I’ve been with my partner for 12 years. We met when we were both 19 years old, in person, mildly intoxicated, at a bar. He was a complete stranger to me—he wasn’t a friend of a friend, I hadn’t seen him at school or extra-curricular events and I hadn’t been exposed to his social media persona. At the time there was no Tinder, no Instagram, and Facebook was barely a thing. We met the old-fashioned, awkward sort of way where one friend pushes the other onto the dance floor.
We went from being strangers to going on one date to declaring our status as boyfriend and girlfriend. It was fast but it felt good, however that doesn’t mean we didn't have problems. We fought a lot in the first year, because going from strangers to a committed relationship at such a capricious age was like going from point A to Q—there were many letters that needed to be pronounced in the middle. We learned about each other, especially about what bothers the other person, we communicated our deal-breakers, and learned how to love each other as well as like each other.
Twelve years later and our relationship is stronger than ever … and it’s no help to these common pieces of advice that float from peoples’ lips whether they’re said in earnest or as a casual comment. These pieces of “advice” have never helped our relationship, and they never will, and yet I see them grace the covers of magazines and pop up in random conversations. They don’t make sense to me, and I offer them up with a word of warning to those looking for help starting a relationship or “relationship goals” by which to abide.