1. You won’t always feel loving towards your significant other. There will be moments when you say you do, but it’s not exactly, entirely true.
2. You won’t always be sexually attracted to them, either.
3. In fact, sometimes you’ll look at your partner and feel nothing but sincere disgust and rage, bordering on hate.
4. Indifference, not hate, is the opposite of love, you’ll have to remind yourself. A comforting thought when things get dark—and believe me, they will.
5. The quirks you’ve always adored in your partner might very well annoy the fuck out of you once in a while.
6. Even a person’s most beautiful features and loveliest traits can seem unimaginably irritating if they’re behaving in a way that drives you crazy, or if you’re stuck in the rut of a terrible mood for whatever reason.
7. The truth is, no one has bottomless reserves of love and adoration—not you or your partner, no matter how smitten you are with each other. Not anyone.
8. You’ll both probably text a few old flames routinely, usually in the aftermath of a fight, to make yourselves feel better about life. And you may or may not feel guilty about doing so.
9. As a species we crave novelty, and it’s impossible to get it from a single person on an ongoing basis.
10. When things aren’t going so well, you’ll probably daydream about leaving your significant other to be with someone else. Relationship problems tend to make old boyfriends and office crushes seem like really great prospects.
11. You will doubt your relationship. You will question whether your long-term boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife really understands you. Appreciates you. Deserves you.
12. Loving someone doesn’t mean accepting every aspect of that person’s character. So you might never grow to love everything about your significant other, even if you say you do.
13. Your partner probably won’t be enough to make you feel whole, or completely happy. That’s what friends are for—to fill the gaps left by romantic relationships.
14. Your significant other is bound to lie to you on more than one occasion—about where they are, what they’re doing, or how much money they’ve spent. Because people lie, especially when doing so is the path of least resistance.
15. They’re also going to entertain a lot of unsavory thoughts about people who aren’t you. Because they’re human.
16. Marital vows are moving, but they’re not unbreakable.
17. All those wedding toasts do mean something, but they don’t mean that any couple is better positioned than the others that have fielded remarkably similar comments, all from friends and family, regarding the strength of their bonds.
18. Wedding celebrations are fun, but they’re an exercise in collective denial—that the man and woman recently hitched will be able to do things differently, to avoid the marital struggles every couple eventually encounters.
19. If you’re certain that you’ll avoid the relationship traps others fall into—that you’ll manage to do better than everyone else—you’re delusional.
20. Love is the source of so much beauty, but it also causes insufferable pain.
21. Some days, you’ll have to try really hard to love your partner. And that’s okay.
22. Love is a great reason to maintain a relationship, but on its own, it’s insufficient. Staying together requires a lot of hard work.
23. You have to choose to put the effort in to be with someone long-term again and again—to love them even when you don’t.