Pop culture’s version of true love is built on lies. Real love isn’t all romantic getaways and grand gestures—it’s so much better than that. If you and your boyfriend have experienced these things, then you’re definitely in true love, no matter how unglamorous.
- Not getting enough sleep because you can’t get enough of each other It’s pretty hard to spend enough time with the person that you love, especially when you don’t live together yet. If you head over to your boyfriend’s around 8 o’clock on a weeknight, you only have a few hours to hang out before it’s time for bed, which totally sucks. You end up staying up past midnight just to have more time with him, and that means you’re extra exhausted when your alarm goes off for work at 6 a.m. the next morning.
- Inconveniencing yourself sometimes to make the other person’s life easier This could mean cooking dinner for your boyfriend all week because he has a stressful work deadline and a tough commute or doing his laundry for the same reason. It also means that when you have a headache for days thanks to your period, he watches whatever movies you want to watch and is always down to cuddle. Being in a committed relationship definitely means taking care of each other, and it’s all good as long as it goes both ways.
- Dealing with each other’s family drama and tragedy Sometimes you get lucky and absolutely love your boyfriend’s family and he gets along great with yours too. That doesn’t mean that things will always be easy, of course. Being in love means taking on everything that your partner’s family is going through, so if they’re having a hard time or fighting a lot, there’s really no way for you to get away from that. It won’t always be pretty but that’s the reality of love.
- Getting used to each other’s weird routines and schedules You could be an early bird and yet your boyfriend sleeps until noon on weekends. It’s harder than it seems to merge two people’s lives into one, which is of course what you’re doing when you get into a serious long-term relationship with someone. Eventually you find a way to make things work but there are definitely some growing pains along the way.
- Figuring out the messy parts of intimacy This goes for when you first start sleeping together and hope and cross your fingers (and toes) that you’re both sexually compatible. It also goes for when you’re sharing your thoughts and feelings and creating that emotional intimacy that is so crucial to a relationship. True love can totally encompass all of the awkward stages of becoming physically and emotionally close to someone.
- Taking on each other’s romantic baggage Maybe you’ve been single forever and are still finding it hard to really believe that this guy is in it for the long run. Maybe he’s just out of a horrible, toxic situation that’s the polar opposite of what you two share. Whatever baggage you two are holding onto, it’s something that you have to talk about and get over, and that’s not always the easiest thing to do. It can actually be pretty painful until you really understand where the other person is coming from.
- Compromising because that’s just what you do when you’re in love You want to go to your friend’s birthday party next weekend but your boyfriend asked you to go home with him since you haven’t met his parents and siblings yet. That’s just one of the many tough choices that you have to make when you’re coupled up. It totally sucks to miss out and yet it’s something that you just have to do as someone’s partner. The good thing is that you know that he’ll compromise when he has to as well.
- Being embarrassed by gross bodily functions but then eventually not caring Everyone passes gas sometimes, even if you never want your boyfriend to hear you. Both of you are going to fart in front of each other sometimes, whether you’re watching Netflix on the couch or in bed, and you’re also going to have to ask him to run out and get you Imodium when you’ve got an epic upset stomach. It’s not romantic or enjoyable, it’s just real life.
- Having the tough conversations This could mean telling your boyfriend that you’re not as experienced in the bedroom as he is. It could mean admitting that you’ve never been in love or that you’ve never been that independent in a relationship and want to change that. Whatever you’re carrying around, you owe it to your boyfriend to let him know, and he’ll do the same thing for you. It’ll be a weird conversation for sure, but these are the kind of awkward things that bond you the most. They’re the things that prove that no matter how unglamorous, you would totally take real love over what the movies say anyday.