The Five-Year Relationship Blues; What They’re Really Like
People talk a lot about the seven-year itch, but nobody talks about the five-year blues—they’re very real. After year one, you feel like this is a legitimate, established relationship. You’re obviously committed, compatible to a high degree, and invested. By year two, you start getting that plus-one invitation to one another’s friends’ weddings and by year three, you may be moving in together. The bliss of playing house moves you into year four and then you even start enjoying making fun of yourselves for being an “old couple.” But by year five you realize…oh we really are an old couple. You certainly aren’t old, and compared to those who have been married for decades, you’re still a fresh couple. But, for a couple who is not married, dating for five years is a long time. And if you don’t plan on getting married any time soon, you don’t have the excitement of planning a wedding to carry you through the five years blues. Here’s how they are.
No more sex marathons
You don’t necessarily want to have sex three times a day like you did in the beginning. But on that rare occasion, you want to, it’s highly unlikely your partner also wants to. And then you realize that that phase is definitively over. Then you try to force it to come back to prove something but seriously—nobody wants it.
You multitask while listening
Remember when you used to drop everything to hear about your partner’s day? That would leave you finally folding laundry and putting away dishes at midnight but, who cares? Well, now you care. And so does your partner. So one day it hits you that neither of you stops what you’re doing now to listen to the other; you’re always multitasking. You’re listening, but you’re also drying silverware.
New adventures sound exhausting
Every so often you get this…restlessness. It’s this need to have a totally spontaneous and even dangerous night. You pitch a plan to your partner that involves antics and heists and sneaking flasks into places…then you both have to admit that that sounds exhausting.
You want proof of passion
Your partner gives mundane proofs of love like, boiling a little extra pasta for you or throwing some of your underwear in the laundry. But he used to show up at 2 am with a four-course dinner he made, just because, and a plan to eat dessert while the sun rose. Where did that go!?
So you may pick a fight or two
You find yourself, in a misguided attempt at getting the spark back, getting angry with your partner for little things. You really just want him to show his passion for you, so you’re trying to get him to show it through fighting.
You wear a lot of robes
Sometimes you pass a mirror and almost have a panic attack at how far you’ve let yourself fall…You’re wearing an enormous robe on top of a t-shirt with kittens on it and you have a chip clip in your hair. And your partner is home.
You can be too honest
When your partner invites you to this or that hobby of his that you don’t like you just blurt out, “Ugh. No. Boring.” Then you feel bad because you remember the days when you used to pretend to be into one another’s hobbies.
There’s a lot of domestic talk
Sometimes you can feel your brain going numb because you and your honey have talked for 40 minutes about who will be home to let the plumber in and where you should park the car on the street so the plumber can have the parking spot and who will move that car in time for street cleaning…Aaah!
Young, new couples are the “other”
You meet a couple who has been together for two years or less and it strikes you; they’re different from you. They are in a different category of relationship than you, but you thought you were in the same one. Nope—they’re a fresh couple.
Nobody wants to play hooky
There was a time when you’d call in sick to work or find a way to get Friday off so you could go on adventures together. Now you almost get annoyed if your partner asks you to do this—as if he’s disrespecting your schedule. He just wants to be with you!
Sleep is all about sleep
You used to tolerate a few sleep disturbances if it meant getting to snuggle. Now you want separate blankets. You want a mattress that doesn’t bounce when one person moves. You have your earplugs and your eye masks and you basically do whatever you can to not notice the other person is there.
Those funny texts go ignored
You and your boo used to go out of your way to keep some text banter going throughout the day. You’d text while you were at work. If you got in trouble, you didn’t care. Now you’ll let funny or cute texts go ignored for six or seven hours.
You fit your relationship into your life
You realize that your relationship has made a total 180. Your life used to be mostly about your relationship, and you had to try hard to fit the rest of your life in. Not your life is about everything else, and you have to work hard to still make time for your relationship.
Your routine angers you
You become mysteriously angry at the takeout menu or the Roku remote control. These things did nothing wrong to you. But they are symbols of this settled, calm phase your relationship is moving into.
So you try to break it, and remember you love it
During a need for rebellion, you try to order from a new restaurant and watch the type of movie you never watch and drink a wine you never drink. Then you realize you don’t like any of these things and you remember why you developed your routine in the first place—it’s awesome.