Friends before lovers

I recently celebrated my 3-year anniversary with my boyfriend. Even though our relationship is still very young (according to my mother) the relationship has truly evolved. So let’s start from the beginning…. I always joke about how our relationship started because it reminds me of that Usher song ‘You make me wanna’ – I met him at a mutual friend’s birthday party, I actually met him through a girl that he was dating at the time. From that night, we became friends and we would talk constantly – I give him advice about his ‘girl’ and he would give me guy advice about being single and playing the game. A couple of months from the party he became single and we ended up spending more time with each other – from study sessions to bible study to nights out, our friendship STRENGTHENED as we would open up to each other.

We were friends for a good 4/5 months before we officially became a couple. There is an idealistic image of relationships that start from friendship in the media, from the romantic comedies to the advice written in Vogue magazine – your ideal soulmate is one of your friends. I can’t lie I was gassed by that ideology and reality slapped me in the face. The first year of our relationship was a roller-coaster. When we were good we were good – romantic nights out, cooking for each other, all of that stuff. But, we also had some real lows as well – we had such high expectations of each other because we had been friends first. He would get annoyed expecting me to truly understand and vice verca – arguing because of poor communications and interpreting things incorrectly. Sigh. Honestly… I would regularly question whether to stay in this relationship, it was tough – should I stay with someone that doesn’t know me? How many chances should I give? It was not until I had that dark moment in university (see surviving university) that it was clear that he was ready to stand with me through that.

The rebirth of myself meant the rebirth of my relationship with my boyfriend. So one day we were on a date and I told him how much I want this to work but how much work we need to put in ourselves and each other. So we agreed:
1. Bring God in our relationship – so Mondays became ‘Prayer day’ (praying for family, friends, our personal goals)
2. No expectations – having expectations was indirectly setting us up to fail
3. Let’s be friends – we forgot the fact that were friends when we first got together so we went back to being that (we spend more time chilling as friends than anything else)
4. The past is important – mistakes, characteristics and personalities are formed from experiences from the past so the more we talk about our past, the more we understand why we would act/think/behave the way we do
5. Do not go to bed without resolution – before our arguments will last for days now a couple of hours
6. Always laugh – we can truly insult each other for us it’s fun

Two years later and we are a lot more grounded as a couple. Don’t get me wrong there is still so much that I am learning about my boyfriend but it’s a more enjoyable experience. We have accomplished a lot as individuals and together, but most importantly we support each other through it all. I don’t see my boyfriend as just ‘my boyfriend’, but also as a great friend that I will always have for life. Through the transitions of life (by God’s grace) he will become my fiancée, then my husband, then my baby daddy – however at the core of all these transitions, he will remain MY FRIEND, and that is what I hold most dear.

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