In response to my post a few days ago, there have been a couple of requests to describe my journey to a stable relationship. It’s a journey that I’ve spent countless hours thinking about, talking about, maybe even obsessing about. I could probably write 100 posts about it, so summing everything up into one post is a little daunting. Here’s my best shot at it…

Ru is my first love, my first real boyfriend even. He started out as someone to hang out with while in DC for my internship. As I sat in the airport flying back to Texas a few months later, I sobbed at the thought of never seeing him again. And it became clear that he was more than just a friend.

So, we did long distance for a few months – certainly enough to make me feel for all the couples who do long-distance long-term. Finally, almost a year into our relationship, I moved back to DC, and we tried our hand at a real relationship.

As I look back at the last 3 years together in DC, I know that this relationship kept me sane. It helped me grow up from a sorority girl to career woman. It helped me get through the times when I just wanted to give up and crawl back home. It is an understatement to say I wouldn’t be who and where I am today without this relationship.

But, to say it has been perfect is a flat-out lie. I shed my fair share of tears, and spent too much time saying, “I just can’t do this.” I spent day after day, fight after fight, trying to navigate the ways of relationships and somehow end up with the relationship I dreamed of.

Now that I have that relationship, I can look back at all of the different paths I took trying to get here. The different ways I tried to communicate my point, the different compromises I tried to make. Now, I know these failed attempts were all in vain.

The turning point didn’t come from framing an argument in a new way (although, the communicator in me would love to claim this as true!). Nor did I give up or settle.

As I look back now, there was a very clear turning point: one day, we both started to care.

You’re probably thinking that that sounds too simple. But, really, it made all the difference in the world. It took both of us realizing how important the relationship is and how much the other person meant to our lives. That was enough to make everything else fall into place. It helped us listen to each other, to adjust our behavior, to say I’m sorry, to actually mean that we are sorry, to do whatever it takes to make the relationship work.

One of us couldn’t care enough or love enough to make up for what the other lacked. It took both of us, working together, focused on creating a great relationship. And it’s truly amazing how quickly the relationship changed once we woke up and actively pursued the happiness we wanted.

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