Dating

Moving in Together Is a Big Deal but It Shouldn’t Feel Like One

So my bf and I have decided to move in together. Technically he’s decided to move into my place. (Thank the heavens I don’t have to actually do any moving.)

Whenever we tell other people, they always say the same thing, “That’s a big deal.” JR and I were confused when everyone kept telling us that. We didn’t feel like moving in together was that big a deal. We both naturally came to the decision because it made the most sense. We were already spending practically all of our time together anyway. Having one space we both called home makes things a lot easier. Now I don’t have to pack a bag or pray that I have clean underwear at his house. We’ve basically been living in two places which became annoying. The amount of clothing I’ve lost from going back and forth is atrocious. I had enough.

So we decided to make this huge move in our relationship. (No pun intended!)

I get that moving in together is a big deal and it’s not something that any two people should take lightly. It’s a big step in a relationship. If you do it too soon, it could ruin things. There is a lot you learn about a person once you live with them. It’s probably a good idea to try and find out as many of those quirks as possible BEFORE you decide to move in together.

I knew I was ready to live with JR so it didn’t feel like a big deal. Here are a few of the reasons I knew moving in made the most sense for our relationship. I’m not saying these tips will work for every relationship but if you’re thinking about moving in with your significant other, it doesn’t hurt to check them out and see if they fit.

We survived a big trip together. Back in June, JR and I spent 13 days traveling through Europe. While I love traveling and I have so many wonderful experiences from my trips, it can also be stressful. You learn a lot about a person when you see how they react with little sleep, multiple plane rides, and an attempt at navigating the Berlin train system.

I was comfortable when it came to the two Ps with him. By two Ps, I mean poop and period. I know that everybody poops and it’s a natural part of life but I will admit that I’m THAT girl. The girl who likes to hide her bathroom habits for as long as possible. There was plenty of pooping right before I showered in the beginning of our relationship. Not anymore. I can thank our trip for eliminating any boundaries I once had when it comes to that. When you share one bathroom in a small hotel room, it’s impossible to keep your bathroom habits a secret.

We spoke about the future. I cannot stress this enough, but do not move in with someone if you are unsure of where you guys stand. Having a talk about the future and marriage and kids can be scary. However, if you’re not able to bring up these issues, then you aren’t ready to move in together. Make sure you’re on the same page before you make such a big move. (There I go again with the no pun intended!)

We were spending more time together than apart at this point. We were already spending most of our time together, it was just a matter of where. We had to decide if we were going to stay at his place this weekend or my place. Which then meant we had to really decide who is the one forced to pack a bag and who doesn’t have to.

We were familiar with each other’s finances. Money is a hot topic when you move in together. There’s rent, utilities, groceries, etc. You have to figure out how things are going to be split and how much each person can afford. You don’t have to divulge everything. That will depend on the individual relationship but you need to know the basics.

It felt natural. This goes back to the whole big deal thing not really feeling like a big deal. It felt like the next natural step in our relationship. And I think that’s how it should be.

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It’s Complicated Until It’s Not

There’s no secret that dating was not always easy for me. Just look through the dating and relationships tags on this blog and you’ll find many rambles from a lady who was ready to wave the white flag.

When I was dating someone, I was usually left with more questions than answers. Does he like me? Do I really like him? When should I sleep with him? Will he judge me if it’s “too soon?” Can I actually see this going anywhere? Does he see this going anywhere?

I regularly contemplated the why of the whole thing. Why am I even dating? Is it worth all the hassle, and the first date interviews, and the stressing about what to wear? Do I even want a boyfriend?

That last question popped up in my head a lot. I was living on my own and starting a new career. I had this whole life of my own. I was already struggling to fit everything into my life. Did I really want to add in an entirely new relationship? Where would I find the time? Do I really want to bring a new person into my life, introduce them to my friends, have them meet my family, etc.?

So. Many. Questions.

By the time I reached my late 20s, dating was a very complicated ordeal. And it was. Dating can be complicated. Until you realize that it isn’t.

Eventually you’ll meet that person where the only questions you’ll be asking are “what should we eat for dinner?” and ” what should we watch on Netflix tonight?”

You’ll soon discover that if you have to ask “does he like me?”, the answer is either “no” or “not enough.”

There will be that person you don’t need to struggle to find time for. They will fit seamlessly into your life. Making time for them won’t feel like a hassle or obligation.

In its simplest form dating is easy. Boy likes girl, girl likes boy. Both boy and girl decide they want to spend as much time as possible with each other. I’m a firm believer in the theory that things shouldn’t be difficult in the beginning. The beginning is the time for butterflies and excitement.

When you find that person who makes you stop questioning, hold on tight. You may have finally found your uncomplicated ever after.

Getting in a New Relationship After Being Single Forever

This post has been in the back of mind for awhile now. I’ve wanted to write it several times but then thought against it. I finally realized that this is a blog about my life. It’s my journey through my late twenties and now my thirties. I’ve written so much about my shitty dating experiences that I should also include when things are going well, right?

I wrote once about a new man in my life and that ended shitty. I think that was part of the reluctance I had when it came to writing about a new relationship. But me and my man have been together for a little over 6 months now. He’s a big part of my life and this is a lifestyle blog. It makes sense that he’s going to come into conversation one of these days. He just met my parents for the first time two weeks ago so now it’s time my lovely readers meet him.

I may love broadcasting my entire life on a public blog but I recognize that not everyone may feel this way. That’s why I’m going to refer to the lovely man I’m dating as JR. (It’s part of his initials so it works.)

When people ask how we met, I usually say, “We went to High School together and recently reconnected.” All of this is true. But I am just leaving out certain aspects. By recently reconnected, what I really mean is found each other on a dating site. That’s right! Sometimes OK Cupid can work.

I was on OK Cupid for a very short time when JR messaged me. I immediately recognized him from High School. Before he even messaged me, I was on the brink of deleting my account. I had had enough of online dating. So after only exchanging a couple of messages with JR, I told him I was deleting my account and asked if he’d like to exchange numbers. I normally don’t do this. I like to talk for a little before exchanging numbers. I also usually just wait until the guy asks for the number. But in this case I knew that I would be deleting my account and I knew I didn’t want this to be the end of my interaction with JR.

So we exchanged numbers and I waited for him to contact me. He did; the next day. We spoke for a few weeks, met up on May 12th, and have been dating ever since.

It’s been really nice. And a lot of fun. But it’s also been a lot of adjusting. These past few years, even when I had someone, I still wouldn’t call myself taken. I was always single-ish. This is the first time in forever that I’m 100% not single. It’s been a little weird. Mostly awesome, but a little weird.

When you’ve been the single girl for so long, being in a relationship definitely takes some getting used to.

I’ve been lying to myself in the past. When I was dating, I would give myself a 2-date rule. I figured that it would take more than one date to determine if I actually liked someone. Two dates should let me know for sure. Well, after my first date with JR, I knew 100% that I liked him and wanted to go on another date. I also lied to myself with some past dudes and made excuses for them. I convinced myself numerous times that the guy really did like me. He just needs time. He’s really busy. And so many more excuses. I was lying to myself. If a guy likes you, you’ll know it. If a guy wants to be with you, he’ll make time. It’s really very simple. I just made it way more complicated than it needed to be.

The word boyfriend feels weird. It took me 6+ months to share JR with you guys. When I’m dating someone, I tend to keep them to myself for the most part. It takes a lot for me to share the guy with other people and talk about him. If he does come up in conversation, he is usually referred to as “this guy I’m dating.” The first time I spoke about JR and called him my boyfriend, it sounded weird. It still feels a little weird. It’s just a much easier term to use than “guy I’m dating.”

But girlfriend is a nice one to hear. Not gonna lie, it’s nice being introduced as “my girlfriend.”

Holy Batman! There is not enough time. Work and friends and family and alone time was already a lot to juggle. Adding a relationship has made maintaining everything overwhelming. It’s something I am still working on. There is never enough time to do everything I want.

Alone time is so much more satisfying. I love alone time. I loved my alone time when I was single. However, when you’re single, alone time isn’t always a choice. Alone time comes cause you have nothing else to do. Since being in a relationship, my alone time has become significantly more satisfying. I adore the nights spent in my apartment alone laying on the couch and watching TV for hours.

Doubt doesn’t magically go away. After so many dating mishaps, it’s easy to be skeptical. Too many times I have grown tired of the person I was dating or slowly realized that they were growing tired of me. I am pretty secure in my relationship with JR and don’t usually question where I stand. But this does not mean that doubt hasn’t gone away completely.

Sometimes clichés are right. When you’ve been single for awhile, you’re going to hear a lot of the same things. “It’ll happen when you least expect it” is one of those sayings I heard the most. I always thought it was ridiculous. I am single but would like to find someone. In some way, I’m always looking. But now I kind of know what they mean. The first time I met up with JR, I did not want to go. I had just had a huge dinner for my nephew’s birthday. All I wanted to do was go home and sleep. I remember throwing some mascara on in my car right before I walked into the bar. Before the date even started, I was already thinking about how and when I could leave. I did not expect anything to come of it.

Fear is one of the biggest enemies. Being single is easy. Being single is safe. You only have yourself to worry about yourself. You’re not giving someone else the capability to seriously hurt you or let you down.

Relationships involve a lot of talking and compromise. As a 30-year-old single person, I was very set in my ways. I was used to being on my own and not having to rely on anyone. I never had to think about anyone else, ever. Those views don’t always make for the healthiest of relationships. I had to become reacquainted with having a new person in my life.

All those disasters, make this relationship a lot sweeter. Man was I fed up with dating. You guys read all about it. I wasn’t kidding when I said that dating shouldn’t be so exhausting. I was tired of it! I was done with dating sites, first dates, unanswered texts, etc. Knowing how horrible things could be out there in the dating world and knowing how difficult it is to find someone you really connect with makes my relationship with JR that much sweeter.

The Other Shoe Is Always Going to Drop

My favorite line when I start dating someone new is, “I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

Those first few weeks/months of dating someone, things are as close to perfect as they’ll ever be. You’re both on your best behavior and trying really hard to impress one another. The guy never cancels, always texts on time. The girl always has her makeup and hair done, never complains. Everyone is trying to be the most perfect version of themselves.

I spend a new relationship just waiting to see when this blissful period will end. Because it always does. It tends to end in the most horrifically dramatic way possible. The guy doesn’t just stop canceling, he stops making plans altogether. He stops texting right away and instead takes 3-5 business days to respond with an “lol” or an “ok.”

This is never fun and it’s the reason why I always enter a new relationship with skepticism. I know the other shoe is going to drop. It’s not a matter of if but a matter of when.

However, there is something that I need to realize: the other shoe is always going to drop and that’s OK. What matters is how it drops. If it drops but I’m able to pick it up, slip it back on, and keep on walking, that’s alright. It’s when the shoe drops and breaks so badly that it’s cheaper to just buy a new pair than take them to get fixed, that I need to worry about it.

The other shoe is always going to drop. That new period in a relationship I just spoke about – the one where everyone is on their best behavior – is nice but it’s not sustainable. Perfect bliss in a relationship isn’t real.

Relationships are messy and complicated because people are messy and complicated.

You shouldn’t want that perfect bliss to last forever because then you’re never really seeing the person you’re dating for who they truly are.

Now this isn’t to say that a person should do a complete 180 when you’ve been dating a few months and stop trying. But this is saying that a person shouldn’t be afraid to show different parts of themselves, even the not so great ones.

I’ve come to realize that I look forward to the other shoe dropping. Show me what makes you YOU. I want the authentic version. Not the version who is on his best behavior because he’s trying to impress me.

What makes you sad? What makes you angry? What are some of your annoying little habits that you kept in check our first few dates?

I am not looking for the perfect version of you. I’m looking for the real version of you.

This is exactly why not only do I realize that the other shoe is always going to drop but I look forward to it.

The Makings of a Great First Date

For all my complaining about dating (and there is a lot to complain about), even I can admit that first dates can be pretty magical sometimes. I’ll admit that they all start off with insane anxiety. “What do I wear? What if he doesn’t like me? What if I don’t like him?” And there is a ton of reluctance. “I so don’t want to be doing this right now. Sitting on my couch watching Netflix sounds a million times more enticing than meeting some dude. I hope this goes by quickly.”

Unfortunately, nine out of ten times these feelings stay throughout the whole date. I have spent more first dates than I care to admit counting down the minutes until it’s not rude for me to leave. This dude wants to get another drink and I just want to take my bra off and finish season 1 of iZombie.

Now not to get all Nicholas Sparks on everyone but once in a blue moon, magic happens. It’s a terrifying and exciting thought that one day you will go on a first date that will be your last first date forever. You don’t know when this will happen and it will usually take months, even years before you realize that perfect first date was your last. But that’s a pretty amazing thought. You meet someone on a random Tuesday night for beers, when you didn’t even want to go, and they could potentially become one of the most important people in your life. That makes first dates pretty friggen amazing to me. (I am the ultimate romantic cynic if you haven’t noticed.)

And even if that person doesn’t turn out to be your number one forever, it doesn’t make the first date any less magical. The majority of first dates blow and do not lead to second dates so when you come across a first date that you don’t want to end, it’s something to celebrate.

From someone who has gone on her fair share of bad first dates, mixed with a few magical first dates, here are the ingredients needed for a stellar first encounter.

Enthusiasm is a Must – Now I know I said that I start off most first dates wishing I was on my couch watching TV. This is still true. It’s hard to muster up excitement about meeting a stranger who will most likely remain a stranger, but you have to have a little bit of excitement. If you’re absolutely miserable then it’s going to show. Let yourself get a little excited about the human being you’ll be meeting. If he turns out to be a complete bust, then by all means go back to being excited about Netflix.

Location Does Not Matter – You do not need some elaborate production when going on a first date. One of the best first dates I ever went on was sitting at the bar in a brightly lit Mexican restaurant nursing one beer. What made that date so memorable? It definitely wasn’t the locale. It was the three hours that flew by talking about everything and anything with my date.

Conversation – I am currently not on any online dating sites but when I was, OK Cupid was my app of choice. OKC had these series of questions that determined your compatibly with a user. One of the questions asked what was worse: having nothing to talk about or having no physical attraction on a first date? It always boggled my mind when guys would respond with no physical attraction. I’d rather get a root canal than go on a date with someone who I have absolutely nothing to talk about. (OK maybe not a root canal cause that was one of the worst experiences of my life but I just wanted you guys to fully grasp how much I HATE boring first dates.)

Physical Attraction – Now with a magical first date, you don’t have to have that OKC Sophie’s choice. You have great conversation AND physical attraction. Because as much as we like to say “looks don’t matter” and “it’s what’s inside that counts,” when it comes to dating, we all have to be a little shallow at times. It’s almost impossible to pursue a relationship with someone you don’t find attractive. Eventually you’ll have to do it sober and/or with the lights on.

Contact That Night – Before I get started, I have to ask: Do people still go by that three day rule? I can’t imagine. If I went on a date with a guy and three days went by without me hearing from him, I’d assume he’s either dead or not interested. Now when I go on a first date more than likely I am driving to wherever we are meeting up. I am not sure if you’re a serial killer so there’s no way I’m getting in your car. This means that when the date ends we’ll be going our separate ways to get home. This also means that “Did you get home OK?” text should be sent. People who text to make sure you got home OK are my favorite type of people and I will instantly like you 10 times more.

Excitement for What’s to Come – The truly best thing about a great first date is the possibilities it presents. Will these feelings still be there on the second date? What will it be like if and when we kiss? Where is this going to go? The beginning of a new relationship is such an exciting time and it all starts with a really great first date.

Nothing About This Is Fun

I recently did a search on Google. I searched “being single at 30.” Here are some of the headlines that came up:

30 Reasons It’s OK to Be Single at 30

Why Being Single in Your 30s is Better than in Your 20s

24 Reasons It’s Cool to Be Single in Your 30s

Being Single in Your 30s is Actually Pretty Great

Let’s cut the bullshit! Nothing about being 30 and single is OK, fun, or cool. Actually let me rephrase that. Nothing about being 30 and single and FEMALE is OK, fun, or cool. Cause do you know what all those articles have in common? They are written by women and about women.

We all know it’s women who should be worried about becoming old maids and spinsters after a certain age. Single men at 30 or 40 remain bachelors. There isn’t some derogatory term for them because they still have time. Men are never really past their prime. When they choose to settle down, they will.

Sure we’re past the point where a single woman at 25 is classified as an old maid. Women are getting married and having children later in life than they ever have before. But for as much progress as we’ve made, there is still a long way to go.

And I am going to be blunt here and say what the women in the above articles didn’t want to admit: Being 30 and still single sucks!

Now I’m not saying that I spend every night drinking wine and crying over a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. (That only happens every other night.) For the most part, I’m doing OK. I have so much other stuff happening in my life that I’m not constantly consumed with the fact that I’m single. But then something happens to remind me just how single I really am.

It could be getting the ever popular “Why are you still single?” question. Or it could be getting invited to yet another wedding and realizing that you’d have to put an ad out on Craigslist if you wanted to bring a plus one. Or it could be going to a function with friends and realizing that you’re the only one left who hasn’t coupled up. Or most of the time, it’s simply just that look you get for “still” being single.

People will never say it (unless you know assholes) but you can sense that they’re thinking it. “There must be something wrong with her.” And the really sad part is that you’re the one thinking it the most. “There must be something wrong with ME.”

In your early twenties being single is completely normal. It’s actually more of an anomaly to find yourself in a serious relationship. However, as the candles start to pile up on your birthday cake, you start to realize that you’re becoming an endangered species.

As much as those articles want to preach that being single is OK and fun, I think we can all admit that it’s not the norm. I bet every 30-year-single girl can count on one hand the other 30-year-old single girls she knows. But if she wants to list the couples, she’ll need twenty five-subject notebooks.

“What’s wrong with me?” “Am I unlovable?” “Am I incapable of falling in love?” “Will I ever find someone that I can stand for more than two dates?” “Will I have to wind up settling?”

Settling…This is a word you’re going to think about a lot. After your 50th horrible first date in a row, you’ll wonder if settling is worth it. I’d give up donuts for the rest of my life if it meant I never had to go on another first date ever again. But it’s almost impossible to find a person that you connect with enough where a second date sounds like a good option. Maybe you should lower your “standards.”

The elusive standards. I often think that my standards are too high. And they probably are. But here’s the thing: after 30 years of dating, you’re going to rack up a shit load of standards. I’m very adamant about the things I want in a partner and even more adamant in the things that I DON’T want.

Single and Thirty is a whole new landscape and it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. It’s not always OK, cool, or pretty great. There’s going to be a lot of suckage. And I think that’s something that all newly 30-somethings or soon-to-be 30-somethings should be aware of.

You’re allowed to feel lonely and stressed about living the single life. There isn’t something wrong with you cause you’re not constantly living the “Thirty, Flirting, and Thriving” life.

Wallow in your own self-pity every once in awhile. Cry over a cheesy Nicholas Sparks movie. Eat an entire sleeve of Oreo’s and wash it down with a bottle of wine. You’re single so there’s no one there to judge you. (See, being single has its perks!)

But also know that finding love in your thirties is a very real possibility. And it can be done without settling or compromising on your standards. It’s just gonna take a little more work.

Dating Shouldn’t Be This Exhausting

I’m tired.

I’m tired of the first dates. I’m tired of the same conversations over and over again. I’m tired of making online dating profiles. I’m tired of sorting through dating profiles. I’m tired of waiting for a text back. I’m tired of trying to decode what the text means when I finally receive it. I’m tired of getting my hopes up just to be let down.

I’m tired.

I don’t know when dating became this exhausting. Before last year I had taken a significant break from dating. I went on a few first dates here and there but hardly ever a second one. I did date one boy for a few months but it never went anywhere. He was a great guy and we got along well. However, it was more of a friendship as I never had any physical or romantic feelings for him. For about two years, I was mostly out of the dating scene. And overall I was happy and carefree. I didn’t have much to stress over.

Then early February of last year I met a boy. I’ve spoken about this boy before. He was the one who cooked for me and had GREAT hair. He was awesome and I pushed him away. Right after that I met another boy longterm readers should be familiar with. The infamous almost relationship boy. He was trouble from the beginning and gave me more stress than I could handle. Then in the very ending of December I met a boy who seemed like he could change my ways and outlook when it comes to dating. Turns out he couldn’t.  (After writing that ridiculously corny “things are different this time” post, I was honestly embarrassed to write about things not working out. But this is a blog about my life and sometimes in life things don’t work out.) He strung me along for much longer than necessary cause he was too much of a child to admit that he didn’t want to date anymore.

I can’t help but feel like dating needs to be easier than this. When did it get so complicated? When I was on my dating hiatus, I would randomly feel lonely and long for someone. But these feelings were fleeting and never lasted. After going about a year and a half with almost always having someone in my life, I question whether dating is really worth all this effort.

I recently finished reading Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari.* It had a lot of great insight into the modern dating scene. One thing that really stuck with me is that it seems that we all want the same thing yet do the complete opposite. Most people are looking for a real relationship without any games. They want to be honest with their partner and expect the same. However, in reality this is not how people act when it comes to dating at all. It seems that we’ve lost all basic human decency when it involves dating. We forget that behind that text message or dating profile is a real-life person with feelings and ideas.

Why can’t we just be honest with one another? Sure no one likes to be blown off. But do you know what’s a lot worse than being blown off? Completely being cut off without any explanation. Why can’t we just respond to a text when we see it? Enough of the waiting game.

I don’t know when or how dating became this difficult but I do know that I’m exhausted from it. I need a break. Maybe when and if I decide to re-enter the dating scene, I’ll be a little nicer and so will the people I come across.

*I highly recommend this book to anyone, whether you’re single or in a relationship. It’s funny and insightful. I also randomly found myself reading passages in Aziz’s voice which was so entertaining.