If you or your partner have ever felt like you’re dating different people a few years into a long-term relationship, you’re right. We all change as time wears on, and it sometimes creates a bit of tension when one of you starts wondering what happened to the younger, seemingly more fun person they first fell in love with. Don’t worry—here are some thoughts we’ve all had, and why they’re not as big a deal as they seem.
Issue: You’ve grown less spontaneous.
Reality: You started caring more about what makes the other person happy.
When you first started dating, you both let yourselves get a little crazy. A day trip to Nowheresville, Oklahoma? Check! An off-the-cuff trip to that new pizza joint? Check! However, a lot of these adventures often originate from the performative need to show off as you’re getting acquainted. And by joining in, we get to experience things we usually wouldn’t, making spur of the moment plans enticing. Later on, however, events are more carefully planned and often tailored to the interests of both parties, making a spontaneous night out seem that much more rare.
Issue: You don’t see each other as often.
Reality: You but place less emphasis on time you spend together.
Back then, it was called dating. Now, it’s called making dinner together, grabbing groceries and simply living your lives. The real difference here is not that you’re seeing each other less, it’s that you spend more downtime together. When you were just dating, dates were special, once-in-a-while moments that guaranteed a certain amount of pomp and circumstance (as well as some mutually-assured extracurriculars). The key now is to realize that the moments you do nothing together are just as meaningful.
Issue: You want to hang out with your friends more than with them.
Reality: Time spent individually with others is more noticeable.
Unless you’re regularly ditching her for poker with your buddies, chances are time you spend with your friends sans partner sets off unnecessary red flags. When you were dating, you only saw each other when you were alone. After that, your circles of friends became mutual, and you’d still see each other when you’re hanging out. Now, hanging out without one another feels foreign by comparison. As long as you aren’t putting distance in the relationship for a reason, you’re good to go.
Issue: You speak your mind less often.
Reality: You are having actual conversations and care what they have to say.
It used to be that you wouldn’t think twice about telling her all about Wiggins’ prospects. Now, you reign in your monologues. What gives? Sure, you should try to share in each others’ passions, but as you grow together, you have to learn to respect the fact that some topics really are plain boring to others. On the plus side, you are probably having great, in-depth back and forths on mutually-relevant points. If the lack of basketball conversation is a deal-breaker for you, remember that you don’t have a right to try to change your partner if it’s truly not their cup of tea.
Issue: You’ve stopped trying to impress each other.
Reality: The things that once impressed are what help you stay in love.
You’ll never forget the day she busted out Metallica on her bass guitar. However, after the initial surprise, you may not realize that you still talk about her mad instrumental skills, Instagram-worthy meals and great style every chance you get. The thing about impressions is that they’re only made once. On the other hand, the talents that you once had to go out of your way to showcase are now simply one of the things that make you their one and only, every single day. Keep it up.