Monday, 15 February 2016

Growing together as a couple from Teenagers to Adults



As Valentines Day was yesterday and relationships are very fresh in peoples minds, I thought I would write a post all about growing and adapting as a couple when you are in a long term relationship, starting from when you were just teenagers, to becoming adults. I wouldn't exactly say I am a general relationship expert because I'm not, but I am an expert at knowing the ins and outs of my own relationship and therefore feel that I know enough about this topic to be able to write a blog post with tips you too may find useful when you're trying to adjust and change when your relationship moves from teenage to adult. 

Myself and Simon have been in a relationship now for almost 8 years, which is pretty scary really considering I am only 23 and he's only 22. We got together when we were 15 at school and have therefore been through lots of testing changes in the last few years, changes which even single people would struggle to adjust to. Sometimes, yes it has not been plain sailing, and there has been drama but all in all we've made it to where we are now and are happier than ever. This is what brings me to feeling as though I can write this post for you, all of these tips I am about to explain to you have helped me and Simon in our relationship and we have now completely adjusted from being a couple of teenagers in a relationship to being a full blown adult couple. 

Its scary actually, adjusting your relationship to Adult life. Moving in with someone for the first time always seems like a fairy tale and the minute it happens you think everything will perfect, but in reality you are faced with a whole new bunch of things to discuss together and have to prioritise things so you can get by day to day. For example, before you live with someone.. you can spend your extra cash on going to the cinema, having regular date days, travelling to and from cities to see each other, little gifts and treats for the other person.. etc etc. You may think that moving in together may mean you have more money at the end of the month but it necessarily doesn't mean that - yes you will save the money you have been spending on that train fare, but you will have to spend money on things such as a TV license, the food shop, council tax etc. This comes as a huge shock to anybody who has never lived away from their parents, but when you are moving in with a partner for the first time its kind of scary to adjust to it all, and realising that your money needs to be prioritised in other places. 

Myself and Simon were together for roughly 5-6 years before actually moving in together, and in that time we adjusted from school to college and college to university. Obviously this is all hard and when you are young and naive these are some testing times for being in a relationship, but moving in together is like a completely different story altogether. When you are young and feel as though you have been with someone forever, and still have not reached the point on moving in together.. you are definitely just overwhelmed by the feeling of excitement when you realise its actually all happening. It isn't until you actually get them house keys, move in all your stuff and are left to your own devices before you realise that you are about to be faced with a whole new range of adult decisions and priorities. I am therefore writing this post to inform you of the kind of things you need to be prepared for if you are about to move in with your other half, so it doesn't come as a shock and it can all stay as exciting and positive as you want it to be!! 

The first tip to learning to adjust as a couple is knowing what to expect and plan for when you eventually do move in together. So these would be things such as:

- Arrange what you are going to do about money. Who is going to do the food shopping? Do you half all expenses? Who's bank account is the rent going to come out of each month? 
- Organise your council tax, tv license etc. Get this all sorted for when you move in so that its done and dusted and you don't get a shock when the bill appears in your letter box. 
- Delegate responsibilities to each other. Who is going to be in charge of the bills each month? The other person needs to know when to transfer money between accounts. 
- Do you have everything you need for your house before moving in together? If your home is furnished be sure to have some of the basics like pots, pans, cutlery, kettle, tv, duvet, pillows etc.

Some of the above may seem silly, but if you have never had to think of them before then sometimes its handy to know what you need to prepare ready for when you move in with someone. Especially if you have never had to think of it all before. 

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If you are not yet at that stage of moving in together, and instead are going through another of the most testing situations your relationship may face.. its adjusting to each other moving to separate cities for University. As I said before, at this time of your life you are still very naive and unaware of what to expect of moving to a new city and starting a new life, therefore this can be extremely difficult and hard to adjust to. However, if you go into it with the correct mindset, then this may help you out a little bit. So, Simon and myself obviously went in different directions for University.. I went North to Newcastle and he went South to Sheffield therefore I do feel like I kind of know what I'm talking about with this topic. Before we went to University we used to look through prospectus' of the Universities we would like to go to and discussed choosing the same one .. but when it actually came around to it, that never happened. When you are choosing what you want to study you cannot just make it about being near the other person at the same Uni or even in the same city, you have to be kind of selfish and know what is best for yourself and your chosen career. I obviously wanted to do Nursing which involved applying and then doing interviews and then following that they had to accept me which obviously narrowed down the chances of me being anywhere near Simon anyway, because the ball was in their court. He chose to go and do Aerospace Engineering which is a course that only a few select Universities offer, therefore yet again our choices to be together were narrowed down even further. Knowing we were facing being separated for the next 3-5 years was obviously testing but it definitely makes you grow up as you know you will need to make personal adjustments as well as adapting to changes in your relationship. Before we went to university we spent every single day together, but being in separate cities meant that at times we would not see each other for 5-6 weeks. If you can master this and make it work then you know you really do want to be together - its hard and nobody can deny that! Therefore this means that if you want to remain in your relationship & work at it together, then you need to be understanding of each others choices and therefore supportive of your other halves decisions. This could also include decisions such as :

- Travelling 
- Changes in career
- Changes in job

If you want to grow together then you have to prove that this is something you can do. Just remember, if it is something such as going your separate ways for University (but staying together as a couple) then you could make this a positive thing. You could do this by making plans to meet half way (at least it means you get to explore other places together), exploring each others new homes and having fun in both cities, actually getting excited to see each other and making plans for spending quality time together. Focus on the positives and just remember, it is not forever and the end goal is that you will be together eventually, difference is that you will both be in your chosen careers as well as reunited. 

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The next tip for growing together as a couple would be to have an understanding of what the other person wants from their life, do they have any plans or aspirations, what kind of future do they want? It is important to know what the other person wants in life.. and this is where compromising may come in. Compromising is key to being in an adult relationship, you both will not always agree on things and therefore you need to find the middle ground and work on that. For example me and Simon have been faced with some really big decisions recently which we both knew would affect the rest of both of our lives. As I have mentioned, Simon is due to qualify as an Aerospace engineer this July as he is nearing the end of his 5 year Masters Degree in Sheffield - and because of the nature of his career it means that the possibilities of companies he could have worked for are extremely few and far between. I mean, we were talking possibly having to move to Glasgow, Aberdeen, Bristol, London or Derby and considering the fact that in the last 2 years I have already lived in 3 different cities I wanted to keep the moving home and jobs to a minimum. Therefore, we had to make decisions about the kind of places he would apply - Luckily now Simon got the job in Derby which means I won't have to move or leave my job and he has a job he is really excited about - so we compromised and have both discovered how happy we are that we have done so! 

Being in an Adult relationship means you do have to realise that you will have to make some decisions for your partner, even if deep down it may not be exactly what you want. These could be things such as : 

- Moving to a different part of the country for their job
- Renting a house instead of buying
- Going somewhere they want to go on holiday instead of somewhere you would choose. 
- Buying orange juice instead of blackcurrant (they can be compromising on things as small as this, ha). 

As a teenager in a relationship the decisions don't really involve compromising and lets be honest, if they do they are nowhere near as serious as some of the ones you need to make as an adult couple. They may be something like which film to go and see at the cinema, which restaurant to go to on date night, which days you would see each other that week. The decisions you need to make as an adult really are completely different, so this is just a little insight into what you may have to think about in the future. 

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Finally, the next tip to transferring from that Teenage relationship to adult is that you have to start actually planning and considering your future. When you are young, or even if a relationship is quite fresh and new then you don't really think about the long term goals of being together. Its all very light hearted and you would maybe plan as far ahead as your Summer holiday abroad. Well obviously as an adult you start talking about things such as moving in together, buying a house, getting engaged, your wedding, having babies etc. If these conversations start appearing then obviously thats a sign you really see yourselves with that person in the future so therefore sometimes it doesn't hurt to test the water and understand what that other person wants from these kind of things. Such as 

- Do they want to ever get married? 
- what kind of house do they want to buy?
-Where do they want to live?
- Do they want children?
- Do they want animals?
- Do they want to buy a car?

Obviously don't start these conversations too soon, you don't want to scare them off, ha! 

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I hope that this post has been of some help to some of you! If you are in a long term relationship and are about to start University and are wondering what kind of changes you may need to make then I hope you will be able to take something away from this post. Also if you are about to leave University and are planning on moving in with your other half afterwards, then I hope I have given you some insight into some of the things you may need to start thinking about when making a big change not only in life but in your relationship, AND hopefully this will make the whole thing as smooth as it should be!! 

I really enjoy doing these kind of advice posts about relationships and things, and like I said I am in no way an expert at other peoples relationships but I do feel as though I can offer advice about issues and things that I have learnt from my own. If you have any suggestions of future posts you would like to see related to this topic then feel free to let me know in the comments below and I will get some uploaded for you!!

Much Love,

Lauren
x

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3 comments

  1. I loved this post Lauren. Your relationship is very similar to mine as I have been with Chris for nearly 9 years and we got together at the age of 14. We are about to make the move into our first home together and I couldn't be more excited but our lifestyles are definitely going to change! No more eating out every weekend and going away for weekends at a drop of a hat. It's all about making those life journeys together and if you love each other it will all work out in the end <3

    Talisa xx

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  2. Aww I loved reading this. My boyfriend and I are still at Uni but I love talking about all our plans for the future. I definitely feel like we're starting to make the transition into an adult relationship now!
    Emma
    www.unf4bul0us.com xx

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  3. This is a really nice post :) you two look sweet together. X

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