Getting into a new relationship after spending so long “just dating” can be thrilling, joyful, and yes, awkward. You’re experiencing a stage in your romantic adventure that finds you and your partner comfortable enough to call each other boyfriend and girlfriend, but also still figuring each other out and working your way through the various “firsts” that you’re bound to go through at some point. While there’s no doubt that it’s all pretty exciting, these “new relationship” moments can also be pretty uncomfortable:
Expressing how much you like each other. Once you tell someone you love them, things get so much easier. You just say “I love you,” and voila! You’ve successfully expressed how you feel about them with real live words! But before that happens, it can be a little strange figuring out how to verbally communicate how awesome you think your new partner is. “I really really REALLY like you” seems a bit forced, but also accurate, just like “You’re the greatest human I’ve slept with in a few years.” Using phrases like “You’re great/awesome/just dandy” might work for a while, but until you finally whip out that L-word, it might be a little strange telling each other how you feel without over- or under-doing it.
Learning weird stuff about each other. Once you’ve made things official, all the odd little things you’d been scared of revealing in the pre-relationship stages start coming out of the woodwork. You reveal that you once held a summer job at the fair shoveling camel poop, he reveals that — what a coincidence — so did his stepdad, who is a huge racist by the way. More and more of these little tidbits will eventually make their way out of your mouths, but those first few facts that make you see the other person in a slightly different light are the ones you never quite forget.
Getting used to sleepovers. Lots of people have adult sleepovers before getting into serious relationships these days, but once you’re officially boyfriend and girlfriend, they take on a different tone. It’s a little cuter, and it almost feels like you’re playing house, but it also carries that rush of fear and excitement that comes with wondering if you’ll be sleeping next to this person for the rest of your life. What used to be a fun nighttime treat is suddenly kind of a big deal.
Introducing each other to friends and family. No matter how great he is and how great your loved ones are, it’s always a little strange to present a new boyfriend to your other favorite people. It’s even more terrifying when you’re introduced to his family because you have no idea how they’ll act around you. Plus, there always seems to be one person (usually a middle-aged adult who has run out of sh*ts to give) who makes a slightly inappropriate joke that you and your partner give an uncomfortable giggle at before changing the subject.
Figuring out appropriate gifts for birthdays and holidays. Is jewelry too much for a birthday at that happens two months after you started dating? Are those expensive sports tickets an awesome Christmas gift, or will he interpret it as you being way more serious about this relationship than he is? Once you’re a while into the relationship, figuring out gifts is usually not a problem, but when special events come soon after you become boyfriend and girlfriend, picking out presents can be an anxiety-inducing experience.
Bodily functions. Yeah, yeah — everyone farts. We’re all adults. We can take it. Still, the first time your sexy new boyfriend shamelessly plays the butt trumpet in front of you or forgets to flush an extra large and smelly turd, it can be a little shocking. And when you do it yourself, it can be almost terrifying. You momentarily forget that you’re dating a grown-up who probably knows about all the normal things that bodies do, and you wonder if he’ll see you in the same light once he knows what your digestive system is capable of. Then you both laugh it off, relax, and immediately forget about it.
Your first fight. Oh, crap. This is it. That first make-or-break moment. You’re at each other’s throats, possibly crying, definitely not acting like the rational human beings you thought you’d be in this situation. And in the midst of it all, you can’t help but wonder if this is it — if your blossoming new relationship is going to die right here in your kitchen all because SOMEONE left the frozen pizza in the oven for too long. Once it’s all over, it might feel a bit strange. You might feel a bit awkward for a few days, wondering if you both truly let that fight go, if things are really okay again. It feels like you’ve taken a step back in terms of how close you two are, but once that weird phase passes, you’ll realize that it actually brought you much closer.
Finding a good amount of time to spend together. You don’t want to ever leave his side, but at the same time, you know you’ll get sick of each other if you never spend any time apart. And at some point, when you inevitably do spend way too much time together, you’re both going to get at least a little sick of each other and have to find a nice way to bring it up. Striking that balance is tough, and you’re going to mess it up a few times before you finally achieve it. Just be prepared to stumble around a bit until you get it right.
Getting sick for the first time. When he’s the one who’s sick, you might not think anything of seeing the most handsome guy in the world with snot running down his face. But when it’s you, you suddenly feel like you’re literally the ugliest, most disgusting person in the universe. You wanted to keep up the “flawless goddess” facade up at least a little longer, after all. The good news is that he probably cares as little about how you look when you’re sick as you do when he gets sick; it just might take a little while for you to remember that.
Dealing with people’s reactions on social media. Even if you aren’t all about the whole “in a relationship” update on Facebook, a photo of you guys being all couple-y is bound to surface at some point, and when it does, you have to deal with the barrage of comments that pop up. Usually, it’s like ripping off a band-aid: you let your friends get their “aww”s and “I knew it”s out in one fell swoop, then they just accept that you guys are together and all is calm. But there’s always that one person who has to has to jump in with an “I still think you and your evil Satanic ex should get back together” or a “That’s weird. I thought you and that platonic friend you’ve maybe hung out with twice were spending all your free time together?” Thankfully, this can easily be nipped in the bud, but for a hot second, it provides some pretty cringe-worthy moments.
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