Brittany and I were sorority sisters in college – sororities are still cool right? – but didn’t foster a close friendship until we realized we were both taking “History of the Vietnam War” senior year. She was the ray of sunshine in an otherwise grim lecture.
She always brought a diet coke to class. IN A CAN. And always opened it mid lecture – when the room was silent. She was met with 120 stares, but was always cool, confident, and collected. Kind of like the smiley emoji wearing sunglasses. Her aura was contagious and I’m still entranced many years later.
She is the quintessential friend – hilarious, compassionate, loyal, etc. – AND she comes with the quintessential fiancé. Brittany and her boo are hashtag relationship goals. I wish they had their own reality show so people would know that REAL LOVE EXISTS. And she was kind enough to bestow some of her wisdom on me.
You and Ryan started dating in college – which is really this lala land without any real responsibilities – and you guys managed to transition into the real world – with a million new stressors, like work and groceries (bleh). How’d you guys manage the transition? Do you think there were key things you guys did really well that allowed you to bypass all of the gross real life stuff and further foster your relationship?
I think I have always had more real life responsibilities and stressors even in college since I had student loans and had to manage my budge. So for me, personally transitioning into the real world wasn’t that difficult.
In terms of our relationship, we went from a long distance college relationship to an adult relationship and being together all the time which took some getting used to. I think the biggest thing was communication. We had to learn not only how to communicate, but how to communicate to each other. The way Ryan thinks and speaks is completely different than the way I think and speak. And learning how to speak to one another so to be understood was huge.
Furthermore, I had to learn and grow myself. I realized a lot of the times I was getting frustrated with Ryan wasn’t necessarily due to anything he was doing it was just the way I was reacting.
How do you think you guys got to the point where you could communicate effective? Or more so, your reactions? Was it just listening to what Ryan was saying? I feel like you guys have so much respect for each other that you want to understand and listen to one another.
A lot of fights LOL and time. After a while, I know how he thinks and I know when he says something that I interpret as dumb or rude, isn’t meant that way at all. To be honest, I think it came down to making a choice, and that was to work on this relationship and put each other first or don’t.
We obviously chose to put each other first. I’ve learned from Ryan that yelling and name calling is not the solution when you’re upset (even though sometimes I revert to that bad habit). I tell him immediately if something upsets me and I think he does the same. Bottling things up can be very detrimental.
I also tried to stop talking about our fights to other people – occasionally I have to vent to a girlfriend – but I try to keep it between us.
It’s all about taking the time and making the choice to be better communicators. Ryan said, when he asked me to marry him, to promise to grow with each other and I that’s what we’ve done over the years.
I think that you both have really grown over the years – and in the best way possible. You guys have such mad love and respect for each other and I think people often forget that, in a fight, they’re still a person with feelings and I think you two have really mastered how to disagree respectfully – which is actually my next question.
How do you disagree in a respectful way? I know for me – I don’t often get mad – but when I do I can be immature and harsh. But you guys almost have some kind of peaceful formula for it like there’s a calmness in the air that everything will work out okay. Do you guys have certain ground rules you try to maintain to keep it clean?
I think a lot of it comes with maturity and love for the other person and learning how to say I’m sorry. I know for a long time I made Ryan apologize and he always did because he’s patient, but now I’ve learned that I need to apologize too. Even if I don’t think I’m wrong because it matters to the other person.
I really try not to call names – which has personally been hard for me. Growing up I saw fighting and screaming and name calling – and saw that the meanest person won. In reality, that’s the person that loses. Ryan has truly calmed me. I try not to get so hung up on the little things like I used to, it’s not worth it.
Also, we don’t discuss breaking up as we don’t see it as an option, especially during a fight. And you have to let the past go and not bring up past fights.
How do you guys still find the romance after so many years together?
We tell each other every day a reason we love each other – simple stuff like ‘I love you today because you left me a sweet note when you went for a run. We have date nights every week where we go grab dinner or a drink or watch a new movie or play cards.
We also say ‘thank you’ and ‘I appreciate you’ for the little things like doing the dishes. And Ryan is such a romantic and so thoughtful that it’s encouraged me to be as well but he always takes the cake and does little nice things that matter the most. And we always kiss goodnight.
You’re making me blush. I feel like I’m celebrating Valentine’s Day with you guys right now. I couldn’t be happier that you guys are getting married. #blessup.
How do you and Ryan balance time with each other, time alone, and time with friends?
Okay, this might be corny, but I want to spend every day with him. There’s never a time when I don’t want to be with him. I miss him when we’re apart. He’s truly my favorite person.
I don’t know if we’re the best about taking time for friends but we try to encourage one another to socialize. In terms of personal time, Ryan makes a huge effort to do his workouts in the mornings so we can spend evenings together. And I try to do my girl things (hair, nails, etc.) on weekend mornings so we can enjoy more of the weekend together.
Do you think dynamics with friends change when you’re in a relationship?
Absolutely, like I said we aren’t always the best at hanging out with our friends. I try to stay in communication (via text) with all of my girlfriends, but I know guys don’t talk like we do and I think they really only talk when they see each other. I think I’m good about texting but could be better at spending real time with friends and Ryan too.
Friendships are just like any relationship you have to put in the time and effort. I also think some individuals can be jealous when you enter a new relationship and sometimes that can result in a friendship ending. But it shows their true colors and I’ve really learned at this point who my true friends are.
I wonder what it is about friends in relationships that make people jealous? I feel like that’s happened in my past too and I never understood it.
I think they’re unhappy in their own lives and it’s hard for them to see others happy. And they don’t want to share their time with someone else.
I think so too. I think they’ve got to have some kind of self-confidence issue too. I think if you’re a complete person, you don’t mind seeing friends less or having the dynamics shift because you know yo’ll be okay and you know you have other opportunities ahead with other hobbies or other friends.
Yes, I agree. That’s a great way to look at it.
I also have to say that I think you’re great with keeping in touch and seeing friends. I think everyone has less time nowadays and you know when to priorities.
Happy to have her in my #squad.