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kate, 30  &   liam, 31  —  dating*

*Broke up in August 2017

 
 

How long have you two been together?

Both:
9 years.

 

How did you two meet?

Kate:
I was really good friends with Liam’s girlfriend.

Liam:
I was dating Jess at the time and Kate was friends with Jess and lived with in her college. So I’d visit Jess and see Kate. I remember meeting you and later telling a friend about you. I was trying to set you up with him. And I said to him – “Jess’s got this cute friend.” I thought she was super cute. I noticed her.

Kate: I remember telling my roommate at the time, “I wish Liam were single!” I remember having a ton of fun hanging out. Even hanging out with you and Jess.

Liam:
I remember this moment when Jess and I were still dating and I had to make a film project for a media class and Jess couldn’t do it. So I asked Kate and I remember looking through the Bolex camera and focusing in on your face and I remember thinking, “oh she’s really pretty.” And it looked like an old movie because it was through this camera, and you were the star of that film. I wish I still had that film.

 

What drew you to each other?

Liam:
She was just the most unique person I had met at college. She was really funny and really quick. Like I could banter with her unlike anyone else. She had a lot of energy and we had a similar sense of humor. Not to mention super cute.

Kate:
Yea I think for me too. Liam was so funny. Especially when I would go to his house and see him with his roommates, he was just so the life of the party. He was just so fun to be around. I think for most people, a lot of what draws them to another person is how they feel about themselves when they’re with that person. I felt so comfortable with Liam.

Liam:
And this is on the darker side. But when we started opening up to each other we both found out we had had difficult parental figures. And I felt a connection over that. Like someone that got it.

 

What’s a challenge that you’ve had in your relationship?

Kate:
Well I think being apart a lot. For our 9 year anniversary I made a timeline of where we’ve lived and where we’ve gone through. And I highlight the times we were not together. And it’s over 50% of those 9 years. So I feel like our relationship has required this situation where we really need to focus on our conversation. And the aspect of our relationship of being connecting emotionally and supporting one another and inspiring one another by being purely verbal.

Liam:
When your relationship goes through this specific channel, we couldn’t hang out and do nothing. We couldn’t just hang out and watch 6 episodes of Netflix. Any time we were together we were very engaged and talking to each other. And so it’s been an interesting transition to now - living together. And it’s not bad. It’s just a different way of being together. But I think that as hard as the distancing was, it almost makes you work harder at it. Like the way that you can see some relationships become complacent and communication may breakdown - that didn’t happen because that’s all we had.

 

If you could give one piece of advice about relationships what would it be?

Liam:
It sounds cliché, but listen. And not just to the other person. But listen to yourself in the sense of mindfulness. Like when we get in a fight, I’ll get in my head about something and wrapped up in it. And I’ve found that taking a second to wait before saying anything or doing anything and trying to get your head out of that strong emotion. I mean everyone’s going to react and have emotions, but acting on them immediately is within your control. Just give it a second and don’t react the way you want to immediately, knowing that it might feel good in the moment but be destructive. Just that little bit of pause and recognition of what’s happening can go along way.

Kate:
Well you know there’s this cliché of women being like “I can change him for the better.” I think that’s incredibly naïve, but I think maybe a better way to interpret that is to see a relationship as something that motivates you to be a better g on both sides. It’s not necessarily about just accepting yourself as the best that you are and having that person love you unconditionally. There is this really strong incentive to better yourself and that’s a really amazing result of relationships. And I think for me the biggest thing that I’ve learned and tried to change about myself after dating Liam is assuming that any emotion or feeling that I have is absolutely fact and absolutely justified, instead of pausing and thinking just because I feel sad or hurt or angry, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily Liam’s fault or that he or I did something wrong. It’s just taking the time to get over that physical feeling of that emotion and really thinking with your mind in that situation.