Once again we welcome our intrepid correspondent from the front lines of the dating world! This week, Florence muses on what keeps a couple together for the long haul…

couple at lakeThere’s nothing like spending a holiday weekend with your couples-friends to make you question all of your romantic life decisions. While observing one couple in particular I got to thinking that college relationships either end, or end in vows, and while I suspect the latter for these friends of mine, I don’t understand why. They’re wonderful people, so it’s easy to see what they see in each other, but I have lots of wonderful single friends so what else? What keeps two people together not just for a weekend or a semester, but for years?

Hypothesis # 1: You have to be the same kind of wonderful. They’re both intense athletes and serious about their respective fields. You can tell by their interactions that they respect each other immensely, and I have a hunch that that level of respect only comes when you can relate personally to what your partner is driven about. For example, I respect them both and am in awe of what they do but can I really appreciate their athletic abilities the way another athlete would? I doubt it. I haven’t even been to the gym since high school, and while I congratulate my friend every time she runs the marathon, I don’t really understand what she went through the way her boyfriend does, a varsity rower who now coaches the men’s team at our college. This is more than common ground for them. It’s something they share but don’t totally share, which leads me to my next theory…

 

Hypothesis # 2: You have to be the same kind of wonderful but applied in slightly different ways. Since this couple plays different sports and is pursuing different career paths, there’s no competition between them. They’re not after the same goals even if their goals are related. Any competitiveness (which I’ve certainly felt arise with other writers) is non-existent and instead the mutual awe they feel for what the other person is doing flourishes because it doesn’t threaten either of their personal achievements. Jackpot.

Hypothesis #3: They don’t rely solely on each other. They have strong networks outside of their relationship, i.e. friends. The last serious relationship I was in involved very few interactions with friends. I tend to seek out boyfriends who want to leave this world behind and create a new one, population two. Not only did we rarely see our own friends, but if one of us had a lake house we certainly wouldn’t invite other people to it. Labor Day would be a marathon built for two and we would probably hate each other by the end of it. This couple, though, willingly invited twelve other friends, mutual friends, half of whom were single people, to share in a weekend with them. Mind blown.

These are just guesses. I hope that great partnerships can’t be distilled so neatly. Surely there’s some other magical, ineffable ingredient that turns two wonderful people into good friends, great lovers, and lasting partners? Maybe if I hang out with them long enough, it’ll rub off on me too.

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