19 Love Milestones That Everyone Should Hit Before They Settle Down

1. Going out on a date with someone and feeling as though everything went really, really well, only to realize that the other person did not feel the same way and has no interest in seeing you again. You will never get a more satisfying reason, they just “had a great time but aren’t looking for anything serious right now.” As though they weren’t explicitly looking for something serious when you two first went out. Fuck that person.

2. Seeing your friend start dating someone that you absolutely know is a total mistake, but having to suck it up and deal with it because this is their path they have to walk for themselves, even if said path is a guy who wears novelty internet meme shirts and has a goatee.

3. Coming to the shattering realization that you have probably dated someone at some point who made your friends cringe and mutter amongst themselves and force a smile whenever you brought them around. This is all very helpful in advancing the essential “there is an ass for every seat, and you can’t judge a relationship book by its cringeworthy cover” part of your maturity.

4. Getting rejected by someone WHOM YOU COULD TOTALLY DO BETTER THAN. Like, you were doing his manga-reading, hair-gelling ass a favor in the first place.

5. Rejecting someone in a way that doesn’t bring their world crumbling down around them, because you have learned to be a compassionate human who puts their ducks in a row and do the dirty work in person, instead of via cryptic text message at three in the morning.

6. Getting home from a hot date and looking in the mirror with what you imagine is a smoldering, self-congratulatory gaze, only to realize that you have a booger/piece of something in your teeth/makeup smeared on your eyelid. (Committing ritual suicide to protect the honor of your ancestors is more than acceptable at this point, by the way.)

7. Running into an ex while you are looking your lowest possible level of attractiveness and, after a brief moment of panic, understanding that it doesn’t really matter what they think of you anymore.

8. Making peace with an ex that you used to have serious tension with, because you’ve both grown enough in your personal lives to realize that holding petty grudges over things that happened when you were totally different people only makes the both of you worse off.

9. Trying to turn a friendship into a relationship, because you imagined that it would be the best of both words — and finding out that it is the best of both worlds, right up until you break up, in which case it is the worst of all possible scenarios.

10. Making out with someone randomly at a party because you had unknowingly slipped into The Giggling Makeout Phase of your drunkenness, and then having the lights mercilessly turned on and realizing you were basically making out with Old Gregg.

11. Having a nice, long period of singledom in which you come to understand that being alone does not make you a) a leper, b) a pity case, or c) incapable of personal fulfillment.

12. Traveling whilst single because a) foreign wieners/cooters and b) self-discovery or whatever.

13. Accepting that someone is just not for you, no matter how crippling your crush on them is, and moving on before their presence in your subconscious erodes you from the inside. (Farewell, sweet prince with the frosted tips in sixth grade, I hardly knew ye.)

14. Asking for advice from your parents, grandparents, or extended family members when it comes to love. Even if your relationship was never very open, it’s important to remember that they have lived a hell of a lot more than you and ultimately have your happiness in their interest like no one else will. Even if you don’t follow the advice, it’s important to appreciate that it’s there.

15. Experiencing that soul-shattering evening where you spend the entire time semi-crying next to your phone because the one person who could make you feel better is the one person who refuses to call you, text you, or answer their phone. This evening, it should be said, usually takes place on the bathroom floor.

16. Recovering from one of said evenings with a night out with friends that makes you forget your anger and sadness, and makes you remember that your life is filled with other, valid kinds of love.

17. Teaching someone how to make you orgasm without shame or obfuscation. (!!!!)

18. Finding someone who makes you laugh so hard you’re afraid you’re going to pee yourself (and maybe you even do pee yourself a tiny bit), and who also makes you have screaming orgasms.

19. Holding onto this person forever, because you’ve kissed enough toads in your day — even if you didn’t hit every item on this list — to realize that we’re all deeply imperfect, and the point is to find someone whose wonkily-shaped puzzle piece fits in nicely with yours. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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