Unconventional Mindset That’s Kept Me and My Partner Together for 10 Years
What helped us stay together might help you too
I’ve been with my partner, Aloha, since 2013 and can’t stand this woman any more.
Aloha and I have been in a healthy relationship for over a decade now. On our 10th anniversary, we asked each other, “How did we get here? What helped us stay together for so long?”
I’ll share bits of the reflections we had that evening. We hope this will help you fix, start, (end?), or strengthen your own romantic relationship.
This Isn’t a Romantic Movie
Aloha and I have never sworn lifelong love to each other — never, not even at the beginning of our relationship when the emotional attachment was most intense. In fact, several times I’ve caught myself and her saying, “If one day you and I split up, then I’ll…”
We’ve always been conscious of the possibility that in the future we may break up. It happened to millions of couples before us and it would be arrogant to think we’re immune to that.
“I’ll love you forever” is a promise we simply may not be able to keep, not least because nothing is fixed or forever in a relationship.
“Enjoy it until it lasts” is a more realistic belief that reminds us we’re not in a romantic movie where happy endings are always guaranteed. Rather, we live in the unpredictable, beautiful chaos of real life where things get messy and may break irreparably.
“One of the greatest problems facing modern relationships — and particularly romantic partnerships — is the tendency to expect way too much from your significant other. “ — Kerri Sackville, The Secret Life of You
Wanting your significant other to love you forever is definitely expecting way too much.
Love, but stay real.
You’ll Never Be Me
When you’re in a relationship, you have to like and do everything that your partner likes and does regardless of whether or not you share the same interests and preferences.
For example, if your partner loves TV series but you don’t enjoy them, you must force yourself to like those shows and watch them every time your partner asks you to.
If the Auschwitz concentration camp is a place you’d love to visit but your partner has no interest in it, you should either abandon the idea of flying to Poland or force your inseparable companion to come with you.
The two individuals — with all their differences in preferences, tastes, hobbies, ambitions, views and goals — must merge into a single mind.
Aloha and I have always viewed this as a terribly bad approach to a romantic relationship. We reject the idea that “we are one”. We’re not. We consider ourselves as two separate individuals who get together to share bits and pieces, not everything.
I didn’t force Aloha to come with me to visit Auschwitz as, personally, I’ve always considered expecting my partner to engage in activities she dislikes as nothing but an act of selfishness. So I went to Poland on my own.
Aloha (thank God) never expects me to watch TV series in the evening or go with her to events I’m not interested in. How sadist would that be?
Once you find that equilibrium, you’ll then feel free, but together.
“I have no fear of losing you, for you aren’t an object of my property, or anyone else’s. I love you as you are, without attachment, without fears, without conditions, without egoism, trying not to absorb you. I love you freely because I love your freedom, as well as mine.” — Antony de Mello
In the summer of 2021, I had plenty of time off, but Aloha had to work, so I went on a solo trip to the Balkans for three weeks without her. For the same reason, in 2022, I embarked on another solo adventure, this time to Morocco, for five weeks. Aloha, once again, stayed home.
Was she upset with me about leaving her for a while? Not at all. In fact, she was happy that I was going to explore new countries while she could have some time for herself.
Aloha loves being on her own. She’s a person who has no problem going to concerts or summer holidays with no one but herself. And I’m so glad she doesn’t expect me to meet all her emotional needs. She’s self-reliant and independent, and this is one of the reasons I love her. Aloha is an emotionally strong woman.
She thinks the same about me (I swear I’ve just checked!). She wouldn’t want to be with a man who texts her every hour, gets jealous when she’s having a drink after work with her male colleagues or constantly seeks her attention.
And I love spending time alone too. I need that, I crave it. I miss the lockdown!
Aloha and I wouldn’t be together if we couldn’t stay separate.
“Until you get comfortable with being alone, you’ll never know if you’re choosing someone out of love or loneliness.“ — Mandy Hale
There’s no one right way to have a successful romantic relationship. And maybe there’s nothing unconventional about our mindset. Maybe it’s just common sense.
But Aloha and I hope this article will be useful to you. We hope this will somehow help you have the most authentic and fulfilling romantic relationship of your life — one we’ve been living for ten years.