Perhaps you met young.
Childhood sweethearts. High school romance stayed sweet. Your relationship spans, well, practically an eternity when you compare it to your friends’ romances. You don’t remember what life was like before she came along. Which is all well and good.
At some point, you felt pretty good about what you’ve got. You started thinking you ought to advise others about future happiness. You’ve been with your partner for longer than anyone else. Surely your relationship ought to have progressed beyond others’ short lived flings, etc. I’d say you have a fair chance of being right, too.
It does, after all, take time for love to blossom, for two people (or perhaps more, though the strongest multi person relationships all involve connections between each two individuals). Love at first glance is lust, not love, no?
But a relationship is a marble statue, not an oak tree.
Imagine two sculptors both working on their masterpiece. One sculptor, however, is slightly more efficient. One is more dedicated. While one of them stops and takes breaks for weeks, months, or even longer. At the end of five years, have both statues progressed the same? Of course not, and why would they? The effort on one has stalled, while the other has been continuously and lovingly worked on. Relationships are no different. Well, most of the time.
Let us take the analogy a step further. It is possible- although not probable– that the one sculptor is so much more skilled that, despite taking a two month break, their statue is still further along than the other one. Or that the sculpture in question simply isn’t as involved.
Or maybe it’s a simpler piece of art that can be more easily “finished.” (Art is never finished, really, any more than relationships, but at a certain point, it all sort of settles into what it’s meant to be. More or less.) But it’s still not an oak tree.
A relationship is built, not grown.
A relationship does not grow as a tree does. It’s not a houseplant that must be watered daily, or else it withers. A tree passively consumes sunlight and water, does not need active interference. Have you ever heard of someone watering a forest? It’s called rain. Nonetheless, it grows tall and towering– and you stand there in awe how this came to be from this tiny little acorn.
A relationship needs to be worked on, much like a statue, to grow and become more. And, sure, it’s okay to not work on your statue Every. Second. Of. Every. Day. It’s okay to pause and just, let the relationship be whatever it is at the point in history. Just don’t be upset to return weeks later and find out the statue looks exactly the way you left it! And don’t forget to give it consistent, significant nurturing. If you want it to keep evolving and transforming.