The first phase of any romantic relationship is usually filled with a mix of butterflies and euphoria. Everything your significant other says and does is adorable. Their bed head in the morning. Their “profound” thoughts on the most mundane topics. Hell, even the way they snore at night are all quirky little pieces of the man or woman you’re in love with. Everything is blissful and you are deep in the love bubble where sappy songs start to make you swoon and everything’s coming up roses. However, in just a few short months, things might look a bit different.
Ninety days to be precise.
You see, ninety days is the magic number when the lovable little traits that used to make you smile suddenly start to irritate the crap out of you. The bed head that you were once so fond of suddenly looks ridiculous. You can’t believe they have such strong feelings on red meat versus white meat. And the snoring, oh dear lord the snoring, is keeping you up late at night because it sounds like a chainsaw right next to you. I never paid too much attention to the first ninety days until an ex pointed it out to me or I read it in a magazine. Whichever it was, once I was aware of it, I couldn’t not be aware of it.
I started noticing things that bothered me at precisely the ninety-day mark. There were key decisions and behaviors that stood out and without my twitterpated feelings of giddiness and romanticism, I couldn’t ignore them. Some call these “red flags” and I have been told that I have the tendency to ignore them. For once, I wasn’t ignoring them. I was subtly trying to get to the bottom of them and whether or not they were indeed relationship deal breakers.
And then I got to thinking. We all have our own red flags. How do people make relationships work for a year? A decade? A lifetime? Do people ignore the red flags or is love enough to make the relationship work? Without getting into the details of my relationship, I posed the question to quite a few people.
I got several different answers.
Some folks said, “Absolutely not! Love is not enough.” While others, wholeheartedly answered, “Of course!” What astounded me most were the people who answered the way they did. I noticed a trend.
The few who answered that love is enough had never been married and still believed in the fairy tale, the happily ever after, the riding into the sunset. They had been heartbroken and rejected and yet they still believed that love and love alone was enough to sustain a relationship. Having been in relationships both good and bad, they still wanted love and believed it could conquer all.
The majority of the ones who didn’t think love was enough were divorced or had been at least once. Even the ex whose red flags led me to ask the question said that he didn’t think love was enough. There was only one happily married person who believed love was not enough. He clarified that a couple must have common values (i.e. goals, how to raise children, beliefs, etc.) and that without that strong foundation, eternity was unlikely. He has been happily married for over fifteen years and still gushes about his wife regularly. He just might know what he’s talking about.
I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a concrete answer for you, Wonderlings. I personally found that love was not enough and I agree with my buddy who argues that similar values are what sustain a relationship in the long run. Is that the right answer? Absolutely not.
Relationships are what you make them. If you are content with a person whom you have nothing in common with except a passionate love and that works for you, awesome! More power to you. If you need someone with similar values as well as love to make your dreams come true, great! There is no one-love-fits-all and any relationship takes work and patience.
And lots of love.