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My relationship has seen eight years, three apartments, four conjoined job changes and approximately 1,703 mistakes. Luckily, with trial-and-error comes wisdom. Below, three long-term relationship lessons I've learned that have now made our lives together easier—and our dynamic even stronger.

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woman at flea market
Twenty20

WE STOPPED FAKING EACH OTHER’S INTERESTS

One thing we’ve learned the hard way as overscheduled yuppies? Free time is sacred—and it doesn’t make you a weaker unit not to share it. I could legitimately spend all Saturday hopping from flea market to antique store. He could legitimately spend all Saturday on the sofa watching sports documentaries. And now, we do just that! For years, we endured each other’s respectively deplorable pastimes under the guise that we would be a lesser couple if we didn’t. But now, we’ve resolved to extract ourselves from the other’s activities. And you better believe we’re boatloads happier for it.

group of friends at sunset
Twenty20

WE GOT *VERY* SELECTIVE ABOUT SOCIAL ENGAGEMENTS

When we reached our later 20s, it began to feel like a badge of honor for us to keep a full social calendar and say yes to invitations from our extended network. We love to party! We are young and fun! Thing is, we don’t really love to party anymore—especially with people with whom talking is an effort (sorry, just being honest). We started saying no to invitations from peripheral friends and for commitments we weren’t excited about roughly a year ago. Since then, we’ve spent more time with our core crew and, more importantly, with each other. Our single and “fun couple” friends give us grief and call us grandparents for staying in, but honestly, we’re having the last laugh. From the couch. In our sweatpants.

woman putting tea on Table
Twenty20

WE CUT BACK ON BOOZE

Mama loves her sauvignon blanc. He loves his whiskey neat. Our consumption was never a problem, but it wasn’t exactly healthy. Whether on the town or on a same-old Tuesday at home, it began to feel like cocktail hour was dictating our plans. Simply put, we felt like slouches—and it was trickling into our general outlook. So, we decided to cut out booze at home on weeknights, and to cap ourselves after one if out for drinks or dinner with friends. As a result, we’ve been cooking together more. We’ve even been using our evenings for a bit of creative work (mine: pursuing my interest in interior design; his: writing a screenplay with his brother). The best part? We’re actually sleeping better—which has the realest ripple effect. Weekends? They’re still fair game for that second (or third) glass of vino.

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