Everyone knows the big milestones in relationships — the first date, the first time you sleep together (which for some people is different nights?), the first time you meet the friends, the first time you meet the parents, your first +1 event together, etc. These things are obvious. These are the steps that people talk about. But it’s the subtle, under the radar “steps” that are actually huge milestones that make what you have feel “real.”
First Time You Don’t Have Sex
Hot take: the first time you don’t have sex with someone is a bigger deal than the first time you do. Having sex is easy. It doesn’t require a connection besides an attraction. It doesn’t require knowing each other. Or talking to each other. Or comfort. The first time you DON’T have sex, however? That’s something entirely different that you don’t always get to with someone. That says “we just enjoy each other’s company and would rather by lying next to each other than alone.” It means you don’t need to rely on sex to make spending time together worthwhile.
First Time He Sees You Without Makeup
You want to see my naked body? Have at it. My naked face, on the other hand, is private. And I don’t mean the “no makeup” look you pull off for ritual, which is some BB cream, under eye concealer, and a little mascara. I also don’t mean the “I had on makeup yesterday, and still have a little bit left, but this is basically a naked face” look. I mean no. thing. The face you were born with — which is normally a little secret you like to keep between you and God. If you are ready to let him see you looking like a gargoyle, and confident he won’t run, that’s real.
First Time You Post A Photo Together
Some people might say this is not a “step” in a relationship, but those people are just desperately trying to cling to a world we really don’t live in any more. Like it or not, social media is a part of life. And the first time you post an Instagram photo with each other, you are essentially telling the world “I claim this” and that is big. Even taking a photo together is a big deal, because you’re admitting that this is a person and a moment you want to remember.
First Time You Stay In Together
Going out with a guy is exciting and fun, and I hear that once you’re in a relationship, you miss the days when you used to ~do things.~ But in the beginning, you need ~things~ to distract from the fact that you don’t know each other that well. The first time you just sit around, with no alcohol, no hangover, and no barrier is kind of exciting too. Being able to be in a room with each other and just talk — or even better, not talk — without it being weird and without wondering what you’re going to say next is a step all its own.
First Time You Have Sober Sex
Arguably, an even bigger deal than not having sex is doing it sober. Not having sex, while a big step, is easy. We’re all doing it right now. Having it without the influence of drugs or alcohol to make you forget that you hate your thighs or to make it easier to say “come for me” when you want it to be over? That’s huge. Alcohol is the mental lube that makes sex possible — or at least easier — emotionally in the beginning. When you don’t need it any more, you open up a whole new world of different possibilities and different kinds of sex. Still more fun with it, though.
First Time You Don’t Freak Out And Mentally Prepare For The End When He Doesn’t Respond To Your Text Right Away
I don’t know when constant and immediate attention became the only barometer against which to measure whether or not someone likes you, but I’m not here on an anthropological journey to find out. I’m just here to comfort you and let you know that it’s absolutely normal to freak the fuck out if a dude takes more than 10 minutes to respond to your text message. However, a “normal” reaction doesn’t mean it’s a reaction that is based at all in reality. It just means that lots of other bitches are just as insecure as you are. I recently waited to get drunk (as one does) to let out a big “Stop being hot and cold with me, I can’t take it any more. I don’t understand how you can be all about me one minute, and then make me afraid you’re going to disappear on me, never to be seen again the next.” You know the response? “That would obviously never happen. I always answer your texts. Sometimes I am busy.”
It was a month later before I finally accepted that people may actually be busy doing things besides paying attention to me — I’m still not sure what, but it’s possible. And once I let that overanalyzing go, I was in disbelief at all the hours I spent freaking out over nothing. Real couples don’t text all the time, because they always know they’re going to see each other again, and they don’t need near constant reassurance of this. They just know. Getting to this point is HUGE — at the very least for your sanity, if not for the romance.
First Time You Pay For Something
I don’t play that “I always offer to pay” game. Fuck that. I’m not offering shit until I know you’re sticking around. If I’m paying for something, it’s because I care about you enough not to want to force you to deplete your bank account just so I can get fed. It also means you’ve proven yourself enough through emotional or communicative means that I don’t need you to buy me shit just to prove you’re trying. And considering guys are terrible at expressing themselves through emotions and communication, not needing to do it through presents and dates is big.
First Time You Realize Your Auto-Plans Are Each Other
Your weekends will slowly transition from pre-planning your drunken booty calls, to pretty much knowing you’re going to end up going home together even if you go out separately. This is impressive, but it’s not an insurmountable feat. But when you get to the point where your night has gone from “what are you doing tonight?” to “what are we doing tonight?” you’re next level. This is the beginning of spending more time together than you do apart — of having to run your plans with your friends by each other instead of just telling each other you’re doing something else day of. You don’t know how you got here, but once you have, you’re basically in a relationship, whether you’ve talked about it or not..
Image via Shutterstock