Hannah and Dylan love each other in part for their differences: “We have always said that I am the wolf and he is the moon – that he is sort of like this calm, more reserved, laid-back person, and I’m the crazy fiery one.”
Dylan says, “They almost fill you up with these qualities that you don’t have, ‘cause that’s not you, but you get to kind of absorb them, or have them for that moment.”
Hannah and Dylan (both 25) met in college about five years ago, and have had quite the rocky road. They have dealt with long distance, tried an open relationship, and taken breaks. They say they’re currently in a period of healing, but that they also feel more sure than ever about their connection.
Hannah says, “I feel – now that I’ve dated other people – more sure that he’s the best person that I’ve ever met … I think we both just think each other is the best person.”
Because of this history of uncertainty, we found ourselves focusing our interview questions around what commitment means to them now. Their answers revealed more of an ongoing exploration than a concrete plan. Hannah and Dylan seem to approach their relationship with presence and patience, curiosity and openness. Dylan says:
I feel like relationships are very cyclical, and you have to be patient with them. There are days or weeks where you’re not feeling as lovey or you’re bickering a lot, but deep down you know that this is meant to be. And then the next week will be beautiful or go in another direction.
When asked how Hannah sees their future, she says,
He’s the person – the only person that I’ve ever met, that I’ve been so willing to compromise for – so willing to change and do whatever – and sacrifice. I just never – it’s always been like when a relationship’s gotten tough I’m just kind of like ready to go. But I do see a future with [Dylan] and like at this point in my life it’s like, he is the person that I wanna have children with.
Hannah is in law school and plans to be a public defender. Dylan is in the process of opening up a juice cafe. Dylan says it’s “nice to be on different paths,” because, “If I see something beautiful on my path today, I can like take you and like, ‘Look! Hey this is goin’ on and it’s beautiful!’ and you can be like, ‘I saw this, I’m gonna show you this!’”
When asked how they handle conflict, Dylan says, “bickering can be part of the glue”:
She knows how to like make me very emotional, and I think that’s one of the best parts of living, is like being emotional even if it’s an uncomfortable feeling at that time. You’re still feeling it and that’s better than not feeling anything at all.
At the end of the day, for them it’s not complicated: Dylan says, “it’s just a feeling.” What it comes down to is this: both Hannah and Dylan follow their hearts, and their hearts have led them time and again to each other. Hannah sums it up beautifully:
Our relationship is like – it straddles this perfect divide between, ‘When you find something that you love, hold that close,’ and the other side of that which is that, ‘If you love something, let it go,’ because I think that we’ve done both, and it’s been – I mean – it’s just been a process of like letting each other go and then re-finding each other again. And holding that so dearly and loving each other so much.
In what way is your relationship cyclical? What is that core feeling like, the thing that guides you through the ups and downs?
Share your stories in a comment.
Brooke is a founding author of How Love Lasts.