1. Slightly freaking out every time you hit “send” on a message that is in any way confessional about how you feel about them, or could be seen as taking a step or a leap toward “being together together.” You hold your breath and pray they respond favorably because your heart is on the “Read” receipt line.
2. That dumb smile you do while you’re by yourself… only to realize you’re smiling alone… which makes you smile more.
3. Catching yourself every time you start mentioning them to your friends (because it happens more frequently than you realize) but they make you so happy that you just want to talk about them all the time to whoever will listen to you.
4. The first time you call each other either “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” as if maybe they’ll reject the title, but then they don’t correct you, and you both breathe a massive sigh of relief.
5. Learning how to kiss someone new, and finding out how your body meshes with theirs in hugs and cuddle sessions. Sure, there might be a few knocked teeth and rogue elbows here and there, but eventually, you figure it out.
6. Finding out all about them — an outsider might think it sounds like equal parts inane small talk and the kind of interrogation chamber reserved exclusively for terrorists, but you genuinely want to find out what their favorite color is, what movie changed their life when they were a kid, their favorite school subject, what their hopes and dreams are, and everything in between.
7. The first time they say something really cute about the both of you in an off-the-cuff way, but you hold it tightly to your heart like a secret language that only you know how to speak, even if it really wasn’t all that deep.
8. Still being nervous and mindful of what you look like when you see them, because though you know they’d probably like you no matter what you wore, you still want to put the effort into looking good for them.
9. Posting the first photo of the two of you on social media — I mean, no one can really begrudge you a kissing selfie if it’s the first announcement that you are, indeed, a thing, heart-eyed emoji and all. (Maybe stop after the second, but the first will always be unequivocally cute, so go ahead and post it.)
10. The first time you go to their apartment, and are equal parts terrified that you’ll knock someone over, on your best behavior to the point where you ask if you can have a glass of water, and holding yourself back from just ransacking the damn place for all of their most prized possessions and the stories behind each one.
11. The first time they meet your friends, you meet their friends, or either of you meet one another’s family. The pressure is excruciating, but the feeling of satisfaction you get when you know their best friend approves of you is a great, great seal of approval.
12. The first time they premeditate something you’ll say or want — like when they order your coffee just the way you like it — and you realize that they’ve been paying attention to your habits and preferences all along, and care enough to remember them.
13. When you smell their perfume or cologne somewhere out in public, and recognize it as theirs, only to turn around and realize they’re not there. It’s equal parts heartbreaking and comforting, because olfactory smell is that powerful.
14. The first time you apologize to one another after your first fight, because that makes or breaks so much of how a relationship goes forward.
15. And that point at around the fifth date, when you’re finally — finally! – relaxed enough to really enjoy it and yourself and this, but it’s still new and wonderful and exciting and everything can only get better from here.