How Conversations Change When You’ve Been Together For A Long Time
I remember when my boyfriend and I first started dating around five years ago, every conversation felt electric. I almost felt like I was outside of my body, watching us, like in some extremely endearing indie coming of age film, where everyone is so well-spoken and self-reflective. Something about him opened me up and something about me opened him up. We were so giddy around each other. Today, that giddiness has turned into a wonderful comfort. I am by no means bored in my relationship—in fact, our bond strengthens and becomes more impactful on me every day. But when you’ve been together for a long time, eventually, not every conversation is witty or profoundly meaningful. The day-to-day aspects of simply being alive take over. Here is how conversation topics change from year one to year five of a relationship.
You can be more open about his family
In year one, you wouldn’t speak one word about his family that was anything other than positive, enthusiastic, and celebratory. Now you two know the backstories of each other’s family and have spent enough time with them to be more open in conversations. Your family isn’t perfect. His isn’t perfect. But now his family is yours and visa versa and you love them flaws and all.
The “How do we get out of this?” schemes
In year one, when you’re invited to a party or friend’s opening night of a play, you go. You want to be that fun, hip, active couple. Now the first thing you say when you get an invite is, “How do we get out of this one?”
You can talk about the future
You had to be so ginger when you spoke about the future in the beginning. You couldn’t let on that you’d be willing to make accommodations for this person to be a part of your future. At five years in, talk of the future includes the words “We” and “Us.” You workshop a future that makes both of you happy, and you understand you can’t be happy without each other. You admit that to each other.
You can plan for the future
Because of the last point, you can actually plan for the future! So, for example, when apartment hunting, you can talk about whether or not you need a neighborhood with a good school district or a place with spare bedrooms so your elderly parent can move in one day.
You act like family
You can bicker over who ate whose last yogurt or how annoying one person’s sound machine is at night. You no longer put on this illusion of some perfect, endlessly patient and compassionate person. And yet, you still love each other. But you can bicker like family.
You care (intrusively) for his health
You ask him repeatedly when he goes to the bathroom if he remembered to collect that, um, sample for his doctor. And you’ll whip out his dairy pills, at dinner, in front of his friends, so he can take them before eating pizza.
You laugh at your low sex drives
Sex just isn’t that high on the priority list any more. You’re past the point of taking it personally or thinking it’s some “sign” that things are on the decline. You’re still very in love, but you don’t mind admitting that you’re not the sex fiends you once were.
You admit other people are hot
Your feelings aren’t as fragile as they used to be. You often and openly mention how hot this other person is. It doesn’t mean anything.
It’s okay to say, “You’re overreacting”
Remember how, in the beginning, if your partner was upset about something, you dropped everything and listened intently? Now, sometimes, you know there are things your partner overreacts to. And when he’s doing it, you don’t drop what you’re doing to give into his drama: you tell him he’s overreacting.
You don’t pretend to like every friend
When your partner tells you that one friend is coming over, you don’t eagerly say, “Great! Love him!” There are some friends whose name makes you roll your eyes or say, “Ugh. Fine.”
You tease each other’s style
You never had a mean word to say about your partner’s aesthetic when you started dating. Now, you know that you do, very deeply, find one another attractive. So you can also say things like, “That haircut makes you look like a baby wrestler” and so on.
You don’t sugar coat chore talk
You no longer have the time or patience to add the, “Um, sweetie, I was wondering, if you weren’t busy, if it isn’t a bother, just whenever you have time…” Nope. It’s straight to “Your dishes have been in the sink for two days. Handle it please.”
You go deep about insecurities and fears
You can have the types of conversations you’d have with a therapist, with one another. You really are best friends. You can show each other your ugly sides and be vulnerable. You know what strong forces you both are, so you don’t mind showing your weaknesses, too.
You can have a little ego
You also don’t have to pretend to be modest and humble all the time anymore. Your partner knows you’re modest and humble enough, so sometimes you can let the little narcissist in you out when you’re proud of yourself.
You’re very open about sex
You’ve straight up had to tell each other to use a stronger soap on your genitals or else you are not going down on one another. You’ve critiqued the flavor of the edible lube he bought. You’ve said out loud, “I’m out of sexy underwear so, just don’t look down.”