So you’ve finally found The One (or at least The One For The Foreseeable Future) and you’ve committed to a serious relationship. Now what? In our new weekly column, Life After Dating, we’ll discuss the unique joys and challenges of coupledom.
A few weeks after Nick and I started dating, he got his wisdom teeth out (alas, oral surgery is another pitfall of the high school sweetheart relationship). I was secretly really excited about the idea of taking care of my new boyfriend as he recovered, so I put on my cutest “casual caretaker” outfit and headed over to his house to spend the day nursing him back to health. When I got there, Nick was lying on the couch moaning in pain. The painkillers had upset his stomach and, unable to chew solid food, he’d been sipping canned chocolate protein shakes all day. It was pretty clear he was miserable and there was nothing I could do. I sat next to him and stroked his hair, wishing I could do more to make him feel better. And then, very suddenly, he clutched his stomach, whispered, “Oh noooo,” and projectile-vomited chocolate Slim Fast all over me.
As I was cleaning myself up, I did the math. This was technically our third date.
We joke now that reaching the “vomiting on each other” milestone so early in our relationship might have fast-forwarded our level of intimacy and helped us stay together for going on 10 years now. Because the painful, beautiful truth of being in a serious relationship is letting someone else see you exactly as you are, bodily functions and weird insecurities and crappy moods and all. When people talk about relationship “firsts,” they’re usually talking about sweet things like first kisses, first “I love you”‘s, and first dances. I think it’s time to give a shoutout to the not-so-pleasant firsts, the ones that, in their own way, might actually be more meaningful. Here are some examples, culled from my own experiences and red-faced confessions from friends in LTRs…