You meet someone and start dating, the “L” word is said, and something you had your whole life is suddenly gone… freedom! Now, you have to think for two, not one! You're overwhelmed. Quick, someone (anyone!) explain what's going on! What are the benefits of falling in love? How did this happen?!
If feels like just yesterday, you were freewheeling and SINGLE, analyzing post-date texts and wondering when you’d hear from the person again (assuming you wanted to hear from them again). Then, one date turned into several and you found yourself in a serious relationship. But, it didn’t last. Your heart was broken—actually, more like severed open—and you vowed never to date again. You grew cynical when it came to romance. Someone at work got flowers? You rolled your eyes. Facebook announced that your friend got engaged? You unfollowed them. Your friends told you to get online and join Match, OkCupid, Tinder, Instagram, and JDate (even though you’re not Jewish). You refused. Slowly, over time, your wounded heart stitched up and into one piece again.
As the days, weeks, and months went on, it became exposed once more, vulnerable to the outside elements: potential suitors. So, you gave them a chance, thinking maybe The Beatles were right, “All You Need Is Love.” But then you discovered all the "horrible" things that go along with it.
1. You have to get off the couch and stop binge-watching (especially on weekends)
I know! What will Netflix do without your unwavering patronage watching the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? How will they go on? How will you by having to venture outside and fending for two offscreen people now versus just one? And, if you and your girlfriend or boyfriend stay in, who gets the remote?! Ugh, this is a disaster waiting to happen.
2. Your selfie days are over.
Yep, someone else is in the picture now. You’ll have to start including them in your selfies. What if their arm isn't long enough to take the picture? Will you have to get a selfie stick?
3. You cannot focus.
You used to think the world revolved around you and your needs — your life, your job, your friends, doing things for you. Where did this other person come from who’s on your mind 24/7? Why do they occupy so much of your mental space, damnit? And why do you care about how they feel and what they think about the world at large?
4. You have a plus-one… for everything.
Everything is now a “we,” not an “I.” You have a forced and built-in plus-one for everything. Forget seeing that exhibit alone. And now you’re automatically your significant other's date to that robotics convention. (Yippee!)
5. You have to get used to your computer or phone crashing unexpectedly from all the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media “likes” and retweets due to all the nauseatingly cute pictures of you and your beau (or girl).
And you thought you were popular before, pre-coupling up. Now, you’re a celebrity, filling people’s news feeds with mushy pictures of you and your S.O. doing everything from hiking to feeding each other dessert (oops, a little ice cream is on his chin). Offline, everywhere you go, friends and acquaintances mention things from your posts: “How was that new brunch spot? That French toast in your pic looked amazing!” and “Loved that photo of you two at Jenny’s wedding!” It’s like paparazzi are chasing and following your every move. Can’t they cut you a break? Maybe you should start charging for autographs.
6. You find the fun in mundane things.
Who knew picking out potting soil together at Home Depot was so fun? And can fill a Friday night! Yes, this is your new normal, so get used to it.
7. But… you also try new things.
You try ocean kayaking even though you can’t swim (why not?) and eating salmon even though you’re not a fish person (but your boo swears he or she makes the best!). Your routine days and excitement over trying a new Starbucks frappuccino flavor are gone.
8. You (yes, you!) cook!
Yes, you cook and bake — and not just out of a can or box anymore! You use cookbooks (well, online recipes) and buy ingredients and almost burn down your kitchen multiple times and everything. As much as you long for a box of mac & (powdered) cheese, you have to start preparing food like the new, coupled-up adult you are. A lot of pressure, I know.
9. You have to share
You have to share everything from bites of your favorite dinner to your living space. Yes, you’d gotten so used to doing things your way that sharing is tough. What happened to all your Thin Mints, you wonder? Your privacy? And your free time?
10. Speaking of cooking, you have a dining companion… forever!
Remember the days when you’d eat in a café, alone, and busy yourself with work or your phone, or tell the maître d that your friend just cancelled on you, so you only need a table for one today? Or you’d eat Ben & Jerry’s for dinner? Well, no more. Hope you can muster eating with the same person, day in and day out, forever and ever in your self-made couple's prison.
11. Someone accepts all your flaws.
Amazing, someone who accepts every single unappealing thing about you, from the way you survey your split ends to the way you talk with your mouth full.
12. You help each other out and have a constant cheerleader and support system.
Now, you have someone to eternally help you change light bulbs (you hate getting on that step stool). I know, your partner is a show-off. So much for being independent!
13. You don’t have anymore bad-date horror stories.
I know you miss them, the tales to regale your friends with, “He wanted to split the check, and down to the penny, even though he asked me out!” and “She kept checking out other girls!” and “He told me he cheated on his last girlfriend.” If you can live without the bad dates and their stories, you may be in love.
14. You become a love guru.
People will admire you and bow down to you wherever you go — can you imagine? They’ll ask things like: “How did you do it? How did you find someone?” If you met your girlfriend or boyfriend online, they’ll want to know what site (“Do they still have a free trial period?”) and every detail of your message exchanges (who messaged whom first), as though that will be the winning formula for them finding love, too. You’ll be afraid to check emails or texts, lest someone asks you for love advice.
15. You don’t look at other guys or girls.
You practice eye contact and looking at the person you’re with, not others in the room. You remember the bad dates where you couldn’t focus and maybe your eyes would wander around the room, longing to spot any other person, to remind you that there are other ones out there, you’re just not out with them at the moment. Now, it’s tough to focus, I know, and takes practice. But just get your glasses adjusted and practice as much as you can, and you should be good to go!
16. You have to go on road trips and vacations — with someone.
Yes, you’ll have to dig out your traveler’s backpack and actually get out of town. I know the deep aquamarine Mediterranean Sea in the south of France sounds miserable to visit, as does the view from the Eiffel Tower. (Hopefully, you can talk yourself into going.)
17. You have (consistent) sex.
No more flings, one-night stands, or vying for someone’s attention at a crowded bar full of people hotter than you! I know, you’ll hate that you can’t complain to your friends anymore: “He and I had such a connection last night, why isn’t he texting?!”
18. Your life is more complete.
You can’t put your finger on it, but something was missing before. You now tell this special someone about every minute thing you do, you just can’t help it — from what you had for lunch (roast beef, medium-rare) to your favorite Funny or Die video ( Disney Couples Therapy ). And they give you the same courtesy and tell you, too. Do you really need to hear about your boyfriend’s Aquaman obsession again? Or your girlfriend’s issues with her best friend? Yes!
19. You're one of those happy people you've been reading about.
Yes, you’re that person, the one who perpetually looks like they’re in a dentist or teeth-whitening commercial because they’re always smiling. In fact, your face is frozen in a smile. Plus, with all the oxytocin in your life now, you have no reason not to be happy. I know, why did you spend all that money on therapy for being depressed? Maybe you and your boyfriend or girlfriend should just break up so you can be miserable again.
Images: Franca Gimenez/Flickr; Giphy