing the morning announcements, running fashion club, and trying to get good grades. (I was a nerd). I hoped someone would ask me, but to be honest, I was not sure who would.
While I was on a competitive cheerleading trip to Disney, I stopped at the gift shop for some sour gummy worms. The cashier handed me a princess gift bag. I replied back to the cashier that I did not order this and that it wasn’t mine… but she insisted that I take it. I opened the bag, and there were Mickey ears and my friend came out and handed me a phone.
Thomas was on the phone, and I said yes! I am going to be honest, I felt so happy and mushy after that. We had fun at prom and spent the following summer hanging out together and in a group with a few of our friends. Before I left for Monmouth University, Thomas and I decided to make it official. Thomas is my first boyfriend.
Here are a few photos from 2012 (prom & summer memories):
2013: We were still so young, and learning about what it is like to be in a relationship.
2014: Thomas came with me to my happy place (Disney). This was a big move for us.
2015: I ventured off to the Disney College Program. We were long distance for a whole 5 months. We did visit each other, but it was not easy.
So here we are 2019. We have grown so much together and separately, and we still have a lot of learning to do. Over the years, we have had our ups and downs and at the end of the day, we know we have each other to lean on.
Here are a few lessons I have learned from our relationship:
- We started as friends and this helped our relationship. Sure, we felt nervous when we started spending more time together and getting feelings for each other. At the end of the day, we were friends first and that took a lot of the pressure off.
- Communicate. I will be honest, this was and still is a tough one for me. I often think people should be mind readers and immediately know why I am upset when I am. Talk it out. If something is bothering you or your significant other, communicate it. Do not let it go on for long periods of time. Grudges, tension, upset feelings, are never healthy. At the end of the day, you are a team and you should both want your team to win.
- Spend time apart. This sounds ironic doesn’t it? Well, Thomas and I are both very independent individuals. I saw too many friends become engulfed in their relationships and leave their friendships and passions on the back burner. Thomas and I spend a lot of time together, but we also do things alone or with friends. Thomas and I go on trips without each other, and take different opportunities as they come. I left for the Disney College Program for 5 months to learn and live on my own. We are both still growing in our careers. It is very important for us to take adventures and find ourselves in addition to being a team together.
- BONUS: Take the pictures! Thomas was basically forced into taking photos with me as I love photography and content creation. Looking back, I am SO glad that we have these memories together. Every year, I make a photobook recapping our adventures and travels. We enjoy looking back through them and seeing how much we have grown.