I want to start this confession with a disclaimer: I have a boyfriend who I have been dating for two and a half years. It is a relationship that I have poured more love, commitment and concern into than any of my previous ones put together, and he does the same. He listens sincerely to all the problems I unload on him, even when it’s the same stale series of issues over and over again. Our biggest fight has only led to about 10 minutes of oh-so-mature silent treatment. We even have embarrassing nicknames for each other that I know better than to publish here. I know I am lucky to have this sort of relationship and I cherish every moment of it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Even though Jake Gyllenhaal is my “Get Out of Jail Free” exception, if he came calling in his “Prince of Persia” regalia, I know I couldn’t act on it. Now that has to be love.
And yet, I’m jealous of you—you giggly new couples with your adorably awkward first dates and timid hand-holding.
I see you everywhere, mostly because you are so easy to spot. The giddy excitement that radiates from the forming of fresh love is hard to ignore, but you guys also make it pretty obvious. Insane amounts of PDA seem to be your neon sign to let people know that your relationship is just starting. Every surface appears to be a perfect pedestal to show off how extremely into each other the two of you are.
It’s not that I’m ever drawn to the allure of a new man. I just crave that enchanting feeling that thrives at the beginning of a relationship. I wouldn’t mind a chance to go back.
See, I have been exactly where you are at this moment. I probably exchanged precious pecks in the same line at Whole Foods. I remember what it was like when each kiss was an event, a piece of film you continually have on playback in your head. I felt the same excited stomach drop each time he called and I realized that this might mean he would keep calling for the foreseeable future. I have stood at the toll bridge of love and hurriedly collected the magical moments and grand expectations of a new relationship so I could put them together to pay for a more long-term one promised on the other side. But now that I’ve made it through, something about the other side looks awfully appealing.
I would never sacrifice what I have now—that is not what I’m saying here. What I want is a chance to go back to the first dates my boyfriend and I had. There are times I miss the thrill of not knowing how a night between us would end. People tell me they want the relationship I have and I hope they find the same happiness. But that doesn’t mean I don’t sit and listen to their stories of crushes, first dates, insane excitement for seeing their guy again and feel a twinge of jealously.
So new couples, that is why I am telling you not to rush into making what you have something serious. Enjoy the excitement of not knowing everything about each other, especially the annoying stuff. Relish that moment when you are content with all of a person—once you reveal everything, the mystery is not easily replicated. The fantastic sensation of suspense and surprise that accompanies your dates will become rarer as your lives meld together. Ride the roller coaster, and instead of freaking out about every foot you go up the big hill, relish that you don’t know the twists and turns yet. Once you do, it won’t be nearly as thrilling.
Too often, dating feels like a race towards a committed relationship. But there are many people who have crossed the finish line and wouldn’t mind going back. At least I wouldn’t. How about you?