1. Constantly writing love notes on each other’s Facebook walls.
No one wants to deny you your love. We all get that it’s intoxicating and wonderful and perfect to be with someone whom you feel completes you, who makes getting up every morning and logging into Facebook a joy that can only be matched by a 25-minute orgasm dipped in a milk chocolate shell. That does not mean, however, that your first stop on the Social Media Train has to be the Humiliation Station, at which you unload every morsel of intimacy and affirmation that you could possibly muster before we’ve even had our breakfast. Do you need to tag your boyfriend in seven YouTube clips a day that you know they would find adooooorable? No. You do not. Do you need to put songs on their wall accompanied with love notes every hour on the hour to remind them that you are very much still in the amorous stages of early love? No. Do you need to reduce your online presence to a mere aquaduct of love juice, directing your tidal waves of “I MISS YOU SO MUCH SWEETIE” to their poor, battered wall? One should hope not. Speaking from personal experience as someone who went through a “Facebook is the most appropriate medium for my love proclamations” when she was 18, that shit will be harsh to look back upon when you get even a centimeter of perspective.
2. Referring to your significant other as “daddy.”
Oh my god, is there anything creepier — anything creepier in the entire universe — than calling your significant other “daddy?” No. The answer to that question is no. On every level, it is weird and inappropriate and screams “You are filling in an empty space in my life that was clearly not intended to be filled by someone I have sex with.” Just, ugh — could you imagine actually addressing someone that way during sex? When asking to be bought things at your local Bebe or Guess (the only stores where people who call their boyfriends “daddy” shop)? No, because that shit is disgusting and horrible. Your dad is your dad. Family is family. Romantic partners are very far away from that, in some parallel universe of “We love each other, but in a totally different way that should never be labelled with anything resembling a family moniker.” If you call your SO “daddy,” I highly recommend you get yourself into some rhinestone-studded therapy, because your tacky ass has some issues to work out.
3. Replacing every third word with “babe” or “baby.”
“Hey, babe, can you pass me that salt? Baby, are you okay? Babe, let’s go see your mom this weekend so I can bake a quiche with her. Babe. Baby? Babe?!?!” It is truly the mating call of the chronically unfortunate, this repeated bleating of the word “beb” in some form or another which is, I guess, a reminder to oneself and everyone else in the room that you are, in fact, in a relationship with someone. What could possibly be worse than having to spend a night out with a two-person Greek chorus, performing their “Aww, baby” beatbox for two hours straight as they delicately feed each other curly fries from the bowling alley food stand? Nothing. Constantly addressing your SO as “babe” is the linguistic equivalent of wearing dog tags that you got imprinted with your names on it at Six Flags.
4. Transforming from “I” to “we.”
It starts innocently enough. “We didn’t like that movie.” “We are thinking about going on a road trip this New Year’s.” It makes sense — there are two of you, and you have the same opinion about something, and so it’s easier just to say “we” than identify you both by name. But then it becomes more insidious, more subtle, more a constant reference to yourself as one-half of one unit, an entity which moves and thinks and critiques with swift, synchronized efficiency. Suddenly, “we” are declining invitations to that party. “We” are really in love with Portland right now. “We” have to go to the bathroom. At a certain point, you lose any sense of individual identity — and it is ugly. Nothing screams codependent quite like admitting through your language choice that you actually don’t consider yourself a fully independent unit anymore. And no one wants to be friends with a single head of a double-headed Hydra creature whose only interest is going to the farmers market this weekend so “we” can look at the gourds. That is fun for no one.
5. Saying your significant other doesn’t “let you” do something.
Whether you’re a guy telling his friends that he can’t go to a bachelor party because his girlfriend doesn’t want him to, or a girl declining a pole dancing lesson with her friend because her boyfriend doesn’t “approve,” cut that shit out immediately. There is nothing more creepy than the idea that your significant other — someone with whom you have chosen to be, someone who is not supposed to hold any kind of parental authority over you — is able to indiscriminately label things as “okay” or “not okay” and then hold you to that standard. It’s one thing to have a discussion about things one or both of you may not be comfortable with, and quite another to call down a decree from high atop Mount Douchebag and insist that your partner not do anything that you even have a fleeting concern about. Significant others are not glorified pets (no matter how many degrading pet names you call each other), and at no point is it acceptable to tell them what they “can’t” do to suit your whims. The only thing that should actually be forbidden in this scenario is dating a controlling ass hat.