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Newly Coupled: the Learning Curve

Adjusting from being single to being in a relationship can be difficult, to say the least. Believe me, I know. I went from ten years in a relationship to seven years out – not for want of trying I might add – to now being firmly ensconced in one for a year or so. In honor to celebrate the wondrous feat that is one full year of grown up love, I thought I’d make a list of a few of the dumb things I said early on, in the “getting used to someone being in my life” phase.

Fitting, right? I hope you can learn from my mistakes.

Here goes… This is in no apparent order – chronological, humiliation factor or otherwise.

1. “I hope to be with you as long as I can.”

I’ll come clean with you and say I had a pathological fear of forever. I am less afraid of it now but still don’t really believe in it. It went the way of my twenties. My previous relationship – the one that lasted ten years – had the big FOREVER stamp on it. When that ended, I realized nothing is as certain as USPS stamps, certainly not love.  That’s not to say I don’t believe that love or a relationship can’t last a lifetime. (Triple negative!) In fact, that is what led me to say the stupid thing above. I was feeling those forever feelings – wanting the flush of new love to never end, savoring that deep warm connection between two like souls, desiring nothing more than to bask in his glow FOREV – for as long as I could… Despite what I was feeling, my previous experiences had told me that forever did not exist in the real world. And I did not want to jinx this new love, not after being in the wilderness for so long. Hence the more realistic phrasing of what I was wishing for. I said it more than once. Truth be told I said it so often it could have become my jaded yet feisty sitcom character’s catchphrase. My boyfriend was kind enough to smile, say “me too” and continue to make out with me on the couch each time. It was only months later when I had stopped that he pointed out the absurdity of it all. And by that time I had graduated to saying ‘I love you’ when those forever feelings arose.

2. “ I don’t believe in missing people”

I can’t remember the exact words but the sentiment was the above. Let me set the scene. We were about three weeks into going steady and my beau was driving me to the airport. Before we met, I had booked an awesome trip to Toronto to see friends. It was my treat to me and I was very excited. He, however, was less than enthusiastic about the prospect of me leaving for ten days and had already told me a few times before how much he’d miss me. From my Zen-like high horse, I gently implied that missing people is a sure sign of not being in the present moment and that I tried to live my life in the present. He looked a little forlorn. Clearly, not the response he was hoping for. But I was proud of myself for not feeling forced to say something I didn’t feel at the time. The irony, of course, was that I ended up missing him intensely, which was super confusing for this fiercely independent woman. We would talking for an hour each day and I even told him I loved him for the first time on the phone from three time zones away. The longest three seconds of my life was waiting for his response.