I distinctly remember a conversation my boyfriend and I had early in our relationship.
We were at Demazzis, a gorgeous little burger joint in Essendon and the boy I just started dating said, “I wish I met you when I was 25”.
I remember wanting to fling a knife at him from across the table.
What the fuck did he mean by that?
We’d only been dating for a couple of months and as far as I was concerned, we were kicking relationship goals. We’d met each other’s families, gone on a billion cute dates and had a damn healthy sex life. What else could he possibly want?
It took me a long time to comprehend what he was saying but two years later I finally get it.
Being in a relationship at eighteen is terrifying.
I’m 20 and he is 22 and we have an investment property together, we have a joint bank account and we have two stable jobs. We talk about kids and houses and businesses we are going to build and conquer the world with.
Sure there are worse places to be in life but I can’t shake the nagging feeling that I’ve settled down too early and missed out on a whole lot of living; on a decade of passing out in alleyways, waking up next to people I don’t know and experimenting with narcotics.
Talking to friends who got hitched early made me realise I am not alone. We all have these thoughts and doubt is a natural part of being in a relationship so young.
Here are some tips to combat the feeling of missing out from someone who has been there.
Try to get a hobby:
Before I met Shaun I played tennis for three different teams on three separate nights. I hadn’t played in years but last season I picked up a tennis racquet and joined a mixed team. Bashing a ball around on a Tuesday night is the weekly stress release I need to keep my inner bitch tame. It also gives Shaun a night off to hang out with his mates.
Ditch Netflix and try something new:
It doesn’t have to be anything outrageous. It can be getting a few drinks at a bar that opened up around the corner or taking the dogs to a park they’ve never been to before. My boyfriend and I buy each other experiences from red balloon as gifts for birthdays and Christmas. We’ve gone skydiving and white water rafting, we’ve even abseiled down a building. It is a great way to challenge ourselves and keep things fresh.
Book a weekend away:
Shaun and I are a little on the broke side so instead of getting on an aeroplane we jump in the car. We head out to Wilson’s Prom, Daylesford or Torquay with nothing but a tent and a change of clothes. It’s the spontaneous adventure and Instagram content I need to stay sane.
Put some lippy on and go out with your girlfriends:
Nothing beats a bright red lip, killer heels and push up bra on a Saturday night with the girls. Every one needs to let their hair out once in a while and getting my ass grabbed, feet stood on and drink spilt is the perfect reminder of why I love being in a relationship so much.
The number one rule for being happy in a long-term relationship is staying social. Grab a few couples and head out to your favourite band’s concert. Book a house for the weekend and get smashed by the beach.
When it comes to dating, don’t tie your identity too close to his and don’t let being in a relationship stop you from pursuing your dreams.
You’re both still finding out who you are and what you want to do with your lives.
You’re going to need some space to work it all out.