Six Things I Wish I Knew Before Entering My Six-Year Relationship

Six Things I Wish I Knew Before Entering My Six-Year Relationship

The world of long-term relationships is not as unattainable as you may think it is



Being in a six-year relationship at 21 is often considered an anomaly. I often get asked, “How is that even possible?” or “What is it like?” as if the concept of a long long-term relationship is entirely foreign. And I get it. Especially in this day and age where dating around is all the rage and divorce rates are higher than ever, commitment is just as trendy as skinny jeans and cowboy boots (and if you don’t speak fashion, that means nada!).


I consider myself lucky to be one of “the chosen ones” to take on this esteemed role—I call it that because of how much the success of this relationship means to society. Don’t get me wrong; my relationship is purely my own, and nobody else’s expectations have a say. But I somehow feel a little pressured to prove all the notions of young love wrong. Not just for 15-year-old me, who had no idea if this happy-crush-turned-MU (mutual understanding) situationship would work out, but also for the sake of others who carry age-old misconceptions of high school romances and their supposed short-lived nature. 


But how exactly did a relationship so socially unreal stand the test of time? How did I beat the post-high school fallouts and supposed “change in priorities” post-college? How did 15-year-old me know how to navigate the scary world of long-term commitments and the shift from puppy love to full-on romance? Ahead are six things I learned throughout my six-year relationship that might be the answer to successful long-term love.


RELATED: Do Dating Rules Really Exist?


Commitment is a choice

I had always been afraid of commitment. From the smallest things, like picking a favorite color, to the bigger stuff, like career direction and personal passions, I just couldn’t settle. And coming into my relationship was no different. I always worried that I couldn’t commit to this choice. Was it only a matter of time until I wanted to get up and leave? Would I still feel the same way after the first month or even the first year? 


As time passed, I came to realize that it was this very fear that anchored me to my choice. The constant panic of potentially backsliding from this commitment gradually became a gentle reminder to remain intentional in choosing him repeatedly. In this shift from the feeling of fear to the experience of embracing commitment, I learned that maybe I was afraid simply because I finally found something I didn’t want to let go of. To me, that is what choosing commitment really means—not “in spite of,” but “just because.” 


A relationship is a mutual ligawan

At 15, my perspective on dating was kept within the confines of gender roles and stereotypical ligawan norms—think #PrincessTreatment and age-old ideas of guys putting in all the effort on their own. But that image immediately came apart when I got into my relationship, not because my partner didn’t do these things but because I naturally had the instinct to pamper him, too.


From gifting him his own flowers to arranging surprise dinner dates, I take pride in saying (in my rather conyo ways) that I also “made him ligaw” just as much as he did me. And I find that this quality of equally serving and surprising each other makes long-term relationships work. Especially if you’re looking at it from a marriage perspective, everything becomes an act of equal romance and servitude that makes living a life together just a bit more magical.


Six Things I Wish I Knew Before Entering My Six-Year Relationship
“His” flowers


Work to become the master of all love languages, not just your own

One of my favorite professors from college shared an insight that I’ll treasure forever: We should work to become masters of all the love languages and not the ones that come naturally to us. And in the context of long-term relationships, this works exceptionally well when communicating and deciphering affection. 


I used to worry whether or not my partner still loved me back in the early stages of our relationship after not receiving a good morning message. But I had to step back and remember that love is not always expressed in a singular form. If he didn’t express love through his dominant love language, maybe he was doing it in other ways that I’m just not used to seeing. Once you realize this, a world of love languages is revealed to you. And it’s when you start noticing the multitude of ways your partner expresses their affection that you begin to fall in love all over again.


Find love in all the little things

As a hopeless romantic, I came into the relationship with absurdly inflated expectations of what first love would look like. Images of big bouquets and extravagant dates embellished my vision of a perfect relationship. And sure, there were lots of this in the beginning. But only so many “big gestures” can be done, especially considering six years. So what happens after?


Sure, big gestures now and then still come my way, but I get the most kilig from the little things. Notifications from my partner reminding me to have lunch or simply to drink a lot of water is just the tip of the iceberg when I think about all the little ways I’ve experienced his genuine concern and love for me. And it’s really a scavenger hunt filled with surprises when you experience the joy of finding all the small ways they make you feel special—again, look beyond the love language you’re used to seeing. You’ll find a world of affection worth a lifetime of kilig


Six Things I Wish I Knew Before Entering My Six-Year Relationship


You don’t have to “fight” to be a healthy couple

I have always hated the statement that “If you don’t fight, you’re not a real couple.” It was toxic and simply irrational to me. Entering my relationship, I wanted to see how far it would stretch before our first “fight.” Lo and behold, it’s been six years of fight-free love, and all I can say is I was right! 


Disagreements can always be ironed out rationally and calmly. Irritations can always be managed through mature conversations. So, if you’re wondering if you have to “fight” to be a healthy couple, let me be the first to tell you that you do not have to. Don’t end up like 16-year-old me, anxious that something was up just because we hadn’t fought yet upon the first year mark. So congratulations if you haven’t fought yet, and if you have, congratulations on patching things up and moving forward! We’re all healthy couples in our own quirky ways. 


Those non-negotiables will be negotiated, and that’s okay

A word of advice: drop the non-negotiables list. I get it; you want to stay true to your values and hold yourself accountable for finding the perfect partner that matches your standards. But let’s face it, they probably don’t exist—at least not yet. 


RELATED: How Much Should You Compromise in a Relationship?


What I mean by this is you’ll probably get into a relationship with someone with eight or nine out of the 10 qualities you’ve listed on your non-negotiables list. Does that mean the 10th quality is an absolute deal breaker? Let’s not rule them out so soon, as it may only be a matter of growing into it (or at least growing into the underlying value of that quality). An example is my non-negotiable quality of a well-dressed guy (and you can only guess how far from that my partner was); but I toiled day and night to scrape out the underlying quality of this non-negotiable, which was the value of caring about how he presented himself. And slowly, that became the non-negotiable trait I traded in for. Is it a shift in a personal standard? Maybe. But did I still get the quality I was looking for? I sure did. It’s all about perspective, compromise and open communication.


Six Things I Wish I Knew Before Entering My Six-Year Relationship
Our matchy fashion moment <3


A six-year relationship is as unreal as it gets, but I cannot wait to learn more about myself and my partner in the coming years. So, I guess I’ll see you in the seventh year?



Words Vanessa Tiong

Art Macky Arquilla

Share to


You may also like

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get weekly updates on trending topics

Ⓒ 2018 – 2023 Wonder ™ | All Rights Reserved


Discover More


Don't miss a thing

Stay up to date to the latest news and articles.