1. Asking too many questions.
There are some things that you’re entitled to know, for sure. Things like, “What do you want out of life?” “Are you interested in having kids some day?” “Does it burn when you pee?” are all valid questions. But at a certain point, you’re just digging. You don’t need to know how many sexual partners they have had. You’re not their medical professional — unless you are, you saucy thing. (Speaking of which, why does it matter how many people they’ve slept with? I mean, you can ask, but they could easily lie. And is there a number you’re shooting for? Anything below 10 is perfectly acceptable and anything above 10 is unrepentant slore? Get out of here with all of that.) The point is, you’re not here to judge them. You’re here to love each other, and construct your own thing together. We have to stop with the inane, masochistic questions.
2. Getting in way over your head at the beginning.
We’ve all had this moment. It’s the end of date two and you’re literally afraid you’re going to have a small heart attack walking up to your apartment because you can’t stop hyperventilating over how into them you are. Everything they do is just so perfect, and you’re so in love, and the only way to temper your insanity is to send them a few messages about how great a time you had, and how much you are looking forward to seeing them again, and what are they doing next Tuesday?, and it’s not like you have nothing going on or anything, you’d just like to see them, and if they totally can’t that’s fine, and okay bye. Before you realize it, you’ve sent them 19 text/Facebook messages in a row, and you can see that they’ve “seen” them and have CHOSEN not to respond yet. Basically your entire life is swirling down a toilet out of the Saw movies right before your eyes because you couldn’t keep it together enough to play it cool for a few hours. We all know that feel, bro.
3. Comparing yourself to their ex.
Yes, they had an ex. Yes, they had sex. It was probably good sex. They said they loved each other, and had an awesome time, and were very happy for some time. Stew over that as much as you want, it’s not going away. And no amount of you making offhanded disparaging commentary about the ex or going through their public Facebook pictures while muttering about how much of an irritating little cold sore they are is going to make that suddenly not be true.
4. Comparing them to your ex.
Just as much as their ex has nothing to do with you, your ex has nothing to do with your current piece. It’s 50 shades of unfair to be secretly comparing them with what you used to have, especially if you are still harboring some secret feelings for the old flame. We all know how insulting it feels when someone makes an offhand reference to the person who came before us, so there’s no reason to foist that pain on someone else.
5. Dating someone just to avoid singledom.
If you’ve ever found yourself waist-deep in a relationship with some mediocre so-and-so, looked across the dinner table and thought, “Oh my god, I would literally swallow some thumbtacks right now if it meant I didn’t have to keep making conversation with this person,” you know. You know what it means to be in a placeholder relationship just because the thought of being single for even a few months means being transported into a panel of the world’s most depressing Cathy comic for the rest of your life. We all have that weird fear in the back of our head that’s like “Don’t be alone. You’re going to be found by the police four months after your death surrounded by coupon clippings and dildos.” But we can’t listen to it. It’s not fair to anyone to be halfway involved in a quasi-relationship just to pass the time until something better comes along. Better to just bite the bullet and be single for a bit.
6. Not saying anything when something makes you uncomfortable.
There are always going to be moments where it’s a hard call: “Am I an asshole for not being okay with this, or is this actually not okay?” Like, there are some things you might just be anal retentive about. If someone is messy, for example, or has a hard time with being punctual. Sure, it might be disrespectful, but it’s something that can be worked on. However, there are certain issues that are clearly dealbreakers (or close), which you don’t say anything about because you’re way too into your new flame to want to mess anything up. “Sure, you can stay out all night with no warning and be talking to random girls at all hours and talk shit about me to your friends! Just as long as you promise me I’m the ‘only gurl 4 [you]‘ via occasional text message.” Like, not a lot is universally sexy, but having something resembling a backbone has got to be one of them. If this person is so hot that they’ve managed to melt down all traces of self-respect into a glistening pool of obedience, perhaps it’s time to get out before you burst into flames.
7. Trying to play too hard to get.
There is a fine line between “playing hard to get” and “being an ass hat.” Learning to walk it is an art, and few among us have mastered it.
8. Lying about who you are at the beginning.
There is only so long you can sustain the first-few-date coolness of “I’m just a sexy little thing who loves taking good care of her house and paying her bills on time and respecting her elders and laughing at your jokes” before reality is bound to set in. You can’t be that person forever, and at a certain point, they’re going to wake up to the real version of you who never has any toilet paper, is several thousand dollars in debt, and spends most of her free time looking at pictures of food on Tumblr.
9. Bringing them into your life too quickly.
Few things in life are A Big Deal, but one of them is definitely integrating a new significant other into your inner circle of friends and family. That is something that is relatively meaningful, something that invites lots of outside problems and complications. Think about how hard breaking up is, and now think about its difficulty when you are now surrounded by a spider’s web of people who care about them just as much as you do and are now semi-pissed at you for taking them out of your life. It’s an investment to bring people in, and though we are all susceptible to those first heady moments of “oh my GOD I am in love with this person, time to introduce them to every human being I’ve ever encountered via big musical number,” it’s best to ignore them.
10. Putting off breaking up when you know it has to end.
You think you’re a magician who is hoodwinking them with your patented ability to “pretend like the flame is still there when it clearly isn’t,” but they know. We all know. And there is nothing worse than being stuck with someone who has already checked out but doesn’t have the fortitude to call things off. Just do the right thing, take them down to the Applebee’s, and call it off. Rip that band-aid off. You’ll feel so much better.