1. Kiss the person you’re with often, kiss them gently and not so gently, and kiss them like it’ll take their breath away. And don’t underestimate the power of the forehead kiss.
2. If you’ve reached the place of “I love you,” which everyone reaches at their own time and pace, say it often. And know that you can probably never say it enough.
3. If you haven’t reached the place of “I love you,” don’t rush it. But also don’t let the fear of saying it overwhelm you. “I love you” is a sacrifice and a big deal. Treat it as such but nothing more.
4. Always notice when they change something, anything about their hair, fashion sense, mannerisms, etc. The smallest positive comment will probably lift their spirits.
5. If they are self-conscious about something, don’t use it against them in an argument or at any time at all. It’s not fun being vulnerable with someone and having that thrown back in your face.
6. Talk on the phone more (as opposed to texting). Whether it’s calling to ask about potential plans or calling to find out how your S.O.’s day was. Texting may be more convenient but the sound of your voice is more enjoyable.
7. And if you are texting, be more considerate about the length of time you take to respond to a text. No, your phone needn’t be an extension of your body. But at some point, “not being attached” to your phone is not a good excuse for not communicating with people in a respectful time frame.
8. Speaking of attachments to phones, put them away from time to time. Your workplace will likely not fall apart if you don’t check your email every twenty minutes. Being forever plugged in gets in the way of kissing and cuddling.
9. Get to know their friends well. And even if you don’t have to be BFFs with them, always treat them respectfully. Good things come to those who win their significant other’s friends and family. This is almost science.
10. Realize that most of the time, even if they are complaining about their family, it doesn’t give you the liberties and rights to do so. Always be cautious about any remotely negative thing that can be interpreted the wrong way. And if they are very close to their family, you will never win that battle.
11. Stop being afraid of labels (as inconsequential as they may be to both you and your S.O.) and realize that sometimes things need to be defined. Contrary to pop culture’s belief, commitments are not anti-fun, they are fulfilling.
12. Listen to your significant other’s complaints without feeling the need to play “devil’s advocate” all the time. Sometimes people don’t want to think about things in a different way, they just want to be heard and affirmed.
13. Let your S.O. pay when they really just want to pay. Sometimes they are not trying to prove their independence or “balance” things out. They really do just want to treat you!
14. Be chivalrous because it is a good thing to be chivalrous. And no, it doesn’t get in the way of treating anyone like an equal simply because you did something kind for someone you care about.
15. Actually go on dates. It’s fine being comfortable and chilling in sweats and binge watching tv from time to time. This is the best part about dating. But don’t get lazy just because you’re with someone.
16. Ask, rather than assume what their comfort level is with anything physical. When in doubt, ask. When uncomfortable, ask. It is always better to ask than to assume.
17. If you have any inclinations that they might not be okay with something they said they’re okay with (or vice versa), ask them twice. And then ask them a third time to let them know “you’re making sure.” When you know people, you know when they’re not being completely honest.
18. Keep any and all intimate details about your relationship and/or about your significant other between the two of you. That means there is really no reason to tell every last detail to your friends, co-workers, gym buddies, etc.
19. Don’t participate in any unnecessary overshare or objectively unnecessary behavior on social media. Included but not limited to constant kissing pictures and social media arguments. It’s just cringeworthy for everyone involved.
20. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Whether it’s being late for dinner or them forgetting something minor. Life is short and you only get so many seconds with someone you love or really, really like. Enjoy every single one of them as much as possible.
21. Be very conservative about your anger. People make people angry. People who care deeply about each other make each other angry. But still try to choose your words wisely when you’re angry. Better still, don’t choose any words at all until the anger passes, and you’re thinking more clearly.
22. Hopefully by now you should know that trying to make someone jealous doesn’t work, especially when that person is already committed to you. It’s not fun and it’s not fair to them.
23. Don’t expect someone to change anything about who they are for you. And this means their body, their religion, their politics, etc. Yes, compromises have to be made but don’t date someone with the expectation they’ll change to meet your needs as time goes by.
24. There is nothing to be won by “playing games” with someone you care about. Nothing good ever comes from it. It’s important to make sure they know how you feel and you know how they feel.
25. In any and all things, always treat the person you’re with, with love, respect, and how you would like to be treated. No, you’re not perfect, but neither are they. And as long as you’re trying, feel free to bend any of the rules to do whatever works for you.